On February 11, Council Leader Nobuko Saito Cleary received the Foreign Minister's Commendation from Consul General of Japan in San Francisco Jun Yamada. Ms. Saito Cleary received the award for her contribution in promoting Japanese business and Japanese culture in America. She serves as a Board Member of the Japan Society of Northern California.
Upon receiving the award, Ms. Saito Cleary said: "It was a profound decision for me to leave Japan 48 years ago to study English . . . However, I am extremely lucky to be [receiving this] award . . . I think I helped build a bridge between the U.S. and Japan, and that my bridge will become even bigger and stronger with all of my friends' help and support."
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.