2015 Japanese American Leadership Delegation Returns Home
The ten delegates of the 2015 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program returned home on March 14 after a full week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities with Japanese leaders. The purpose of the program is to build people-to-people relationships with Japanese leaders from various sectors of society in order to strengthen and diversify U.S.-Japan relations.
This year’s delegation visited Hiroshima, a prefecture with strong ties to Japanese American communities in the United States. The delegates participated in a symposium titled “Aging and Dementia: Cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, from Research to Health Care” (see the flier for more information), co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and the U.S.-Japan Council, with support from the U.S. Consulate in Osaka, the Hiroshima Prefectural Government, and the Japan-America Society of Hiroshima, which was attended by over 100 people. Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki (a Friend of the Council), who delegates had met with the morning of the symposium, made opening remarks at the reception that followed. The group also received an in-depth tour of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry factory and visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Peace Museum, Hiroshima Castle and Kamoizumi Sake Brewery.
In Tokyo, the group met with Prime Minister Abe, with whom they discussed the strong relationship between Japanese Americans and Japan, 70 years of continued friendship between the two countries since the end of World War II, the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and more. (More information is available in the press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese) and a video of the discussion (includes English interpretation.))
Other individuals and organizations the delegation met include HIH Princess Takamado, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), Forum 21 and Mitsubishi Corporation (with Member of the UJSC Board of Councilors, Ambassador Ryozo Kato). They were briefed by U.S. Embassy staff including Deputy Chief of Mission Jason P. Hyland, and held meetings with Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono, Representative Taro Kono, the Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Federation and other Diet members. They also met with leadership from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended a luncheon hosted by CGP. USJC Board Members Dan Fujii, Ernest M. Higa, Paul Yonamine, as well as Council Member Eriko Talley, also met with the delegation and shared their experience as Japanese Americans living and working in Japan. Several other Tokyo-based members and staff also took the time to meet with the group.
The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.
Click here to view more photos from the Hiroshima and Tokyo portions of the trip. Click here for more information on the program and biographies of all ten delegates.
Japanese participants of the 2015 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program visit the United States
From March 3 to 14, a hundred college students and faculty chaperons visited Washington, DC, Los Angeles and host cities (Boston, Chicago and Honolulu) on the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars (TIS) program, which is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ KAKEHASHI Project. Their trip included sightseeing, giving presentations and participating in activities focused on learning the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), in collaboration with USJC, held an educational program on March 6 about Senator Inouye called “The Man and the Legacy.” Panelists included the Senator’s son, Kenneth Inouye, and former Congressional staffers Margaret Cummisky (a USJC Member) and Mary Yoshioka, who each shared their personal memories of the Senator and reflected on his legacy. The program continued with a panel titled “The Legacy Lives,” where Dr. Richard Solomon, Former President of USIP, and others shared how the Senator was instrumental in creating and sustaining USIP. The panelists closed with advice drawn from the Senator’s legacy, encouraging the scholars to never underestimate the impact of a moment, be determined while avoiding being wedded to any particular outcome, and realize that life is full of compromises. USJC sincerely thanks the leadership and staff of USIP for holding this moving event, and thanks all the panelists for sharing their time and memories.
That evening, the scholars and guests attended a reception hosted by Ambassador Keniichiro Sasae at his residence. Ambassador Sasae discussed the history and objectives of the KAKEHASHI Project, as well as Senator Inouye’s heroism during the war and accomplishments in bridging the United States and Japan. This was followed by presentations by Ritsumeikan University students, who spoke on “Japaneseness,” drawing on examples like honne to tatemae and wabisabi. Mr. Kenneth Inouye then spoke about how impressed he was (from the discussion at USIP earlier that day) with the students’ hard questions, ambitions and intellectual curiosity. “Each one of you can make a difference as long as you have this sort of mindset propelling you,” he said. “My father felt that everyone could make a difference in the world. You are already making a difference just by thinking the way you do.” USJC Board Member Susan Morita provided the background of the program and thanked the organizers and supporters on behalf of the Council. Mr. Doug Frantz, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, stressed the importance of students’ role in building people-to-people relations, and delivered a toast.
See more photos from the reception at the Ambassador’s residence here.
