The Happiest Workers in America are in Hawai’i

Career discovery platform Sokanu released results of its survey of the happiest workers and jobs in America.

The 2017 survey about job satisfaction in America reached 150,000 people across 599 career paths to discover which industries offered workers the best and happiest future. And it turns out that where in the country you live and work is an equally important factor.

Hawai’i claimed the top spot with the happiest workforce in America for the second year in a row, with Alaska (up six places from last year’s survey) and Wyoming (up three places from last year’s survey) rounding up the top three. New Mexico climbed 42 places to earn itself the fourth spot, with West Virginia falling three spaces to fifth place.

It seems that the East Coast is where the country’s unhappiest workforce resides with 4 out of 5 of the least-satisfied states being from New England. Oregon made a debut in the bottom five falling 20 places to the 46th spot, with Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts following in 47th, 48th and 49th place respectively. Washington, D.C., was labelled the least-satisfied state, falling 12 places to the bottom spot.

Creativity was a big factor in job satisfaction — Video Game Producer, Film Director, Music Producer and Comedian were labelled as the happiest jobs in the country, along with Neurosurgeon.

Service-based location-dependent jobs such as Telemarketer, Store Clerk, Cashier, Janitor and Machine Feeder were rated as the nation’s unhappiest jobs, signalling that passion-based creative jobs offer more job satisfaction than service-based jobs.

Spencer Thompson, CEO of Sokanu, said: “The results from this year’s survey show a dramatic shift to passion-based careers where one has control over their work and a license to use their creativity in a way that allows them to make a living from their interests. The unhappiest jobs are those in the service industry where there is a lack of autonomy or variety in the work.”

Watch Lantern Floating Hawaii Online

Every year on Memorial Day, tens of thousands of people gather for Lantern Floating Hawaii on O‘ahu’s south shore to honor loved ones and generate hope toward the future.

The special gathering allows people a personal moment to remember, reflect and offer gratitude to those who have gone before us. It is also a collective experience where families, friends and even strangers reach out with love and understanding to support one-another.

Lantern Floating Hawaii helps to open hearts in an experience that transcends the human boundaries that usually divide us.

The first Lantern Floating Hawaii was held in 1999. With the wish of creating cultural harmony and understanding, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, officiated the inaugural Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony on Memorial Day in 1999.

For the first three years, the event was held at Ke‘ehi Lagoon on the south shore of O‘ahu. In 2002, the ceremony was moved a few miles to Ala Moana Beach where it currently takes place.

You can watch a live stream of the ceremony on on Monday, May 30, 2016, starting at 6:30 p.m. Hawaii Time. Local news station KGMB will also stream the event.

In the meantime, watch the entire broadcast of last year’s Lantern Floating Hawaii here:


Michelle Sugihara to Lead Media/Entertainment Nonprofit in LA

Honolulu-born Michelle K. Sugihara has been appointed Executive Director of a media and entertainment nonprofit created in 1991 by Wenda Fong, Fritz Friedman, and former film executive Chris Lee.

Sugihara joins the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) with a background as an entertainment attorney, a film producer, and an adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.

“Michelle’s non-profit experience, strong community ties and legal background make her well-positioned to lead CAPE and take us to the next level. Her ability to address issues both analytically and creatively will serve her well as Executive Director,” said Wenda Fong, CAPE co-founder and Interim Executive Director.

CAPE is dedicated to improving Asian American and Pacific Islander images and representation through media and entertainment. In partnership with industry sponsors including Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Final Draft and Verizon, CAPE’s signature programs include the CAPE New Writers Fellowship, #IAM Campaign, educational panels and networking mixers targeting emerging and established entertainment industry leaders and creative talent.

CAPE’s board of directors includes Hawai’i-born Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing With The Stars”) and the organization’s co-founder Chris Lee is founding chairman of the University of Hawai’i’s Academy for Creative Media. Janet Yang, Ang Lee, John Woo, Dean Devlin, and David Henry Hwang are some of the industry notables affiliated with the nonprofit.

As Executive Director, Sugihara will lead the organization and advance CAPE’s mission of championing diversity by educating, connecting and empowering AAPI artists and leaders in entertainment and media by focusing on fundraising, programming, strategic growth and operations.

“I’ve always been a huge supporter of CAPE and its mission,” said Sugihara. “I’m eager to build on CAPE’s strong foundation and to work with our community to support AAPI artists and leaders in entertainment.”

Sugihara, a fourth generation Japanese American, was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a dual major in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies, followed by a law degree from UCLA.

