Council Member/Leader (and JALD alumni) Dr. Judy Sakaki was just appointed to be the President of Sonoma State University in California! She will assume her role on July 1. See the press release here and her media interview here.
On January 29, Keizai Silicon Valley--a U.S.-Japan Business Forum focused on Silicon Valley--honored Kathy Matsui, Member of the USJC(J) Board of Councilors, with an Economic Innovation Award. Ms. Matsui was honored with her father, Mr. Andy Matsui, "the Orchid King" who in turn received the Keizai Silicon Valley Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in the flower industry. The awards were presented as part of Keizai Silicon Valley's Shinnenkai, and was followed by a dialog between the father and daughter about entrepreneurship, Japanese values and more.
The late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye was honored by the Government of Israel with the naming of a defense facility this month. A Jerusalem high school has also started a scholarship in Sen. Inouye's name, recognizing the Japanese American leader's role in strengthening U.S.-Israel relations.
Mr. Kelley with Ambassador Sasae and his wife Ms. Karen Duggan (Photo courtesy of NAJAS)
Congratulations to Friend of the Council Peter Kelley, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS), who received the Foreign Minister's Commendation last month! His award was for "play[ing] a key role in expanding and strengthening the network" of NAJAS and "greatly contribut[ing] to the advancement of mutual understanding and goodwill between Japan and the United States at the grassroots level." He received the award at a ceremony at the Ambassador's Residence on December 10. For more information, click here.
Council Member/Leader Janelle Sasaki and Associate Yuta Hasumi were recently featured in the Japanese magazine President Woman for their work in diversity. Here is the article with Ms. Sasaki (in Japanese only). Mr. Hasumi was featured as a male diversity champion, and emphasized that it was important that both genders be involved in discussions of diversity and inclusion.
USJC Board Member Donna Cole was featured in The Houston Chronicle for her work with Pantheon of Women, a company that produces independent films. Their first film, I Dream Too Much, was just shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this past Sunday. Ms. Cole and others founded Pantheon of Women to produce "film and television that change the way women are perceived by men and the way women perceive themselves."
On October 2, Council Member Julie Azuma was presented with the 2015 Consul General's Commendation by Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi. She was supported by many USJC Members including Board Member Frederick Katayama and Council Members Patricia Kozu, Nancy Matsumoto, Susan Onuma, Toko Serita and Grant Ujifusa. During the event, she spoke about her work with USJC; Japanese Americans, Japanese in America (JAJA); the Japanese American Association (JAA); and Different Roads to Learning, the business she founded that focuses on bringing educational materials to children diagnosed with autism and special needs.
For more information on Ms. Azuma or the Commendation, please read the Consulate General's press release.
On September 9, the American Jewish Committee Asia Pacific Institute
and the U.S.-Japan Council jointly held a private reception at the Manhattan home of AJC President Stanley Bergman and Dr. Marion Bergman. The reception featured Dr. Susumu "Sus" Ito, a 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran who was a Second Lieutenant of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) (U.S.). Dr. Ito shares stories of his youth
The 522nd FAB, composed entirely of Japanese Americans, was part of the U.S. forces that discovered and liberated the Dachau concentration camp system from the Nazis during World War II, freeing thousands of Jewish survivors.
Dr. Ito, who is 96 years old, is a member of USJC and a professor emeritus of Harvard Medical School. During the event, he shared many of the thousands of photographs he took during the war. His story captivated the audience of over forty leaders of Japanese American, Japanese and Jewish American communities in New York City, including the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.(L-R) Board Member Gary Moriwaki, Director of the AJC Asia Pacific Institute Shira Loewenberg, AJC Executive Director Dr. Marion Bergman, AJC President Stanley Bergman, Dr. Ito, and USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye
The following afternoon, USJC convened a luncheon with a few Council Members and friends, where Dr. Ito expanded on his stories and personally engaged with those who were present. The reception and the luncheon reflect USJC's commitment to strengthen the diversity of leaders involved in the U.S.-Japan relationship.(L-R) Ms. Hirano Inouye; Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul General of Japan in New York; Dr. Ito; and Council Member Julie Azuma reflect during the luncheon
On August 18, Council Member Lori Matsukawa was named a recipient of the Foreign Minister's Commendation. The anchor of KING-TV in Seattle helped establish the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington in 2003, and participated in the 2004 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program. The Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle announced her award with high praise, noting that her "congeniality and persistence in both her professional and personal pursuits have forged close friendships and new connections on both sides of the Pacific."
She joins the ranks of New York-based USJC members Gary Moriwaki and Susan Onuma, who received the commendation last year. For more information, please see theannouncement by the Seattle Consulate.