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.
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
Mr. Iijima speaking at the 2014 USJC Annual Conference
We are happy to welcome Mr. Masami Iijima, Chairman and Director of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., as a Member of the Board of Councilors. Mr. Iijima joined Mitsui in 1974, and after several leadership roles in Japan and abroad, became President & CEO in April 2009. In October 2014, he was a Keynote Speaker at the 2014 USJC Annual Conference (watch his speech here). He became Chairman and Director on April 1, 2015. We are grateful for Mr. Iijima's support and look forward to working with him in the years to come.
The wonderful news continues! On January 13, USJC Council Member Emily Murase was elected to serve as President of the San Francisco School Board. She became the first President of Japanese ancestry in the San Francisco School Board's 160+ year history.
Read more in this press release from the San Francisco School Board.
Great news to start a good year: USJC member Paul Yonamine is named President of IBM Japan (Read here)!
For a more detailed profile on Paul and his career so far, check out this Nikkei Shimbun article in Japanese.
(L to R) Judge Ichiko Suzuki, Judge Takehiro Yasunaga, Judge Patrick Oishi, Judge Kunitaka Iwasaki and Masahiro Hosono in Judge Oishi's courtroom
During December 2014, U.S.-Japan Council Member Judge Patrick Oishi of Seattle had the pleasure and distinction of meeting with judges and a public prosecutor from Japan, who were doing research and study of criminal law and jury trials in the United States. Earlier in 2014, Judge Oishi met with a different group of judges from Japan, who were also studying criminal law issues.
Judge Oishi, who currently serves as the Assistant Chief Criminal Judge of King County Superior Court, held two meetings with Kunitaka Iwasaki, Judge of Osaka District Court, Takehiro Yasunaga, Judge of Kagoshima District Court, Ichiko Suzuki, Judge of Sendai District Court, and Masahiro Hosono, Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office. The meetings focused on a comparison of the U.S. jury trial system and the Saiban-in (Lay Judges) system in Japan, as well as criminal procedure and evidence issues in the two countries. Judge Oishi and his colleagues from Japan engaged in a very educational and enlightening discussion and comparison of the two criminal justice systems.
After the final meeting, Judge Oishi hosted the Japanese Judges and public prosecutor to a dinner on the Seattle waterfront. Fellow U.S.-Japan Council Member and attorney Lynn Hashimoto joined the group for dinner. Everyone enjoyed a very nice evening of delicious food, good conversation and camaraderie.
(L to R) Judge Ichiko Suzuki, Lynn Hashimoto, Masahiro Hosono, Judge Patrick Oishi, Judge Kunitaka Iwasaki and Judge Takehiro Yasunaga on the Seattle waterfront.
Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi were featured in Japan Times! Their documentary, Stories From Tohoku, reflects on how Japanese Americans saw and responded to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
On July 26th, USJC Board Member James Higa was featured in the Asahi Shimbun in an opinion piece titled "James Higa: Where Are the New Nomos in the Japanese Business World?" Mr. Higa stressed the economical and intellectual importances of Silicon Valley to America and Japan. James Higa has worked closely on the U.S.-Japan Council's Silicon Valley-Japan Platform, creating a "key to the future of the Japanese economy," for not only tech professionals but for every discipline or industry. The US-Japan Council’s Silicon Valley-Japan Platform is a new initiative aimed at tapping into Japanese innovation by strengthening ties between small- and medium-sized firms and the global-leading resources of Silicon Valley.
This Asahi Shimbun article is about the 2016 USJC Annual Conference. To continue reading the article, please click here.
Great news for the new year: Council Member Roy Amemiya has been appointed to be Managing Director of the City and County of Honolulu! Roy has worked for the city before and returns with his experience as CEO and President of ‘Ôlelo Community Television.
For more information and the official press release, please read here.
Donna Cole, an advisory board member at the University of St. Thomas, helped guide the festival in celebration of St. Thomas' new course offerings on U.S.-Japan relations. She was assisted by several USJC Members and alumni of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.