The 79th Anniversary Banquet was held at Hale `Ikena at Fort Shafter on Saturday, March 26, 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 102 guests in attendance, including 442nd veterans Harold Afuso (H Co) and wife Patsy, Roy Fujii (522 B Bty), Royce Higa (522 A Bty), Jack Nakamura (B Co), and Tadao Yoshimoto (E Co).
Six widows of veterans were also present, including Cynthia Doi (Mrs. Masato Doi, Antitank Company), Mildred Tahara (Mrs. Yoshiyuki “Fat” Tahara, 2nd Battalion, H Company), Laura Miho (Mrs. Katsugo Miho, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, B Battery), Muriel Kashiwa (Mrs. Genro Kashiwa, 3rd Battalion, L Company), Genny Matsumoto (Mrs. Paul Kazuo Matsumoto, 3rd Battalion, L Company), and Frances Aoyama (Mrs. Tsugio, 2nd Battalion, Headquarters Company).
The event was emceed by Karl Okemura, President of the 442nd Veterans Club, who first delivered welcoming remarks. A Guidon Processional followed, and this was the first time we had a guidon for every company and battery of the 100/442. We also had at least one soldier photo for each company or battery, representing the soldiers who were in the unit from February 1943 to the end of the war. Governor and Mrs. Ige attended and carried their fathers’ photos in the Guidon Processional.
Next, the National, State, Regimental, and Battalion Colors were presented by the Punahou Army JROTC Color Guard under the command of Cadet Staff Sergeant Luke Lee. There were seven cadets and their instructor, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Robert Takao. A current Reserve member of the 100th/442nd from Fort Shafter also attended and brought the unit’s flag. Following the presentation of the Colors, Ms. Sandy Tsukiyama led the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, then beautifully sang our National Anthem, followed by Hawai`i Pono`i. The Colors were posted, then Karl announced a moment of silence honoring all of the soldiers who lost their lives in defense of our Nation, those who died during the pandemic, and those fighting for freedom in Ukraine.
Governor Ige then spoke to the audience about the significance of the service of the 442nd. Mayor Blangiardi was unable to attend but Karl Okemura read his greetings message. Karl then introduced Ann Kabasawa, President of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club, who spoke about this being the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 100th Battalion. Next, Karl introduced Mel Kaneshige, President of the 442nd Legacy Center.
Following the Invocation, offered by member Gwen Fujie, a delicious lunch buffet was served. As the guests dined, a beautiful slideshow, created by Bill Wright and Mae Isonaga, was displayed. It showed excellent photos of the soldiers and rare historical film footage from the war era. People spent time catching up with old friends, many of whom hadn’t seen each other for several years during the pandemic.
After lunch, the JROTC cadets were presented with a 442nd lapel pin and composite patch, and a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Col. Takao. Mae Isonaga then presented two 442nd-themed birthday cakes honoring the 442nd’s anniversary. As the cake was enjoyed, S&D Education Chairman Bill Wright introduced Tom Coffman, author of the new book Inclusion: How Hawai‘i Protected Japanese Americans from Mass Internment, Transformed Itself, and Changed America. Tom provided an outstanding description of how acts of tolerance and understanding paved the way for both the formation of the 442nd and the limited use of internment in the Hawaiian Islands during the war. The full text of his speech was published in the Hawai`i Herald on August 5, 2022. Bill also spoke for several minutes about the importance of carrying on the legacy of the 442nd.
After Tom’s address, Karl spoke about the history of the Go For Broke song and invited Sandy Tsukiyama back up to lead the audience in its singing. Following the song, Karl announced that the formal program was ending but that Tom would be signing books in the front breezeway, where there were various educational displays set up and 442nd merchandise for sale. The Color Guard retired the Colors and the banquet adjourned as people said their farewells and departed to enjoy the beautiful spring day.
There will be more events coming soon. The Christmas Party will be held at Club 100, 10am on Saturday, December 3rd – stay tuned for more details. The 80th Anniversary Banquet will be on Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10am-2pm, Hale `Ikena at Ft Shafter, so save the date!
