Council Leader Fred Katayama opens the event (All photos by Joy Asico)
On April 6, Council Leader Fred Katayama moderated a panel discussion hosted by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) USA. This was part of an event called "Evolution of American Perceptions on Japan: Through Film," and examined how movies such as Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Boy, The Last Samurai, and Lost in Translation portray Japanese history and culture, World War II, Japanese stereotypes and much more. Joining him on the panel was producer and director Yoko Narahashi, who spoke on cultural diplomacy at the 2015 USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo. The panel also featured Ms. Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mr. Jeffrey Lyons, an Emmy Award-winning movie critic.
Besides the film panel, the event also welcomed as keynote speaker Mr. Masanori "Mashi" Murakami, Former Major League Baseball (MLB) Player for the San Francisco Giants. He recounted how, as the first Japanese MLB player who arrived in the United States in the 1960s, he faced challenges in adjusting to the language and culture. But the Japanese American community welcomed him with open arms, and said that his achievements in baseball helped them heal from their struggles during and after the war. Mr. Murakami reiterated that he truly loved playing in the United States and would have loved to stay, had it not been for a promise he had made to his Japanese manager.
The speakers from the event gather after the event
For additional information regarding this event, please see the SPFUSA summary here.