Honolulu holding company buys Japanese visitor publication
AN operating unit of Honolulu holding company aio Group
has purchased Hawaii-Ai, a venerable Japanese-language magazine serving visitors to Hawaii.
ID8, which is 40 percent-owned by aio, purchased the assets of Hawaii-Ai from Stone Publishing Co. Inc., which launched the magazine in 1981 as the Japanese Guide to Hawaii.
The purchase price and terms were not disclosed.
"Hawaii-Ai has a long and proud history and it will be a good fit for ID8," said Duane Kurisu, aio chairman and chief executive officer. He is also a minority investor in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Hawaii-Ai's staff of six has been retained by ID8. Former associate publisher Isabel Figel will help in the transition and will then pursue other interests, said Raymond Nishiyaga, president of ID8.
ID8 and its Obun Hawaii operating unit, "as a combined group," has retained a strong presence in publishing for the Japanese visitor market since Obun Hawaii was sold by its Japan-based parent in about 2000, he said.
Its former Aloha Street title, a quarterly Japanese-language visitor magazine also launched in 1981, stayed behind and has since been published by Wincubic.com, a company once related to Obun Hawaii.
Its purchase of Hawaii-Ai creates an interesting wrinkle in the highly competitive Japanese visitor publication landscape.
Hawaii-Ai claims distribution of 660,000 copies a year, versus Aloha Street's 500,000 copies a year. Aloha Street also publishes a thrice-yearly Big Island edition with distribution of 150,000 copies per year.
The monthly Hawaii-Ai "will stay that way for now," Nishigaya said. Publishing a Big Island edition is "a possibility," but that would be down the line, he said.
Changes may be made to the Hawaii-Ai Web site, but right now the company is focused on a smooth transition.
While aio publishes several titles, including Honolulu magazine and Hawaii Business magazine, visitor publications are new turf, said John Alves, president of PacificBasin Communications LLC, a magazine publishing unit of aio.
"We have a major interest in the Japanese market," he said.
Meanwhile, PacificBasin has promoted David Tumilowicz to publisher of Hawaii Business magazine, from his previous position of senior account executive.
Tumilowicz will expand the publication and develop new market opportunities, he said.
Hawaii Business claims readership of more than 75,000 and has been in publication since 1955.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com