Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner of 45th Scholarship Awards and
9th Honjo Scholarship Awards

All photos by Masao Katagami

Keynote Speaker Ms. Kuge

The 45th JAA Scholarship Awards Dinner was held at the Harvard Club on May 28th, 2015. Consul General and Madame Reiichiro Takahashi; Mr. and Mrs. Motomu Takahashi, President and CEO of Mitsui Co. (U.S.A.); Mr. Yosuke Honjo, President and CEO of ITO EN (North America); and Mr. Motohiro Satoh, Vice President of JCCI headed the guest list of 130 donors, awardees, their families and JAA members. A total of $56,000 was given to thirteen high school recipients along with three round trip air tickets by ANA and Delta Air Lines. Five graduate school students received a total of $30,000 from the Honjo International Foundation.

Dr. Makoto Iwahara, co-chair of the Scholarship Committee, greeted the guests as MC. He was followed by remarks from JAA President, Ms. Susan J. Onuma, and a thoughtful greeting by Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the Consul General of Japan in New York.

Ms. Takara Satone, recipient of the Murase Family Scholarship, and Ms. Stephanie C. Kato, recipient of the Honjo Foundation Award, gave gracious acceptance speeches on behalf of their respective groups. Ms. Kato spoke of her experience as a volunteer at JAA over the past year. She recounted coming across a copy of the memoirs of the original founder, Dr. Toyohiko Takami, stating how Dr. Takami’s altruistic nature and concern for the welfare of the Japanese community deeply impressed upon her the importance of giving back.
Keynote speaker Ms. Kaoriko Kuge gave a heartfelt and inspiring speech to our awardees. Reflecting on her childhood and her path to becoming a broadcast journalist, she spoke about the three things they should own in life 1) their failures – it means you are just one step closer to success, 2) what they do in life – love it or leave it and 3) their heritage – be proud of it – it’s what makes them special.

To conclude the ceremony, Mr. Gary S. Moriwaki thanked the donors and guests.

2015 Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner Benefactors
Gold Sponsor:
ITO EN (North America) Inc.
Silver Sponsors: Hiroko and Satoru Murase
J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York
Japanese Medical Society of America

The scholarship committee consisted of co-chairs Makoto Iwahara and Gary S. Moriwaki, with committee members Yuzuru Anzai, Yuki Kaneshige, Frederick Katayama, Satoru Murase, Susan J. Onuma, Joe Oshima, Nozomi Terao, Koji Sato, and Katsuo Takeda.

45th JAA Scholarship (for graduating high school students)

①The Murase Family Scholarship
 ($10,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of All Nippon Airways)

 Takara Satone(Born in New Jersey)
 Bergen County Technical High School-Teterboro,
 will attend the University of California – Berkeley

②Delta Air Lines Scholarship
 ($5,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of Delta Air Lines)
 Yuji Sugimoto (Born in Nagoya, Japan)
 Union County Magnet High School, will attend Stanford University

③Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
 Martin Kunio Awano (Born in New York City)
 The Bronx High School of Science,
 will attend the University of Chicago

④Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
 Kenta Takatsu (Born in Tokyo, Japan)
 Rye High School, will attend Cornell University, College of Engineering

⑤Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
 Keiko Sahara Turecamo (Born in New York, NY)
 Convent of the Sacred Heart,
 will attend the University of Pennsylvania

⑥Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
 Mikiko Senda (Born in Japan)
 The Dwight-Englewood School, will attend Wellesley College

⑦Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
 Nanase Nakamura Shirokawa (Born in New York, NY)
 Hunter College High School, will attend Williams College

⑧Orient Corp. of America Scholarship ($3,500)
 Kentaro Uzuka Hansen (Born in Denville, NJ)
 Parsippany High School,
 will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute   

⑨Toyota Motor North America Scholarship ($3,000)
 Marcus Morimi Iwama (Born in Red Bank, NJ)
 Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, will attend Williams College

⑩TV Japan Scholarship ($3,000)
 Jonathan Toshinobu Tanigaki (Born in Ridgewood, NJ)
 Midland Park High School, will attend American Musical
 and Dramatic Academy in New York

⑪Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya Scholarship ($3,000)
 Shigeta Komatsubara (Born in Paris, France)
 United Nations International School,
 will attend the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

⑫Hartman-Sakazume Scholarship ($3,000)
 Shizuku Yoshieda (Born in Kanazawa, Japan)
 Eastchester High School, will attend New York University, College of Nursing

⑬ANA Japan Travel Scholarship
 ($1,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of All Nippon Airways)

 Seiji Hoshino Engelkemier (Born in Tokyo, Japan)
 Brooks School, will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

9th JAA Honjo Scholarships Awardees (for graduate students)
・Kaori Kabata ($7,500)
 School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
 Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo Keio University, BA in Law

・Carolina A. van der Mensbrugghe ($7,500)
 Fordham University School of Law
 Colgate University, BA, International Relations and Theater

・Stephanie Chiaki Kato ($5,000)
 Columbia University School of Law
 Stanford University, MS, Mechanical Engineering
 California Institute of Technology, BS in Mechanical Engineering

