Shin-Issei Leaders Reunite for the Second In-Person Summit in the Bay Area

During a long weekend in late April, the Steering Committee (SC) members of the Shin-Issei affinity group held an in-person summit in the Bay Area, California. It was the second time for the committee members to meet up for a team-building offsite, two years after the first offsite in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2022. The team enjoyed touring the Golden Gate City and brainstormed future Shin-Issei program offerings. Highlights included a happy hour networking with about twenty USJC members and prospects, where the committee members presented on the U.S-Japan Council and Shin-Issei affinity group and mingled with like-minded local Shin-Issei leaders.

Now in its fourth year, the Shin-Issei affinity group is spearheaded by the Steering Committee (SC) of USJC leaders across the United States who aim to promote the Council’s mission with their bilingual and bicultural skills. The SC members meet on regular Zoom calls to discuss the Shin-Issei programs and catch up with one another. Despite the desire of each SC member to hold another offsite, busy schedules kept it from materializing. With Council Leader Nori Tarui, joining the SC as its ninth member last year, the team finally pulled it off. 

Seven out of the nine SC members gathered in the Bay Area, where Council Leaders Tatsuki Tomita and Aya Iwasuji, both of whom are SC members, are based. The others flew in from Hawaii, Tennessee and New York. In addition to team building over the beautiful scenery and gourmet that Northern California has to offer, the SC members mingled with about 20 local Shin-Issei USJC members, SVJP members, and prospective members at a happy hour event, where the SC delivered brief remarks that introduced both the U.S.-Japan Council and the concept of the Shin-Issei affinity group to their audience. Throughout the weekend, the SC members brainstormed future program offerings and member engagement strategies. One evening, the conversation continued until midnight at Tatsuki’s house.

Since its inception in 2021, the Shin-Issei affinity group has expanded its membership base through several virtual programs and limited in-person events. In addition to the quarterly virtual networking events, the group has organized Shin-Issei Connection, a peer-to-peer networking program that promotes grass-roots connections among Shin-Issei USJC members, and collaborated with the Shinagawa Joshi Gakuin high school for girls and Hiroshima University to share their Shin-Issei experience with Japanese students interested in studying and/or working in the U.S. The conversation continues after the Bay Area offsite. Please stay tuned for more updates on the revamped Shin-Issei Connection and the projects with Japanese schools.


For inquiries about the Shin-Issei affinity group, contact [email protected], or one of the SC members: Aya Iwasuji (NoCal), Ichiro Sekimitsu (HI), Masami Tyson (TN), Tatsuki Tomita (NoCal), Toshiki Masaki (MI), Vince Okada (HI), Nori Tarui (HI), Yuko Watanabe (WA), and Yumi Higashi (NY).

Credit for the photos and written content: Yumi Higashi-Ho (Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP).