U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter
May 1st, 2015
1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Visit to Washington, DC
In case you missed it, here is our insight into Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington, DC this week. We'll have further reports on his visit to other regions, including Silicon Valley!
2. Other Recent Events
Stories from Tohoku Screening and Portland Membership Event
Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi discussing their film, "Stories from Tohoku"
Over 100 people gathered for the "Stories from Tohoku" screening in Portland, Oregon on April 17. Stories from Tohoku (produced by Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi), captures the strength, resilience, grace and acceptance of the survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Tohoku.
Following the film showing, Ms. Fukami and Ms. Nakatomi discussed the film and took questions from the audience. Local individuals who have strong relations to Tohoku, Mr. Ed Jahn and Ms. Kate O'Berg, also spoke. Mr. Jahn is a journalist who has been covering Tohoku's recovery. Ms. O'Berg visited the area after the earthquake as a volunteer but stayed in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture (sister city of her hometown in Oregon) for close to three years to work as an English teacher and cultural ambassador.
(L-R) Mr. Hiroshi Furusawa, Consul General of Japan in Portland; Mr. Kaz Maniwa, USJC Senior Vice President; Council Members Dianne Fukami, Mari Watanabe, Debra Nakatomi and Herb Yamamoto
Japan Festival Houston
From April 18 to 19, Japan Festival Houston was held at Hermann Park, Houston. USJC was a sponsor, and several members attended, including Council Member Glen Gondo, and Associate Members Dana Heatherton, Kei Ashizawa and Ginger Vaughn. Special thanks to Board Member Donna Cole, and thank you to everyone who helped coordinate the event!
Houston Consul General Nozomu Takaoka speaking at the opening ceremony
More photos of the opening ceremony are available here.
Here is a recap video of the festival. See more photos and videos at the Japan Festival Houston Facebook page.
Japan Festival Boston
On April 26, Japan Festival Boston took place in Boston Common. USJC was a sponsor of this event, and had a booth there. More than 150 people stopped by and enjoyed calligraphy and learning Japanese. Many people are interested in knowing more about future programs and networking opportunities with USJC in Boston. Special thanks to Associate Member Mio Yamamoto for managing the booth, and to Board Member Atsuko Fish!
Associate Member Mio Yamamoto (left) led the USJC booth
3. TOMODACHI News Corner
New TOMODACHI Video
Click on the image below to see the newly updated TOMODACHI video!
2015 Junior Fellows Experience American Life and Learn about Leadership in New York
Council Member Teddy Yoshikami (center) with Junior Fellows at the American Museum of Natural History
The 2015 TOMODACHI Japan Society Junior Fellows participants are ten outstanding high school students from Miyagi, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Nara, Miyazaki and Saga prefectures. For two weeks through April 2, the Fellows stayed with host families in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, where they attended a local high school.
During their homestay experience, students attended classes, participated in afterschool activities, and toured the area with their host families. Students cooked Japanese food for their hosts, tried preparing American cuisine and were even treated by their host families to Broadway shows, such as Chicago, Aladdin and Les Misérables. Fellows were also responsible for undertaking independent research during their time in the United States. Topics of the independent projects included “Differences between Japanese and American Schools,” “Flowers Will Bloom” (a collaborative song project with host school students for 3/11 Disaster), and “American and Japanese High School Students’ Opinions on Terrorism.”
At the end of their host family stay, Fellows reconvened in New York City for a leadership retreat. Over the course of the retreat, Fellows met with leaders, presented on their projects, visited local universities and toured the United Nations headquarters and other sites.
Council Member Julie Azuma (left) with Junior Fellows at the Leaders' Lunch
Many USJC members welcomed the students in unique ways. Council Member Teddy Yoshikami gave the students a behind‐the‐scenes tour of the American Museum of Natural History. USJC Board Member Fred Katayama welcomed the students to the Reuters studio in Times Square. They were joined for dinner by Council Member Rona Tison following a meeting with the President of ITO EN Yosuke Honjo, also a Council Member, at his office in Brooklyn. And Council Member Julie Azuma attended a "Leaders' Lunch" with the participants, where she shared her story as a female entrepreneur. The exchange concluded with a special day trip to Philadelphia, PA for an introduction to U.S. history, tours of landmarks and lunch at City Tavern, which features meals created with recipes from the 18th century.
