Category Archives: Politics

Video of Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say’s vision for Honolulu in his 2020 race for Honolulu City Council District V.


Here’s video showing Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say’s vision for Honolulu in his 2020 race for Honolulu City Council District V, which consists of Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo Valley, St. Louis Heights, Manoa, Moiliili, McCully, and portions of Ala Moana, Kakaako, and Makiki.

Speaker Say served in the Hawaii House of Representatives since 1976 with 14 years as the longest serving House Speaker in Hawaii’s history. I served with him in the Hawaii House of Representatives between 2002 to 2010. Under his House leadership, I served as Vice Speaker of the House; Majority Whip; Chair of the House Judiciary Committee; Chair of the House Economic Development & Business Concerns Committee; Vice Chair of Water, Land, Ocean Resources & Hawaiian Affairs Committee; & Vice Chair of Tourism and Culture Committee.

Speaker Say is a dedicated and collaborative leader who is willing to take on the tough issues and be creative in implementing new ideas. He’s also a great friend to have. I can attest, as he’s been a great friend and mentor of mine.

I humbly ask for your support in Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say’s Honolulu City Council race by voting for him if you live in Honolulu City Council District V or telling others who live in his district.

You can contribute to Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say’s campaign by writing a check to “Friends for Say” and mailing it to 1822 10th Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816.

Email calvinsayhawaii@gmail.com if you would like to help Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say’s campaign in any way.

Thank you!

With Warmest Aloha,

Jon Riki Karamatsu

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Campaigning for Will Espero who is running for Honolulu City Council during the 2020 elections.


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This afternoon I sign-waved for my friend and colleague from the Hawaii State Legislature, Senator Will Espero‚Äč who is running for Honolulu City Council in the 2020 elections to represent Ewa, Waipahu, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Waikele, Waipio, and Mililiani in Oahu, Hawaii.
ūüėÉ

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Senator Will Espero is one of the few brave politicians who are willing to ask the tough questions and execute on policies when law enforcement misbehaves.


Senator Will Espero is one of the few brave politicians who are willing to ask the tough questions and execute on policies when law enforcement misbehaves.

Senator Will Espero is one of the few brave politicians who are willing to ask the tough questions and execute on policies when law enforcement misbehaves.

Senator Will Espero is one of the few brave politicians who are willing to ask the tough questions and execute on policies when law enforcement misbehaves. He did that when he was Chair of the Hawaii Senate’s Public Safety Committee.
 
While I served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives, I quietly talked to leadership of law enforcement on behalf of my constituents whenever my constituents complained about police misconduct.
 
In my career as a politician, I also supported the police’s awesome benefits package. My friend, the late Scott Dunn was their lobbyist. I also have family and friends who served in law enforcement who try their best to do what’s right. There are good people in law enforcement and the judiciary branch.
 
I’ll tell you what, there’s a backlash when you speak up when those in power do bad things against our citizens, and that’s why I have so much respect for Senator Espero. I felt this backlash when I hired a couple of dozen police for security for a concert I was a business partner of when former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Peter Carlisle and a former Deputy Police Chief attacked me on the news, saying I supported an event that encourages illegal drug use. To the contrary, I hired the police to help prevent any wrongdoing. This group attacked Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro by placing slandering and untrue posters in public restrooms and park benches, and mailed them to numerous people with no return address. This same group is trying to bring Kaneshiro down from his position trying to tie him with the Kealoha case. Up to today, I’m still feeling the backlash by this network still active in law enforcement and the judiciary branch.
 
This is one of the reasons why I don’t want to be involved in politics anymore, but I realized a couple of years ago that I can’t just hide. I have to support positive people who seek leadership positions in our community, or else the bad, power hungry ones will get in power.
 
Senator Espero and I didn’t always agree on policies, but we always understood that the both of us were trying our best for the community. Unlike these other factions that enjoy power for power’s sake by bashing their opponents and finding pleasure in it, Senator Espero is there to seek solutions for our community, period.
 
With the rise of police misconduct happening so often over the decades that have culminated to the recent worldwide protests against police misbehavior, I’m finally getting the guts to tell you my stories of police misbehavior now, rather than having it written in a publication or book when I’m older and braver.
 
