By Wayne Ishihara, President & CEO

We began the new year by announcing that we will be CELEBRATING OUR 120th ANNIVERSERY throughout 2020.  In January we were featured on Living808, KHON2.  An interview was done with Tanya Joaquin with Chair of the Board Jon Tsukamoto and myself discussing our history and future. Our first event for the year was our 75th Shinnen Enkai (New Year’s Banquet) that featured selected members performing as Kabuki actors in the famous Shiranami Gonin Otoko play from Japan.  We changed the venue to the Sheraton Waikiki and had a crowd of 400 guests.  You missed an enjoyable program with our members performing the Kabuki play.  Be on the lookout for the announcement about the telecast on Olelo public television (member) who has been video tapping our event for many years.

The focus for us during the last half of this fiscal year (January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020) will be MEMBERSHIP GROWTH!   We need everyone’s assistance in recruiting your business associates and friends to becoming a member.  If you need any assistance please call Mai Shiomi, Membership/Communications Specialist at our office, 949-5531 or [email protected].  Under the leadership of Gordon Kagawa, Past Chair we have commenced the roll-out of our new Corporate Recruitment Program which promotes our OUTREACH program with new members to welcome and invite them to dialogue and find out their thoughts on joining and suggesting to sign-up for events/committees so they become active. Our Chamber offers PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (participation on committees and forums/seminars), CONTACTS/NETWORKING (events and ability to inter-act with over 550 members) and COMMUNICATION AVENUES (B2B/advertising opportunities thru newsletter, electronic membership directory, discount program, social media).

We are also implementing various changes on existing processes and programs to adapt to membership interest.  Climate Change is a focus of attention and we created a Climate Change committee to educate everyone on serious issues facing our State and World.  Creating a culture with our members to share issues facing their respective industries and educating our membership on their company services, etc.  We have stepped up our HJCC Charitable Corporation (501c3) Scholarship Fund thru the Hawaii Community Foundation by offering scholarships to Junior and Senior undergraduate and Graduate students majoring in Business, International Relations and Japanese Language or Studies.  Also using our 120th year anniversary as an opportunity to publicize what we have accomplished and share our future direction.

In our Japan relations we are preparing to celebrate our 40th Sister Chamber Relationship with the Hiroshima Chamber and Affiliated Relationship with the Fukui Chamber.  They will both visit us and we will also have a delegation visiting them.  We are also exploring opportunities with Nagaoka city, Fukuoka Prefecture and Hokkaido Prefecture. Our Hawaii-Hiroshima Emerging Young Business Leaders Program is presently in its third year and preparation is in progress to take the Honolulu group of 10 leaders to Hiroshima during the first week in March. 

Yes, a lot has been happening and we hope all of you see many of these changes as member value/ benefits.  We continue to focus on our 3 pillars of Creating Opportunities since 1900 to promote fostering friendships, Connecting B2B (business to business) and Malama Ka aina (caring for the land).

Wayne T. Ishihara
President & CEO
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce