Overview

Affinity groups are member led initiatives where meetings are built around a common interest. If you are interested in joining an affinity group, do not see a specific member or staff point of contact for any affinity group, or would like to start and lead a new affinity group, please email [email protected].

If you are interested in joining an affinity group, please contact Lauren Matsumoto or the specified Point of Contact for the specific group in which you are interested.

Click on the tabs for a full description of the groups. Please note the words Active, Resource Group and In Development indicate the level of activity for the affinity group in question.

Current Affinity Groups:

Members who provide advise or consulting services to Japanese companies. Topics of interest may include U.S. business laws and local and federal compliance issues for companies doing business in the U.S., tax issues, workforce issues and human resources. This group met once and has potential to become more active with volunteer support.

Members who are artists and creatives or interested in the arts meet every second Wednesday of the month. Performing artists, print media artists, music and arts educators and playwrights share resources with each other.

Member Lead: Courtney Ozaki

Members with a professional connection to baseball. This group meets to discuss opportunities to showcase the role of baseball in U.S.-Japan relations.

Members who work in or interested in the sustainability and climate change space. As the Council develops its Climate & Sustainability Initiative, this group can serve as a sounding board and resource.

Members who work (or have worked) in the communications sector meet quarterly for social networking. The group includes journalists, PR leaders, and marketing professionals.

Members who are educators or interested in the education field share information on student exchange programs and cross-cultural education. From elementary to post-doc, from the classroom to curriculum design to the administration, this group is one of the Council’s largest professional networks. It’s occasional on-line gatherings are supplemented by email resource sharing.

Member Lead: Ryo Suzuki

Members who work in family-owned businesses. Topics of interest include generational succession, family relations and best practice business models that will sustain the business for growth and success, and issues in the Japanese American/Asian American community. This group has met once and has potential to become more active with volunteer leadership.

The Golf Affinity Group connects USJC members through the universal language of golf. Focused for now in Japan, we organize periodic golf events for members and encourage USJC members from all regions to participate while in Japan. In the future, we hope that other regions will do the same.

Member Lead: John Sasaki

Healthcare and advanced medicine professionals in both Japan and the United States can learn much from one another. This group is open to all interested individuals including physicians, academics, policymakers, caregivers, patients and those who work to develop medical devices and digital health apps.

Member Leads: Chiyo Kobayashi, Kirk Zeller

The Investor Affinity Group is a collective of venture capitalists, angel investors and other finance professionals with focus on startups. We host virtual speaker sessions and founder pitch events aimed at fostering collaboration and mutual learning. 

Member Lead: Ryota Sekine

This group engages leaders of Japanese-American, Asian American and Japan-related non-profit organizations. Executives and board members share ideas and resources as organizations strive to maintain traditions and provide cultural and educational programs to local and global communities. This group has not yet convened.

The Mental Wellness Affinity Group (MWAG) has been formed to help strengthen communication between the United States and Japan on mental wellness issues, to expand awareness and education, reduce stigma, share insights and research, engage in policy dialogues, and contribute to the dialogue on the importance of mental wellness in both countries.


Email: [email protected]

Members who are active in the military, veterans, or who are from military families convene to share experiences. This group met once and has shared information and updates since. There is an opportunity for a volunteer to reconvene and energize this group.

The Outreach & Allyship Committee is a group of USJC members who have come together to help strengthen US-Japan ties while confronting the systemic inequities standing in the way of a just and equitable global community. Each month, members of the Outreach and Allyship Committee come together in a safe setting to hold critical conversations and support one another as we each try to make sense of the continued anti-Asian violence, mass shootings, racism in America and Japan, the model minority myth, and a range of topics.

Member Lead: Aila Gomi

The Shin Issei group contributes to the mission of USJC to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship, by bringing together members with bicultural competences who aspire to bridge the two nations, regardless of immigration status. – We provide a forum that builds relationships among Shin Issei leaders and generates innovative ideas for the betterment of our communities. -We serve as a resource to USJC by providing bilingual and bicultural expertise to enhance dialogue between Americans and Japanese. -We develop our unique identity and pride as Shin Issei to help advance our understanding of the U.S.–Japan relationship, contribute our Shin Issei perspective and experience to U.S.–Japan ties, and promote friendship through diverse programming.

 Email: [email protected]

This group offers a community for those who grew up as so-called Third Culture Kids (TCK), members who were raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of their country of nationality. Whether as children of expats, living on an overseas base or diplomatic compound, or being raised by missionaries, TCKs bring a unique set of cross-cultural leadership skills to our community. The group aims to discuss issues and exchange information, including the benefits and challenges of a TCK upbringing in a safe and supportive environment, and enhance skills for professional career and leadership development.

This group focuses on advancing women and offers opportunities to expand their networks across regions, country borders and demographics to build new relationships. The group aims to discuss issues and exchange information in a safe and supportive environment, and enhance skills for professional career and leadership development.

Member Lead: Noël Mika Bahamón

This group engages members who live or work outside of major cities and may have little access to activities and events relating to U.S.-Japan relations or Japanese- American or Japanese communities. This group met once and had a strong response to the opportunity to connect through this group. Volunteer leaders for this group are welcome.