Please vote for Will Espero for Honolulu City Council. Thank you so much! ‚̧ūüėä
 
With Warmest Aloha,
 
Jon Riki Karamatsu

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6th Annual Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020


My mentor and friend, Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say (front row & 2nd from right) invited me to attend the 6th Annual Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020.

My mentor and friend, Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say (front row & 2nd from right) invited me to attend the 6th Annual Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020.

Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say speaking at the 6th Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020.

Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say speaking at the 6th Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020.

My mentor and friend, Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say (front row & 2nd from right) invited me to attend the 6th Annual Bioeconomy & Innovation Forum at the Hawaii State Capitol on February 25, 2020. It was great to see the government and entrepreneurs working together to create value for our community and world. I also enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones! ūüėä‚̧

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The children in our lives can inspire us to continue being curious and have that excited desire to learn.


Howzit! What’s up! I love this moment with my #niece on February 16, 2019 at Salt Our Kaka’ako @saltourkakaako in Honolulu, Hawaii. Everyday, #children #learn exponentially with their desire to find out what they don’t understand. They have an immense amount of #curiosity . The children in our lives can inspire us to continue being #curious and have that excited #desire to learn.

Stay curious my friends! Sending positive energy to you!

With Warmest Aloha,
Jon

#family #familytime #lovedones #curiousmind #business #career #law #entrepreneurship #writing #fiction #nonfiction #goals #vision #dreams #inspirational #motivational #quote #mindset #positivemindset #mentalhealth #health #kakaako #honolulu #hawaii

My niece and I at Salt Our Kaka’ako in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 16, 2019.

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I’m hopeful that love, compassion, and empathy will overcome anger, hate, and discrimination. Together, we’ll make this world better!


Being a 5th generation American on my mom’s side of the family and 4th generation on my dad’s and born and raised in Hawaii where there is a mixture of ethnicities with no majority, I was surprised to experience discrimination in Eastern Washington when I lived there and Idaho where I frequented with my law school friends for snowboarding and events. In Idaho, on a snowboarding trip, my law school friends Paul from Hawaii (hapa: Caucasian and Japanese), Joe from Southern California (Filipino), Marx from New Orleans, Louisiana (Jewish), and I went to a venue where we weren’t served. Not quite sure if my friend Karlin (Inupiak Eskimo and Caucasian) was there since he snowboarded with us. Also, in Cour d’alene, Idaho, on 4th of July, white supremacists drove by in their 4×4 trucks and jeeps yelling bad stuff with their Confederate and Nazi flags. Our country, the United States is not doing too well on these issues with a number of very public incidents.

My late great uncle Roy Okubo, my late grandma Bessie Karamatsu’s baby brother enlisted in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 522nd Artillery during World War II to prove the loyalty of Americans of Japanese Ancestry despite the racism and mass imprisonment done by our country.

When I became a politician in Hawaii, I pushed for equal rights for all, including legislation for gay marriage for the LBGT community and support of programs for single mothers and survivors of abuse. My political career has been overshadowed by my legal bouts with driving under the influence. Thus, now, I’m directing a good portion of my energy towards writing fiction, nonfiction, poems, and creative writing, on top of my business projects and legal career. Through stories, we can touch people’s souls by reaching into their emotions. Laws can’t do this in the way storytelling can. I’m hopeful that love, compassion, and empathy will overcome anger, hate, and discrimination. Together, we’ll make this world better!

#peace #innerpeace #racism #discrimination #equalrights #womensrights #blacklivesmatter #hispanic #asian #jewish #lgbt #caucasian #minorities #love #compassion #empathy #onelove

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Growth Mindset


I’m a strong believer in having a positive mindset in order to be happier and more fulfilled in life. ¬†In this post, I would like to point out the importance of us having a growth mindset, which is believing that our abilities and intelligence can be developed. ¬†We can develop our knowledge and skills by reading and practicing everyday. ¬†The more we work on our knowledge and skills, the better we get. ¬†If we keep up this daily practice, over time, we may attain the knowledge and become very good at the skills we envisioned ourselves achieving.

I like to schedule in my Google calendar blocks of time to learning and building skills and I color code them according to the subject matter. ¬†I count each 30-minute period of learning or practicing as a “win” in my Count My Wins program I created for myself. ¬†This program gives me a natural high from the happy chemicals released when I finish each 30-minute self-development session. I’m a very curious person so I push myself even in areas I’m unfamiliar with. ¬†I really want to become a better person mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Have fun in your self-development!  Crush it!