This is the second year of this impactful program. "This program was a major turning point in my life and made me think about my future," one of the participants said. "Listening to leaders’ experiences, my own direction became clearer than ever. In addition, like the leaders we met with, I now want to be able to nurture younger generations based on my own experiences." Some of this year’s Fellows have also expressed an interest in meeting with their U.S. counterparts during their visit to Japan this July.
Junior Fellows share their presentations
2015 Annual Conference: English and Japanese-language registration sites both live!
The English and Japanese-language registration sites for the 2015 Annual Conference are both live now!
This year's Conference will be held from November 9 to 10 in Tokyo, Japan at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, with select Board Member activities occurring at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. Special reservation rates are available at three Tokyu Hotels properties in the local Tokyo area. American Airlines is the official airline of the U.S.-Japan Council and is the only airline that allows you to check in two complimentary bags to Japan while offering competitively low rates. Please see the AA link below to make your airline reservations. IACE Travel is also offering special travel packages, local trips, rail passes and more.
Secure your attendance now while space is still available! Follow the links below and feel free to contact Mr. Shane Graves (firstname.lastname@example.org), Program Manager, for conference schedule and logistics questions.
Corporate Member & Annual Conference Sponsor Information
Annual Conference registration information and sponsorship benefits (as applicable) for Corporate Members and Annual Conference Sponsors will be sent soon. Please contact Ms. Georgette Furukawa-Martinez (email@example.com), Development Director, for sponsorship questions.
Tokyu Hotels reservation page
(please register for the conference or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the access code)
IACE Travel services page
Lastly, the most up-to-date Annual Conference information can be found on the USJC website:
We look forward to seeing you in Tokyo in November!
5. Member News
Yosuke Honjo receives Leadership Award from University of Southern California
Mr. Honjo (right) with Mr. James Ellis, Dean of the Marshall School of Business at USC (Photos courtesy of USC APAA)
On April 10, Council Member Yosuke Honjo was honored by the University of Southern California (USC) Asian Pacific Alumni Association (APAA) with a 2015 Leadership Award. Every year, the APAA pays tribute to distinguished members of the USC community at its annual Scholarship and Awards Gala. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, several USJC Members in the area, and Los Angeles Consul General Harry Horinouchi were among the guests who attended the gala and congratulated Mr. Honjo. He graduated from USC's business school in 1998.
USJC Members at the gala: (L-R) Founding Chairman Tom Iino, Council Members Yuko Kaifu and Frank Buckley, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, Mr. Honjo, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors Gary Moriwaki, Council Member Stan Koyanagi, Senior Director of the USJC(J) Board of Directors David Nishida, Council Member Linda Taira
Bill Tsutsui Inaugurated as President of Hendrix College
Mr. Tsutsui delivering his inaugural address (Photo courtesy of Hendrix College)
On April 18, Hendrix College (Conway, AR) held an inauguration ceremony to officially welcome Council Member Bill Tsutsui as the school's 11th President. (The text of his inaugural address is available here.)
The college paid tribute to him, known affectionately as "Professor Godzilla" (click here to read a NPR article that explores the topic in depth) with an inflatable Godzilla on campus, as well as Godzilla cookies and other celebratory items.
The college brought Godzilla to campus in celebration of his inauguration (Photo courtesy of Hendrix College; more photos are available here. )
The inauguration schedule included the commemoration of a painting on campus by Henry Sugimoto, a Japanese American painter who was interned at Jerome Relocation Camp during World War II. His daughter, Ms. Madeleine Sugimoto, attended the event.
USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye also attended the inauguration ceremony. And as part of the series of related events, she spoke at the University of Arkansas's Clinton School of Public Service. She discussed the power of connections and networks, public service, and Japanese American history. See the video of her speech here, which follows an introduction by Mr. Tsutsui.
Dennis Ogawa receives Commendation from Honolulu Consul General
Mr. Ogawa (right) with Honolulu Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda (Photos courtesy of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu)
On April 23, Council Member Dennis Ogawa received a Commendation from the Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda in Honolulu. Mr. Ogawa was recognized for his efforts in promoting mutual understanding and friendly relations between Japan and the United States, especially through his teaching and research in Japanese American studies.
