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About Us

A Journey Through History


December 1899

The heavily populated Chinatown area in downtown Honolulu is razed in an attempt to curb rats carrying the bubonic plague.

1899 Chinatown

March 12, 1900

To assist Chinatown fire victims, the Honolulu Nippon-Shonin Doshi Kai [Honolulu Japanese Merchants Association] is established.


The Honolulu Nippon-Jin Shonin Doshikai changes its name to the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce [HJCC].  Its main goal is to advocated trade between Japan and Hawaii.


The Japanese Merchant’s Association is founded.

January 5, 1938

The first performance of the Shiranami Gonin Otoko at the HJCC’s New Year’s celebration.

1938 Shiranami Gonin Otoko


The Japanese Merchants’ Association merges into the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

December 7, 1941

The United States enters World War II.  All Japanese residents are labeled “enemy aliens.” Assets are frozen, key Japanese leaders are arrested and are banned from meeting.

In April 1942, HJCC agrees to stop all HJCC meetings.

March 1947

A general meeting is held at the YBA [Young Buddhist Association] Hall to restart the HJCC.


The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce is established with 43 charter members.

HJJCC logo

August 21, 1959

President Eisenhower signed the official proclamation admitting Hawaii as the 50th state.


The HJCC Cultural Center is built.  The building serves as its headquarters for the chamber.  The Cultural Hall and Tea Ceremony House are open to the community for both public and private events.


The HJCC is made an associate member of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

June 1975

The first Teru-Yaki Chicken fundraiser is held named after 1971 Chair of the Board, Teruo “Teru” Himoto.

May 1978

The Samurai Golf Classic holds its first Invitational Golf Tournament at the Pearl Country Club.  Underwriters for the event are Hawaii National Bank, Love’s Bakery, Aloha Airlines, GTS Distributors, Continental Airlines and Slipper House

1978 Samurai Golf Classic

September 1978

The first HJCC Art Show is created as a community service project and is named “Young Japanese Art Show” and is later changed to “Young Artist Art Show” to assist aspiring artists with emerging talent to display their art.  The last art show was held in 2018 after a 40-year run.

May 1981

HJCC establishes a sister chamber agreement with the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

May 1981

HJCC establishes a joint affiliation agreement with the Fukui Chamber of Commerce & Industry.


The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is created and the HJCC donates its facility and property to the JCCH as an act of commitment.

July 1990

Groundbreaking for phase 1 is held for a new facility including offices, meeting rooms and a tea house.

August 1991

Phase 1 is completed.

July 1992

The original headquarters is demolished making way for Phase 2 that will house a banquet hall, parking structure, historical gallery and martial arts dojo.

1992 Japanese Cultural Center

May 1994

Construction is completed for Phase 2.  It is dedicated in traditional Shinto, Buddhist and Hawaiian blessings.


The HJCC Charitable Corporation, a 501c(3) is established. A scholarship fund is established in partnership with the Hawaii Community Foundation that provides two scholarships annually into perpetuity.


In observance of the HJCC’s 100th anniversary, the Torii Gate is constructed.  The gate, donated and built by the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Hiroshima Prefecture & City Government, is situated on the corner of South King and Beretania Streets and symbolizes the friendship and goodwill between Hiroshima and Hawaii.  It is later donated to the City & County of Honolulu.

Torii Gate

July 2002

The first annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction is held at the Bishop Museum. The event would later be renamed Chopsticks & Wine, the HJCC premier annual fundraising event.

2002 Chopsticks & Wine


The HJCC celebrates its 110th Anniversary.

August 2010

The inaugural Game Changers event is sponsored by the HJCC’s Small Business Advocacy Committee.  It is a gathering, focused on prominent individuals in the community who have made unique impact in their lives personally and in our community.


The HJCC is actively involved with the Aloha for Japan as a Steering Committee member to help with tsunami and earthquake relief efforts in Japan and serves as the collection point for all donations.



The HJCC receives a certificate of congratulations from the State Legislature for its outstanding and meaningful work benefiting Japan-Hawaii relations.


The HJCC creates the Hawaii-Hiroshima Emerging Young Business Leaders Program [EYBL], tied to the 20th Sister-State Anniversary between Hawaii and Hiroshima.   The program focus on leadership development through week-long programs held in both Honolulu and Hiroshima.

March 2020

The HJCC celebrates its 120th Anniversary during the fiscal year 2020-2021.


March 2020

The World Health Organization declares a global pandemic known as the coronavirus pandemic also known as COVID-19.

HJCC in-person activities are severely curtailed and must quickly adapt to remote ZOOM meetings, virtual events as staff work remotely from home.

August 2022

The State of Hawaii and the HJCC celebrate a  belated 20th Anniversary of the sister-state agreement with the Hiroshima Prefecture in Hiroshima, Japan.  This visit marked the opening of Japan to outside travelers since the beginning of the pandemic.

April 2023

The HJCC celebrates a belated 40th Anniversary Celebration with sister-chamber, the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce & Industry while the Torii Gate undergoes new painting.

20th Anniversary