3 of my daily practices: growth mindset, mindfulness, and gratitude.

(I took a picture of these plants and trees in Waikele, Hawaii on March 12, 2019. They represent growth in our growth mindset practice. I’m always mindful of the beauty around me. I’m grateful to experience such simple pleasures.)

#growthmindset #learn #read #skills #skillset #skillsets #practice #practices #dailypractice #habits #selfdevelop #mind #body #soul #positivemindset #mindset #mindfulness #mindful #gratitude #grateful #thankful #trees #plants #sky #simplepleasures

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Dreams, Mentors, & Daily Practice


Since I was young, I would dream or have visions of what I wanted to achieve or experience. I observed people who were at a level I aspired to be. Then I would relentlessly work on my skills & knowledge everyday for hours. Over many years, usually at least 7 years, I would attain my dreams or at least a portion or variation of them. I would like to note that I had many failures too.

When I was about 9 years old, I was determined to become a better soccer player. I admired a skilled & speedy soccer player, Shane Uemoto who played as a wing forward on the Pearl City High School soccer team & had number 12 on his jersey. I loved the exciting way he played the game & how he was well-liked by his teammates. Shane was also a very good student, eventually becoming an accountant as an adult.

I would often practice soccer by myself for many hours in addition to the practices with my team. I would train by myself at parks or in my yard until dark & run up & down the hill of my street or at parks to build up my speed. I played with the ball in the house & watched soccer videos over & over on ball handling & strategy. I ran several miles from my house to Pearl City High School to get a peek at Shane & his teammates practicing. I remember riding a school bus on a field trip & I had a vision of Shane running alongside of the bus. Funny right! ūüėÖ Anyways, after a number of years, I ended playing as a right forward on the Pearl City High School soccer team. I scored a whole bunch of goals & assisted others in scoring goals. I proudly wore the number 7 on my jersey & was so elated to live my dream!!!

As an adult, I continue to work hard daily on my dreams & observe amazing people in public service, business & the arts, areas I have a passion for. I’m just as relentless & obsessive as I was when I was a kid in love with soccer. I may not be wearing number 7 on a soccer jersey but it’s in my soul everyday.

#dreams #vision #goals #mentors #virtualmentors #soccer #sports #publicservice #politics #politician #attorney #business #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #art #writing #fiction #nonfiction #passion #habits #dailyhabits #practice #dailypractice #consistency #determination #tenacity

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Support Tommy Waters for Honolulu City Council’s 2019 Special Election on April 13, 2019


After years of remaining silent, I’ve decided to speak up on compassionate candidates like Tommy Waters @friendsoftommywaters for elected and appointed office. Unfortunately, power attracts some people who resort to anger, tantrums, and vindictiveness in our government, whether they be politicians, judges, or appointed officials. The only way to attain peace in our world is for all of us to attain peace within ourselves, especially with our leaders.

Tommy Waters @friendsoftommywaters cares for us. I know this from my experience with him when we served together in the Hawaii House of Representatives and when he was my opposing counsel in court. Know that even with difficult decisions, he puts all of his heart in. I saw this when he served as House Judiciary Chair, a position I served after him. Tommy is focused on providing value for us, not power. I’m getting a bit teary-eyed writing this because I know the struggles and attacks within politics and law, an area I once had great passion for. We really need good people like Tommy Waters, thus please vote for him on April 13, 2019!

#tommywaters #honolulucitycouncil #citycouncil #politics #politician #law #hawaiikai #waikiki #diamondhead #ainahaina #easthonolulu #honolulu #election #specialelection #love #compassion #empathy #vote

Repost @friendsoftommywaters (@get_repost)
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Good morning!
#LeadershipWithAloha #HonoluluCityCouncil

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Learn, Hustle, Live With Patience, & Be Grateful!


Since I was little, my mom and dad encouraged me to try different things, learn, & work hard. You never know, anything is possible. You may live your dreams. Some of mine came true, like becoming a politician, practicing law, building businesses, & helping nonprofits with a mission of peace within ourselves & the world.

