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(Mon., March 22, 2010)—Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced his appointment of a new committee to plan the 50th anniversary celebration of Honolulu’s sister city relationship with Naha, Okinawa, Japan.


            Honolulu and Naha enjoy very strong ties, which began 110 years ago when the first Okinawan immigrants arrived in Hawaii,” Hannemann said. “We are inextricably connected through our heritage, family ties and sincere friendships. Our historic and cultural bond has been preserved through business interaction, tourism, sports, cultural and educational exchanges.”


            Hannemann named to the Honolulu-Naha 50th Anniversary Sister City Committee:

  • Gary Mijo, Co-Chairman (Past President, Hawaii United Okinawa Association);
  • Isaac Hokama, Co-Chairman (Past President, Hawaii United Okinawa Association);
  • Jane Serikaku, Treasurer (Executive Director and Past President, Hawaii United Okinawa Association);
  • Amy Higa, Secretary (Past Secretary, Hawaii United Okinawa Association);
  • David Asanuma (Executive Director, Honolulu Festival Foundation);
  • Robyn Furuya (Vice President, Polynesian Broadcasting-KZOO radio);
  • Takashi Ichikura (Executive Director, Hawaii Tourism Japan);
  • Jon Itomura (Past President, Hawaii United Okinawa Association);
  • Sharon Weiner (Vice-President, Global Communications and Government Relations, DFS Group Limited).


The celebration will include the First Annual Honolulu Naha Hula Festival, to be held in June at the Naha City Performance Hall. A government delegation from Naha also plans to visit Honolulu for the Okinawan Festival this September. Hannemann has traveled to Naha several times, and met there last November with Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga and Naha business leaders and tourism officials to discuss the commemoration plans and to encourage travel to Honolulu.


            Hannemann also traveled to Naha in 2006 with more than 1,100 members of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association for the 4th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, a major gathering of people of Okinawan descent from around the globe, held every five years. Hannemann led the Hawaii delegation in the festival’s opening parade, spoke at the opening ceremony and met with many local officials and community leaders. During the visit, the Naha City Council named Hannemann a Naha Honorary Citizen of International Goodwill.


Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928