General Kamo’s Remarks for the 2011 Spring Imperial Decoration
Ceremony – July 25, 2011, 10:00 a.m., Official Residence
Ann H. Kobayashi,
Thomas S. Sakata,
Herbert Ichiro Ohta,
respective family members, friends, and supporters,
morning and alo-ha!
is a privilege and honor for me to be here this morning at this auspicious
occasion to present Ms. Kobayashi, Mr. Sakata, and Mr. Ohta, with an
of all, on behalf of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan, and the Government
of Japan, I would like to express my deepest, most heartfelt congratulations
to each one of you for your tireless efforts and steadfast commitment to
furthering the bonds of friendship and cooperation shared between Japan and
Hawaii, and between Japan and the United States.
bonds of friendship and cooperation obviously led to outpouring compassion
and support for Japan after she was struck by the devastating earthquake and
tsunami in March. I would like to take this opportunity to convey our
gratefulness to the people of Hawaii.
Ann H. Kobayashi
Ann H. Kobayashi, currently a Councilmember for the Honolulu City Council,
is being presented with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette,
for her contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding and
strengthening the relationship between Japan and the United States.
Kobayashi’s extensive political career included serving as a Hawaii State
Senator, executive assistant to former Mayor of Honolulu, Jeremy Harris, and
special assistant to former Governor of the State of Hawaii, Benjamin
Cayetano. Over the years, Ms.
Kobayashi has consistently worked to improve the Japanese visitor experience
in Hawaii as well the business climate to invite more Japanese business
opportunities and investments here. She
has dedicated herself in the fostering of Honolulu’s sister-city
relationship with Hiroshima, and, more recently, has played a key role in
initiating the sister-city relationship with Uwajima City.
Kobayashi has also been active in the community, serving in various
capacities within some of the local Japanese-American organizations.
From 2003 to 2004, she served as President of the United Japanese
Society of Hawaii, an umbrella organization with the mission to promote
Japan-U.S. and Japan-Hawaii relationships through cultural, educational, and
social activities. Ms.
Kobayashi is currently the President of the Shufu Society, which dedicates
itself to perpetuating the Japanese culture to the people of Hawaii through
its sponsored lectures, seminars, exhibitions, and social events.
Thomas S. Sakata
Thomas S. Sakata, former President of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau and former
Executive Director of the Japan-Hawaii Economic Council, is being presented
with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his
contributions in enhancing the economic and cultural ties between Japan and
Hawaii and between Japan and the U.S.
Sakata joined the Hawaii State Department of Planning & Economic
Development in 1967, where he exercised dynamic leadership in promoting
tourism to Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations.
He was promoted to President of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau in 1993.
Mr. Sakata served as Executive Director of the Japan-Hawaii Economic
Council, which was formed in 1972 as a result of Hawaii’s participation in
the 1970 Osaka World Exposition. He
served in this capacity for more than three decades, helping to strengthen
and develop economic relations between Japan and Hawaii.
1985, as Executive Secretary of the Governor’s Coordinating Committee for
the 100th Anniversary of Japanese Immigration to Hawaii, Mr.
Sakata oversaw the various events of the celebration, which helped to
promote a better understanding of Japanese culture and the contributions
made by the early Japanese immigrants and the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii.
Herbert Ichiro Ohta
Herbert Ichiro Ohta, an accomplished ukulele player, is being presented with
the Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays, for his contributions to the
development of music culture in Japan and the promotion of friendship
between Japan and Hawaii through the art of ukulele.
Ohta went to Japan in 1953 as an interpreter for the Commander of U.S.
Forces Japan. Over there, he
devoted himself to practicing the ukulele, developing his own style of play,
known as the “Ohta Style”. In
1959, he helped to establish the Nihon (Japan) Ukulele Association, of which
he remains an honorary member.
returning to Hawaii in the 1960s, Mr. Ohta opened a ukulele school here.
And in 1973, he published a ukulele book entitled “Ukulele O
four-time Na Hoku Hanohano Music Award winner, Mr. Ohta has continued to
play an extraordinary role in promoting ukulele and Hawaiian music in Japan
as well as promoting Japanese music culture to the world by introducing
famous Japanese tunes in his performances and, through this exchange, has
helped to enhance the friendship between Japan and Hawaii.
It is my
sincere hope that each one of you will continue to lend your steadfast
commitment and valuable expertise for the betterment of US-Japan
relationship in the coming years.
Thank you for your kind attention.
(c) Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu
1742 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96817 USA