Consulate General of Japan at Honolulu

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Consul General's Speeches


Kanpai Remarks by C.G. Yoshi Kamo 

at the 67th Annual Shinnen Enkai of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce

Friday, January 6, 2012 


 あけましておめでとうございます。Happy New Year! It’s great to join you at this annual HJCC Shinnenn-Enkai. Perhaps some of you remember that I explained the difference between your 新年宴会 and Japan’s 新年会 two years ago. I still remember that I got a laugh from you by saying to the effect that in Japan’s 新年会, men drink hard away from wives, while in Hawaii’s 新年宴会, wives talk big and exchange gossips. So you might think I am standing here wondering how to win your laugh once again. No.No. I am more serious, this time. I am just happy to participate in this signature gathering of the local Japanese American community in Honolulu and serve as your Kanpai toaster to celebrate the New Year.

 Looking back, 2011 was quite a year. It was a year of beyond comparison in which our conventional wisdom was tested. Japan was hard hit by the gigantic earthquake and tsunami and suffered unprecedented loss and destruction. Europe faltered because of its fiscal and financial woes. The United States flinched from rage and frustration expressed by the so called 99% people who took part in the Wall Street Occupy Movement. Some Arab countries fell into turmoil in their bloody quest of political freedom and democracy.

 Against the backdrop of this dark and grim picture the year 2011 painted, it is almost miraculous that the tsunami survivors in Tohoku showed us what could be the most sophisticated and matured human response to the deadliest natural disaster in history with their remarkable dignity and stoicism. They saved the year 2011. They brought us Japanese genuine honor and pride.

 The year 2011 saw the other humble and quiet heroes who brought genuine honor and pride to their families and fellow country-men. They are the Nisei veterans, of course. Their sacrifice and service to their nation were deservingly recognized and won the highest honor that the United States can give. That is to say, Congressional Gold Medal.

 Isn’t this very special to all of us who inherited the Japanese blood? That is why I feel like proclaiming the 白波五人男 shibai performance by HJCC to be the most significant cultural show in Hawaii. It has been put on for the past 67 years. This time-honored tradition should be passed down to the future generation. Thanks to the foresightedness and ingenuity of the founding fathers of the 白波五人男, today we can have both entertainment and cultural heritage in our annual 新年宴会.

 So I should be concluding. We have just entered the year of 2012, Year of the Dragon. Although, a dragon is an imaginary creature, we believe in its symbolism. A dragon is always associated with dynamism and activism; something going up, soaring and ascending. So let’s hope that the year of the dragon will take us onto the upward trend. Let’s hope that the year of the dragon will bring us health, happiness and prosperity. Let’s hope that the year of the dragon will have us benefit from better luck, better business, and better politicians. So please join me in a toast to the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and the New Year 2012. Kanpai!


(c) Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu
1742 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96817 USA
Tel: 808-543-3111