We are an organization founded for the promotion of business and economic
growth in Hawaii based upon the principle, "Members Supporting Members."

The organization provides leadership and programs which promote membership
interaction, resulting in growth and the continuation of its legacy.

The term Kuroko(literal translation: black child//black clothes) is used in reference to the stagehands in traditional Japanese theatre, dressed all in black so as to appear invisible.  They move about in kabuki and noh stages much as a stealthy ninja at night. They may even hold props or move scenery, but are rarely apparent on stage.

Each year at our General Membership Gathering, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC) recognizes members that have continued to support the organization in many ways “behind the scenes”.  The selection committee is the office staff who interacts directly with our members.  The recognition program began two years ago.

Congratulations to our honorees:

2017
Gregg Mueller

Gregg Mueller with FY2016-2017 Chair of the Board Dave Erdman and President Wayne Ishihara

Chris Anjo

Chris Anjo with FY2016-2017 Chair of the Board Dave Erdman and President Wayne Ishihara

2016
Robert Nagao
Lyle Takeuchi

2015
Richard Park III
Carl Watanabe
Gus Yniguez

2014
Hiroshima Kenjin Kai

2013
Emi Anamizu
Seiji Aspengren
Sidney Hamada
Mark Ibara
Jody Kadokawa
Phyllis Kihara
Karl Kobayashi
Michael McMurdo
Wayne Miyao
Brian Nishida
Michael Nomura
Ronald Ushijima

 

KUROKO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
RONALD USHIJIMA

Ron Ushijima

By:  Gregg Mueller, HJCC Past Chair

The term Kuroko(literal translation: black child//black clothes) is used in reference to the stagehands in traditional Japanese theatre, dressed all in black so as to appear invisible.  They move about kabuki and noh stages much as a stealthy ninja at night. They may even hold props or move scenery, but are rarely apparent on stage.

Such is the case with Ron Ushijima, Past President of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Past Chamber Representative to the Board of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, a Sensei for the Chamber’s annual Gonin Otoko kabuki play, and now, an HJCC Kuroko Recognition Honoree.

When Ron joined the Chamber in the 1970s, his primary motivation was to establish some connections for golf. He thought it would provide a good opportunity to meet people, young and old, and to get acquainted with what they did in the business community. He learned that other members joined, too, for various reasons: golf, social, and business.  All were ok, but he soon realized that real fulfillment came with getting involved, and that the greatest benefits of belonging to a business organization came from getting active.  He learned about numerous industries and found differing opinions from different people. He found that Chamber members achieved more as they shared things they have in common, and that contributing added to the Chamber’s mission.

The Chamber further opened his eyes to contacts based locally and internationally. He was particularly gratified to see early Chamber events like business missions to Hiroshima and Fukui transpire and mature into the Honolulu Hiroshima Sister Chamber Relationship and the Honolulu Fukui Associate Chamber Relationship. As events of this nature help young people to grow, they foster belief in the organization. This is why Ron continues to do what he does for our Chamber.  He hopes his continued passion for the Chamber will motivate our members to become active in their own fashion, getting involved to get fulfilled.

Ron’s appearances at Chamber Board meetings, as a Chamber representative at events too many to mention, as well as his participation in Chamber activities are never accompanied by bells and whistles announcing his arrival, but he is always there when we need him. His knowledge and participatory implementation of the inner workings and elements of Chamber business is seemingly irreplaceable and, in reflection, perhaps an homage to his military career. He has participated in one form or another on every Chamber committee and event.  In fact, he provides expertise in so many areas that it’s hard to imagine the Chamber functioning without him.  And yet, it’s as though he’s always working behind the scene.  He is the embodiment of Kuroko.

 

KUROKO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
SEIJI ASPENGREN

By:  Gregg Mueller, HJCC Past Chair

Soon after joining the Chamber Seiji Aspengren, Owner & CEO of Courier Corp. of Hawaii  became involved with the Small Business Advocacy Committee, and was instrumental in the launch of the first Meishi Koukan event. Past Chamber Chair Sidney Hamada, and past Tri-Chair of our Chopsticks & Wine event, inquired if Seiji might lend assistance by transporting the Silent Auction items to the event. Seiji complied, delivering everything under Kuroko cover at no cost to the Chamber in support of the event. He felt the Chamber had helped him when he was new to the business after taking the reins of the company from his father, enabling him to network through the cyclical nature of “Members Helping Members.”

Recently, Seiji helped launch a new venture that operates independently from Courier Corp.   Landmark Logistics Corp. is an ocean freight forwarding company that generated three million sales in its first year. No doubt Seiji is once again working behind the scenes “Kuroko-style” to assist Hawaii companies with their ocean freight forwarding!

 

KUROKO MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
MIKE NOMURA

By:  Gregg Mueller, HJCC Past Chair

Mike Nomura, President of Nomura Design, member of American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) was one of our initial HJCC Kuroko Recognition Honorees.  Working principally behind the scenes, Mike has designed a remarkable array of material in support of Chamber events and activities all at no cost to the Chamber. A Chamber member for eight years, Mike also serves on the Marketing Committee. Mike chairs the Commitment to Excellence Art Exhibition Committee, even initiating a video presentation positioning and reinforcing the image and value of the Art Exhibition within the community.

Nomura Design has worked behind the scenes with many of Hawaii’s most recognizable companies to help establish or revitalize their brands with an extensive list of successful and award-winning innovative and tactical design campaigns. The Chamber, too, has been a major beneficiary of Mike’s original graphic design.  All phases of our collateral materials for major events, Art Exhibition, General Membership Gathering and Game Changers really get noticed (all while Mike himself prefers to work Kuroko-style).

When asked why he continues to support the Chamber, Mike commented that he enjoys the interaction and believes that the organization plays an important role in the business community.

We are an organization founded for the promotion of business and economic
growth in Hawaii based upon the principle, "Members Supporting Members."

The organization provides leadership and programs which promote membership
interaction, resulting in growth and the continuation of its legacy.