Chrysanthemum Festival queen crowned

Erin Ellyse Ruri Murashige, a junior at Baldwin High School, was crowned queen of the 61st Chrysanthemum Festival, which is sponsored by Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans.

The Wailuku resident is the daughter of Joyce and the late Clyde Murashige.

Murashige also won the festival’s third annual essay contest, in which contestants are asked to write about Japanese core values.

The first prize was a $500 scholarship.

The festival was held Nov. 30 at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.

The queen of the event is the candidate who raises the most funds for the sponsor. The candidates are students at Maui high schools.

The total amount raised at the event was not announced.

The proceeds will help to provide scholarships in partnership with the Maui AJA Veterans Inc. and to conduct historical-preservation programs associated with the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center.

The princesses in this year’s court were Kaitlin Elizabeth Kim of Kahului, a senior at St. Anthony Junior-Senior High School and the daughter of John D. and Catherine Nobriga Kim; Chaelynn April Love Misay-Serrano of Lahaina, freshman at Lahainaluna High School and the daughter of Luis Serrano and Chamille Misay-Serrano; and Reagan Diana of Pukalani, junior at King Kekaulike High School and the daughter of Rupert and Lorene Diana.

The festival, which was known until 2006 as the Chrysanthemum Ball, is a Japanese cultural event. It was founded by the Maui AJA Veterans Inc., whose first members were Americans of Japanese ancestry returned from World War II service. Most had served with the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service.

Festival proceeds funded scholarships, community activities and support for the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center.

The veterans turned over the festival to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans in 2008.