USJC Member Curtiss Rooks and TIS from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) hosted counterparts from Sophia University in Los Angeles. They were welcomed with a beach bonfire and beautiful Pacific sunset. The Los Angeles Consul General Harry Horinouchi graciously hosted a reception that was well attended by LA USJC members (see the press release here). The Sophia students attended LMU classes and viewed an exhibit that the LMU TIS curated in celebration of their own visit to Japan last summer. The Sophia students also visited the Japanese American National Museum, and were treated to performances by various LMU student cultural organizations.
Students of DePaul University, led by USJC Member Kathryn Ibata-Arens, hosted Ritsumeikan University students in Chicago. The program included workshops about Chicago’s multicultural identity and how scholars can work together in building global cultural competencies as members of the TOMODACHI Generation. Reflecting Senator Inouye’s legacy of service, participants engaged in activities with Chicago primary school children and at a Japanese American eldercare center. USJC members participated in many of these activities as well. The visit concluded with a community event, featuring a keynote speech by Deputy Consul General Keiko Yanai, live jazz, poetry and breakdancing performances. Read more and sign up to receive the program report here.
A highlight of the visit by Showa Women’s University students to the University of Massachusetts Boston was the Showa students’ presentations on aspects of contemporary life in Japan. Under the leadership of USJC Member Paul Watanabe, over 150 people, including USJC members from the Boston area, attended the vibrant and informative program that included a reception for the visiting Showa delegation.
USJC Member Dennis Ogawa and faculty chaperones at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa planned several activities on Oahu for the delegation from Matsuyama University: a reception attended by UH system President David Lassner, Japanese Consul General Toyoei Shigeeda, First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Amano-Ige and Jennifer Sabas, Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute; a presentation and dinner at the East-West Center; and a presentation at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in Moiliili.
Click here to see some of the students’ and faculty members’ social media activity prior to and during these exchange visits. More details and photos will be updated to the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars webpage.
New York Culinary Diplomacy Event
USJC would like to express its sincere appreciation to Associate Members Adam Moriwaki and Jasmine Wilson for organizing this event (and especially to Adam for also writing this article)!
On March 13, USJC hosted the inaugural New York City Culinary Diplomacy Event commemorating the tragic events of 3/11, which occurred almost exactly four years ago. Thanks to generous contributions from Azasu, Beam Suntory, East, Go! Go! Curry, Hatsuhana, Ito En, Jin Ramen, Lady M, New York Japanese Culinary Academy, Ozeki, Sake Discoveries, Sapporo, and Wasan, attendees enjoyed delicious food and drinks highlighting the culinary tradition of Japanese cuisine. Recognizing the losses suffered by families on 3/11, the event sought to achieve meaningful connections through food, which often creates associations and feelings of “home.”
Attendance was strong as evidenced by over 100 guests, including USJC members, corporate sponsors, friends, and others who wanted to share in the experience and support USJC and TOMODACHI (50% of net proceeds will go to support TOMODACHI initiatives). Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the new Consul General, took the time to attend despite having arrived in New York only a week ago. “A wonderful example of ‘soft power,’ Japanese cuisine holds vast appeal. Fine Japanese food and sake draw people together – and it does so tonight, thanks to the U.S.-Japan Council,” he said in his opening remarks. “The Government of Japan considers USJC an important organization. Through its work in strengthening our relations with Japanese American communities nationwide, the Council always gives Japan valuable support and guidance.”
USJC Vice Chairman Gary Moriwaki and USJC Executive Vice President & COO Suzanne Basalla conveyed USJC and TOMODACHI’s missions. Other attendees of note include Motomu Takahashi (President & CEO, Mitsui & Co.), TJ Kumakura (Chief Representative, Suntory Holdings), TOMODACHI UNIQLO Fellows, and Stuart Eisenkraft (Vice Chairman, CBRE).
