Hawaii United Okinawa Association welcomes new president

Hawaii United Okinawa Association welcomes new president

Newest president of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association and fourth generation Okinawan-American, Lynn Miyahira (center) pose with President Elect Patrick Miyashiro (left) and Immediate Past President Jocelyn Ige.

January 26, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Hanae Gushiken Higa

Waipahu, HAWAII—The Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) held its Uchinanchu of the Year Awards and Officers Installation Celebration on January 18 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center.

HUOA is comprised of 50 member clubs, each representing various towns of Okinawa.

The Uchinanchu of the Year Honorees are selected from each member club for their outstanding contribution throughout the previous year.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and the Consul General of Japan Koichi Ito attended the celebratory event.

The venue was brimming with approximately 900 HUOA members.

This year Lynn Miyahira, 38, was appointed president. Miyahira is a fourth generation Okinawan-American with roots in Nishihara Cho (Gaja, Yonagusuku).

Her motto for HUOA this year is ukaji deebiru (Okinawan for “thanks to you.”)

Miyahira addressed the members and said, “This year marks the 120-year anniversary of the issei (first generation) [Okinawans] arrival in Hawaii.

I am filled with gratitude to our ancestors who built this wonderful uchinanchu (Okinawan) community.

It is now up to us to preserve this community into the future.” Miyahira raised a clenched fist and added, “Let’s join together and chibariyo (give it our best)!”

Lynn Miyahira’s late father, Wayne Miyahira, was also appointed HUOA president in 1990, and later served as executive director.

It is the first time a father and daughter have both served in the role. Mr. Miyahira’s theme for HUOA as president was okage sama de (standard Japanese for “thanks to you”).

Lynn chose her theme ukaji deebiru (the Okinawan translation of her father’s theme, okage sama de) as a symbolic passing of the torch from her father. She commented: “I was raised by this community.

I want to give back to it as much as I can.” The new president also gave a karate performance on stage at the event.

2020 is a special year for HUOA; it is the 120-year anniversary of the first Okinawan immigrants arriving in Hawaii, the 60th anniversary of the Honolulu-Naha City Sister City Pact, the 35th anniversary of the Hawaii-Okinawa sister-state relationship, the 30th anniversary of the Hawaii Okinawa Center, and the 30th anniversary of the Hawaii Okinawa Student Exchange Program.

The HUOA plans to throw an anniversary event in May this year.

The 2020 HUOA officers and executive council members are:

Lynn Miyahira, President; Patrick Miyashiro, President Elect; David Jones, Naomi Oshiro, and Christopher Agena, Vice President;Terry Goya, Executive Secretary; Sandra S. Yanagi, Assistant Executive Secretary; Chikako Nago, Japanese Secretary; Norman Nakasone, Treasurer; Courtney Takara, Assistant Treasurer; Jocelyn Ige, Immediate Past President; David Z. Arakawa, Jon S. Itomura, Gainor Miyashiro, Cyrus K. Tamashiro, Tom Yamamoto, Roy Arakaki, Stephanie Katayama, and Myles Nakasone, Advisor.

Uchinanchu of the Year Honorees on stage.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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