By Maui Now Staff
Deron Furukawa will receive the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui’s prestigious Nihon Bunka Award at its annual Shinnen Enkai  (New Year’s) dinner, the group announced today, Wednesday, Jan. 7.
The celebration will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24, in the Elleair Rainbow Room at the Maui Beach Hotel.
The Nihon Bunka award recognizes individuals for their excellence, contributions to the Japanese arts and culture, and for their unselfish willingness to share their talents with the community.
Furukawa is a sandan (third-degree) blackbelt. Since he started learning karate in 1985, his life has been dedicated to the art of shotokan karate under education by the Japan Karate Association.
JKA education is the only legal karate entity approved by the Japanese government, and is known as the “Keeper of the Highest Tradition of Karate.”
In 1995, Furukawa began teaching as an assistant to his sensei, Ted Kesaji, and in 2003, under Sensei Ricky Supnet. Deron took over as chief instructor of his yakudoshi in 2011. After about 30 years of practicing the art to over 100 students, Furukawa’s karate career became not just a club, an art or sport, but a way of life.
“Teaching karate and seeing my students flourish in life is most rewarding to me,” said Furukawa.
More than the fitness, self-defense and knowledge gained from understanding the combat capability of one’s body, the students learn about character development, such as humility, hard work, loyalty, and respect.
Furukawa, along with the former chief instructors of Maui Karate Association, does not receive any monetary fee for the substantial amount of time dedicated to karate. It is a club where all the time and resources go back to the students and in promoting karate.
The Shinnen Enkai will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the traditional otoso (sake welcome) with no-host cocktail hour to follow. Dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Tickets are $50 for adults, and $20 for children ages 6 to 11. Children ages 5 and under will be admitted at no charge.
Tickets are available through the Maui Box Shop and Credit Associates in Wailuku, and Sanrio at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center until Monday, Jan. 19. Tickets are limited and will not be sold at the door.
For more information, call Yuki Lei Sugimura at 870-8047 or Lynn Araki-Regan at 280-1299.