Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

Konnichi-wa and Aloha!

The first Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival was held on Friday, July 15, 2022 at the Royal Grove Stage in Waikīkī's Royal Hawaiian Center.

Steel guitarists participating in this first-ever event included Matt Kobayashi, Noriko and Shuji Tomita, the Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble (Haruko Ozeki, Masakao Wakamatsu, and Sakae Machida), and Kiyoshi "Lion"Kobayashi. Emcee for the festival was KZOO Hawai‘i-Japanese radio personality Maggie Jackson.

2022 Festival Performers
2022 Festival Performers: Front from left: Emcee Maggie Jackson, Matt Kobayashi, Kiyoshi "Lion"Kobayashi, Noriko Tomita, Shuji Tomita. Rear: Masako Wakamatsu, Sakae Machida, Alan Akaka, Hula Dancer Kapuanani, Haruko Ozeki.

The Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is a collaborative project between HIMELE and Japanese steel guitar planners to bring Japanese steel guitar players to Honolulu to showcase their talents. The Royal Hawaiian Center is providing the Royal Grove Stage and other support for this project.

The festival is a culmination of years of planning with Hawai‘i and Japanese planners, including Japanese steel guitarist Tadashi Arakawa who passed away earlier this year. The festival will be dedicated to him in his honor.

The 2022 festival was a part of the weeklong 2022 Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week, a celebration of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar that was held during the week of July 11-16, 2022.

2022 Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Poster
2022 Festival Poster