by Albert H. Miyasato
2000 HUOA President
Member, Club Motobu

Congratulations to our 2001 president, Jimmy Iha, and his administration. Jimmy was elected president because he brings to the leadership of HUOA his many years of experience as an outstanding public school administrator, his wisdom born of that experience, and his unblemished record as an active member and leader in his Chatan Club, Wahiawa Kyoyu Kai and the HUOA, among many other community service activities. We wish him and his new administration well.

Let me now spend a few moments recalling some highlights of my 2000 administration.

To characterize the HUOA centennial celebration of Okinawan immigration as inexorably hectic is a gross understatement. The many special activities were conceived over two years by a large special committee headed by Dexter Teruya. Dexter deserves our warmest expression of gratitude for his many months of determined planning with his large committee.

These functions commemorating the centennial were superimposed over other regularly scheduled HUOA events. Admittedly, however, a few regular annual programs were postponed a year.

Instead of one or two grand presentations in celebration of our centennial, the HUOA scheduled events spread throughout the year — from January to December — and built around the theme, “Okage Sama de 2000: Bridging a Century of Uchinanchu Aloha,” augmented by the Year 2000 administration slogan, “Shike ya Chode (One World; One People).”

Outgoing President Albert Miyasato presents the gavel to 2001 President James Iha.

Furthermore, the strong thread that held all of the events together had three strands that symbolized the celebration as dynamic — and each was a logical follow-up of the one before. The first was the Opening Ceremonies on January 8 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center honoring the Issei pioneers who paved the way for us.

The second, also at the Center, was the June 10 focus on those who accepted the legacy of the Issei and built upon it, as witness the 10-year-old beautiful edifices, which are the Hawaii Okinawa Center.

The Closing Banquet on December 10 was planned and implemented by the Young Okinawans of Hawaii, assisted by the Shuri-Naha Club, and set in a hotel in Waikiki, away from the Center. The theme for the event was, “Hukurashaya Uchinanchu (We are Proud to be Uchinanchu and Uchinanchu-at-Heart).” The event itself focused on the next generation of Uchinanchu. All of this were to signify HUOA’s outreach to the larger community, the nation and the world in the transmission of our legacy which gave significance to the centennial celebration theme, “Okage Sama de 2000: Bridging a Century of Uchinanchu Aloha” and “Shike ya Chode (One World; One People).”

To preside over, even in name only for the most part, all of these exciting and invigorating experiences was truly an honor for me. During the year, nearly 5,000 persons came from Okinawa to help us celebrate. They were led by Governor and Mrs. Keiichi Inamine and over 80 mayors and leaders and their respective contingents from the 110 political subdivisions in Okinawa. We are deeply grateful for their good will.

To have carried out successfully all of these myriad of events, we are truly indebted to all of the officers, advisers, directors represented by the presidents of the 51 clubs, the various chairpersons of the standing, special and ad hoc committees and the hundreds of volunteers who made all of the activities memorable. My heartfelt appreciation to all of you.

Throughout every moment of the way, the support of the staff led by Executive Director Gary Honda, Karen Kuba-Hori and Bonnie Miyashiro was essential. I thank them for responding well at every turn.

Thank you to Ed Kuba, chairman of the Governor’s commission on the centennial celebration of Okinawan immigration to Hawaii and his 14 commissioners who supported the HUOA all the way.

The unconditional support of my own Club Motobu members led by Jay Ogawa, president at the time of my installation and current president, June Uyeunten Nakama, is deserving of my warm mahalo.

Finally, I would be absolutely remiss if I did not credit my wife Shizue and my family for allowing me to make the time and commitment to all HUOA activities during this year 2000. I daresay I met with many of my officers, advisers and directors throughout the year more times than I saw Shizue or other members of my family. To Shizue and my family, I reserve my fondest, warmest and most grateful thank you.

In Jimmy Iha, we have a great leader as president of HUOA for 2001. With Jimmy as my successor, I feel a sense of well-being as I end my term as president. Jimmy is my long-time Department of Education educational officer colleague, a most capable HUOA leader with an admirable record as former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the HOC, two-time co-chair of the Okinawan Festival, a veteran of the HUOA/DOE Student Exchange Program and many other HUOA activities. As President-elect, his presence constantly bolstered my confidence as President.

Jimmy has selected an outstanding group of officers and advisors. His team will move our HUOA to greater heights as we celebrate our 50th year of existence during his tenure.

Let us one and all pledge our support of President Jimmy Iha and his administration.

Ippe nihei deebiru.