U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (February 2nd, 2017)

JALD Updates

Members of the 2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) will be gathering for the first time this weekend, during their pre-trip orientation in Los Angeles.The eleven delegates (please see their bios here) will be traveling to Tokyo and Kanazawa from March 3 to 11. On March 6, they will join a symposium co-hosted by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and USJC, titled “Culture and Community Engagement: A Japanese American Perspective.” With Leslie Ito (President & CEO, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center), Ken Russell (Commissioner, City of Miami) and Wendy Takahisa (Executive Director, Office of Community Relations, Morgan Stanley) as the featured speakers, they will discuss the impact culture has on community development and ways in which to promote diversity and inclusion. For more information and to register, please click here.Members of the 2016 Japanese American Leadership Delegation, who visited Tokyo and Kobe from March 5 to 12 last year, recently completed their report. Please click here or on the image below to learn more about the trip, read their reflections and see their beautiful photos!


Recent Events

Fred Korematsu Day

On January 30, Fred Korematsu was honored on what would have been his 98th birthday. Fred Korematsu was a civil rights activist who fought against Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. Several states recognize January 30 as “Fred Korematsu Day,” which is the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States. Google honored Mr. Korematsu with a Google Doodle, which was widely shared globally and can be seen below.



The following article is part of a year-long series by the 2016 class of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.

Reflection from Joshua Morey (ELP 2016)

The author (fourth from the left) with fellow 2016 ELPs and USJC staff enjoying lunch together by the pool at the Annual Conference in Silicon Valley

In August, when I was selected as a delegate of the 2016 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), I was ecstatic, but I didn’t know what to expect. Shortly after being accepted, we received bios of our ELP class, and instantly, I was intimidated by the caliber of individuals. Being identified as a member of this delegation was empowering in and of itself, and I couldn’t wait to meet everyone at the Annual Conference in Silicon Valley.

We arrived in Silicon Valley two days before the conference. Kaz Maniwa, Allison Murata and Irene Hirano Inouye hosted a dinner that set the tone for everything to come in the following week. I was honored by the amount of time Ms. Hirano Inouye spent with our group. Through warm conversations, it was evident how much she valued our contribution to USJC, and how much she viewed her own investment in our group as vital in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. I felt strongly that I was welcomed into the USJC family.

With 2016 ELPs Colby Takeda (left), Yuri Hongo (second from right) and USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa (second from left)

The following days flew by with engaging seminars, inspiring conversations and humbling introductions, but one word describes my experience as a whole: empowering. The highlight for me was the conversation my small group had with one of our ELP sponsors, Yosuke Honjo from ITO EN. When I shared my experience of transitioning our family business to the second generation, he encouraged me to embrace and grow what had been started. Throughout our conversations, Mr. Honjo spoke to us as peers and showed genuine enthusiasm for each of our futures. Conversations like these throughout the conference left me feeling empowered to continue the legacy of leadership in my family’s company, local community, and in U.S.-Japan relations as a whole.

The 2016 ELP class having fun

Ms. Hirano Inouye’s vision of engaging the next generation of Japanese American leaders to ensure an even brighter future between the United States and Japan is embodied in the Emerging Leaders Program. The relationships built with my 2016 delegation, ELP alumni, mentors and USJC members in such a short period of time are starting points for future success. I’m honored to have been selected for the 2016 Emerging Leaders Program and am excited to contribute to the U.S.-Japan Council in the years to come.


2017 Annual Conference: Save the Date!


U.S.-Japan Council 2017 Annual Conference
Unity in Diversity: Shaping the Future Together
JW Marriott Washington, DC
November 13-14 (TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program on November 11 and USJC Members Day on November 12)

We are pleased to announce that our 2017 Annual Conference will be held from November 13 to 14 at the JW Marriott Washington, DC. This year, we are returning to our nation’s capital to discuss changes under a new administration. Following an election that divided the nation, we will discuss how to respect differences of opinion and find common ground as we work together toward mutually beneficial goals. At the same time, we will showcase and examine how global perspectives and diversity empower both the United States and Japan. We will exchange views on how international businesses and organizations can continue to expand in a changing political environment, and “get work done” to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship. We will also provide opportunities to network with stakeholders in the new administration and on Capitol Hill, and provide insight into the political and diplomatic arenas. More information to come soon. Please save the date in your calendar!

2017-18 Watanabe Study Abroad Scholarship Application

Applications are open for the 2017-2018 Toshizo Watanabe Endowed Scholarship! This scholarship will support Japanese undergraduates studying abroad in the United States and will cover up to the full cost of attendance for a semester or year-long program. A generous endowment gift of $10 million from Mr. Toshizo (Tom) Watanabe makes it possible to award scholarships to students for whom study abroad would not be possible without financial support. Click here for more information on qualifications and how to apply. The deadline is February 15.

Member News

Kathy Matsui Featured in Asahi Shimbun

Chair of the USJC (J) Board of Councilors Kathy Matsui was recently featured in Asahi Shimbun. Appearing in a weekly series called “Front Runner,” which features leaders from various sectors, the article discusses her upbringing in California, her career and her work in Womenomics. Click here to read the article (registration is required and the article is in Japanese only).

Emily Murase Fights Discrimination Against Asian Americans


Council Leader Emily Murase co-authored a resolution to remove a policy requiring Asian American students to enroll in “Oriental School” in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The San Francisco school board passed the resolution with a unanimous vote and plans to create a mural portraying Asian American history in the district. Dr. Murase is the first Japanese American to serve on the board! Click here or on the image below to read more

Sakura Yagi Featured in The Gohan Society


USJC Associate and ELP ’16 Sakura Yagi spoke to The Gohan Society about her work with her family’s business, T.I.C. Group. Sakura talked about bringing her public relations experience to the family business, how T.I.C.’s many restaurants serve as culinary ambassadors to New York City communities by providing authentic Japanese flavors, and what it means to work with family as a second generation leader in the food industry. Click here to read more.

Upcoming Events

Comedy InvAsian

When: Various dates from February 10 to 26, 2017
Where: Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles will be hosting “Comedy InvAsian,” a live stand-up comedy series featuring six Asian American comedians. Among them are two Japanese American women, Atsuko Okatsuka and Amy Hill. The series is also created by Japanese American producer Koji Steven Sasaki, along with director Quentin Lee. In February, each comedian will perform one-hour live specials at JANM, which will later be aired digitally.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the official website.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II (Day of Remembrance)


When: February 19, 2017
Where: National Museum of American History

On February 17, the National Museum of American History will open a year-long exhibit to mark 75 years since Executive Order 9066 authorized the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On display will be artifacts, photographs and stories collected from Japanese American families. There will also be public programming throughout the year related to this exhibit.

As part of the exhibit and to reflect upon the day Executive Order 9066 was signed, the Museum will host a Day of Remembrance event on February 19 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. National Museum of Japanese American Memorial Foundation’s Digital Storytelling Project competition awardees will present video clips, followed by a conversation with a wide range of Nisei, moderated by award-winning filmmaker, author and museum curator Dr. Karen Ishizuka.

For more information on the exhibit and the special event please visit the official website.

Encore Performance: George Takei’s Allegiance on the Big Screen

When: February 19, 2017 at 12:55pm
Where: Select Movie Theaters

After an unprecedented cinematic premiere, George Takei’s Broadway musical Allegiance returns to cinemas nationwide for an encore on Sunday, February 19 at 12:55 p.m. local time. This date is the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, known as the Day of Remembrance, which marked the beginning of the forced relocation and internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. Tickets go on sale on January 23. For more information, click here.

Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit

When: May 9-11, 2017
Where: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows (Big Island, Hawaii)

The Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit, presented by USJC and the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT), is being held to foster tangible, near and long term economic opportunities among Japanese prefectures, the State of Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland.

Summit attendees will explore opportunities spanning business, education, tourism and energy, and will forge one-on-one connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

The Summit will include Governors, government officials and business leaders. Governors from prefectures with State of Hawaii sister partnerships (Ehime, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Okinawa and Hokkaido) as well as those that are part of USJC’s “Governors’ Circle” (Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Oita, Okayama, Nagano and Shizuoka) have been invited.

For more information and to register, please click here.


TOMODACHI Marketing & Communications Manager (Tokyo)

The Marketing & Communications Manager is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic communications program to develop the profile and brand of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience and stakeholders, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, program participants, donors, press and the general public. The Marketing & Communications Manager will work closely with teams within the TOMODACHI Initiative in the implementation of this mission, as well as with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Click here for more information about the position.