Monthly Archives: April 2006

Floor Written Remarks on the Hawaii Innovations Partnership

Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu
House Floor Written Comments
Senate Bill 2546, House Draft 2
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I rise in support.

This is a very historical bill that will enable Hawaii to have a diversified economy by supporting Hawaii-based businesses in the fields of technology, life sciences, and renewable energy. Currently, Hawaii is in the beginning stages of establishing a strong knowledge-based industry. Unlike other areas of the United States and world, Hawaii-based businesses in these fields lack the amount of capital investments needed to move them from product development to commercial success.

This measure will play a huge role in solidifying a new economy in Hawaii based on technology, life sciences, and renewable energy by establishing $100,000,000 Hawaii innovations partnership special fund for the fiscal year 2006-2007 to invest in these entrepreneurial ventures through grants and capital investments. Thereafter, from 2007 to 2011, there will be an annual appropriation of one-half of one percent of the general revenues of the State into this fund.

Thank you.

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Rep. Karamatsu’s Funeral Speech For His Grandmother Bessie Shimoyo Karamatsu

Jon Riki Karamatsu
Bessie S. Karamatsu Funeral Speech
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Jodo Mission Hawaii

Grandma, okage sama de – we are who we are because of you. We are grateful for everything you taught us. We know in the early years, you faced tough financial challenges with grandpa. You weathered through hard times and were able to raise five wonderful children. Even when grandpa’s career was doing well and times were financially good, you taught us humbleness by the way you lived. You could have bought a bigger house but was satisfied in your cozy home in Kalihi and material things were of secondary importance to you.

The phrase, “Kodomo no tame ni” or “For the sake of the children,” best describes what meant the most to you. You sacrificed so much for your children in hopes that they can have a good life and bring up the next generation as honorably as you have.

As your grandchildren and great grandchildren, we are so happy to have gotten the opportunity to share so many wonderful memories with you. As little kids, we enjoyed playing with flashlights around your house. We appreciated your cooking and especially New Year’s Day when you would spend the whole day preparing dishes for your entire family. We also appreciated you taking us to dinners at so many great restaurants.

We learned so much from you such as culture, tradition, and honor. We enjoyed praying at Jodo Shu with you and will continue to pray to you, grandpa, and our ancestors. Dancing at bon dances with you will always be cherished. When you danced, you looked so happy and graceful. Although we don’t know the Japanese language and traditions as well as you, we will do our best to carry on what we know and learn more.

On a personal note, I am glad I got to enjoy Japanese movies with you at the Hawaii International Film Festivals. I am also happy you could attend many of my personal and political functions. I will always cherish you sitting by me on the floor of the Hawaii State House of Representatives for almost every legislative opening day since I was elected in 2002. Likewise, your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren treasure the time you spent with them.

Grandma, we are stronger because of you. We will strive to achieve the goals and dreams we shared with you. We will also do our best to continue your legacy and tell the next generation about you and grandpa. In your farewell letters you told us to be happy. We will follow your wishes and live a full and happy life. Finally, we will continue to pray to you.

Grandma, you are forever in our hearts. Thank you so much. Jya mata au made ni. Until we meet again. We love you.

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Bessie Karamatsu Funeral

Bessie Karamatsu Funeral

Thursday, April 6, 2006

5:00 P.M.

Jodo Mission of Hawaii (Jodo Shu)
1429 Makiki Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Phone: (808)949-3995

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Thank You Grandma Karamatsu For Everything


Domo Arigatou Gozaimashita. Thank you so much. Okage Sama De. I am what I am because of you. After you left us yesterday at about noon, I sensed some relief for you. I feel stronger and optimistic for the future because of you. I know grandpa is waiting for you. I will honor the Karamatsu name and do my best. I look forward to continuing your legacy and I will tell my unborn children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren about you and grandpa.

I am so lucky to have met or become friends with grandpa's and your friends or relatives of grandpa and your friends, such as the late Mr. Kotake's son-in-law Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say, Mr. & Mrs. Shimoda, and Ken Abe. I never got to meet grandpa's friend, the late legendary attorney Wally Fujiyama but I know his son Jon. I also got to know Mrs. Hedani's son Ron. Past and present politicians, business persons, employees of Duty Free, and workers in the tourism industry come up to me to share stories about you and grandpa. Mr. Shimoda told me how grandpa, the late Mr. Kotake and him were active in business, politics, Jodo Shu, and socializing. I joked and said, “Wow, so you guys used to run Hawaii.” He replied with a light chuckle.

I know grandpa is advising me in politics and business. After all, he loved it. In fact, my mom told me when she first met with grandpa, the first thing he asked was if her father plays politics. Therefore, last night, I placed grandpa's picture in my office so he can continue to advise me if you don't mind.

I am glad I got to watch some of those Hawaii International Film Festival movies from Japan with you. I remember you telling me how much you enjoyed seeing “Crying Out Love At the Center of the World” at last Spring's Hawaii International Film Festival.

I enjoyed going to the services at Jodo Shu temple with you. I will cherish the times I danced at the bon dance with you and my sisters. I will help the temple just as you requested me to do.

I had a nice time at all the dinners I had with you. That meal at Alan Wong's Restaurant was good yeah.

I am glad you enjoyed attending all the Legislative Opening Days. This year's one was fun. After the entertainement on the House floor, you looked like you had a good time talking to all the people and eating the food we catered in my office. I am so happy you could be there with me.

Thank you for listening to all my goals and dreams. I will follow through on my five-year plan. I know you and grandpa will be there to see it. No matter what, just do my best right.

I am sure you will see Grandpa and Grandma Sakai. Like you, they were wonderful grandparents. I miss them a lot.

If I recall correctly, you told me that grandpa researched our family history in Japan and about a couple hundred years ago, four families were given the name “Karamatsu” for their community service by the lord of the prefecture. I remember you saying that there was one known samurai in our family and the rest were in various types of fields. I will do my best for you, grandpa, and all our ancestors.

I am so happy you were my grandma. You were awesome! Thinking of you puts a smile on my face. I will pray to you and when my time comes, please welcome me to the next world. Until then, I will take “Karamatsu” to the next level by living happy and honorably. I love you.

Sayonara, Jya mata aimasu made ni. Good bye, until we meet again.

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Grandma Karamatsu

I have been told that it has been raining in Hawaii for forty-three days straight. I thought this only happens in movies or books. It's been raining since the beginning of my grandma's medical challenges. I like to believe this beautiful place we call Hawaii where my grandma lived a full life is crying with us. I will not forget this time period. Yesterday, before my grandma was taken off life support, the head minister for Jodo Shu and another minister came to her bedside to pray for her with the family. The head minister is a friend of my late Grandpa Karamatsu and my grandma because of their strong involvement with the temple. My grandfather was president of the council for Jodo Shu Hawaii and my grandma helps the ministry with everything like fundraising and Obon Festival. She, by the way, is a great Obon dancer. My sisters and I had fun dancing with her. Everyone was very emotional during the service. My dad, mom, aunty, and uncle were the few that stayed in the room when my grandma was taken off life support. As they were taking the tubes off her, I put my hands in gakushyo and prayed for her. I noticed my dad was doing the same. As I closed my eyes and prayed, I couldn't stop the tears. After she was detached from the system, the sun came up. Last night, the time between her breaths were getting longer, a sign of her getting tired. I overslept, but slept well, so I better get back and check on my grandma. Take care.

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