Mr. Ogawa (front row, center) at the Consulate General
John Okamoto joins Seattle City Council
Congratulations to USJC Member John Okamoto, who was selected as the newest member of the Seattle City Council on April 27! Mr. Okamoto has run three cabinet departments for the City of Seattle, and also served as Executive Director of the Washington Education Association. More information is available in the Seattle City Council's press release.
6. Upcoming Events
May 7 - RAND Policy Forum: "What Is the Future of Security in East Asia?" (Santa Monica)
Date & Time: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 1:00p.m - 5:00p.m.
Venue: RAND Corporation (1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA)
In the wake of Prime Minister Abe's summit with President Obama and historic address to a joint session of Congress, the RAND Corporation will welcome a delegation of senior Japanese national security policy leaders. Along with leading RAND analysts, this delegation will discuss the state of the U.S.-Japan alliance; important changes in Japanese foreign, national security, and defense policies; and security in East Asia. Click here for more information.
May 13 - American History (After Hours) "Sushi for Sale" (Washington, DC)
Date & Time: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 6:00p.m - 8:30p.m.
Venue: Warner Bros. Theater
From the National Museum of American History: How did a Japanese delicacy become an American favorite? Explore the history of sushi in America with award-winning chef Kaz Okochi, Bonny Wolf of American Food Roots, and FoodStory founder Yoko Isassi. Experience sushi-making demonstrations, sake tastings, soy sauce sampling, objects on display, delicious sushi, Japanese-inspired food, and more. Visit the museum website for more information.
June 12 - Congressional Gold Medal Dinner (San Jose)
Date & Time: Friday, June 12, 2015; 6:00p.m Cocktail Reception, 7:00p.m. Dinner
Venue: The Fairmont (170 South Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113)
This dinner supports the Congressional Gold Medal Digital Exhibition, which will highlight the stories of World War II nisei soldiers at the Smithsonian Institution in 2016. The exhibition was inspired by the 2011 awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to three Japanese American units who fought in the war and will feature state-of-the-art digital displays.
The dinner will feature a keynote speech by Secretary Eric Shinseki (former U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs and 34th U.S. Army Chief of Staff) and a presentation on the exhibition planning with the Smithsonian. To purchase tickets to the dinner or to donate, please click here.
Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative
The U.S.-Japan Council is seeking a talented, dynamic individual for the position of Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative. The Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the goals and objectives of the initiative, providing leadership and oversight of program development and management, fundraising, communications and operations for TOMODACHI. The Executive Director will be based in Tokyo and manage the TOMODACHI staff in Japan (currently 8 people), and will work closely with the Senior Vice-President and U.S.-Japan Council staff in the United States. The Executive Director will have the primary responsibility for day-to-day liaising with the U.S. Embassy leadership and staff.
A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website here: http://www.usjapancouncil.org/opportunities.
Marketing and Communications Manager/Specialist, TOMODACHI Initiative
Working under the direction of the Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative in Japan, the Marketing & Communications Manager/Specialist (exact title to be confirmed based on experience of the candidate) plays a critical role in developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing strategy to build and develop the profile and brand of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, recipients of support, other donors and the press. The Marketing & Communications Manager/Specialist will work closely with teams from the U.S.-Japan Council in the United States and Japan, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the implementation of this mission. This position is offered for a one-year contract, with an option for renewal each year.
A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website here: http://www.usjapancouncil.org/opportunities.
Invitation Program for Japanese American Students 2015
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan will sponsor a group of five Japanese American high school students to travel to Japan from June 26 to July 7, 2015 for the opportunity to learn about Japan and to promote mutual understanding and exchanges between Japanese and Japanese American younger generations. Those with multiracial backgrounds and children of first generation Japanese immigrants (“shin issei”) are highly encouraged to apply. This is the seventh group of students to be invited for the program. The itinerary in Japan is scheduled to include a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tours of Tokyo and the Kansai area, and a homestay experience.
Applicants should submit materials to their local consulate general office, or for residents of the Washington DC area, the embassy. Please click here for more information. Application deadline is May 1, 2015.