However, when you take a chance on a dream, a vision, a value you want to share with others, you put yourself at risk of failure, criticism, & even hate. I get most of my anxiety worrying about whether I will fail or if someone will attack me or my organization. Most of these anxieties are about things I can’t control. To lessen this darkness that slows down my progress & deflates my happiness, I practice what I can control: (1) Always keep learning & building new skills; (2) Hustle like I’m a fiercely determined soccer striker with #7 on the back of my jersey, practicing my craft everyday so I can play for that championship title; (3) Have patience in the process, as I understand many big goals take years to achieve; & (4) Be grateful from the moment I wake up until I sleep. I appreciate the chance to be alive, all the good things in my life, the lessons of my failures, the ability to learn new things, Hawaii, travel, & my loved ones.

It’s not always easy. We all have our down days. Yet, tomorrow is always another day to crush it! And yes, with a positive mindset, we can achieve great heights & fill our lives with happiness a vast majority of our time. So attack your dreams! Learn, hustle & live with patience. Most importantly, be grateful for your shot at life & all the wonderful things around you!

With Warmest Aloha,
Jon

#thoughts #practices #learn #hustle #patience #grateful #gratitude #quotes #quote #motivationalquotes #dreams #goals #vision #personallife #career #business #entrepreneurship #books #novels #writing #law #politics #events #peace #innerpeace #worldpeace #hawaii #lovedones #family

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Dirt Over Diamonds


They crush me for them.

They see what they want to see.

Dirt over diamonds.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, Haiku Poem No. 212, 12/31/2018 –

The harder you work at your dreams, the further you go. The further you go, others will hate on you and crush you. All they see of you is dirt. Ignore them. They can crush the dirt for us. It is where we grind and hustle anyways. Focus on creating value for others, the diamonds underneath the dirt. Only those who appreciate the value you give them, will see and feel the diamonds!

#haiku #haikus #poems #poem #poetry #creativewriting #writing #writer #writers #career #business #attorney #politician #entrepreneur #haters #critics #judgmental #value #helpothers #dirt #diamonds #motivationalquotes #quote #quotes #mindset #nonattachment #positivethinking #positivemindset #positiveactions #positiveliving #love #compassion #empathy

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Isolation


I love this song “Beggars in the House of Plenty” by Generationals. The video has nice footage of a U.S. Senate committee hearing led by the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. Hawaii and the United States isn’t the same without him. I miss my grandparents; the 100th Battalion & 442nd Regimental Combat Team of World War II that my great uncle Roy Okubo was a member of who fought against fascism overseas and racism in America; the members of the 1954 Democratic Revolution who changed the discriminatory laws in Hawaii; the late Hawaii State Senator, 442 veteran, attorney & my mentor Nadao “Najo” Yoshinaga; and all my friends of this great generation.

Tired of the vindictiveness of policymakers, judges and haters, and to stay away from alcohol since I’m a social drinker, I isolated myself from anything public for 3.5 years whether it be charities, politics, or social gatherings. I’m slowly becoming involved with public service again by supporting some of my positive friends who need to be in government to keep the negative people out of power who will feed into the hate and anger that is being taught to the younger generations. It’s hard to stay away from politics, my second love after soccer. It’s a love that will never die.

Like the song says, isolation is a two-way street. We all need it sometimes to look within ourselves, to find ways to better ourselves and the world. When we make our comeback we’ll crush anything before us with all the might of love, compassion, and empathy.

#generationals #beggarsinthehouseofplenty #band #music #song #politics #government #politicians #judges #haters #isolation #comeback #crushit #poems #quotes #business #entrepreneur #aviation #businesslaw #concerts #books #novels #movies #love #compassion #empathy #innerpeace #peace

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Keep writing the story of your life!


Keep writing the story of your life!!! Next chapter!!!

#business #law #entrepreneurship #aviation #construction #entertainment #concerts #writing #novels #books #exercise #love #romance #friends #family #life #peace #hawaii #world #quote #quotes

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“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries & Jack Trout


I finished reading “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries & Jack Trout late this morning of November 18, 2017 at Starbucks in Pearl City, Hawaii. I learned about this book through Tim Ferriss who is an entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and investor. Super good! Very applicable! My mind is churning up stuff that I’m putting into words with my MacBook Pro.