Sugihara’s community involvement includes her roles as VP of Development and founding member of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, Director of Community Relations of the Japanese American National Museum’s New Leadership Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, member of PBS-SoCal Asian Pacific Islander Community Council, board member of OCA-Greater Los Angeles, past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, past member of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles’s Executive Advisory Council and past board member of the Japanese American Bar Association.

She is also an ensemble member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premiere Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. Sugihara is a 2010 recipient of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 award and a 2011 recipient of Los Angeles County Bar Association, Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer award. She was named a “Rising Star” in Los Angeles Magazine’s Super Lawyer Rising Star section from 2008 to 2014.

Recognizing Indigenous Pacific Struggles in the Lei at Selma


By Hinemoana of Turtle Island: Lani Teves, Natalee Kēhaulani Bauer, Fuifuilupe Niumetolu, Maile Arvin, Kēhaulani Vaughn, and Liza Keanuenueokalani Williams

Last week during the 50th year commemoration of “Blood Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, this article was circulating around the Asian American blogosphere. Showing a striking black and white photograph of Martin Luther King Jr. and several other marchers wearing white plumeria lei, the article explains the so-called “untold backstory of aloha” and its role in supporting the civil rights movement, which the author uses as an example of Asian American inclusion. Despite lei often being understood only as symbols of the American tourist vacation to Hawaiʻi, giving lei is a meaningful, traditional and contemporary Native Hawaiian practice that acknowledges special occasions and expresses love, gratitude, and respect. The lei of this photo were given by Rev. Abraham Akaka, and thus must be understood within a Native Hawaiian context, not a general “Asian and…

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New Cultural Center Planned for Honoka’a

Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua

Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua

The HAWAIIAN CULTURAL CENTER OF HAMAKUA will be a multi-cultural, multi-generational community center situated in the heart of Honoka’a where residents and visitors alike can deepen their connection to Hawaiian culture. The center’s adopted emblem of the he’e, or octopus, represents the center’s community outreach efforts. One arm of the he’e will reach out as classes in hula, the arts, Hawaiian language, history, agriculture, philosophy, and more. Another would extend into the community with special events, guest speakers, community service projects, and cultural exchange programs.

Beyond our community, it will be a place where visitors can learn about the history and culture of Hawai’i in an authentic setting. With a mini-museum curated in partnership with Honoka‘a’s Heritage Center, visitors will have a chance to browse historic memorabilia and talk story with volunteer docents knowledgeable about the area and Hawaiian history.

Each arm of the he’e is supported through the active participation…

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Dr. King and the Hawaiian Lei Worn by Marchers from Selma


When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. helped lead a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, many of the leaders wore Hawaiian lei. The story of how these marchers ended up with the lei is surprisingly modest and simple.

One version of the story is that the Rev. Abraham Akaka sent the lei to Dr. King. Since Rev. Akaka was a giant figure in the Aloha State, it fits that these two icons might know each other. Dr. King paid a visit to Honolulu in 1959 to address the state legislature. Rev. Akaka also served as the first chair of the Hawai’i Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and lobbied for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

noa-back-in-hawaii338It turns out that the lei were delivered by a small group of kama’aina (photo right) who flew to Alabama to join the march: Glenn Izutsu, student body president at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa; Dr. Robert Browne, a psychiatrist; Nona Fendon, then a research fellow at UH; Charles Campbell, a high school teacher; and Dr. Linus Pauling, Jr., also a psychiatrist.

Fendon recounts the story in this post by the Human Flower Project.

“It was all on short notice and we showed up at the airport around 5 in the afternoon,” Fendon shared with the Human Flower Project. “There was no publicity or anything like that, we just said goodbye to some friends and left.  Taking leis was just something that anyone from Hawaii would do almost automatically.”

Izutsu may have met Dr. King. Izutsu’s letter to Dr. King in 1964 congratulated Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and expressed hopes that they would “meet again.”

And somewhere in Honolulu, the future President Barack Obama was four years old.


UPDATE: Please read this important post, “Recognizing Indigenous Pacific Struggles in the Lei at Selma.”





TEDxMaui Talk by Maya Soetero-Ng and Kerrie Urosevich

In this TEDx talk, President Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Ph.D., and Kerrie Urosevich, Ph.D., illustrate how peacebuilding can be taught to young children and eventually bring lasting social change to the world.

The talk by Maya and Kerrie was titled “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and PEACE,” and was delivered at TEDxMaui ( on September 28, 2014, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

The TEDxMaui talks just went live today. You can see more of the speakers at the event here: