Several USJC members were instrumental in recognizing "Fred Korematsu Day" (January 30, which would have been Mr. Korematsu's 99th birthday this year) in their communities.
Mr. Korematsu was a civil rights activist who fought against Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. Several states recognize January 30 as "Fred Korematsu Day," which is the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States. (Google also honored him with a Google Doodle last year, which was widely shared.)
This year, New York City held its inaugural celebration. Last December, the New York City Council passed a resolution to establish January 30th as an annual observance. Speakers at the event included Council Leader Julie Azuma (who is a Founding Member of the New York Day of Remembrance Committee) and Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. Several USJC members attended, including those who are affiliated with Japanese American organizations that co-sponsored the event. (Click here to read the announcement by JapanCulture-NYC.com (run by Council Leader Susan Hamaker) and here to read a post in The New York Times.)
Separately, Council Leader Ken Russell, who is Commissioner of the City of Miami, issued a proclamation that January 30th would be Fred Korematsu Day in Miami (pictured in the screenshot below with Council Leader Jose Fuentes (right of Mr. Russell)).
Member of the Legacy Council Colbert Matsumoto was featured in The Hawaii Herald for receiving The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette from the Government of Japan. Consul General of Japan in Honolulu Koichi Ito presented Mr. Matsumoto with the Imperial Decoration last month. Mr. Matsumoto was recognized for his involvement in the Japanese and Japanese American community and U.S.-Japan relations, including his fundraising efforts to aid those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Island Holdings Inc., where Mr. Matsumoto is president and chairman, was a key sponsor in the 2017 Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit, which accelerated regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections to Hawaii.
Council Leader Duane Kurisu, Chairman and CEO of the aio Group, is the driving force behind Kahauiki Village, a community of affordable housing units in Hawaii. The first families moved in last week.
Japan played a role in making this possible: the prefabricated, modular homes come from Tohoku, and previously housed those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Earlier this month, Japanese dignitaries paid a visit, praising the initiative.
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii (left) was among the Japanese dignitaries who visited the community. Mr. Kurisu is third from right.
Inspired by the plantation community culture, Kahauiki Village provides family-friendly services like child care and preschool facilities, and keeps utility costs low through a microgrid that stores solar energy in batteries. It is meant to provide long-term housing and opportunities for homeless families in transitional housing. (Read more about Mr. Kurisu's vision here (Hawaii Home + Remodeling is published by aio.)) When completed, the community will include 153 homes, with rents about 50% below the market rate, and nearby employers will provide jobs within walking distance.
This large-scale public-private partnership is the result of collaboration among government entities (including the State of Hawaii, the City & County of Honolulu, the U.S. Navy and the Hawaii Army National Guard) and dozens of companies, including several led by or affiliated with USJC members, such as aio, iQ 360, Hawaiian Electric Company, HPM Building Supply and Y. Hata & Co., Ltd.
The community has received extensive media coverage, including Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Magazine, and KITV. Congratulations to Mr. Kurisu and everyone involved in the project!
Congratulations to Member of the USJC Board of Councilors John Onoda, who will receive the 2018 Larry Foster Award from Pennsylvania State University's Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication! Mr. Onoda is recognized for his distinguished career in communications, and for being an ethical leader in the corporate communications field. See this page for more details.
Congratulations to Member of the Legacy Council Colbert Matsumoto, who received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette last month from the Government of Japan (pictured below). He was recognized for strengthening and promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States in the fields of economic and scientific technology.
Mr. Matsumoto (front row, second from right) and Consul General Ito, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu (front row, second from left) with family
Four other Council Leaders also received decorations as part of the 2017 Autumn Conferment. In San Francisco, Member of the Legacy Council Allen Okamoto and Council Leader Gary Mukai received decorations for their work in promoting regional exchange and educational exchange, respectively, between the two countries. Council Leaders Paul Watanabe and Kerry Hada received decorations in Boston and Denver for their contributions to U.S.-Japan relations as Japanese American leaders. We congratulate these five leaders!
Council Leader Janelle Sasaki and Associate Yuta Hasumi served as panelists at the Hays Asia Gender Diversity Event on November 30 in Tokyo. Hays is a professional and skilled recruitment company that supports the advancement of women in the workplace. The annual event with the theme of “Women and Men Agree: Gender Diversity is Good for Business but Few Women are at the Top” attracted 100+ business and Human Resources leaders from both multinational and domestic companies in Japan.
Janelle Sasaki (second from left), Yuta Hasumi (right) and other panelists discuss the benefits of gender diversity
The goal of the event was to share the findings of the 2017 Asia Gender Diversity Report, followed by an engaging panel discussion with gender diversity and legal experts. The findings revealed a clear link between diversity and business success. The interactive panel discussion highlighted the importance of discussing the benefits for business with all levels of the organization, creating meaningful career opportunities for women and discouraging gender bias. About half of the audience members were men, and the panelists recognized them for their attendance and shared best practices on male champions in supporting the career advancement of women in Japan.
Council Leader Lori Matsukawa's piece about her recent trip to Fukushima has been expanded with additional multimedia content. Many thanks to Associate Mio Yamamoto, Co-Founder and Managing Director of World in Tohoku, for the following introduction!
In October 2017, twelve leaders from the United States and Japan participated in the Cross-Border Learning Journey hosted by WIT. They visited social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations in Fukushima and explored collaborative opportunities across different sectors and countries. During the one-week Journey, participants from New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Tokyo were very much inspired by the time spent with the social entrepreneurs and local people, who are creating a sustainable and resilient civil society despite the tremendous adversity. We hope to keep strengthening the mutually supportive and inspiring relationship, which emerged out of the Journey, to make the world a better place. I hope you will enjoy the following wonderful story written by one of the participants, Council Leader Lori Matsukawa:
Council Leader Janelle Sasaki is featured in the December 2017 edition of PRESIDENT WOMAN, along with USJC staff member Kana Takagi! The article highlights the importance and value of mentorships. Ms. Sasaki also conducts a series of workshops on mentorships for the TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program. PRESIDENT WOMAN magazine is one of the most prominent business magazines in Japan, and can be purchased online, or at any bookstore or convenience store in Japan.
Congratulations to the five USJC members who are scheduled to receive conferments from the Government of Japan! The Ministry of Foreign Affairs just announced their "Decorations on Foreign Nationals" for this fall, and USJC is proud to have so many members among the recipients. The five leaders are Board Member Allen Okamoto and Council Leaders Kerry Steven Hada, Colbert Matsumoto, Gary Mukai and Paul Watanabe. Details to come soon!