Aloha fellow members, friends, and supporters of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce,

I am Rika Hirata and I am honored to serve as the Chair of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors this year.  Although we were unable to have an Inauguration event, I was fortunate to have Sherry Menor-McNamara, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii induct me at the July Board of Director’s Meeting.

I was born and raised in Japan and moved here in 1998.  My hometown, Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Pref., is Sister City with the City and County of Honolulu and I graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo. I currently work at First Hawaiian Bank and my career has been in banking where I started at Citibank Tokyo right after I graduated from Sophia University.  I have been a member of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce since 2007.

My theme for this year is “Pass on our Legacy to our next generation”.

The HJCC needs to incorporate fresh new ideas from the younger generation to evolve into a “new” organization while still maintaining the legacy and tradition that the HJCC has cultivated through our 120-years plus in existence. Despite the challenges inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, the silver lining for the HJCC has been the many new ideas generated by the younger computer literate generation to invent attractive virtual events for our members to participate in.

The global pandemic has made it difficult for all of us to meet each other in person, but I would like to reestablish the connection between our members as much as possible. I also hope to reconnect with our Sister Chamber, the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and our Affiliate Chamber, the Fukui Chamber of Commerce and Industry whom we have not been able to meet with for over two years. Engagement with other Nikkei organizations such as the Kizuna Group and the Quad Chamber organizations – the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce, and Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii -- is also an important agenda item.

Collaboration between the Chamber’s standing committees is also important. I would like to thank standing committee chair’s Blake Isobe, Jill Kuramoto, Peter Hamasaki, Yasuhiko Ishikawa, Karl Kobayashi, Jennifer Okubo Polido, Derek Kaneshiro, Marc Nakamoto and Tobie Wada for leading our various standing committees.

I encourage all members to join a standing committee or the event planning committees and to attend the various events and projects that the committees organize.

Thank you,

Rika Hirata
Chair of the Board
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce – 2021-2022

Vice President & Team Leader
First Hawaiian Bank

October2021