59th Cherry Blossom Festival Announces Contestant Search

Wednesday, July 7, 2010              
Contact: Desiree Yamamoto
Cherry Blossom Festival, Public Relations Chair
Email: cbfhawaii@gmail.com

Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce
Announces 59th Cherry Blossom Festival Contestant Search
Applications will be accepted until August 2, 2010

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – The Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce announced today the contestant search for the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival – seeking bright young women who cherish culture, education and community service.  The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the longest, continually running festival in the State of Hawai‘i, which celebrates Japanese culture and heritage. Contestant applications are available online at www.cbfhawaii.com and will be accepted until August 2, 2010.

“My experience as a contestant has been truly amazing – I highly recommend that others consider applying for this year’s Festival,” said 58th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Miss Popularity Marissa Nicole Machida.  “Through this experience I have been able to connect with the Japanese-American community in Hawaii, and have been given the opportunity to meet a group of young women who share similar aspirations and goals.”

Sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival will span from January to April 2011, featuring several community events open to the public including: contestant appearances across Oahu, golf tournament, fashion show and contestant reception, and the highly-anticipated Festival Ball in March 2011 at which time a new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court will be crowned.  Additionally, for the tenth year in a row, one of the contestants will be awarded the annual Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award – to be used toward continuing her education. Established in honor of the very first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen, by her son Dr. Scott Oishi – this award is given to the contestant who demonstrates exemplary community service involvement.

“The 59th Cherry Blossom Festival will continue to uphold the traditions of the past, but will look for ways to modernize the Festival so that it has a place in our society today,” said Darren Ota, Cherry Blossom Festival Co-General Chair and HJJCC President. “One of our initiatives this year is to continue to create meaningful experiences for the contestants, while focusing on mentorship and leadership training for our volunteers.”

In January 2011, the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen contestants will be announced to the public. In the months leading up to the Festival, contestants will take classes in Japanese culture and heritage, develop their public speaking and leadership skills, and participate in community service projects.  After being crowned, the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court are actively involved in the community, and promote and perpetuate Japanese-American heritage by participating in cultural events across the state.
Applicants must have at least 50 percent Japanese ancestry, be between the ages of 19 and 26 years old, single, a U.S. citizen and Hawai‘i resident.  A completed registration form, proof of Japanese ancestry through a birth certificate and a $30 application fee is required. 
For more information about the Cherry Blossom Festival, visit www.cbfhawaii.com or call 808-949-2255. Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cbfhawaii or follow our Twitter account at www.twitter.com/cbfhi.

About the Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival holds the honor of being one of 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 59 years the Cherry Blossom Festival has touched the lives of many, especially the 986 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.  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 offering 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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