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Japanese Cultural Society of Maui to host Shinnen Enkai dinner

By Staff | Jan 17, 2019

Ronald Fukumoto performs with Maui Taiko in over 30 performances throughout the year, especially, Maui Matsuri and summer obon festivals.

KAHULUI – Japanese Cultural Society of Maui (JCS Maui) President Deron Furukawa announced that Ronald Fukumoto and Rinko Jeffers will receive its prestigious Nihon Bunka Award at its annual Shinnen Enkai (New Year’s) dinner scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 26, in the Elleair Rainbow Room at the Maui Beach Hotel.

The Shinnen Enkai will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the traditional otoso (sake welcome) with no-host cocktail hour to follow. Dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Nihon Bunka Award recognizes individuals for their excellence and contributions to the Japanese arts and culture, and for their unselfish willingness to share their talents with the community.

Besides assisting a variety of nonprofit organizations and volunteering for various programs for many years, including the Maui County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Wailuku Hongwanji Mission and the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, Fukumoto has been a devoted board member of Maui Taiko for 22 years. As the lead drum maker, he has supervised the construction of about 20 drums and 60 drum stands, and coordinates ongoing maintenance. He also repaired, refinished and re-skinned many authentic taiko belonging to seven Buddhist temples on Maui.

Jeffers, a Japanese Haiku Poet Master, established Maui Hototogisu Kai with the help of Takako Dickinson in 1992. She has led the club for the past 26 years.

Rinko Jeffers, a Japanese Haiku Poet Master, established Maui Hototogisu Kai with the help of Takako Dickinson in 1992.

In 2010, she started Haiku Poetry in English and provides introductory Haiku classes to fourth grade students at Paia and Waihee Schools. She also volunteers at the Maui Friends of the Library since the opening of its store in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

“Rinko’s warmth, hard work, knowledge and open-mindedness has been key to her success in bringing the joy of Haiku to so many poets writing in Japanese and English alike,” said Abigail Friedman, president of the Japan Cultural Society of Washington, D.C. and award-winning Haiku poet and author of “The Haiku Apprentice” and” I Wait for the Moon: 100 haiku of Momoko Kuroda.”

Cost for the Jan. 26 buffet dinner is $55 for adults, $20 for children (6-11 years old) and free for children ages five and under.

Tickets are available at jcsmaui.org or through Sanrio Ka’ahumanu in Kahului or Maui Box Shop and Credit Associates in Wailuku. Deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 20. Tickets are limited and will not be sold at the door.

For more information, call Yuki Lei Sugimura at 870-8047 or Lynn Araki-Regan at 280-1299, or visit www.jcsmaui.org.