Two local contractors, Kametaro Fujimoto and Sanzo Kawasaki, started Hawai`i Planing Mill, Ltd. in 1921. Since then five-generations of Fujimotos have directed HPM. Today, Bobby Fujimoto (Kametaro’s grandson) serves on the HPM Board of Directors as Chairman Emeritus and his son, Mike Fujimoto is the President and CEO. Mike’s son, Jason Fujimoto, is HPM’s Vice President and COO.
With strong Japanese roots still present in the 94-year old company, HPM Building Supply along with Isemoto Contracting were honored as Nikkei Kigyo at the Nikkei Kigyo Fundraising Dinner by the Japanese Community Association of Hawai`i.
“We are very pleased to honor HPM Building Supply and Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd., two outstanding Nikkei Kigyo (enterprise of Japanese ancestry) businesses in East Hawai`i who have thrived because of their gambare (never give up) spirit, hard work, perseverance and the very important role both companies continue to play in our community and to recognize our first scholarship recipients,” said Roland Higashi, Nikkei Kigyo chairperson. [hawaiitribune-herald.com]
Some event highlights included the ceremonial breaking of the giant sake cask, a banzai toast and several back-in-the-day stories of Larry Isemoto and Bobby Fujimoto, who grew up together.
HPM also created a 10-minute video which was shown during the event. The video signifies HPM’s journey over these past 94-years.