TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program

March 04, 2015 at 12pm - March 14, 2015
DC, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu

Japanese participants of the 2015 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program visit the United States


From March 3 to 14, a hundred college students and faculty chaperons visited Washington, DC, Los Angeles and host cities (Boston, Chicago and Honolulu) on theTOMODACHI Inouye Scholars (TIS) program, which is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' KAKEHASHI Project. Their trip included sightseeing, giving presentations and participating in activities focused on learning the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

Washington, DC

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), in collaboration with USJC, held an educational program on March 6 about Senator Inouye called “The Man and the Legacy.” Panelists included the Senator’s son, Kenneth Inouye, and former Congressional staffers Margaret Cummisky (a USJC Member) and Mary Yoshioka, who each shared their personal memories of the Senator and reflected on his legacy. The program continued with a panel titled “The Legacy Lives,” where Dr. Richard Solomon, Former President of USIP, and others shared how the Senator was instrumental in creating and sustaining USIP. The panelists closed with advice drawn from the Senator’s legacy, encouraging the scholars to never underestimate the impact of a moment, be determined while avoiding being wedded to any particular outcome, and realize that life is full of compromises. USJC sincerely thanks the leadership and staff of USIP for holding this moving event, and thanks all the panelists for sharing their time and memories. 

The panel hosted by USIP on the Senator's legacy: (left to right) Ken Inouye, Margaret Cummisky, Mary Yoshioka, Mya Fisher (USJC Program Manager), Richard Solomon, Maral Noori (Senior Program Assistant of Asia-Pacific Programs at USIP)


That evening, the scholars and guests attended a reception hosted by Ambassador Keniichiro Sasae at his residence. Ambassador Sasae discussed the history and objectives of the KAKEHASHI Project, as well as Senator Inouye's heroism during the war and accomplishments in bridging the United States and Japan. This was followed by presentations by Ritsumeikan University students, who spoke on "Japaneseness," drawing on examples like honne to tatemae and wabisabi. Mr. Kenneth Inouye then spoke about how impressed he was (from the discussion at USIP earlier that day) with the students' hard questions, ambitions and intellectual curiosity. "Each one of you can make a difference as long as you have this sort of mindset propelling you," he said. "My father felt that everyone could make a difference in the world. You are already making a difference just by thinking the way you do." USJC Board Member Susan Morita provided the background of the program and thanked the organizers and supporters on behalf of the Council. Mr. Doug Frantz, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, stressed the importance of students' role in building people-to-people relations, and delivered a toast.

Ambassador Sasae with the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars at his residence

See more photos from the reception at the Ambassador's residence here.

Host Cities

USJC Member Curtiss Rooks and TIS from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) hosted counterparts from Sophia University in Los Angeles. They were welcomed with a beach bonfire and beautiful Pacific sunset. The Los Angeles Consul General Harry Horinouchi graciously hosted a reception that was well attended by LA USJC members (see the press release here). The Sophia students attended LMU classes and viewed an exhibit that the LMU TIS curated in celebration of their own visit to Japan last summer. The Sophia students also visited the Japanese American National Museum, and were treated to performances by various LMU student cultural organizations.

LMU welcomes Sophia University students with a bonfire


Students of DePaul University, led by USJC Member Kathryn Ibata-Arens, hosted Ritsumeikan University students in Chicago. The program included workshops about Chicago’s multicultural identity and how scholars can work together in building global cultural competencies as members of the TOMODACHI Generation. Reflecting Senator Inouye’s legacy of service, participants engaged in activities with Chicago primary school children and at a Japanese American eldercare center. USJC members participated in many of these activities as well. The visit concluded with a community event, featuring a keynote speech by Deputy Consul General Keiko Yanai, live jazz, poetry and breakdancing performances. Read more and sign up to receive the program report here

Ritsumeikan students enjoy activities with Chicago primary school children

A highlight of the visit by Showa Women’s University students to the University of Massachusetts Boston was the Showa students’ presentations on aspects of contemporary life in Japan. Under the leadership of USJC Member Paul Watanabe, over 150 people, including USJC members from the Boston area, attended the vibrant and informative program that included a reception for the visiting Showa delegation.

Showa Women's University students in Boston

USJC Member Dennis Ogawa and faculty chaperones at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa planned several activities on Oahu for the delegation from Matsuyama University: a reception attended by UH system President David Lassner, Japanese Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda, First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Amano-Ige and Jennifer Sabas, Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute; a presentation and dinner at the East-West Center; and a presentation at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Moiliili. 

Matsuyama University students at the Ehimemaru Memorial

Click here to see some of the students' and faculty members' social media activity prior to and during these exchange visits. More details and photos will be updated to theTOMODACHI Inouye Scholars webpage.