The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui will hold its annual Shinnen Enkai at the Elleair Rainbow Room at Maui Beach Hotel on Jan. 28. During this annual Japanese celebration and observation of the new year, the Japanese Cultural Society will also recognize their annual Nihon Bunka Awardees for 2012.
This year Hiroshi Arisumi and the Reverand Torako Arine will be honored for preserving and promoting the Japanese culture. Arine, 97, is the leader of the Maui Jinsha Shinto Shrine, the only one remaining out of six which served the Japanese community. Arine became a priestess when her husband Masao Arine,who was the former reverend, passed away in 1972. She holds the New Year’s and Autumn Festival celebrations and leads a Japanese language service every first Sunday of the month. Thanks to Arine, the Great Autumn Festival continues to this day and showcases many aspects of Japanese culture.
Arisumi has been a community leader when it comes to promoting friendly relations, cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States. As a WWII veteran and a surviving member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he supported the effort to establish the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center on Maui from its planning stages in 1985 through to its opening in 2006. As President of the center, he continues to teach the public and youth about the sacrifices made by the Nisei soldiers during the war.
“The Shinnen Enkai for the Japanese Cultural Society is a formal new year’s celebration with traditional otoso served,” said Lynn Araki-Regan of Araki-Regan and Associates. “What’s nice about this annual event is that many women use this as an opportunity to wear their formal kimono. It’s a very colorful, cultural evening, as a result.”
The Japanese Cultural Society of Maui will be on hand to dress attendees who wish to wear kimono (to schedule a kimono dressing call Kay Fukumoto at 283-9999).
The Japanese Cultural Society has been active for more than 40 years. Through educational programs and cultural events, such as the Shinnen Enkai and Maui Matsuri, they promote the Japanese culture.
The society puts on the Shinnen Enkai every January. It’s a formal new year’s celebration with a traditional otoso (sake welcome) served. They also have service projects, like the cleaning of the Japanese gardens in Kepaniwai, and the annual Maui Matsuri each May, in addition to sponsoring various general membership meetings where they teach about different aspects of the Japanese culture. JCS was the 501(c)(3) nonprofit for Aloha Initiative.
The Jan. 28 event will also have a silent auction with proceeds to go towards the club’s various projects. To make a donation, call Sarajean Tokunaga at 280-9810. The Shinnen Enkai will begin at 5pm. with the otoso with no-host cocktail hour to follow. Dinner is scheduled for 6pm. Cost for the buffet dinner is $45, $20 for children ages 6-10, and free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets are available through the Maui Box Shop and Credit Associates in Wailuku Party Paradise in the Maui Mall and Sanrio at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.