On October 17th, 2021, the people of Bruyères, France held a celebration to honor the soldiers of the 100th/442nd who liberated their town from German occupation 77 years ago. Additionally, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Bruyères and Honolulu sister city relationship.
Merci à Josiane and Bernard Hans, who sent to us these beautiful photos!
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The United States Postal Service, USPS, issued the “Go For Broke” Nisei Soldiers Commemorative Stamp honoring the legacy of Nisei Soldiers of World War II on Thursday, June 3, 2021 – the First Date of Issue (FDOI). The City of Los Angeles is the First City of Issue. It has been a long journey for the Stamp Our Story Founders and their supporters, but the stamp is finally a reality!
Stamp Our Story was founded in 2005 by three Nisei women, all of whom were incarcerated during the war. They are Californians, Fusa Takahashi, 93, Aiko O. King, 93, and the late Chizuko Ohira. Mrs. Takahashi’s husband, Kazuo, served in the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Mrs. Ohira’s husband, Ted, served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (442nd RCT) H Company, and hailed from Makaweli, Kaua`i.
“In the past, our founders have each expressed their wish that the stamp bring people and organizations together to remember and to honor what the Go For Broke (GFB) Soldiers accomplished, and to be reminded of their American legacy that impacts us all today,” said Stamp Our Story Co-Chair Wayne Osako who joined the campaign Founders in 2006. As children, Wayne’s parents were incarcerated in the Heart Mountain and Jerome incarceration camps even while relatives served in the 100th Battalion (100th Bn) and the 442nd RCT, MIS, and Women’s Army Corps (WAC).
The image on the stamp is veteran Shiroku “Whitey” Yamamoto, Antitank Company, from Hawai`i island. Whitey is no longer with us, but seeing his image on this stamp fills our hearts with great aloha and pride.
Across the country, in Portland, Houston, Minidoka, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and more, special commemoration ceremonies took place. Stamp Our Story – Hawai`i, in collaboration with USPS hosted a live-stream event from the 100th Battalion Veterans Clubhouse on June 4, 2021. Dr. Lynn Heirakuji, NVL President and Co-Chair for the event served as emcee. Eileen Veach, Hawai`i District Manager, USPS, Governor David Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Major General Suzanne Vares-Lum, U.S. Army (Ret.), Nisei veteran, Dr. Shinye Gima, MIS, and Rachel Radona, granddaughter of the late Masaharu Suzuki, Antitank Company, 442nd RCT, all spoke.
To learn more on the evolution of Stamp Our Story, and for links to purchase stamps and to view recordings of the events that took place in Hawai`i and across the country, click here: https://niseistamp.org.
We are posting Certificates, Special Messages and Proclamations received here:
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Join Densho on May 11 for the official launch of Facing the Mountain, a new book about WWII Japanese American incarceration and the 442nd RCT by Daniel James Brown, NY Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat. The virtual event will feature a conversation between Brown and Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda, who has conducted oral histories with many of the men highlighted in the book. Facing the Mountain grew out of conversations Brown had with Ikeda in 2015.
Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of wartime America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Brown’s extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese American families and their sons. While some fought on battlefields as members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, others fought to defend the constitutional rights of a community. Regardless of where their battles played out, these individuals were exemplifying American patriotism under extreme duress by striving, resisting, standing on principle, and enduring.
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2020 was certainly a memorable year for a number of reasons. Although several of our usual in-person events were canceled, postponed or held virtually, we as an organization still managed to accomplish so much this past year. Here are some of the highlights:
We designed and ordered cloth face masks with the 442nd torch logo, then began offering them for sale via word of mouth and email announcement. We provided free masks to 25 veterans, wives and widows.
We added new features to the website, including:
Online store to allow people to purchase logo items directly through our website in addition to mail order, which previously was the only purchase option.
Remembrances page which offers links to obituaries for recently passed veterans, as well as a list of all known AJA soldiers and non-AJA officers who give their lives during the war.
