The formation of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce occurred during an era when the Japanese American community as a whole was searching for its place in mainstream America.
In 1949, an organizational meeting was convened and 45 charter members adopted bylaws and elected officers. Thus was born the Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
In 1952, the organization became affiliated with the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, and changed their name to the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC).
Over its long history, the HJJCC has offered members numerous opportunities to develop leadership, managerial and organizational skills through the planning and implementation of personal development and community service projects.
At the same time, these projects allowed members to form lasting friendships, establish business contacts, and most importantly, have fun. Examples of the wide range of projects and programs conducted include sports leagues (volleyball, softball and bowling); seminars on time management, interpersonal communication, crime prevention and Japanese business etiquette; blood drives; environmental beautification projects, movie nights, socials, political candidate forums, special seasonal celebrations for organizations like HUGS and Special Olympics, and public speaking training.
Throughout the years, the HJJCC has reached out to the global community and formed close bonds with other ethnic festivals and Jaycee organizations. The HJJCC enjoys a reciprocal relationship with the Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco and the Japanese Community Queen Contest in the Greater Seattle area.
In addition to these relationships, the HJJCC enjoys “sister chapter” relations with the Hilo Jaycees on the Big Island and the Odawara, Kurashiki, Tamashima, Kojima and Kobe Junior Chambers in Japan. All these relationships have resulted in numerous visits to each other’s cities, lifelong friendships, unique and enjoyable shared experiences and the occasional “cultural” exchange.
The HJJCC is also very fortunate to have close relations with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, whose members had encouraged the founding of our organization some fifty years ago.
Entering its 61st year, the HJJCC continues its efforts to foster young leaders through professional development, community service and the promotion of Japanese culture and Japanese American heritage. Like many other community organizations, the HJJCC finds itself dealing with a myriad of social, economic, domestic and cultural challenges that require open mindedness, flexibility and innovative approaches.
Two programs are the current focus of the HJJCC. The Young Business Roundtable creates opportunities for young professionals from a cross section of the business community to explore and engage in business development, networking and community service. A partnership with Hawaii Business Magazine further strengthens the Roundtable’s outreach and programming.
While the Young Business Roundtable forges new opportunities for members, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival remains the organization’s signature program. The festival has gone through numerous changes since its inception more than five decades ago, but its primary purpose and goal remains the same: to perpetuate and promote not only the Japanese culture and heritage but also our local and Japanese American lifestyle. In the process, the festival continues to offer Junior Chamber members many and varied experiences in developing, exploring and improving their personal and leadership skills, while providing our island community with an enjoyable and exciting celebration.
President: Nate Gyotoku
Chapter Email: firstname.lastname@example.org