U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (March 15th, 2018)

2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation Returns Home

​​The ​ten delegates of the 201​8 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program returned home on March 1​0 after a full week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities with Japanese leaders. ​With the aim to ​strengthen and diversify U.S.-Japan relations​, the ​program build​s​ people-to-people relationships with Japanese leaders from various sectors.

The delegates sightseeing in Yamaguchi

​The group first visited Tokyo, where they met with Prime Minister Abe. The Prime Minister emphasized that this was the 150th anniversary since Japanese Americans first arrived in Hawaii, and expressed his joy that this year’s delegates would visit Yamaguchi, his home prefecture. (For a summary of his speech (in Japanese), click here.) The delegation thanked the Prime Minister for his support of U.S.-Japan relations and of Japanese Americans. (More information is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website ​(in Japanese) ​and ​a video of the discussion).

The Prime Minister took photos with each of the delegates, including ​Chris Uehara

The delegates also met with many other leaders in Tokyo, including Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who is also a Friend of the Council; MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi; U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty; members of the USJC Board of Councilors Ambassador Masaharu Kohno and Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono; other Japan-based USJC members; and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), Forum 21, Japan Foundation CGP and the Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship League.

The delegates with Ambassador Hagerty (center)

In ​Yamaguchi Prefecture, the delegates participated in a symposium titled “The Japanese American Experience: Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first emigration​ ​from Japan to Hawaii” (see this webpage for more information), co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), ​USJC and the Yamaguchi International Exchange Association, ​with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs​.​ O​ver 1​20 individuals attend​ed the symposium, which discussed the journey of Japanese Americans ​(including Gannenmono, the first immigrants), the role of Japanese Americans in​ contemporary America, and how to promote diversity and inclusion in both Japan and the U​nited States.​ ​The group also toured the ​Museum of Japanese Emigration to Hawaii, as well as Hagiyaki Pottery and ​other sites.

The Symposium in Yamaguchi featured (from left) Darcy Endo-Omoto, David Ono and June Taylor

The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.

Click here ​to view more photos from the trip. Click here for more information on the program and biographies of all ​t​en delegates.



TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Discuss Diversity and History

Japanese university students teaching origami at First United Methodist Church in Arkansas

The 2017-18 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program has been a wonderful success so far. During this 10-day exchange program, 100 American and 100 Japanese university students learn about the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, including his commitment to public service and his contributions to the Japanese American community and U.S.-Japan relations. Universities in the United States are paired with Japanese universities to facilitate the exchanges. Universities participating in the 2017-18 year are: Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and Sophia University; Hendrix College and Prefectural University of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi University; George Washington University and the University of the Ryukyus; and University of St. Thomas and Fukushima University.

LMU’s delegation, led by Council Leader and Associate Professor Dr. Curtiss Rooks, was the first out of the pairs to host a Japanese university in the U.S. and travel to Japan. (Dr. Rooks led LMU’s 2014-15 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars delegation as well.) Between February 18 and 24, LMU students hosted 23 students and two faculty members from Sophia University. The Sophia students visited sites that include the Japanese American National Museum, the Museum of Tolerance and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. They visited Kizuna, where Associate Craig Ishii spoke about the development of youth leaders in the Japanese American community. On LMU’s campus, the Sophia students also attended a First Amendment event featuring sports journalist Jemele Hill.

Cheering the LMU women’s basketball team to victory

While in Japan from March 3 to 11, the LMU scholars visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, learned history at the Edo Museum, witnessed future technology at Honda Plaza, and reunited with friends at the Sophia campus (where they also learned about diversity in Japan). They visited Hiroshima, where Senator Inouye has family ties. They learned about everyday life in Japan through their homestay families, and visited Miyajima and the Hiroshima Peace Museum, where they reflected upon U.S.-Japan relations.

With deer in Miyajima

In February 2018, Hendrix College students welcomed 22 students and two professors from Prefectural Hiroshima University and Yamaguchi University. The students learned about social justice through the history of the incarceration of Japanese Americans in Central Arkansas during World War II, as well as the forced removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears. The students visited the Japan-based company Tokusen, and met with Bart Castleberry, the mayor of Conway (where Hendrix is located), who discussed local issues and encouraged students to be engaged in their own communities in Japan. With the goal of promoting cross-cultural understanding through community service, the students also prepared food boxes at the Arkansas Food Bank and sung for the elderly at the College Square Retirement Community with a Hendrix professor and his band. They taught origami at First United Methodist Church and traditional Japanese dance to a third grade class at Theodore Jones Elementary School. In late March, a Hendrix delegation will visit Japan.

