A Celebration of Japanese Culture and a Passport to Japan

On Sunday, May 5, JAS presented our annual “mini Japanese festival” for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. A good-luck lion dance by St. Louis Osuwa Taiko opened the program, then we focused on the “way of” meditative arts of ikebana flower arranging (kadō), brush calligraphy (shodō), and tea ceremony (chadō). A kimono show followed, then Zen meditation practice, kamishibai story-telling, and rakugo “sit-down” comedy. This year attracted the largest audience ever!

Also, JAS partnered with the St. Louis Art Museum on Sunday, May 19, to hold their annual Passport to Japan Family Sunday program. St. Louis Osuwa Taiko attracted a crowd, then the St. Louis Bon Odori group welcomed all to join in the bon dances. All ages enjoyed making origami.

Our thanks to the participants and volunteers, with special thanks to the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum for their continued support.

photo credit to Ash Webelhuth and Linda Austin


2019 Spring Japan Update: Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation in Japan & the United States

On Monday, February 25, JAS presented its Spring Japan Update program. Greg Gorman started the event by offering welcoming remarks. Guests were engrossed during the presentations while they sipped on their beverages donated by the local Urban Chesnut Brewing Company. The topic of business cultivation from a global to a local perspective captured the guests, as they asked several questions during the Q&A session following the panels. Mr. Kota Ura (Senior Consultant for Information Services International-Dentsu) started the panel by speaking about the Japanese side of business incubation in the United States. He was followed by Lia Camargo (Japan Desk Associate at Cambridge Innovation Center) who had the unique position of collaborating between Japan and the United States to garner new entrepreneurships for both countries. Dan Lauer (Founding Executive Director of UMSL Accelerate) brought the scope of our topic to a local level with business incubation here in St. Louis. Around 65 people attended this event and enjoyed a sake and sushi reception catered by Naomi Hamamura of Chef De Art Catering. The program and reception were graciously hosted by Cortex Innovation Center and funding was provided generously by NAJAS.


A Successful Shinnenkai event kicks off 2019 for JAS-STL

Despite the snowstorm over the weekend, nearly 70 attendees braved the weather to celebrate the New Year with JAS at Wasabi-St. Charles. Chip Meyer acted as the emcee and Vice President Toshio Kitamura gave a short speech. Rev. Daigaku Rummé of Confluence Zen Center in STL gave an uplifting New Year’s speech about new beginnings.

The kagami biraki was performed by Rev. Daigaku Rummé, Dr. Chikako Usui, and Mr. Koichiro Tago of Novus International. They opened the sake barrel to ring in the Year of the Boar, then everyone raised their full cups for a kanpai toast. The Wasabi-staff brought out bento with osechi ryōri and everyone enjoyed the traditional Japanese New Year’s meal.

The fukubukuro raffle for “lucky bags” was fun for all. Three beautiful kadomatsu, pine and bamboo traditional new year arrangements, created by Dr. Usui, were auctioned.

This year we even had a table of guests celebrating a birthday!

photo credit to Linda Austin


"Japan America Society of St. Louis" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
University of Missouri - St. Louis
366 SSB
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121-4400

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