Paniolo Preservation Society Honors the Japanese Cowboy on Sat., Feb. 4 during Waimea’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

DISTINGUISHED PANIOLO KEPANI – Among Hawai’i’s paniolo who are legendary for their achievements and contributions are surnames such as Kimura, Horie, Yamaguchi, Kawamoto, Onaka, Kato, Fujii, Yamasaki, Fujitani, Hokama, Nakata, Goto, Hamada, Morifuji and Yoshimatsu.  Pictured here is the late Yoshi Kawamoto, who went on to become Superintendent of the Kohala Division for Parker Ranch, and both he and his brother, Masa, were noted horsemen.  He is also the father of Alvin Kawamoto who today is one of the state’s master Hawaiian Tree saddlemakers.  Yoshi is pictured here with guitar in hand – while romancing his sweetheart, Margaret, who became his wife.  Stories and archival photos such as this honoring “Paniolo Kepani – Hawai’i’s Japanese Cowboys” will be shared during Saturday’s festivities at the new Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables hosted by the Paniolo Preservation Society.  Festivities at Pukalani will begin with a Cowboy Breakfast from 8-10 a.m. prepared by members of the Beamer-Solomon Halau O Po’ohala – a multi-generational ranch family.  Tickets for breakfast will be a $12 donation and are available at Kamuela Liquor Store, Parker Ranch Store and at the door on a first come basis.  A new addition to activities at Pukalani on Cherry Blossom Festival day will be a tasting of two hand-crafted beers from Waimea’s new award-winning microbrewery — Big Island Brewhaus – from 11 am until the kegs run dry.  Also on the schedule will be a Hawaiian Tree Saddle Exhibit and talk story by Yoshi Kawamoto’s son, Alvin, with Sonny Keakealani, plus an exhibit featuring other Japanese cowboys of note.  Guests also are invited to learn to play the popular Japanese card game, Hana Fuda, with Milton Yamasaki and friends with a group that plays this game regularly at Tutu’s House.  Everyone is invited to Pukalani Stables Saturday – most activities including the beer tasting are free.
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