FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chip Meyer
Dr. Chikako Usui, President of the Japan America Society of St. Louis (JASSTL), has been elected to the executive committee of the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS) in 2017 for a three-year term. She has also recently been awarded a Commendation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for outstanding work in promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S.A. Mr. Toshiyuki Iwado, Consul General of Japan, Chicago, came to St. Louis for the 40th anniversary of the Japanese Festival and to personally present Dr. Usui with the Commendation.
These achievements are a fitting honor following Dr. Usui’s ten years as president of JASSTL. During her tenure, she has obtained funded grants to revitalize the Japan America Society of St. Louis, greatly increasing its activity, exposure, and service to the St. Louis community. Her election to NAJAS will provide opportunities to fulfill her commitment to US-Japan relations on a national level.
Dr. Usui is an Associate Professor of Sociology and a Fellow of International Studies and Programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served as President of the Japan America Society of St. Louis (JASSTL) since 2008. Under her leadership, JASSTL expanded its business and cultural programs and its presence in the community and increased its membership and corporate sponsorships. JASSTL provides Japan-US business programs with signature networking sushi and sake receptions, as well as authentic cultural experiences such as ikebana floral arrangement and tea ceremony, which are open to the public. It partners with schools and local institutions to present programs on Japanese culture and history and is a major player in the popular annual Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the largest Japanese festivals in the country, drawing well-over 30,000 visitors annually.
Since the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster in Japan, JASSTL has been recipient of grants offered to only three other Japan America Societies in the US to foster exchange between child victims of the disaster and US students. Through the Tomodachi Friendship program, JASSTL has brought young students from Ishinomaki (near Sendai) to St. Louis to discover American culture and has taken St. Louis area students to the tsunami-damaged regions to study recovery efforts and see the resilience of the people.
Founded in 1967, the mission of JASSTL is to promote exchange and understanding between the people of Japan and the US, provide business and cultural programs, and be the go-to source of information about Japan. People have mistakenly believed JASSTL is only for Japanese and Japanese-Americans, but its membership is diverse and welcoming to all who are interested in Japan. JASSTL is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2017.
View PDF of media release here.
We had a packed house to hear three engaging speakers at our Spring Japan Update event hosted by our member, Novus International. Talks by Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Carnegie Asia Program senior fellow James Schoff, and founder and managing director of The Yield Lab Thad Simons were followed by a wonderful sushi and sake reception provided by Chef de Art Catering. A big "Thank you!" to our speakers, to the sponsors - the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, to everyone who attended, and to everyone who worked to bring this opportunity to St. Louis.
The Japan America Society enlists local writers each year to contribute to A Touch of Japanese Tradition - an annual publication focused on different aspects of Japanese culture. Previous topics included haiku, chanoyu (tea ccermony), kimono, and botany. The topic for 2016 is Japanese Food and that latest issue is now available!
Click here for A Touch of Japanese Tradition.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the ANA Ticket Raffle at the 40th Annual Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens!
Our winner, Susan W., was randomly drawn from over 350 tickets on September 5th during the Japan America Society’s Tomodachi Presentation. Congratulations Susan, and we hope you enjoy a wonderful trip to Japan!
We cannot thank you enough for your continued support of the Japan America Society of St. Louis. If you would like to stay up with date with all of the opportunities and discounts offered by the Japan America Society, please consider becoming a member.
After much preparation and hard work, the 2016 students are finally in Japan to extend and strengthen the grassroots relationships between St. Louis and Ishinomaki!
So far during their program, our St. Louis students have participated in Japanese tea ceremony in traditional Japanese clothing...
Learned how to perform Ishinomaki's traditional Tairyo Dance...
and participated in a cultural exchange with students from Minato Middle School!
For more updates on the 2016 program, be sure to like our page on Facebook here.
The coordinators and host families on the Japan side for the 2016 St. Louis-Ishinomaki Friendship Program recently sent a welcome message and photo to all the American participants in the TOMODACHI Program...
Welcome to Japan
Welcome to Ishinomaki
Please enjoy the homestay in Ishinomaki
See you at Sendai Airport on July 22
I know our participants just can't wait to meet you all!
The Japan America Society of St. Louis is excited to announce a new partnership with the St. Louis Art Museum, beginning with SLAM's upcoming symposium, Conflicts of Interests: Art and War in Modern Japan, on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22.
The Conflicts of Interest exhibit will be on display at SLAM from October 16 through January 8.
Our fourth annual “A Celebration of Japanese Culture” at the Missouri History Museum had a great turnout, drawing over 150 people. Visitors enjoyed both the beautiful May weather in Forest Park and a taste of Japanese culture inside the museum. Our friendly greeters, enthusiastic emcee, delicious refreshment, and attractive displays made all visitors feel welcome and at home. The skillful demonstrations of ikebana, tea ceremony, hair styling, and kimono modeling were accompanied by very interesting mini-lectures. The Q&A sessions were warm, lively, and even amusing at times. The special performances of Rakugo (sit-down comedy) drew much laughter. Both adults and children were mesmerized by the Kamishibai (folk storytelling). Of course, we also want to thank the Missouri History Museum for hosting and supporting our event.
"Faces Like the Enemy” was a very important learning experience. Dr. Linda Lindsey, Senior Lecturer of American Culture Studies at Washington University, gave a historical overview of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Dave Shimamoto and Robin Hattori added personal perspectives through family stories and photos. The powerful and moving documentary film, “442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity,” brought to light the little-known Japanese-American regiment that fought prejudice to become themost decorated US military unit in WWII. Special thanks to the Missouri History Museum for hosting this program.
VIEW PHOTOS HERE
Registration was filled up (and then some!) for "Women in the Japanese Workplace" on April 28. Professor Mitsuko Horiuchi gave an interesting and informative talk on the Japanese government's recent policies designed to bring more women into the workforce.
Thank you to all who attended and for the wonderful and engaging questions for Professor Horiuchi. Special thanks to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and to UMSL's International Studies and Programs; Department of Sociology, Gerontology and Gender; and Department of Language and Cultural Studies for their support.
"Japan America Society of St. Louis" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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