Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i to Honor Former First Lady Jean Ariyoshi

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i (JCCH) is honoring three esteemed individuals and a corporate honoree at its Celebration of Leadership and Achievement Dinner on Saturday, September 27, 2008, at 5 p.m. in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

This year, the JCCH will be recognizing Jean Ariyoshi, Dr. George Suzuki, Matsuo Takabuki and corporate honoree Armstrong Produce with the Leadership and Achievement Award for their contributions to Hawai’i’s community.

Jean Ariyoshi, the first Asian American gubernatorial First Lady in the United States. Ariyoshi served as a gracious First Lady, and the official hostess for Hawai’i, entertaining dignitaries from all over the world. One of Ariyoshi’s many volunteer projects includes restoring and redecorating Washington Place.

Dr. George Suzuki, a pioneer in gastroscopy techniques that provide early detection of stomach cancer in the United States. Dr. Suzuki also helps doctors in Hiroshima with research of atomic bomb survivors by coordinating and conducting medical examinations of study participants living in Hawai’i.

Mr. Matsuo Takabuki, a financial and political leader in the community. Takabuki served as a war veteran, a confidant of Governor John Burns, a member of the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of Honolulu, a business associate of developer and financier Chinn Ho, and a Bishop Estate trustee.

Armstrong Produce (Corporate Honoree), a locally-owned, family run, full-service wholesale produce company. Armstrong Produce’s Teruya family first started buying and selling fruits and vegetables to feed their family of nine children in the 1940’s. Today, Armstrong Produce has a state-of-the-art warehouse in Mapunapuna and more than 300 employees on O’ahu, Maui and Kona.

The JCCH’s Leadership and Achievement Award is presented to a select group of honorees each year in recognition of their contributions to the community in preserving and sharing the culture, history and heritage of the Japanese in Hawai’i. Other past recipients of this award have included: former Hawai’i Gov. George Ariyoshi, Albert C. Kobayashi, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Dr. Ruth M. Ono and most recently: Island Insurance Ltd., Jane O. Komeiji, Dennis Ogawa, Ph.D., Les Murakami and Wally Yonamine.

The Celebration of Leadership and Achievement Dinner will also feature a silent auction and dinner program. Individual seats cost $150 each. Table sponsorships are available. A portion of the sponsorship is tax-deductible. Proceeds from the event will benefit the JCCH’s education programs that share the history, heritage and culture of the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai’i.

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