SuperCity: It’s a Tsutakawa!

Nov. 6, 2013 | 0 Comments


BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Zana Tsutakawa, right, with artist David Choe at NextDoor in 2006. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Zana Tsutakawa, right, with artist David Choe at NextDoor in 2006. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

It was so awesome last week to get an e-mail from Kizamu Tsutakawa. It’s been years since I heard that name – the little brother of one of my closest friends in Hawaii, Zana Tsutakawa.

There was a time about nine years ago when there was nothing I didn’t do without Zana. If I wasn’t at my house, I was at hers watching her cook (always chop the onion first, no matter what you’re going to make) or watching her roommate, Joseph Paahana, draw. There was a warming spirit that enveloped me in their Kaimuki home that filled the void of living here without a family, and I found myself over there more than anywhere else.

When I first started getting wrapped up in going out, she was right there with me and totally rocked it. A clothing designer originally from Seattle, we made a quick but long-lasting close connection.

Zana and Tui at 808 Skate in Kailua last week. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Zana and Tui at 808 Skate in Kailua last week. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

We shared similar backgrounds, each of us growing up in the Pacific Northwest and raised by creative parents. We both found ourselves in Hawaii not wanting to leave and doing whatever it took to make a life here.

Zana has an effortless style and is truly unique and impossible to emulate — even though I tried many times. All the promoters loved her back then.

Zana ended up getting married to 808 Skate founder and filmmaker Chuck Mitsui in 2010 and together they work in Kailua and live in Ka‘a‘awa. It might be a bit more of a drive than Kaimuki, but at least I still get to see them.

Last week I had a golf tournament at Mid-Pac Country Club, so I got to have lunch with them and see their new son, Tui Takehiko Mitsui, aka The Most Beautiful Baby Boy in the World.

Zana’s little brother, a soccer coach in Seattle, is also the manager of west coast reggae band Kore Ionz and is bringing them back to Hawaii for a show at NextDoor this weekend. I can’t wait to see him. I bet he’s a hundred feet taller now.


» Where: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
» When: 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8
» Cost: $10; 18+
» Info:

Kore Ionz front man Daniel Pak is an ‘Iolani grad with a nuclear engineering background who has taken his rich love for music and social responsibility and parlayed that into a seasoned and very diverse roots and reggae band. Just as The Green is warmly welcomed in Seattle, Hawaii will no doubt love their infectious energy when performing on stage.

The seven-member band has been together for more than five years and devotes their spare time to teach and enrich children. The band also donates much of their proceeds from shows to nonprofits that support youth programs.

It will be a welcome break from a world of chaos to enjoy these guys on stage this Friday and to share their passion for positivity.
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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