Jan Kawabata (1954-2016)

Jan was the T&T Chairperson for almost 30 of its 35 years. On June 18, 2016, TEMARI threw a party for the artists and volunteers who have supported T&T. There was only one speech, presented by Grant Kagimoto, President of TEMARI’s Board. Here it is, in brief:

“Through T&T, TEMARI has shown the public the results of people taking its classes, workshops, trips, and being inspired by TEMARI’s vision of the arts of Asia and the Pacific. The leading light of T&T has been Jan Kawabata. When I think of Jan, I can’t help but think of all the many TEMARI activities she’s been involved with, starting with the duo of Jan and her mother Judy’s devotion to the Center, Boy’s Day at the Waikiki Aquarium, the hundreds of Board and committee meetings she attended. And, most of all, helping to structure and keep fresh T&T. I realize most crafters claim to like challenge and change, but most of us aren’t as flexible as we think. Monku, monku, monku. (Grumble, grumble, grumble.) But, unlike many of us, Jan has been willing to try to look at T&T with fresh eyes, and seek constant improvement. Without her leadership, T&T would have become obsolete years ago. We all owe Jan a big Mahalo.”

Here are some of Jan’s innovations for T&T:

  • Juried screening of artists to sustain T&T’s reputation for presenting only the best of uncommon creations.

  •  Maintained the By Invitation Only policy. Although this eventually reduced the number of vendors, T&T’s reputation continues to be regarded as the premier craft fair.

  • Introduced the Members Only Preview. Added complimentary coffee and pastries during this private shopping hour for TEMARI members and T&T artists.

  • Invited fellow non-profit organizations, such as the JCCH, Bamboo Ridge Press, Pacific Asian Affairs Council, The Autism Society, Moiliili Community Center Seniors, Hui O Laulima, and the Pacific Potters Guild, at no charge, to sell their wares, sharing the buying power of a supportive customer base. Jan is credited with more out-of-the-box original plans during her many years of service to TEMARI:

  • Established the committee to select an artist to attend the annual summer workshop in traditional Japanese papermaking in Tokushima at the Fuji Paper Mill.

  • Created an activity kit for keiki tourists complete with supplies.

  • Directed the production of hundreds of 3’ tall Grand Kadomatsu, with their red and white noshi paper tags.

  • Taught box-making classes after learning this Edo Period craft from Ekiguchi Sensei.

  • Named the new partnership with the Hawaii Japanese Center in Hilo, “hand in hand”.

Jan passed away on August 29, 2016.

Original Article Poested - October 24, 2016

Noelani Kimura