Transformed the former “unit organizational chart” into a searchable roster of all known soldiers of the 100th/442nd and affiliated units. This led to the creation of the “Soldier Bios Project” in which volunteers and/or family members research individual soldiers and write biographies, which will be posted online. Ultimately, the goal is to write bios for the 9000+ known soldiers.
We continued working on the Hamilton Library NARA archiving project. In a bit of fortuitous timing, just prior to the pandemic we were in the process of arranging for the volunteers of the project to receive copies of the Abbyy FineReader program used at the library in order to allow them to work on the OCR steps from home. The organization authorized the purchase of six copies of the program for the volunteers, and they were received the day after the island-wide lockdown began. Overall, the project is about 30% complete at this point, now 3 years in.
We helped fundraise to support a number of community and veteran-related organizations, including:
A $2500 donation to the newly-opened National Museum of the U.S. Army, which features an entire exhibit on the Nisei soldiers.
The Nisei veterans had been invited to attend a special preview in person, but due to the pandemic this was changed to a virtual event. We helped arrange for several veterans to view this special occasion.
A $500 donation to the 522B Club to be used for their donation in May to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust that the 522nd FAB encountered at Dachau in May 1945.
A $2000 donation ($1000 from individual members, $1000 from the organization) to the Hawaii Food Bank.
We had also sought volunteers to work at the food bank’s warehouse to lend a helping hand, but no volunteers came forward due to concerns about the pandemic.
We also supported the veterans and their families in a number of ways:
Organization members attended the funeral of Nancy Higa, wife of Masayuki Higa (Hqs Battery, 522nd FAB).
A member attended the 100th birthday celebration of Edy Hideyoshi Horikawa (M Co.) in Seattle, and we gifted Edy with a 442nd garrison cap, veteran’s shirt, and yarn lei.
Sent sympathy, get-well, and Christmas cards to veterans.
Member Jeff Morita helped 16 veterans apply for the French Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest medal for military and civil merits. Eight Nisei veterans were awarded the medal in 2020.
We continued the Okage Sama De JROTC awards even though the ceremonies themselves were cancelled due to the pandemic. Fourteen outstanding cadets from Oahu high schools received this prestigious award.
A parent wrote the following after her daughter received the award: “First and foremost, I would like to humbly thank your organization. My daughter is in the ROTC program at Kapolei High School recently received the Okage Sama De award. It was a very emotional feeling for myself and my family when I saw the medal she received. I had tears in my eyes and I was humbly proud. My grandfather’s brother was a part of the 442nd – Edward Shigeto Fuyumuro – and lost his life in 1944. We still visit him at Punchbowl regularly. I just wanted to thank you folks again for recognizing our daughter.”
The pandemic changed the way we do things, but as you can see, it didn’t stop us from our work in perpetuating the legacy of the Nisei soldiers. Their courage and heroism is still recognized by the people they helped over 75 years ago. Case in point: we received these greetings from Josiane and Bernard Hans of Bruyeres, France: “ALOHA dear friends We hope you are well. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2021 and good health. We wish that a better future arrives next year for more serenity. Take good care of yourself. Friendly thoughts from Bruyères.”
Lastly, I’d like to leave you with some excellent words of wisdom shared by Louise (Fujioka) Liu, from her father, Pvt. Masao Fujioka (K Co., 442nd):
“I have always been impressed by the quiet dignity that many 442nd veterans possessed. Many projected a good-natured feeling of respect, both self-respect and respect for other people.I once asked my dad why he seemed so generally good natured about everything. He told me that in the war many of his friends had been shot and killed. He saw some as they were dying and saw some German soldiers die. My dad was a replacement and did not expect to live and return to Hawaii. After that, he said everything was “duck soup.”
After hearing that story, my own perspective on life changed. Whenever I was emotionally down about work or life, I’d think about what my dad said. I thought about the things that he lived through, and I realized my little problems weren’t all that bad — everything is still “duck soup.” It’s funny how someone can teach you an important life lesson just by sharing a little story with you.”
