The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to helping Hawaii students achieve their educational and career goals by providing scholarships and supporting innovative educational initiatives. Talented entrepreneurs Mamoru and Aiko Takitani, founders of Hawaiian Host, created the Foundation in 1993 to express their appreciation to the people of Hawaii for their support. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $3.7 million dollars in scholarships to deserving students who embody the standards of excellence, innovation and dedication that Mr. and Mrs. Takitani lived by. Since inception, the Foundation has distributed almost $11 million dollars in grants and scholarships.
Born on July 21, 1912 in Yamaguchi, Japan, Mamoru Takitani came to Hawaii in his youth and settled on the island of Maui. In 1936, he married Aiko Uno in Wailuku, Maui. The Takitanis later relocated to Honolulu where Mamoru founded Hawaiian Host – Ellen Dye Candies on January 1, 1960. From its humble beginnings on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, where Mr. Takitani sold candy out of his station wagon, the business thrived and moved into new ventures resulting in greater production, expansion into papaya farming and the establishment of retail and restaurant operations. Under Mr. Takitani’s visionary leadership, Hawaiian Host expanded its activities to Los Angeles, Brazil and Japan. His innovative combination of two things not from Hawaii – European chocolate with Australian macadamia nuts – have become the signature creation of Hawaiian Host, and recognized worldwide as one of Hawaii’s most iconic gifts.
Although Mr. and Mrs. Takitani passed away in 1988 and 2006 respectively, the educational opportunities they created for Hawaii’s students continue today through the Takitani Foundation’s scholarship programs and educational initiatives.