#the22immutablelawsofmarketing #alries #jacktrout #timferriss #book #books #marketing #business #starbucks #pearlcity #hawaii

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Bad dream, but on the right path now


I just woke up from a bad dream where I was with one of the two former business partners who stole money from my other business partner and I. I woke up with my heart racing. I began thinking of my other bad experiences in my career, where certain judges and politicians punished me harder because of the high positions I held in government at a young age, to make an example of me before others and sometimes the public. Power and money play a role in making people do mean things against others. My good friend Brandon Mitsuda texted me this beautiful picture of Capri, Italy. I want to vacation there when things settle down. I feel much better. I know I’m on a better path now. I’m seeking peace within me. May peace be with all of you as well.

#politics #law #business #entrepreneurship #powerhungry #greed #jealousy #peace #innerpeace #aloha #compassion #empathy #nonattachment #hawaii #capri #italy 


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Together we can reach new heights!


Together we can reach new heights in providing value to our community and world! Mahalo for all you do! Have a great day!

#reachnewheights #teamwork #business #entrepreneurship #publicservice #nonprofit #community #world #honolulu #kona #hawaiianislands #hawaii 

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Always Forgive


My friend and mentor, Hawaii Speaker Emeritus Calvin K.Y. Say and I back in 2010, speaking to a Chinese organization in Honolulu, Hawaii.  “Always forgive,” is what he told me in my early years as a politician when I was being attacked by opposition and negative people. This advice has stayed with me. Keep moving forward with peace!

#peace #innerpeace #forgive #forgiveness #positiveliving #positivity #positiveenergy #politician #quote #quotes #calvinsay #throwbackthursday 

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Flashback to 2007 -Presiding the floor session of the Hawaii House of Representatives


Here’s a picture of me in 2007 when I was presiding over the floor session of the Hawaii State House of Representatives when I served as Vice Speaker of the Hawaii House under the leadership of my friend and mentor Hawaii House Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say. I served as a State Representative of Waikele, Royal Kunia, Village Park, and Waipahu from 2002 to 2010. This is the background picture for my Facebook page until I achieve a moment that is just as exciting or better. ūüėČ

#throwbackthursday #politics #politician #hawaiilegislature #legislature #houseofrepresentatives #hawaiihouse #statehouse #staterepresentative #representative #electiveoffice  #elective #election #oahu #waikele #royalkunia #waipahu #hawaii #unitedstates #usa #publicservice #government

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Make A Law Alive Through The Arts


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When you pass a law as a politician, people will say you did it for votes.

When you argue the law as a lawyer, they will say you did it to win.

But when you make a law alive through the arts, people will see it is from your heart.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, 5/11/2017 –

#law #laws #policy #policies #politician #lawyer #attorney #artist #art #arts #writing #creativewriting #fiction #novel #novels #movie #movies #film #films #show #shows #drama #dramas #music #drawing #drawings #painting #paintings #quote #quotes #poem #poems #poetry #artist #artists #jonrikikaramatsu #jonriki

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Memory of Making Seniors Chant “Let’s rock!”


7 years ago from today in 2010, while I was a politician, I made a speech at the Hawaii State Capitol to a big crowd of seniors from organizations that looked out for the interest of our elderly. When I shouted, “Are you ready to rock?” They yelled back, “Let’s rock!” I got them to this 3 times and our chant echoed throughout the capitol halls. It was so funny! Still can’t believe I made them do that! ūüėÖ #politics #politician #hawaii #hawaiipolitics #hawaiirepresentative #houseofrepresentatives #chanting  #letsrock

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Succeed, Fail, and Come Back


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Let’s succeed, fail, and come back. ¬†Anytime we take action on a goal, we expose ourselves to attack and even failure, but the rewards are tremendous in that we gain ideas, knowledge, skills, relationships, and heck, even success. ¬†I say succeed until you fail, and fail until you succeed because the comebacks are¬†some of the best¬†feelings ever!

Since I was a child, my parents have always encouraged me to try many things. “If you don’t try, you will never know” was the lesson I learned. ¬†So I participated in¬†many sports, school clubs, and community organizations. ¬†When I grew up, I went after my goals in law, politics, and business. ¬†I even made an effort in my love life. ¬†Did I win? ¬†Yes, many times, but I also had my share of losses. ¬†I’ll tell you a few¬†of my¬†experiences.