With Mayor Bart Castleberry

Other U.S. schools participating in the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholar Program this year will travel to Japan in mid- to late March, and will be covered in future newsletters.

USJC Members in Southern California Welcome Ten Female Leaders from Tohoku

​Many thanks to Associate Lauren Ohata for the below article and photos!

The TOMODACHI Tohoku Grassroots Leadership Academy took place in Los Angeles, California, from February 4 to 11. Ten women leaders were chosen from across the Tohoku region to come to LA for a week of training and experiential learning.

The group with USJC members and friends

The USJC SoCal chapter ​hosted a welcome luncheon ​for the women leaders, ​and spent an evening together over dinner organized by Lauren Ohata ​(​ELP ’14​)​ and the Ohata family, with the support of ​many USJC members and friends. ​Over the course of the week, ​the participants met with ​leaders that include Associate ​Craig Ishii ​(​ELP ’13​) ​and Council Leaders ​Leslie Ito ​(JALD ’17) ​and David Boone ​(​JALD ‘17​), ​and learned how to leverage their experiences and abilities​ to implement social service programs​​. They ​also met​ ​with ​Los Angeles-based entrepreneurs, NPO leaders, ​corporate ​directors and grassroots community leaders​, ​who discussed how to foster innovation.

Participants pose with 2018 JALD delegate David Ono (center)

The true spirit of​ ​TOMODACHI ran through the week of​​ programming, demonstrating how we can help our respective communities fulfill passions and strengthen communities. Thank you to the members who committed their time and energy to the programming and participated in the events. The Academy is a great example of the power​ of people-to-people connections​,​ as it is ​organized by USJC members who met Megumi Ishimoto ​(​Director of ​the NPO ​Women’s Eye and​ ​an alumna of the TOMODACHI NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan)​ ​three years ago on the USJC Tohoku member trip organized by ELP Alumni.

For more details ​about the Grassroots Leadership Academy, ​please click here.

Building the TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassador Program 2018


The Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program successfully concluded in early March after two weeks of intense discussions on civil society. Generously funded by Morgan Stanley, this program was implemented in partnership between The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI). The program aims to develop leadership and promote cultural exchange by enabling students to create models of cross-sector partnerships to address social challenges. This year, the program welcomed 21 college students (nine Americans and 12 Japanese), who participated in panel discussions and site visits while learning critical teamwork skills and gaining cross-cultural understanding.

The students explored Washington, DC, including the U.S. Capitol

The students first studied theoretical and practical concepts of civil society through lectures and panel discussions. They learned about the role of civil society in the United States and Japan, and how they can address social issues, particularly those in the Tohoku region. In the second part of the program, the students split into teams and developed projects that leverage the strength of civil society to resolve persistent issues in Tohoku. They also took part in a networking reception at the Washington Center, which was attended by many USJC members and friends (click here to see photos). The teams then presented their respective projects to a panel of judges: Ryan Klang, Chief Operating Officer of The Washington Center; Dr. Kazuhiro Maeshima, Operating Advisor of U.S.-Japan Institute and professor at Sophia University; and Council Leader Bruce Hollywood, Planner at the U.S. Department of Defense.

The students networked with many guests at the reception, including Associate Georgette Furukawa-Martinez (right)

After returning to Japan, the Japanese students attended a debriefing session and reception hosted by Morgan Stanley Japan Holdings Co., Ltd. When asked about the impact the program had on her, Makoto Kimura from Kyushu University commented that it has broadened her vision on the importance of communication and language skills. Working with fellow Japanese and American participants made her realize the joys and challenges of collaborating with others from different backgrounds. Ekaterina Hauff from Tiffin University commented that she enjoyed talking with the Japanese participants and learning about their culture. She appreciated the group working together despite running into disagreements.

Upon returning to Tokyo, the Japanese students presented their findings

With a new set of global skills, the students returned to their respective universities to further cultivate those skills and benefit others from their experience in the program.


USJC Events Calendar Available!

If you are looking for events to attend in your region or while traveling, look no further! We are pleased to announce that a calendar of upcoming USJC events is available on our website. We look forward to seeing you at many more USJC events throughout the United States and Japan.

Applications Open for the 2018 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program

*Please note that the first city for Japanese Delegates to visit has been changed to Boston from Seattledue to unexpected schedule conflicts. Travel to all other cities and travel dates remain unchanged.

