Consulate General of Japan at Honolulu

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Consul General's Speeches


Consul General Kamo’s Remarks for the 2011 Spring Imperial Decoration Award Ceremony – July 25, 2011, 10:00 a.m., Official Residence


Ms. Ann H. Kobayashi,

Mr. Thomas S. Sakata,

Mr. Herbert Ichiro Ohta,

Your respective family members, friends, and supporters,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Good morning and alo-ha!


It 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 Imperial Decoration.

First 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.

These 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.


Ms. Ann H. Kobayashi

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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.


Mr. Thomas S. Sakata

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Concurrently, 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.

In 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.


Mr. Herbert Ichiro Ohta

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

After returning to Hawaii in the 1960s, Mr. Ohta opened a ukulele school here.  And in 1973, he published a ukulele book entitled “Ukulele O Hawaii”. 

A 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.                 




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