When I was attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1995, I broke up with my first girlfriend. ¬†I was so sad that my grade point average plummeted from a B average to a D average at which time¬†I was placed on probation. ¬†If I didn’t raise my grade point average, I would be kicked out of the university. ¬†I went to visit one of the university’s counselors. ¬†“What do you want to be?” she asked.

“I want to be a lawyer,” I answered.

She looked down at my grades on the transcript and then she looked back at me. “Do you like working with people?”

“Yes.”

“Why don’t you become a social worker?”

I was quiet. I wonder what my expression may have looked like?

For the next couple of years, I attained mostly all “A”s for every semester except for a few “B”s here and there. ¬†I brought by grade point average back up to a B average and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.A. in Political Science.

In 2001, I ended up¬†attending Gonzaga University School of Law and graduating with my J.D., passing the Hawaii State Bar Association’s examination, and today, I’m a lawyer.

In politics, I ran for a Hawaii State House seat in 2002 for a community I was unfamiliar with. ¬†I was told that I would likely lose because two of the so-called front-runner opponents were well-known and professionally established. ¬†I was only twenty-seven years old, just out of law school with very little experience, and no name recognition. ¬†Plus, the demographics were not in my favor, and another opponent was young like me with a similar background so we would cancel¬†each other out. ¬†However, I had typed out my strategy and platform for bettering Hawaii many years before while in college so I was mentally prepared. ¬†My front-runner opponents bragged about their experience while I focused on what I was going to achieve for our community and the State of Hawaii. ¬†To counter my opponents’ name recognition, I walked door-to-door around my district 3 times, which was about 20,000 visitation of homes until I burned holes in my pants from the constant rubbing of my bag filled with brochures. ¬†I won the House seat by a good margin.

Years later in 2010, I ran for the Lieutenant Governor’s race and loss, but the newly elected Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro recruited me to become a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and Legislative Liaison because he had watched me¬†in action¬†as the House Judiciary Chairman as I took on very controversial issues like same-sex marriage while he was an attorney with my Senate counterpart, his good friend who I had some disagreements with but I alway tried to be professional with him.

In 2015, I resigned from the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office because of a driving under the influence charge, which I have won the civil side of the case in 2016 because of false information and wrong-doings by the police, but still awaiting an appeal from the higher court on the criminal side of the case after a district court judge ruled that my testimony was not credible, which did not make sense because I didn’t testify in the trial. ¬†Despite it being a traffic crime, he sentenced me to prison with maximum fines and community service, much more than what I’ve seen when I¬†litigated criminal cases such as assault.

Instead of worrying about my legal woes, I dedicated 100% of my efforts into the private sector. ¬†I had ended my Internet retail business in 2012 after 10 years but I was still involved with a couple of business partners in an event production company since 2014. ¬†I then helped to build a night club, assisted an agricultural company in its goal to build a value-added agricultural processing plant, joined a team to build an aviation company, partnered with another group to build a consulting¬†company for foreign investors, and several¬†other projects. ¬†Meanwhile, in my role as a litigating and transactional attorney, I took on a few clients who were undergoing a business partnership split. ¬†In my 2 years since leaving government, I experienced a business partner who took all the money and left the rest of us with nothing, another who didn’t sign an agreement that would give me a tiny share of the company after I helped build it, and another who had child¬†custody¬†legal issues so the company was placed on hold. ¬†To some, these losses could be seen as a failure. ¬†I may have not made money from these ventures, however, I gained a lot of skills, built new relationships, and have come up with¬†ideas for when I make my return to these sectors.¬† There are many “wins” within such failures.

On the bright side, the aviation company and consulting company for foreign investors¬†are moving forward with business partners that make a great team, and I’m still working on my creative writing projects and taking on some legal work. ¬†With any start-up company, there is a risk of losing time and money, but there is also the opportunity to create new services and products that will generate more jobs and revenue for our community. ¬†It is for these reasons that I continue my journey in these arenas.

Both “success” and “failure” are just as important. ¬†Wins are fun, but if we always got what we wanted in life, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much, and life would become boring. ¬†For it is the experiences of the journey that makes us appreciate the wins. ¬†We gain¬†ideas, knowledge, skills, and relationships regardless if we succeed or fail, therefore, by the looks of it, we still win even when we lose.