From time to time, we receive photos with unknown soldiers in them. If you recognize any of these people, please let us know and we can attach the photos with their bios.
Can you identify these men? We need help in identifying the two men whose photos are shown here and whose last name is not known. While in training in Camp Shelby, they each sent their photo to their friend Dottie (Miss Dorothy Aiko Terada) in Honolulu sometime in 1943-1944. Dottie’s address was “Mishima Fender Shop, South Hotel Street, Honolulu.”
Each of the men sent a gift with their photo:
Private Yoshio Tengan sent a Camp Shelby silk banner/pillow case and signed his photo “Always, Yoshio” – but we have the box that the banner came in and his return address gives his full name
Corporal Joe ____ sent a Camp Shelby “Friendship” banner and signed his photo “Aloha, Joe”
Sergeant Roy ____ sent a “Sweetheart” silk banner with the US flag and eagle on it and signed his photo “To Dottie — Love, Roy”
Yoshio Tengan was in Company E or F and was killed in France in November 1944. We don’t know if the three men knew each other. Dottie and Yoshio were from the Big Island and had moved to Honolulu by the time the gifts were sent.
The image below comes from a photocopy submitted by the family of S/Sgt Frank Fujihara. The back of the photo indicates that this is F Company, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad and that the photo was taken in Marseille, France in March 1945. S/Sgt Fujihara is at the center of the photo but we do not know the who the other soldiers are. Additionally, S/Sgt Fujihara’s family would like to know if there are any prints of the original photo in existence.
As is the case with most public gatherings at the moment, several Nisei-related events are cancelled or postponed. Among them:
Our monthly meetings have gone virtual but remain on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm HST. All current members will receive an email link a few days before providing information on how to login and join by telephone or video.
The 77th Anniversary of the 442nd RCT Annual Banquet is postponed until 30 October 2021. Click here for more details.
Lastly, reposting a message from the National Veterans Association:
“Dear Friends, The National Veterans Network along with its Advisory Board is closely monitoring the changing situation and global effect of COVID-19. We hope our Veterans, veteran families, supporters and friends continue to stay safe and healthy during this challenging time. Despite this time of uncertainty, we are inspired by the Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers who demonstrated perseverance, courage and strength in time of adversity. Please be rest assured the mission of NVN continues as we work with our partners to preserve, educate and advocate for the legacy of the Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers. In particular, we look forward to the opening of the National Museum of the United States Army this year when the Nisei Soldier exhibit and Army & Society exhibit will open to the public. Many of you supported the development of the Nisei Soldier exhibit with sponsorships, donations and in-kind support and for that, we are very thankful and grateful. As a result, these exhibits will be opened to a projected 750,000 visitors annually who will learn about the Nisei Soldier experience for the first time. As preparations are underway to open the Museum, we were most inspired when learning of the impact that exhibit’s war time Nisei objects had on a group of Museum professionals.
The exhibit objects are meaningful, powerful, and effective in presenting acomplex, multi-level story about heroism, sacrifice, and being American.
We are also getting ready to announce our Nisei Soldier Curriculum for elementary and middle schools that is a result of a close collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. With input from an amazing group of teachers from Washington DC, Virginia, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the final curriculum is near completion. It will be shared with teachers nationwide and we cannot wait to share it with you in the months to come. With the Nisei Soldier spirit as our inspiration, NVN continues to make national impact and advance our mission because of all of you. We are grateful to all of you. Please stay safe and healthy.
Sincerely, Christine Sato-YamazakiExecutive Director “
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team Annual Banquet has been rescheduled once again to Saturday, March 26, 2022. It was originally planned for three different dates in 2021.
When Saturday, 26 March 2022 Time 10:00am-1:00pm Where Hale Ikena, Building 711, Morton Drive, Fort Shafter Cost tbd per person (WWII 442nd Veterans/spouses/widows complimentary) Note There will be a slight increase over the 2020 cost of $39 due to a possible 2022 increase from Hale Ikena.
Registration: Save the date for now – further information for registration will be sent in due time.
