Roughly 400 Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC) members and non-members from the business community attended HJCC’s Inauguration and Generational Award Celebration and 150 year GANNENMONO event on Wednesday, July 18 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
At the event, HJCC’s Incoming Chair of the Board Melanie Okazaki, Regional Marketing Manager, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, spoke about “Celebrating the Past, Honoring the Future,” including her childhood, growing up in Waipahu, and her vision for the upcoming year. Keynote Speaker Catherine Ngo, President and CEO, Central Pacific Bank, addressed “Sustaining the Legacy of our Forefathers,” detailing her journey as a second-generation immigrant and her objective perspective and love of Hawai‘i.
HJCC recognized its incoming board and a special family which has given back to the community through its Hawaii business for generations with the HJCC Generational Award: the Nakamoto family, owner of Beretania Florist. The HJCC Generational Award honors a company in Hawaii who is locally-owned or locally-established, with the originating family’s ownership spanning at least two generations, who possesses a reputation for sound corporate citizenship, and is an active supporter of the community.
The successful, multi-generational family business was established in 1937. Shigeichi and Yukie Nakamoto, the first-generation owners of Beretania Florist passed the business on to their son Howard and his wife in June 1968. Howard, a long time member of the HJCC, passed away in 2015, and the florist today is run by daughter Celeste Nakamoto Farinas. Beretania Florist thrives today, helped by devoted staff and Celeste’s son Reece who is its Sales and Marketing Director.
Four generations of Nakamotos have worked at the same location in the same business, surrounded by both seasonal and regular workers who would not be there if not for their love of flowers and the congenial working conditions generated by the Nakamoto and Farinas families.
“The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce was started to help businesses like Beretania Florist,” said Wayne Ishihara, HJCC President and CEO. “We share core values of hard work and giving back to the community, which shape our future and spur innovation.”
Established in 1900, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce is one of Honolulu’s major business organizations, representing a cross-section of the city’s businesses, industries and professions. With a Pacific-wide view of business and economic development, the Chamber is committed to connecting businesses, fostering friendships and promoting mālama ka ‘āina—efforts and contributions that value our island home.
Event Chair Myles Shibata’s Message
A Celebration: HJCCs IGAC signifies the start of the new fiscal year and celebrates the inauguration of our incoming board chair Melanie Okazaki.
The Luncheon celebration was focused on messages from outgoing chair Brian Nishida sharing last year’s Key progress; Melanie Okazaki’s expression-of excitement in honoring the past and looking forward in sustaining HJCCs strategic plan and in support of HJCC’s three pillars; Key Note Cathryn NGOs memorable personal story and theme around courage, commitment and sacrifice and finally honoring the Beretania Florist—the Nakamoto Family—over four generations.
What these presentations highlighted and have in common involved hard work, dedication. personal sacrifice, courage, commitment, maintaining core values and honoring those who came before us.
Those same characteristics were exemplified by the outstanding Planning Committee members who worked diligently behind the scenes to create an incredibly memorable and successful celebratory event, attending to every single detail to ensure a well-paced program….to launch the incoming chair Melanie Okazaki.
CHEERS!! to all of the committee members and key HJCC staff for their time and talents.
Special thanks to our Board for their full participation, to Russell Hata/Y. Hata Co., Limited for his generous sponsorship, to the Hilton Banquet staff, to Billy V our MC and most of all to the Nakamoto family who designed and provided the stunningly beautiful centerpieces and also for providing their “Signature single rose” to everyone who filled the Hilton ballroom to capacity: A Celebration.
Thank you for another successful event!