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Opening day of the 2017 Hawaii Legislative Session.


Opening ceremonies of the 2017 Hawaii Legislative Session on January 18, 2017.

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Nice talk with my friend in my dream, the late U.S. Congressman K. Mark Takai.


I woke up this morning of Thursday January 5, 2017 from a wonderful dream in which I had a great talk with Congressman K. Mark Takai who I became friends with while I was a student government leader at the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (ASUH) and Mark was a young newly elected politician in the Hawaii State House of Representatives. In my dream, Mark and I were talking in his old townhouse in Waiau, Pearl City on Oahu, Hawaii.  We were smiling and laughing like the times when we first met.

At one point we were lying down and staring at the ceiling as we chatted.  It was like before I got elected into the Hawaii State House of Representatives, which distanced our relationship because I was part of the faction aligned with Hawaii House Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say, a family friend and friend of my late grandfather Maurice Karamatsu.  Speaker Say married the daughter of grandpa Karamatsu’s really close friend Stephen Kotake, founder of Kotake Shokai, an import company, and a leader at Jodo Shu Hawaii with my grandfather.  I became good friends with Speaker Say, and I know that was hard on Mark because his faction was trying to take over the House from him.

Well in my dream, Mark and I were friends like before the whole political faction issue.  Prior to Mark passing away on July 20, 2016, I had called his cell phone and left a heartfelt message for him.  I’m not sure if he listened to it.  I’m hoping that he did.  It’s for this reason that I never felt closure with Mark because I wanted him to know that I really enjoyed our times together and that I cared deeply for him as my friend even though we ended up in opposite political factions.  In my dream, it felt so good because I knew that the politics didn’t matter anymore to him – all that mattered was our friendship.  That was the talk I wanted to have before Mark passed away.  I miss him.

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War Tore Me Apart


War tore me apart.

Anger took over my heart,

until I met you.

– Jon Riki Karamatsu, 11/19/2016, Haiku #33 –

[My 2nd novel that I’m working on inspired me to write this Haiku poem.]

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I dedicate this picture of pink clouds and song to my friend Representative Clift Tsuji.


I’m crying as I type this entry in dedication to my friend Clift Tsuji, Hawaii State Representative from Hilo, Hawaii. He passed away today, November 15, 2016. He had an amazing life as a politician, banker, and businessman. Below, you will see a picture of pink clouds among blues skies that I took yesterday, just after I found out Rep. Tsuji was taken to the hospital. I also dedicate the song below to Rep. Tsuji, “Shelter” by Porter Robinson & Madeon. The lyrics touches¬†my heart: “It’s a long way forward, trust in me. I’ll give them shelter, like you’ve done for me. And I know I’m not alone, you’ll be watching over us until you’re gone.”

I will continue to seek your guidance as I carry on forward.

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Rep. Clift. Tsuji & Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu during conferences.

I will miss my dear friend Clift Tsuji, Hawaii State Representative from Hilo, Hawaii. This is one of my favorite pictures of Representative Clift Tsuji and I – caught candidly as we were in the middle of conference hearings while I was serving as a Hawaii State Representative. I enjoyed my time with him, our travels to Japan, and collaborating with him in creating laws and programs. When I ran for Lt. Governor, he had me sleep at his house in Hilo, Hawaii. After I left politics, Rep. Tsuji supported my private sector projects and gave me valuable encouragement. We regularly hung out or had meals with friends. One of my funniest moments with him was when he tried to introduce me to a girl in a shopping mall in Japan, and I literally ran away. He would always tell everyone how I sprinted and leaped away in the busy mall. It’s hard to believe that I can’t talk with him anymore, but I know he will still be with me as I proceed forward.

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Rep. Clift Tsuji Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say, & Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu at the 2009 Legislative Opening Day on Jan. 21, 2009.

Rep. Clift Tsuji, Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say and Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu

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At Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin Bon Dance

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Rep. Clift Tsuji, Kazue Uehara, Rep. Jerry L. Chang, and Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu

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Please Vote For My Friends


Please vote my friends Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith M. Kaneshiro, Rep. Ken Ito, and Rep. Clift Tsuji.

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Please vote for my friends Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say. In 2006-2007, Kirk was House Majority Leader and I was House Vice Speaker under Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say.555319_10151268686842732_1446812851_n

 

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