The event included a soba demonstration by soba master Shuichi Kotani of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy and a silent auction featuring items kindly donated by Sony, the New York Yankees, Shizuka Spa, Hideki Matsui, Beq Bettina, and various local restaurants. While the event was co-organized by USJC members Jasmine Wilson and Adam Moriwaki, it could not have happened without the dedication and support of USJC Associate Members and Emerging Leaders Program alumni Georgette Furukawa-Martinez, Taiki Wakayama, and Kenshiro Uki; USJC Board Members Gary Moriwaki and Fred Katayama; Council Member Susan Hamaker; and NYJCA members Richard Kashida and Shuichi Kotani. Special thanks to all participants, donors, supporters, and attendees for making the event a wonderful occasion filled with good company and, of course, amazing food and drinks!
Click here to see more photos from the event.
Other Recent Events
Congressman Jim McDermott Honors Japanese American Leaders in Remarks
On March 3, Congressman Jim McDermott, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, and former Congressman Tom Petri each received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold & Silver Star award at the Embassy of Japan for their contributions to U.S.-Japan relations through legislative exchanges.
Congressman McDermott used the occasion of his acceptance remarks to honor the ways his work with Japan was motivated by lessons he learned from the Japanese American experience and through his early friendships with Japanese American role models. He explained about the early influence in his life of David Sakura, his college classmate in the 1950’s, who grew up in an internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho while his father and three brothers joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. As a Congressman, McDermott worked with Speaker Tom Foley to strengthen U.S.-Japan ties through legislative exchanges. In the 1990’s, Congressman McDermott, recalling the history he learned from David Sakura, asked President Clinton to re-examine the records of the 442nd veterans to recognize heroism that had been forgotten once the war ended, leading to the posthumous award of the Congressional Medal of Honor award to his constituent, William Kenzo Nakamura. Congressman McDermott took obvious pride in his association with Japanese Americans, saying that “all the Japanese Americans in my district are represented tonight by Beth Takekawa of the Wing Luke Museum and share with David Sakura and Tom Foley in my acceptance of this award.” Beth, who joined the Congressman for the Washington DC ceremony, is a Council Member, and serves as the Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
To read the press release with his full remarks, please visit Congressman McDermott’s website.
TOMODACHI and Irene Hirano Inouye Take Part in the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
Seventeen TOMODACHI alumni presented at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), which took place in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture from March 14 to 18, and many of its side events. TOMODACHI Executive Director Laura Winthrop Abbot also participated in an APEC-sponsored panel called “Good Practices of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Local Communities in the Process of Disaster Reconstruction.”
Irene Hirano Inouye was also part of WCDRR in her role as Vice-Chair of R3ADY Asia-Pacific. R3ADY Asia-Pacific’s side events for WCDRR included a discussion on partnerships for effective disaster management, which was the follow-up to a R3ADY roundtable and breakout session that was conducted in conjunction with the USJC Annual Conference in Honolulu. Japan’s First Lady, Madam Akie Abe, spoke at another R3ADY side event on protecting Japan’s coastal communities.
TOMODACHI News Corner
TOMODACHI Press Conference with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
TOMODACHI program participants, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on March 10. Topics they discussed include U.S.-Japan cooperation in the recovery of the Tohoku region, the experience of the TOMODACHI program participants, and the multigenerational effort to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations. This press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) includes a detailed summary of the discussion (in Japanese). Combined with the press release about the 2015 JALD delegates meeting Prime Minister Abe (see article #1 above), USJC was on the MOFA website two days in a row!
Application information and other updates
- The 2015 TOMODACHI iLEAP Social Innovation in Seattle (SIIS) program scholars are currently enjoying the program in Seattle (read more about the Japanese scholars here). Just a few days ago, they happened to run into Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and had a discussion about their experience with the program. They will also be joining a USJC Seattle Membership Event happening tonight (March 19).
- High school students in Southern California: apply for the 4th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program! This program invites 20 American high school students from southern California to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima, Tokyo and Miyagi. The deadline is March 30. Click here to read more about the program and the application process.
- We are now accepting applications for the 2015 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program. We are seeking applicants from Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Portland, Texas (U.S.) and Kyoto, Miyagi, Oita, Okinawa, and Toyama (Japan). Program information, deadlines and application information can be found here.
Upcoming TOMODACHI Events in the United States
- Apr. 11, 6:00 – 7:30p.m. (Silicon Valley)
Reception for participants of the TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Leadership Conference at Hotel Cypress Cupertino
This is a save-the-date; a formal invitation will follow. For additional information, contact USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa at [email protected].