2017 U.S. Mitsui delegates in Japan

We are now accepting applications for the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program. Generously funded by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and entering its sixth year, this exchange program provides participants with unique access to leaders in the U.S.-Japan arena, and the opportunity to broaden their perspectives to enhance work or initiatives in their professional fields. Selected through a competitive process, participants represent professional, geographic, and gender diversity.

Ten (10) American and ten (10) Japanese young professionals from a mix of public and private sectors will travel to each other’s country for one week to engage as a group and meet with established and up-and-coming leaders from business and government. The American delegation will travel to Miyagi Prefecture and Tokyo, and the Japanese delegation will travel to Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.

The deadline for the American delegation is April 5, and the deadline for the Japanese delegation is April 19. Click here for more information.

Member News

Robin Lewis Featured on CNN


USJC Associate Robin Lewis was featured on CNN for a special segment commemorating seven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. He spoke about his work with Explore Tohoku and his journey on foot along Japan’s tsunami-affected coastline documenting the recovery of the area. Click here or on the image above to watch the segment.

Colby Takeda Awarded Young Alumni Leadership Award


Congratulations to USJC Associate Colby Takeda (ELP ’16) for being awarded Willamette University’s Young Alumni Leadership Award! Colby was recognized for being one of the nation’s youngest administrators of an assisted living community for seniors, and his work connecting the youngest and oldest populations for stronger intergenerational relationships. Click here or on the image above to read more about Colby’s accomplishments.

Upcoming Events

Film Screening of “Paper Lanterns”


When: March 24, 2018 at 2:55pm
Where: Marriott Wardman Park (Washington, DC)

Paper Lanterns, a documentary film about Hiroshima, will be shown on Saturday, March 24 at the annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies in Washington, DC. Director Barry Frechette (who spoke at the 2016 Annual Conference in Silicon Valley) and Council Leader and Producer Peter Grilli will be at the screening to discuss the film. The film tells the little-known story of twelve American POWs who were killed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and Shigeaki Mori (himself a hibakusha) and his tireless quest to reach out to the relatives of these lost airmen.

Click here or on the image above to watch the trailer.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II


When: Ongoing through December 8, 2018
Where: National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)

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

For more information on the exhibit, please visit the official website.

Allegiance (Los Angeles Premiere)


When: February 21 – April 1, 2018
Where: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Broadway musical Allegiance, created by Member of the USJC Board of Councilors George Takei, is set to premiere in Los Angeles, CA. Allegiance is a musical inspired by Mr. Takei’s own experience, and tells the story of a family upended by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.

The Los Angeles premiere of Allegiance is a special engagement and co-production of East West Players and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA. Click here for more information.

Hold These Truths

When: February 23 – April 8, 2018
Where: The Arena Stage (Washington, DC)

“Hold These Truths” is a play based on the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants who defied an unjust court order to uphold the values on which America was founded. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit this page.

Register Now for the Japan-Texas Economic Summit!


When: May 7 – 9, 2018
Where: Marriott Marquis Houston (Houston, TX)

Registration is open for the Japan-Texas Economic Summit! Following the highly successful Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit in 2017, the Japan-Texas Economic Summit will bring together business leaders, investors, state and local officials, and economic development organizations from across the Lone Star State and Japan. Texas is a leading destination for foreign direct investment from Japan, and we will welcome government and business representatives from the Government of Japan and prefectures throughout the country to explore further opportunities to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the state of Texas.

Join us for what will be a momentous step forward in the Japan-Texas economic partnership! Please visit the event page to see more details and to register.

The Japan America Society of Southern California’s 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala


When: May 16, 2018
Where: The Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)

USJC is proud to be an honoree of the Japan America Society of Southern California’s Kokusai Shimin Sho “International Citizens Award” at the 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala Celebration. This award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations who have significantly enhanced the U.S.-Japan relationship and are committed to strengthening bonds between the two nations.

For more information, please visit this page.


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.

Intern (Washington, DC)

The intern will provide support for programs and communications on a part-time or full-time basis. Duties will consist of program and event coordination and support, website/social media support, organization and attendance at special events, outreach and communication, writing and translation (if able). This is an excellent internship for those hoping to gain experience in the programmatic, digital and strategic marketing and/or nonprofit fields. USJC’s internship program offers outstanding opportunities for college students, graduate students and graduates who are interested in U.S.-Japan relations.

Click here for more information about the position.