The 14th annual Maui Matsuri festival, held May 10 at UH Maui College, celebrated Japanese culture with food, art, crafts, entertainment and several contests.
New this year was a kendama tournament sponsored by Kaleidoscope Maui. Kendama, a super-popular traditional Japanese toy, was the center of a three-level competition. Bryson Caolle won first place in the beginner level-one category. Dasiah Campos took second place in the beginner category. In the intermediate level-two category, Aaron Casallo won first place and Michael Casallo came in second. Ken Vanhtha was the first place winner in the advanced level-three category. The second place winner in the category was Earlie Marie Domingo.
The Maui Matsuri festival also hosted a noodle-eating contest. The winners in the 13th annual Sam Sato saimin contest were Tyler Orikasa, who took first place in the adult division; Barry Kurasaki, who came in second in that division; and Julius Orosco, third. In the children’s division, Gabriel Salazar took the first place honor, Shanyce McAvoy was the second place winner and Kami Kutsunai was awarded the third place honor.
The winners in 10th annual Iwamoto Natto eating contest were Dean Tagalan, first place in the adult division; Darrell Kurosawa, second; and Jonathan Forte, third. In the children’s division, Devynn Kochi placed first; Gabriel Salazar came in second; and Jena Suzuki took home the third place award.
Ramon Coratibo was the big winner of the 5th annual hanafuda/sakura tournament, which was sponsored by Hale Mahaolu.
Maui Matsuri also hosted a manga art contest. Erin Kobashigawa won first place in the 3rd-5th grade category. Josh Krueger was second in the category and Jaime Tirona came in third. In the 6th-8th grade category, Allison Bacay took the first place honor; Frances Cabulisan, second; and Kiki Bekkum, third. The 9th-12 grade winners were Sabrina Futch, first; Makai Mossman, second; and Helen Chong, third.
The winners in the 3rd-5th grade category of the traditional art contest were Emma Fusato, first; Aliyah Englert, second; and Emalani Kekauoha-Schultz, third. In the 6th-8th grade category, Sarah Fusato won first; and Frances Cabulisan came in second. Aysha Nishibayashi-Rincon was the first place winner in 9th-12th grade category. Alyssa Fusato took home second place honors in the category and Kristi Kobashigawa was the third place winner.
Both the manga and traditional art contests were supported by Fred and Ann Araki.
A cosplay contest, sponsored by Kawaii Kon, involved contestants dressing up as anime or manga characters. The winners of the hallway cosplay contest in the student division were Rachael Inouye, first; Jarod Julian, second; and Haley Shimada, third. The hallway cosplay winners in the adult division were Damian Rosen, first; Amy Mathis, second; and Jasmine Lake, third. The winners of the cosplay showcase were Tanisha Bowker, first; Christian Harkin, second; and Devynn Kochi, third.
In the video game tournament, also sponsored by Kawaii Kon, Chase Hopkins won first place; Victor Le, second; and Greg Ventura, third.
The 2014 Maui Matsuri was presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Major supporters were the County of Maui and Hawaii Tourism Authority. Major sponsors were IBEW Local Union 1186, Island Honda, Maui Taiko and UH Maui College.
Photo courtesy Maui Matsuri