Home Community Kumamoto Kenjinkai Starts 2024 Strong

Kumamoto Kenjinkai Starts 2024 Strong

By Mimi Shiraki
For The North American Post

More than 200 people, including 107 Kumamoto Kenjinkai members, gathered at Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Hall in late January for the group’s annual New Year’s party. the big crowd was a good sign as the Kumamoto Kenjinkai heads into its 117th year.

The party welcomed everyone regardless of their ties to Kumamoto Prefecture. Each year, the group hosts a Shinenkai, or New Year’s party, a family picnic in the summer, and a one-day bus trip.

Established in 1907, the current iKumamoto Kenjinkai has been run by Calvin J. Terada for the past 10 years. Inspired by his father’s role as vice president of the organization, Terada assumed the presidency and instituted some changes. While the group was previously oriented towards adults and elders, Terada envisioned a more inclusive group hosting family-friendly events that celebrate and teach about Nikkei culture.

The 2024 Shinnekai began with greetings from Deputy Consul General Junichi Sumi. Afterwards, some of the elders in the community offered greetings. Then Terada welcomed everyone as attendees were served osechi-style bentos from Goemon.

As the party kicked into high gear, there were hula demonstrations, karaoke and a Japanese folk dance demo from Megumi Preschool. The event concluded with a bingo game complete with prizes.

The kenjinkai sold Kumamon T-shirts to raise funds for the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple, which is recovering from an arson attack.