2021 Annual Meeting & Dinner

Thank you to everyone who attended our annual dinner and meeting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at the beautiful Piper Palm House at Tower Grove Park. President Greg Gorman reported on the state of the society, which is strong despite the obstacles presented by COVID the last couple of years.

We offered a special recognition to Heidi Hamamura for her strong support of JASSTL for many years. In June, Heidi spearheaded an event that generated a nearly $4000 donation to JAS. Heidi and her father have long been strong supporters of JAS and the Japanese culture in St. Louis.

And we successfully elected our leadership for the coming year. 

We heard several remarks about how good it was to get out and see each other again, and we welcomed several newcomers to the event. Dinner was delicious, the venue was lovely, and the auction was at times cutthroat(!) at this sold-out event. We appreciate everyone who attended and we offer special thanks to everyone who donated such wonderful auction items, including Zoltek, Nidec, Banner Public Affairs, Urban Chestnut, JASWA, MOBOT, The Caramel House, Charles Austin, Debra Hazelwood, and AnimeSTL.  

The premium Japanese bento were provided by Chef Naomi Hamamura of Chef de Art Catering and Heidi Hamamura of Taberu, and the delicious appetizers were prepared by Hollyberry Catering. Urban Chestnut Brewing Company provided the beer.

The Written Image: The Evolution of the Japanese Art & Calligraphy Collection in the Freer Gallery of Art 

On October 4, 2021, the JASSTL in partnership with the Pulitzer Art Foundation hosted a presentation by Dr. Frank Feltens, Japan Foundation assistant curator of Japanese art at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Asian Art. Dr. Feltens presented and discussed amazing pieces of Japanese Art from the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art collection. After the event, the audience enjoyed sushi bento boxes with beer and sake. 

This event is made possible by support from the Japan U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Association of Japan America Societies.

2021 Kishi Bashi Performance

On September 17, 2021, in community partnership with Japan America Society of St. Louis (JASSTL) and St. Louis JACL Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Kishi Bashi made his SLSO debut with a multimedia program including Improvisations on EO9066, a heart-rending musical exploration about the internment of innocent Japanese Americans during World War II.

Known for writing the score to the 2020 AppleTV+ show “Stillwater,” performing at large festivals such as SXSW, and collaborating with popular artists including Regina Spektor, Kishi Bashi brought life to the stage with his vibrant presence.

2021 Red Lantern Night Market

We were excited to co-sponsor the Red Lantern Night Market put on by Izakaya Club on June 11 and 12. The market exceeded all expectations, selling out the capacity of 350 people each night ahead of the event.

Part bazaar, part carnival, part party, this Red Lantern Night Market was hosted by Mad Art Gallery and featured street food (takoyaki, yakitori, onigiri, Japanese sandos, and more!) as well as beer and boutique cocktails, unique retail, authentic Japanese cultural experiences, and music and entertainment. 

Takashima Records DJ'd the events all night, with breaks for the crowd-arresting thumping bass of St. Osuwa Taiko performances.

Japan America Society of St. Louis provided three of the most popular experiences of the event. Guests stood in line for hours to have their fortunes told by Dr. Chikako Usui, who provided uranaishi (street-side fortune teller) services. Yuko Kitajima's Matcha Society (Ai-Ko-Kai) of St. Louis performed tea ceremony demonstrations in the venue's small jail cells-turned-chashitsu. They always had a line to get in and sold out both nights! And Hiroko Yoshii demonstrated shodo to guests into the wee hours of the morning.

Izakaya Club is sharing proceeds from the event with JAS and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).  The event was a huge success and rumor has it, they are planning another one for late summer or early fall. Be on the lookout for details as that comes together.

2021 Virtual Presentation - Home: Japanese Americans in St. Louis

On June 8, our own Dr. Chikako Usui, chairman of the Japan America Society of St. Louis and associate professor of sociology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, presented an overview of Japanese Americans’ settlement in the St. Louis area over Zoom. This presentation was in collaboration with the Missouri Historical Society. This presentation will explore how they built their lives and homes here and how they’ve enriched the city’s culture. This program is a part of the Missouri Historical Society's 2021 Missouri Bicentennial programming, commemorating 200 years of Missouri history.

2021 Virtual Shinnenkai - Year of the Metal Ox

On January 17, we held a virtual Shinnenkai (New Year party) to welcome 2021 - The Year of the Metal Ox. We were delighted to be joined by Consul General Okada to offer well-wishes and offer a New Year kampai as JAS president Greg Gorman and his family performed the kagami biraki ritual breaking of the sake cask. And, JAS chairman Dr. Chikako Usui offered a wonderful and informative overview of Japanese New Year traditions. If you missed it and would like to see it, you can view it here on YouTube.

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

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