Council Member/Leader Janelle Sasaki and Associate Yuta Hasumi featured in the President Woman

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.


Donna Cole featured in The Houston Chronicle

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."



Council Member Julie Azuma awarded with the Consul General's Commendation

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.


USJC Associate Member Ryohei Kawanishi's Collection Presented at New York Fashion Week

USJC Associate Member Ryohei Kawanishi recently completed his fashion collection and it was featured at New York Fashion Week in late September. The collection is a culmination of his Parsons Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) graduate projectThe Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelor, Even. The collection, of eight different compositions, draws inspiration from French artist Marcel Duchamp's famous artwork of the same name.

Both Vogue and Le Figaro photographed the collection. 



Council Member Dr. Susumu "Sus" Ito Captivates Audience at AJC-USJC Reception

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
To learn more about Dr. Ito, see this Los Angeles Times article and this CNN article. His photos were recently exhibited at the Japanese American National Museum.

Lori Matsukawa to receive Foreign Minister's Commendation

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.


Roy Yamaguchi Selected as Nisei Week Grand Marshall

Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Roy Yamaguchi was appointed as the Grand Marshal for this year's Nisei Week (August 15-23). For the past 75 years, the Nisei Week Foundation has been celebrating the Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles, complete with cultural activities from ikebana to calligraphy, and the famous Grand Parade.

As Grand Marshal, Mr. Yamaguchi, the founder of Roy's Restaurants, led the Grand Parade on August 16. A samurai-themed Nebuta float that was custom made in Japan was shipped to Los Angeles for the occasion. Photos from the parade can be seen here.

For more information on Nisei Week, please visit its webpage. To read more about Mr. Yamaguchi's appointment, please read the announcement.


ELP Alumnae Play Vital Role in Opera Involving Japanese American History

The following piece is by 2013 alumnae of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders ProgramGabrielle Gainor and Kei Tsu, who are working on an upcoming Seattle Opera production called "American Dream" (more information in the Upcoming Events section below). We thank both of them for their contribution!

(L-R) Ms. Kei Tsu, Ms. Gainor and singer Nina Yoshida Nelsen in between rehearsals forAn American Dream

When Seattle Opera's An American Dream premieres this month, the audience will see a production that's been shaped in unique ways by Gabrielle Nomura Gainor and Kei Tsu, who first met one another as 2013 Emerging Leaders. Ms. Gainor, a gosei, is now Seattle Opera's Media Relations Manager, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Seattle JACL and the Editorial Board of National JACL's Pacific Citizen newspaper, and was previously on USJC’s Communications Committee. Ms. Tsu, a yonsei/sansei, teaches Japanese and Spanish at Kentlake High School in Kent, WA in addition to being a fourth-degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Naginata. 

"I was the bridge between Seattle Opera and the Nikkei community," said Ms. Gainor, whose grandfather was born in the Santa Anita Assembly Center before being incarcerated with his family at Heart Mountain. "I would not allow Seattle Opera to use harmful euphemisms to describe the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans in any of our press, marketing or social materials. This proved to be a challenge at times, because words such as 'camp' and 'internment' are so familiar."

Ms. Gainor brought in terminology based on Densho (headed by Council Member Tom Ikeda) literature and JACL's "The Power of Words" handbook to her work place. She ensured that the Japanese and Asian community was involved in the entire process of the opera's creation; bringing singers to perform at Nikkei Concerns' retirement home, for example; and roping in her ELP colleague Ms. Tsu as the production's official Japanese language consultant.

(L-R) Nina Yoshida Nelsen, mezzo-soprano; Adam Lau, bass; and Hae Ji Chang, soprano, singing in the summer 2014 workshop for An American Dream (Photo by Brandon Patoc)

One of Ms. Tsu's duties was to work with performers on their pronunciation. "One character, 'Mama,' (portrayed by mezzo-soprano Nina Yoshida Nelsen) is a Japanese immigrant," she said. "I had to think about how a Japanese person would pronounce English words while maintaining comprehensibility, and without it becoming stereotypical."

Conductor Judith Yan makes her Seattle Opera debut in An American Dream (Photo by Alan Alabastro)

Ms. Tsu and Ms. Gainor have stayed in touch since their ELP days, and think it was fun and rewarding for the colleagues and friends to reunite. 

"This has been incredibly powerful and personal work," Ms. Tsu said. 

An American Dream premieres at Seattle Opera on August 21 and 23 (Vice Chairman of the USJC Board of Councilors Norman Mineta will be speaking at the post-performance discussion on Sunday). The production is made possible by Community Partners including Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, Seattle JACL and the Japanese American National Museum. (Council Member Lori Matsukawa and KING 5 plan to cover the dress rehearsal on August 18.)

To see more information or to buy tickets, click here. Soundbites from the opera are available here.


Amy Yeung Awarded as “2015 Top 10 30-Somethings” by ACC

Associate Member Amy Yeung received the “2015 Top 10 30-Somethings” award from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) for her noteworthy accomplishments as the Assistant General Counsel for ZeniMax Media Inc, including her lead role in the company’s U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief, which argued that video games should be protected as artwork under the First Amendment. Click here for more information.

Ms. Yeung was selected out of over 130 global nominations for this award that recognizes in-house counsel in their thirties who showcase “tireless innovation, love of practice and international perspective.” More information is available in ACC’s press release.


Dianne Fukami Gives TEDx Talk

Council Member Dianne Fukami spoke at TEDxPeacePlaza (held in San Francisco) this past May, with the theme "Moving on from adversity - what is the key?". She discussed the Japanese American experience during the War and the stories of those who survived the Great East Japan Earthquake--and explained how she saw the Japanese characteristic she grew up with as the key to moving on. The video of her talk was recently uploaded here.


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