NORWALK — The Southeast Japanese School and Community Center (SEJSCC) celebrated its first annual “Keiro no Hi” (Respect for the Elderly Day) on Nov. 9.
The gymnasium was transformed into an elegant banquet hall complete with tablecloths, place settings and rose centerpieces. Over 100 people of all ages came to celebrate with 41 honorees who were 80 years old and over on this special day. These octogenarians received a delicious Japanese bento with the traditional pink-and-white mochi, a gift bag, and a certificate of appreciation for their many years of service to their families and community.
The entertainment portion of this celebration opened with the Japanese school students dancing the “Soran Bushi” (fisherman’s dance) and singing a folk song. Miki Doctor of Ayame Kai performed a classical Japanese dance. Kamaki Keawe and Vic Ligot provided island-style background music accompanying the Na Wahine ‘O Kawena Hawaiian Dance group. This was followed by Matsutoyo Kai’s minyo group, which sang, danced, and had the audience enthusiastically participating and singing along.
Richard Shinomoto, president of SEJSCC, noted, “Although today’s society often seeks and worships the youth, we need to remember and honor where we came from. We need to recognize the quiet and continuing contributions that our elders provided to us, and this is our little way of giving them the honor they deserve.”
Carrie Nakatani, SEJSCC board member, commented, “It is nice to have so many different generations of kids, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents working together to make the event happen and then enjoying lunch at our community center.”
The 41 honored octogenarians were: Shizuko Fujimoto, Eva Goto, Tazue Hayashi, Grace Higa, Mamoru Higa, George Ishikawa, Tosh Iwata, Michiko Kakimoto, Akira Kawada, Sumie Kawaguchi, Mitzi Komaki, Yoshi Komaki, Al Kimura, Yuso Kurihara, Harry Kusuda, Sachi Maehara, Mieko Matsunaga, Kyoko Meguro, Frances Shizue Migita, Kay Murayama, Rikio Nakatani, Tomiko Nakatani, Ben Nakamura, Jim Niiro, Mary Nomura, Andy Okamoto, Betty Oshiro, Stan Shimomura, Hayao Shishino, Mitzi Shishino, Chieko Sonoyama, John Sugita, Roy Takeshita, Arlene Takeshita, Shiro Alfred Uchizono, Mineko Uchizono, Chieko Uyemori, Aiko Uyeno, Doris Yarwood, Harry Yoshimura, and George Yoshinaga (who was unable to attend).