For planning purposes it would be really helpful to have a rough estimate of the number of attendees. Could you please reply to this email address with a note as to whether your current expectation is that you will be attending, or will not be attending. If it is likely you will be attending, the number of adults and children in your party would be helpful for the Banquet Planning team to know. Please note: If there are still Covid-19 issues that would make this date untenable, it will be rescheduled again.
10:00am 442nd RCT logo item sales begin
10:30am Veterans photo shoot
10:50am Processional forms outside ballroom
11:00am Processional enters ballroom
11:15am Pledge of Allegiance, Star-Spangled Banner, Hawai’i Pono’i, Honoring the Fallen: A Moment of Silence, Invocation followed by opening of Hawaiian Luau Buffet
Veteran photos. Please bring a framed photo of your Veteran(s). (8.5”x11” or smaller, please, due to space limitations) One family member will carry each photo in the Processional and place it on a table at the front of the ballroom.
Processional. Will enter the ballroom in order of unit (Company or Battery). Veterans will lead their unit, as available.
Several months ago, a young man named Matteo Mengoni reached out to our organization with a fascinating photo and story. Matteo is a student at the University of Florence, Italy, and is from Mantignano-Ugnano, at the confluence of the rivers Arno and Greve.
Matteo observed writing below the old bridge of Mantignano that reads “Los Angeles City Limits – Co. G 442, Aug ’44”. Curious about the story behind this, Matteo began doing some research and found that Company G of the 442nd made a crossing of the Arno at that time, led by PFC Joe M. Nishimoto, who was later awarded the Silver Star posthumously.
Matteo says that there are now plans to destroy this bridge, which has fallen into disuse and disrepair. He and his friend Maurizio are trying to educate their community on the history of that bridge in an effort to save it. To that end, he gave a presentation last April to during an event organized by his district’s municipality to celebrate the anniversary of the Liberation of Florence. The presentation can be viewed, in Italian, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGCkSGyRLig. He also provided a PDF of information and photos, which can be viewed here.
Yes, we are having another George Company and Friends Reunion for 2020. We will be having a luncheon buffet at the HAPPA RESTAURANT in Gardena, California (1641 W Redondo Beach Blvd #8, Gardena, CA 90247 )…adjacent to the New Gardena Hotel. Our luncheon will start at 11:00AM. The delicious buffet costs $50.00.
If you would like to relax and stay overnight at the New Gardena Hotel, a non-smoking single room is $99.00 and a non-smoking double is $108 plus 11.39% tax. Parking is free and a breakfast buffet is included in the cost. If you would like me to make your hotel reservations, please let me know and I will be glad to do that.
You will get to meet other sons and daughters and families from Hawaii, the mainland from 100th, 442nd and MIS. This event is a real fun get together.
If you have any questions, please call Ann Kabasawa at (808) 781-8540 or .
As we bid farewell to 2019 and look to what lies ahead in 2020, we’d like to take a moment to look back at what we accomplished in the past year.
In the Spring, the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd awarded our first-ever Okaga Sama De Award to Army JROTC students at the following high schools: Farrington, Kahuku, Kaimuki, Leilehua, McKinley, Mililani, Nanakuli, Punahou, Roosevelt, St. Louis, Waianae, and Waipahu. The Commanding Officer of each of these programs chose a student who best represented the values of the Nisei soldiers of WWII, such as Sense of Duty, Responsibility, Sacrifice, Honor, Loyalty, Persistence, Quiet Endurance, Pride, and Sense of Shame. Each of the award recipients was given a certificate and a medal.
