By Léo Azambuja

Hui o Mapuana’s Hula Nani of Japan

The grounds of the Courtyard by Marriott in Waipouli became the stage for Ho‘onani Hula Celebration — A Lei of Kaua‘i Stars, featuring a string of Kaua‘i and Japan kumu hula Feb. 22.

The evening kicked off with a blessing by Kahu Chucky Boy Chock followed by an oli and kahiko by Kumu Hula Troy Allen Hinano.

The event, stacked with several of Kaua‘i’s best kumu hula, was a cultural exchange between Japan and Kaua‘i. Japan’s Kumu Hula Mapuana Kazama brought her Hui o Mapuana’s Hula Nani from Machida, Odwara and Fuji. The Ukulele Paradise band from Japan also performed to the sold-out audience.

Art Umezu and Lady Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreira were the evening’s emcees. Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. also joined the event, and even performed on stage. This was the first Ho‘onani Hula Celebration, but the idea is for it to become an annual celebration.