58th Cherry Blossom Festival Announces New Queen and Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Contact: Char Chang | Cherry Blossom Festival, Public Relations Chair
Cell: 808-265-3493 | Email: char@bennetgroup.com

58th Cherry Blossom Festival Announces New Queen and Court

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – This evening, the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce crowned the new 58th Cherry Blossom Queen and Court at its annual festival ball and coronation ceremony in front of a sold out audience of 1,400 people at the Hawai‘i Theatre. The Cherry Blossom Festival is the longest, continually running festival in the State of Hawai‘i, which celebrates Japanese culture and heritage.

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants are selected for their dedication to perpetuating Japanese culture, commitment to education and passion for community service.  This year’s festival theme, “Sonkei,” which means respect in Japanese, was a guiding principle for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

"We realize the importance of this festival and the opportunity it provides to our contestants, who, for six months, take cultural and personal development classes as well as participate in public events,” said Merrissa Uchimura, Cherry Blossom Festival general co-chair. “The success and perpetuation of this festival is a testament to the support from our generous sponsors, donors and volunteers. Without them, this festival would not exist."

The 58th Cherry Blossom Queen and Court:

Queen – Marissa Nicole Machida
Marissa is a 2002 graduate of Punahou School.  She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in television production and business administration in 2006 and a Juris Doctorate in 2009 from Loyola Marymount University.  Marissa currently works as a judicial law clerk.

First Princess – Allison-Jae Mikiala Hyun

Princess – Cori Kiyoko Hanagami

Princess – Kimberlee Marika Young

Princess – Kimberly Chie Fujinaka

Miss Congeniality – Andrea Mie Hiura

Miss Popularity – Marissa Nicole Machida

Violet Niimi Scholarship Recipient – Michelle Mariko Fujii
The annual $5,000 Violet Niimi Scholarship – established in honor of the very first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen – is given to the contestant who demonstrates exemplary community service involvement.

Highlights of the evening included:

Taiko Performance – contestants performed a taiko sequence created especially for the festival by master taiko drummer Kenny Endo

Western Phase – contestants delivered one-minute speeches in evening gowns provided by Calista by Cotton Cargo at Kahala Mall

Eastern Phase –contestants showed unique and authentic furisode kimono flown in from Japan specifically for this event by Watabe Wedding

The Cherry Blossom Festival is sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce,  Kyo-ya Company, LLC, Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant, Obun Hawai‘i Group, Japan Airlines, Shiseido Cosmetics (America) Ltd., Watabe Wedding Corporation, Fujiyasu Kimono Company, Pamela Futa Campbell, JTB Hawai‘i Inc., Marukai Wholesale Mart, Tori Richard, Kirin Brewery of America LLC, The Wedding Café, Gyotaku by Naoki and Images by Steven.

For more information about the Cherry Blossom Festival, visit www.cbfhawaii.com or call 808-949-2255.

About the Cherry Blossom Festival

The Cherry Blossom Festival holds the honor of being the longest, continually running ethnic festival in the State of Hawai‘i – originally started in 1953 by the founding fathers of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Cherry Blossom Festival was created to celebrate Japanese culture and to enrich the lives of young Japanese-American women.  The festival also has an international reach, partnering each year to host five special sister chapters from Japan: Kobe, Odawara, Kurashiki, Kojima and Tamashima.  Over the past 58 years the Cherry Blossom Festival has touched the lives of many, especially the 972 women it has called contestants.

About the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce

The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC) first convened in 1949 with the mission of developing young Japanese-Americans into civic-minded citizens.  Currently, the HJJCC aims to foster young leaders through professional development, community service, and the perpetuation of Japanese culture. The HJJCC sponsors many community events – including the well-known Cherry Blossom Festival – as well as offers its members numerous opportunities to develop leadership, managerial and organizational skills through participation in community service projects.  The HJJCC also fosters business networking and socializing which allows members to establish life-long friendships. 

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