The Ohana Award ceremony was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday evening of March 9th.
The recipients of the Ohana Award were the repeat participating groups that have contributed to building friendships across borders through cultural exchanges. The master of ceremony was Kei Segawa, a household face in events in Hawaii.
Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, the president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, the host of the Honolulu Festival, made opening remarks.
“We extend our warm welcome to the guests from Japan for the 24th Honolulu Festival. This year, 3,200 people came from Japan. We would like to present the awards to the most repeating participating groups in the Honolulu Festival. We greatly appreciate your support.”
The following is the list of the award recipients. (numbers of years participating in parenthesis)
Yasuko Shimizu and Her Fellow Singers (20)
With the slogan “Songs prevail in the world,” this group continues to play a role, through concerts and dinner shows, building friendship bonds between Japan and America through cross-cultural interchange.
Honolulu Daijayama Booster Group Inspired to Make the Daijayama Known Throughout the World (19)
his group inherited the “Omuta Daijayama” tradition, the summer festival in Omuta city, Fukuoka, Honolulu’s sister city. Its Hawaii version, “Honolulu Daijayama,” an impressive parade float, became a popular Honolulu summer tradition.
The 53rd Honolulu Sister City Goodwill Delegation from Hiroshima (19)
Hiroshima, Honolulu’s first sister city, sent a delegation to the Honolulu Festival. During the parade, the tourism friendship ambassadors promoted Hiroshima tourism to the spectators.
Saitama Ryujin Matsuri Kai (15)
Saitama city mascot, “Ryujin (dragon god),” is a symbol of people’s determination toward community development. The group paraded with the large-size “Ryujin,” electrifying the spectators.
Sonoda Gakuin High School (13)
Sonoda Gakuin High school is located in Amagasaki city, Hyogo prefecture. Every year, its sophomore students dance in the parade; the 300-hundred-student-dance is quite impressive.
Lahainaluna High School (13)
Every year, students from Lahainaluna High School in Maui come to participate in the Honolulu Festival Educational Program.
Puanani Kobayashi Hula School (8)
The hula school, located in Aichi prefecture, advocates “dancing hula delightfully with a heart of aloha.”
Chigasaki City – Sister City of Honolulu (5)
Chigasaki is Honolulu’s sister city. Its rich nature and the popularity of surfing there resemble Hawaii in regard to its climate and culture.
Monden Momo Song & Dance Cultural Exchange (5)
The singing/dancing group is from Izumo, Shimane prefecture. It produces original musicals, based on the myths that were told in the Izumo area from ancient times.
Bunkyo University Yamaguchi Seminar/Volunteer Participation (5)
Yamaguchi Seminar students came to experience voluntarism as a part of their study, “Hospitality Management in the Tourism Industry.”
Hula O Hokkaido (4)
Hula O Hokkaido hula school arrived from snowy Hokkaido. Performing the hula on stage in flower-blooming Honolulu is the members’ dream-come-true.
Han-UI / Inha University (4)
A group of students from the Natural Science Department in Inha University played beautiful music, using traditional Korean musical instruments.
The performing group, led by Takayuki Wada, modernized traditional Japanese performing arts.
Wagana Aboriginal Dancers (3)
The modern Australian aboriginal dance group showcased aboriginal culture through performances and craft displays.
Osaka Gakuin University Cheerleading Team (3)
This high-level cheerleading squad placed second in the Kansai Championship and sixth in the National Championship in 2017.
Sakuragaoka Middle School & High School (3)
ne hundred high school freshmen from Sakuragaoka High School introduced Japanese culture at a craft booth and also performed in the parade.
The below groups were not able to attend the award ceremony. We greatly appreciate their participation and contribution throughout the years.
●Hirosaki Neputa Manji Kai (14)
●International Flower Arrangement Association (14)
●Japan Nankin Tamasudare Association (13)
●Japan High School of Music (9)
●Lau Kaukani (9)
●Nagaoka City (8)
●TAMA Hawaiian Hula (7)
●Halau Hula O Moanikeala (6)
●Pikake Leilani Hula Hālau (6)
●Komazawa Women’s University Honolulu Internship/Volunteer Participation (6)
●All Japan Gymnastics of Health Study Association (5)
●Japanese Handicraft Guidance Society Rozashi (4)
●Remember 3-11 Kyushu Hula Girl Caravan (4)
●Sophia University Cheerleading Team EAGLES (4)
●Studio Dance Alive (4)
●Tokyo Visual Arts (4)
●Kobe Shoin Women’s University/Volunteer Participation (4)
●Best Body International In Honolulu 2018 (3)
●Hoa Aloha (3)
●Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages/ Volunteer Participation (3)
At the end of the ceremony, the award recipients paused for a group photo. They received enormous applause from the audience. Congratulations to the award recipients!
We look forward to seeing you again next year and more years to come.