USJC Members Celebrate 2015 at the Tokyo Bonenkai

December 07, 2015 at 6pm
ANA InterContinental Tokyo

USJC President Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye

The USJC Japan Members End-of Year Party (Bonenkai) was held on December 7 at ANA InterContinental Tokyo. Approximately 38 participants, including Council members, Annual Conference Host Committee members, USJC supporters, and guests celebrated one of the most successful years for USJC in Japan. Ms. Janelle Sasaki, Membership Co-Chair for Japan, opened the event as the master of ceremonies, followed by USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, who expressed her deep appreciation to the audience for making the 2015 Annual Conference in November a great success. She added that planning for the 2016 Annual Conference has already begun. 


Next, Mr. Russell Kawahara, Member of the USJC(J) Board of Directors and 2015 Annual Conference Host Committee Co-Chair, recognized the Host Committee members who were present. Following that, two 2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP)participants, Ms. Evelyn Tokuyama and Mr. Steve Sakanashi, spoke about the program, their experience participating in it, and its overall impact in their lives both professionally and personally.


Ms. Sasaki shared her experience and a Japanese American perspective of the Tohoku Trip, an optional event offered on the heels of the Conference. The trip was organized by ELP alumni Ms. Lauren Ohata and Mr. Jonathan Abbott, and showed the strengths of the next generation of leaders born out of ELP.

After the toast by Mr. Alex Jampel, Membership Co-Chair for Japan, participants connected over dinner. As the event wrapped up, participants enjoyed raffle prizes, generously donated by USJC members, including a Christmas ornament from Ms. Hirano Inouye, Wendy’s gift certificates from Mr. Ernest Higa, Chair of the USJC(J) Board of Directors, and six months of mentoring and lunch from Ms. Royanne Doi, Member of the USJC(J) Board of Councilors and 2015 Annual Conference Host Committee Co-Chair. The Bonenkai concluded with closing remarks by Mr. Paul Yonamine, Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors.

To see more photos from the event, view the online album here.