Please also be sure to see the “Upcoming Events” section below, which lists further events related to TOMODACHI!
Mar. 19 (Today!) – U.S.-Japan Council Prospective Members Reception (Seattle)
- Date & Time: Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00p.m.
- Venue: Japanese Cultural & Community Center (1414 South Weller, Seattle, WA 98144)
- Cost: Free
USJC invites you to an informal reception to hear from USJC leaders and Seattle-based members to learn more about USJC membership and our programs. We will be joined by special guests from Japan–young, emerging social leaders and entrepreneurs–who are in Seattle on a TOMODACHI Initiative/iLEAP leadership training program. You are welcome to contact USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa at [email protected] with any questions.
Mar. 24 – Very Young Composers from Fukushima and New York (New York)
- Date & Time: Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 5:00 – 6:00p.m.
- Venue: Lincoln Center – David Rubinstein Atrium (61 W 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023; see directions here.)
- Cost: Free
Please join USJC and participants of the TOMODACHI New York Fukushima Very Young Composers Program on March 24 for a special performance by a chamber ensemble of New York Philharmonic musicians at the Lincoln Center. Please see more information about the event on the New York Philharmonic website.
Since October 2014, children ages 10-15 from Fukushima and New York City collaboratively composed short “musical postcards” based on the Japanese folksong “chou-cho” (butterfly), evoking a conceptual theme of “rebirth,” for a performance by musicians of the New York Philharmonic. This TOMODACHI program promotes meaningful cultural exchanges through the exploration of music, providing a way for youth to communicate on a person-to-person level that goes beyond country borders and language issues.
The TOMODACHI New York Fukushima Very Young Composers Program is made possible by the generous support from the TOMODACHI Fund for Exchanges. We hope you will join us in supporting our future musical ambassadors of U.S.-Japan relations!
Mar. 27 – Stories from Tohoku Screening (Houston)
- Date & Time: Friday, March 27, 2015, 6:00p.m.
- Venue: University of St. Thomas – Cullen Hall (4001 Mt. Vernon, Houston, TX 77006)
- Cost: Free
Please join USJC for this screening of Stories from Tohoku (produced by Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi), which captures the strength, resilience, grace and acceptance of the survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Tohoku. Click here to see the flier.
Mar. 31 – Updates from Tohoku: A Journey to New Life (Boston)
- Date & Time: Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6:00-8:00p.m.
- Venue: The Red Room at Café 939, Berklee College of Music (939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA)
- Cost: Free
“Updates from Tohoku, a journey to new life” is a commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011. It is hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, Berklee College of Music, Fish Family Foundation, Japan Society of Boston, and the U.S.-Japan Council / TOMODACHI Initiative. With the purpose to not let Tohoku be forgotten, the event will celebrate the friendship between Boston and Tohoku, and showcase individuals and projects working on the disaster ground, including Shun Kanda of the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, Anne Nishimura Morse of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Megumi Ishimoto of Women’s Eyes. Two Berklee students, recipients of the TOMODACHI – Suntory scholarship program, will also perform short pieces as tributes to Tohoku.
Please see this flier for more information and click here to register.
Apr. 2 – The Sun Also Rises?: Japan’s Potential in The Post-Crisis Global Economy (New York)
- Date & Time: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 6:00p.m.
- Venue: Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017)
- Cost: Free
Where Japan has led, the western world has largely followed, with manufacturing losing competitiveness, financial sectors hitting trouble, technological change challenging old industries, and ageing demographics imposing heavy burdens on public finances and productivity. But Japan’s early experience of these changes also means that some Japanese corporations and sectors have already begun the process of adapting. What are the potential opportunities for Japan in today’s world? In this program, a group of prominent panel members including former Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, Bill Emmott, discusses the future role and strengths of Japan in this new global economy.
Fred Katayama, Member of the USJC Board of Directors, will moderate this event, which will also be broadcast on NHK World and its website at a later date. Please click here to see more details and to register.
Apr. 17 – Stories from Tohoku Screening and Portland Membership Event (Portland)
- Date & Time: Friday, April 17, 2015, 6:00p.m. (Light refreshments from 5:30p.m.)
