59th Cherry Blossom Festival Unveils Queen Contestants

Saturday, January 22, 2011      
Contact: Desiree Yamamoto
Cherry Blossom Festival, Public Relations Chair
Email: cbfhawaii@gmail.com

59th Cherry Blossom Festival Unveils Queen Contestants

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – After several months of anticipation, the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival unveiled today its 15 Queen Contestants at an Opening Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. This year’s theme “Okage Sama De,” which translates to “I Am Who I Am Because of You,” was also announced.

Queen Contestants are selected for their dedication to perpetuating Japanese culture, commitment to education and passion for community service. More information about individual Queen Contestants can be found online at www.cbfhawaii.com/contestants.

One well-deserving Contestant will be crowned the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen during Festival Ball at the Hawai‘i Theatre on March 26, 2011. Ticket information is available online at www.cbfhawaii.com/events.

The 59th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants are:
Janelle Akemi Ando
Traci Yoshi Hamamoto
Anya Chikako Ishida
Lauren Akie Kawana
Stacey Miyako Kawano
Katherine Leigh Kudo
Marissa Lai Fong Sayuri Lee
Elizabeth Shizuko Lee-Tamanaha
Sara Ai Shinjo Mattison
Reimy Megurikami
Laurie Sachie Oda
Jennifer Lauren Aiko Sur
Aileen Naomi Tamura
Tamlyn Sachie Pilialoha Toyama
Allison Kimi Yoshida

The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the longest, continually running ethnic festivals in the State of Hawai‘i, which celebrates Japanese culture and heritage. Sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, the 59th Cherry Blossom Festival will span from January to March 2011. Featured events include several community events open to the public, Golf Tournament, Fashion Show, Contestant Reception and the highly-anticipated Festival Ball where a new Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and Court will be crowned.

In 1953 Violet Tokei Niimi was crowned the very first Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. In 2001, her son, Dr. Scott Oishi established the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship in honor of his mothers fond memories of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Dr. Oishi and a committee of four judges will select one contestant to receive $5,000 to go toward continuing her education. The recipient will be selected based on her educational excellence, essay submission, character, and community service efforts. The recipient of the 10th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship will be announced on March 26, 2011 at Festival Ball.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is sponsored by: Bank of Hawaii, Fujiyasu Kimono Company, Japan Airlines, Shiseido Cosmetics, Kyo-ya Company, LLC., Obun Hawaii Group, Pamela Futa Campbell, Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant, Watabe Wedding Hawaii Branch, Kirin Brewery of America LLC, Tori Richard, Marukai Wholesale Mart, JTB Hawaii, Inc. Gyotaku by Naoki, Images by Steven, Island Insurance, JHM Productions, and Servco Pacific Inc.

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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