Speaking of medals, with the kind assistance of Jeff Morita, thirteen Nisei veterans were awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur (Legion of Honor) for their service during WWII. Six of the medals were awarded at a ceremony at the Hawai’i Convention Center on June 1st, and others were presented at private ceremonies and at the annual Christmas party. Award recipients include:
Yoshiyuki Joel FUJITA (HQ Co. 442)
Hayao George FURUKAWA (G.Co/442)
Ace Isao HANDA (Hq.Co, 3rd Bn/442)
Royce Eiko HIGA (A.Btry/522)
Hidenobu HIYANE (Hq.Co/100);
Akiyoshi KURIYAMA (Hq.Co/100)
Ikito MURAOKA (Med.Det/100)
Katsuto Richard NAKAMURA (Antitank)
Takahashi NOMURA (Med 442)
George Kenichi OIDE (Hq.Btry/522)
Clinton Ikuzo SHIRAISHI (Hq.Btry/522)
Koichi TOKUSHIGE (A.Btry/522)
Paul Sanji WATANABE (232nd Engr Co/442)
Sadly, we also said goodbye to several Nisei heroes in 2019. Among those we lost are:
Hiroshi ARISUMI (442/232nd engineers)
Hiroshi KAKU (Anti-tank)
Noburo KAWAMOTO (HQ)
Shinkyo KUNIYOSHI (MIS)
Hajime MIYAMOTO (G Company, Med.Det/442)
Harold NAKASONE (Cannon Co.)
George NISHIMURA (MIS)
Tadayoshi SATO (A Co, 100th)
Kenny SHIMABUKURO (K Co 442)
William Yoshio THOMPSON (HQ 442)
Ralph Yasunobu TOMEI (M Co 442)
Ted TSUKIYAMA (522/MIS/442)
Harold T. UEOKA (522)
May they all rest in peace. If anyone was omitted, please contact us and we’ll add them.
Members of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd participated in a number of remembrance ceremonies throughout the year, including presenting wreaths at the Mayor’s annual ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl and at the Joint Memorial Service at Punchbowl on 9/29/19.
There were also several celebratory events in 2019, including the 76th Anniversary of the 442nd Luncheon that was held at Hale Ikena at Fort Shafter on March 16th, the 100th Battalion Anniversary that was held June 22nd at the 100th Battalion Clubhouse, the Nisei Veterans Summer Special that was held at the 100th Battalion Clubhouse on July 27th, and of course the annual Christmas party held at the 100th Battalion Clubhouse on December 7th. There was also a mini-reunion held at the California Hotel in Las Vegas from September 29th to October 4th.
On April 20th, Mayor Yves Bonjean of Bruyères, France was welcomed along with his family at a luau held at the 100th Battalion Clubhouse. As 2019 was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruyères and other nearby towns, a reunion tour was undertaken by members of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd, veteran Lawson Sakai, and others interested in seeing the areas where the Nisei veterans served. From July 5th to 16th, participants traveled through France, from Nice to the Vosges, and were welcomed by the people of Bruyères and Biffontaine for liberation & Bastille Day celebrations.
Members of the Sons & Daughters also attended the Change of Command Ceremony for the Hawai’i National Guard’s 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry Regiment on September 14th at Fort Shafter Flats. At that ceremony, the Command passed from Lt. Col. Matthew L. Cloud to Lt. Col. Mark D. Andrews.
As education is an important part of our mission, Education Committee Chairman Bill Wright gave presentations at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in Monterey, California, and at the headquarters of the Nike Corporation. Following his presentation at Nike, the company kindly agreed to add the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd to their list of recipients for donations from their employee giving campaign.
Throughout the year, volunteers from the Sons & Daughters have continued working on the digitization project to upload all of the National Archives records pertinent to the Nisei experience to the University of Hawaii’s servers. This will make the records accessible to people worldwide. The first step – scanning all of the documents – is complete. The second step – Optical Character Recognition or OCR – involves converting the image into text that can be searched, or read out loud by screen readers for people with visual impairments. This step is very time-consuming as it frequently requires the volunteers to manually re-type entire documents, which can be hundreds of pages long. This step is about 22% complete (box 8 of 36). The last step is creating metadata from the documents – reading the documents, writing a summary of what’s inside along with the author, date, etc. – and creating a searchable table with this information – is about 28% complete (box 10 of 36). If you’re interested in seeing what’s already uploaded, you may check it out here: https://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/58537
As you see, 2019 was a very productive year for us! We look forward to what 2020 has in store for us.