Dear Members,

How time flies when you are enjoying your work.  It only seems like yesterday when I had the privilege of becoming your President & CEO.  The many accomplishments for our Chamber has been through the support of all of you.  My job responsibilities were made easier by the dedicated staff led by Merilyn Oda, Mina Sakai and Mai Shiomi. Also to my wife and family for allowing me the time to spend in my past Banking career and second career with the Chamber.

Clearly the last three years have been the most challenging.  We have continued to pivot to offer value to your membership and to maintain our importance in the business community.

Leadership words such as positive attitude, perseverance, learning from mistakes, change is good were practiced by our forefathers to keep our Chamber successful. As I reflect back these words are continuing to be used.  The celebration of our 120th Anniversary in 2019/2020 no doubt has proven how we have succeeded during these critical times.  We had congratulatory letters and proclamations from Japan and Hawaii dignitaries.  Included were Foreign Minister of Japan Toshimune Motegi, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu Yutaka Aoki, State of Hawaii Governor David Ige, Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki, Hiroshima and Fukui Chairmen, Hawaii Congressional Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Maize Hirono and Honolulu City Council led by Tommy Waters. 

A former U.S. President once stated “Anyone who says there are no heroes don’t know where to look”.  Clearly all of you are HEROES!

Thank you for the opportunity to lead you and congratulations to my successor Steve Teruya, and best wishes to Chair of the Board Rika Hirata for continued success.

I will anxiously be awaiting to see where my third career takes me.


Wayne T. Ishihara
President & CEO
Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce
(808) 949-5531 x1
[email protected]

November 2021