- Venue: Mercy Corps Aceh Room (45 SW Ankeny St., Portland, OR 97204)
- Cost: Free
Please join USJC for this screening of Stories from Tohoku (produced by Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi), which captures the strength, resilience, grace and acceptance of the survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Tohoku. Following the film, a short discussion will be held with the filmmakers and local members who visited Tohoku. Please click here to register.
Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative
The U.S.-Japan Council is seeking a talented, dynamic individual for the position of Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative. The Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the goals and objectives of the initiative, providing leadership and oversight of program development and management, fundraising, communications and operations for TOMODACHI. The Executive Director will be based in Tokyo and manage the TOMODACHI staff in Japan (currently 8 people), and will work closely with the Senior Vice-President and U.S.-Japan Council staff in the United States. The Executive Director will have the primary responsibility for day-to-day liaising with the U.S. Embassy leadership and staff.
The preferred start date is April 1.
A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website.
Marketing and Communications Manager/Specialist, TOMODACHI Initiative
Working under the direction of the Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative in Japan, the Marketing & Communications Manager/Specialist (exact title to be confirmed based on experience of the candidate) plays a critical role in developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing strategy to build and develop the profile and brand of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, recipients of support, other donors and the press. The Marketing & Communications Manager/Specialist will work closely with teams from the U.S.-Japan Council in the United States and Japan, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the implementation of this mission. This position is offered for a one-year contract, with an option for renewal each year.
Review of applications will begin March 23, 2015. The preferred start date is April 13, 2015.
A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website.
Sasakawa Peace Foundation Resident Fellowship at Pacific Forum CSIS
The Pacific Forum is seeking one U.S. and one Japanese Resident Fellow for a six month fellowship program. The fellowship provides an opportunity to research and gain further insight into the U.S.-Japan alliance, as well as to work with Pacific Forum’s global network of government, business and academic contacts in developing concrete policy solutions.
The application deadline has been extended to March 31. Selected fellows will begin their residency in the summer or early fall 2015. For more information and to apply, visit //csis.org/program/spf-fellowship.
U.S. and Japan in the News
- U.S. first lady highlights cooperation with Japan on girls’ education
Mainichi Shimbun, Mar 19
- Museum attack in Tunisian capital kills 19; Abe says 3 Japanese confirmed killed
Yomiuri Shimbun, Mar 19
- China, Japan start first security talks in four years
Reuters, Mar 19
- New theme park to be built near military bases in Okinawa, Japan
Los Angeles Times, Mar 18
- U.S. ambassador Kennedy gets death threats in Japan
Asahi Shimbun, Mar 18
- From a minstrel no-show to a black beauty queen, in a week
The Japan Times, Mar 18
- Japanese historians contest textbook’s description of ‘comfort women’
The Washington Post, Mar 17
- Nintendo forms alliance with mobile game firm in about face
The Washington Post, Mar 17
- Who will look after Japan’s elderly?
BBC, Mar 16
- Once Lost, Internment Camp In Hawaii Now A National Monument
NPR, Mar 16
- China says Japan ties face test, opportunity this year
Reuters, Mar 15
- Japan’s asylum laws: no entry
The Economist, Mar 14
- Japan understands threat of natural disasters
The Japan Times, Mar 14
- Japan budgets over $15 million for overseas universities in soft power push
Reuters, Mar 13
- Japan’s Nikkei closes at 15-year high
BBC, Mar 13
- Photos: Four-Year Anniversary of Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami
The Wall Street Journal, Mar 12
- After 4 years, Fukushima nuclear cleanup remains daunting, vast
The Los Angeles Times, Mar 11
- Salvage Operation Returns 90,000 Photos Lost in 3/11 Quake
The Wall Street Journal, Mar 11
- Japan marks 70th anniversary of Tokyo firebombing
BBC, Mar 10
- In a Test of Wills, Japanese Fighter Pilots Confront Chinese
The New York Times, Mar 8
- Inflation in Japan: The signal and the noise
The Economist, Mar 7
- Japan and the past: Undigested history
The Economist, Mar 7
- Japan eyes MI6-style spy agency as it seeks to shed pacifist past
Reuters, Mar 6