Newly arrived Consul General of Japan Yasushi Misawa was the guest of honor at a welcome luncheon organized by the Kizuna Hawai‘i Group. Misawa arrived in Hawai‘i on July 17.
Consul General Misawa, 53, is a graduate of Kyoto University, Faculty of Law. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 and has worked overseas in Japanese Embassies in Canada and Germany. Misawa most recently held the title of Deputy Director-General in the Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau.
The afternoon began with a taiko performance by Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific. Hanayagi Mitsujyuro (Bryson Goda)
performed a nagauta dance, “Oimatsu,” which is a celebratory classical dance signifying strength and longevity.
In his comments to the audience of over 200, Misawa spoke in English, saying it was his first time he was addressing so many distinguished guests, a reference to representatives of the 24 Hawai‘i Japanese American community organizations in attendance.
He spoke on three points: history, innovation and partnership.
On history, Misawa said he aims to learn as much as he can about the history of Hawai‘i and about the various Japanese American organizations — not only their names, but each group’s mission.
On innovation, he said, “Hawai‘i is an island state, geographically isolated from the U.S. mainland and primarily reliant on tourism.” Misawa said it is important for Japan and Hawai‘i to share innovative ideas in the field of technology.
On partnership, the new consul general said he was “very moved” by the hospitality he has received since arriving in Hawai‘i. Misawa said he hopes to strengthen the relationship between Hawai‘i’s Japanese American community and its community of Japan nationals.
Gov. David Ige echoed Misawa’s sentiment about finding ways to further strengthen the relationship between Japan, the U.S. and Hawai‘i, saying that “it’s more than a business, it’s family.”
The Kizuna Hawai‘i Group, represented by Wayne Ishihara, president of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, presented Misawa with an aloha shirt from ‘Iolani Sportwear and a ManoaDNA music CD.
United Japanese Society of Hawaii president Cyrus Tamashiro led the tejime to close out the afternoon.
Kizuna member-groups include: the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, Japan-America Society of Hawaii, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Japanese Women’s Society Foundation, Sakura Hawaii Alumnae, United Japanese Society of Hawaii, U.S.-Japan Council, University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa Center for Japanese Studies and University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa Center for Okinawan Studies.