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Cultural center honors innovators

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Five outstanding Japanese-American business owners and artists will be honored at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Celebration of Leadership Dinner.

The theme of this year’s event, "Kakushin no Tastujin — Masters of Innovation," will recognize the contributions of Anne Namba, Dave "D.K." Kodama, Roy Sakuma, Satoru Abe and Ken Hayashida. The dinner will be held Sept. 25 at the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa.

» Since opening her first boutique in Manoa Valley in 1989, Namba’s "kimono couture" collections have been sold in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and major clothing chains on the mainland. Her latest project was to create 120 costumes for the Savonlinna Opera Festival’s 2009 production of "Madame Butterfly" in Finland.

» Kodama is the founder of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar and owner or co-founder of five other restaurants, including Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar, d.k. Steak and Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas.

» Since 1974, Sakuma’s ukulele studios and method of instruction have taught thousands of Hawaii’s youngsters. He’s also been instrumental in putting on the annual Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park.

» Abe, now in his 80s, is internationally known for his abstract paintings and sculptures. The Maui artist has been honored as a Living Treasure by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii. His latest work, "A Path Through the Forest," was a bronze sculpture commission for the Maui Community College campus that was completed last year.

» Hayashida founded the successful structural and forensic engineering firm KAI Hawaii in 1995, and was named 2007 Engineer of the Year by the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers.

Tickets for the fundraising dinner are $175 general ($150 for JCCH members), with table sponsorships available.

Call 945-7633, e-mail or visit


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