On May 23, Council Leader Dennis Ogawa, Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan. Consul General Yasushi Misawa presented the award, recognizing Dr. Ogawa's "contribution to the development of Japanese studies in the United States of America and promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States." For more information, see the press release or video, both by the University of Hawaii.
Council Leader Kathy Matsui was part of a Japan Society event held in New York on May 10, titled "Womenomics-in-Action: Approaches by the Japanese, American & European Governments." The panel studied how Japanese corporations will implement measures to increase the number of female managers, examined the American government's efforts to promote women's empowerment, and assessed whether Japan and the U.S. might adopt policies such as a quota system, which has met with success in Scandinavian countries.
For more information, please see the Japan Society website here.
On May 2, USJC Senior Vice President and Council Leader Kaz Maniwa represented Japantown at the 2016 Asian Pacific American Heritage Awards Ceremony in San Francisco. The event celebrated the 110th anniversary of Japantown (the San Francisco one is the oldest in the country). Current Mayor Edwin Lee, Former Mayor Willie Brown and Consul General of Japan Jun Yamada attended, along with about 300 guests. Clickhere to see the video of Japantown's history and Mr. Maniwa's speech (the Japantown segment begins at about 48 minutes in).
In March 2016, Council Leader Bob Kumaki participated in the MOFA Domestic & Foreign Multilayer Network of Influential Figures. He was one of two Americans invited by the Government of Japan. The focus of the trip was to provide influential figures abroad with accurate information on Japan’s policies and values to expand the outreach of Japan’s policy advocacy, and work as a communications hub for exchanging ideas and disseminating accurate information to the world. Leaders Mr. Kumaki met with included Mr. Tomohiko Taniguchi, Special Advisor to Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet; Ms. Miki Ebara, Editor in Chief, NHK World; and Mr. Kenko Sone, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs.
Congratulations to USJC Associate Kenji Negi! The Illinois State Comptroller has recognized Mr. Negi as one of the Distinguished Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Youth Leaders for his personal and professional accomplishments. On Monday, May 9, a ceremony was held at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago to honor Kenji and other youth leaders.
Several USJC members and supporters are featured in a current exhibit held at the Japan Overseas Migration Museum (JOMM) in Yokohama. This exhibit, which will be open until June 5, celebrates the successes of people around the world who have roots in Fukuoka. Featured leaders include USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, Member of the Board of Councilors George Ariyoshi, Council Leader Fred Katayama, the late Senator Daniel Inouye and the late Paul Terasaki. According to the exhibit, Fukuoka is the prefecture with the fourth largest population of migrants.
For more information, please see the JOMM webpage here and the flier here (Japanese only).
Friend of the Council Stephen Bloom, CEO of the Portland Japanese Garden, recently helped return to Tohoku parts of torii gates that were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Two kasagi (crossbeams) of torii gates at a shrine in Hachinohe, Aomori, washed ashore on the coast of Oregon two years after the disaster. The Portland Japanese Garden and other supporters returned the kasagi to Japan in late 2015, and earlier this month, a ceremony was held in Hachinohe to rededicate them to the shrine. Click here to read a Facebook post about the ceremony, courtesy of the U.S. Consulate General in Sapporo. The journey of the kasagiis also detailed in this article by the U.S. Embassy in Japan.
Congratulations to USJC Associate Dawn Yamane Hewett, who was selected as a delegate of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program (USJLP)! Ms. Hewett is the Deputy General Counsel for Strategic Initiatives, Office of General Counsel, at the U.S. Department of Commerce. The purpose of USJLP, which is the flagship program of the United-States Japan Foundation, is to develop a network of communication, friendship and understanding among the next generation of leaders in each country. See more information in the USJLP news release here and the webpage here.
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."