・Joshua Evan Schlachet ($5,000)
 Columbia University, History, East Asia Program (PhD program)
 University of Michigan, MA, Japanese Studies
 Cornell University, BA History and Asian Studies
 Culinary Institute of America, Associate of Occupational Studies, Culinary Arts

・Allen Koji Ukai ($5,000)
 John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
 College of William and Mary, B A in Sociology and Public Policy

JAA Scholarship Dinner
Keynote Speaker
Kaoriko Kuge Journalist and Senior Anchor at Fujisankei Communications International (FCI)

Ms. Kuge is a broadcast journalist in New York City. She works as a reporter and anchor for Fuji Television’s subsidiary, Fujisankei Communications International NY. She reports for Fuji’s program in Japan and anchors a daily news show that caters to Japanese living abroad. Kaoriko began her career as a simultaneous interpreter for Simul International. She then switched professions and had a brief career as an actress! For two years, she starred in a long-running NHK drama called "Chugakusei Nikki (Diary of a Junior High School Student)". She decided to change careers again, this time pursuing a career in journalism. She anchored news programs at NHK BS7. Following that, she co-anchored the Sunday morning political show on Fuji Television, "Hodou 2001".
Kaoriko has produced three documentaries on the history of Japanese Americans that aired in Japan and the United States. The first documentary she made was about a politician in the state of Colorado named Ralph Carr who supported Japanese- Americans during WWII. She followed that up with biographies on two of the highest ranking Japanese-American politicians on Capitol Hill, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and the Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Daniel Inouye.
Born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, Kaoriko moved to New York in 1998. She and her husband, live in Manhattan with their son.

New JAA Honorary members

Mr. Yasuyuki Sugiura was named new JAA honorary member after becoming president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York on April 22, 2015.


On August 1, Summer Flea Market at JAA Hall
On August 10, Reception for nursing students from Tohoku
On September 21, 22nd Annual JAA Charity Golf Tournament at Haworth Country Club
On December 5, 108th JAA Gala Dinner

The 7th Sakura Health Fair

The 7th Sakura Health Fair at JAA was Co-Sponsored by JAA Committee on Aging Issues and JAMSNET and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. This event was held at JAA Hall from April 8 to April 27 with more than over 50 program sessions covering a variety of topics from Yoga, Flower arrangements, Safety Measures in New York by NYC Police Department and Consulate General, Child Education and Senior Living. It was for all ages with more than 1800 participants. It was deemed a huge success by those who attended. Many thanks to all the volunteers and speakers who provided informative and expert advice.

Chamber music

Dementia supporter workshop

Healthy Eyes by Dr. Asoma

Healthy Parenting

New York Safety measures

How to survive at the Golden Years by Ms. Taeko Nakashima

Playing with kids

Steps to Going into Medical Field-JMSA

Nationality Act of Japan by Consul Aoyagi & Ms. Shiozaki

Sakura & Japanese
by Mr. Takasaki

10 years younger-makeup
by Lions club


sakura health fair Movie ‘KANO"

Chair Yoga

Foot Massage

Breast Cancer Symposium
by BC Network

11th JAA Sakura Matsuri

(All photos by Masao Katagami)

JAA members and friends enjoyed our 11th Sakura Matsuri held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, April 18th, a gorgeous day with beautiful cherry blossoms. Guests included Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul-General of Japan in NY, and Ms. Janice Melnick, Administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. More than 500 people attended, including JAA President Susan J. Onuma and Mrs. Chieko Inagaki, widow of former JAA President Mr. Shigeru Inagaki.

The Program started with Soh Daiko, performing traditional Japanese Taiko, the JAA Chorus led by Ms. Mari Takagi, Okinawa Dance and Sanshin Uta by Ms. Junko Fisher, along with Folk Dances by the Japanese Folk Dance Institute. A tea ceremony was held on the lawn. A tree was planted in appreciation of the Inagaki family’s continuing and generous support for Sakura Matsuri since 2001. We greatly appreciated donations of $5,850.00 from Mrs. Chieko Inagaki, $1,000 from Ms. Hiroko Onoyama, as well as teas from ITO EN (North America).

The Sakura Committee Co-Chairs were Susan Hamaker, Hiroko Onoyama and Suki Terada Ports, and the volunteers were Masao Katagami, Jasmine Wilson, Yuki Kaneshige, Kaori Eda, Shuji Kato and Michiyo Noda. The Parks Department staff, led by Mr. Danny Miller, Director of Special Events, once again worked very hard to set up the tents and ensured a seamless program

Exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American Artists
in New York 2015

(All photos by Masao Katagami)

The 20th annual Art Exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American Artists in New York was held from May 7 to May 15. Thirty-nine artists (including four new artists and two deceased artists) displayed their 69 works at the new JAA Hall.
The opening reception began with a greeting from MC Mrs. Eiko Aono. Guests included Consul Yoshikatsu Aoyagi, JAA President Ms. Susan J. Onuma, the artists, and JAA members. Everyone enjoyed an exhibition of international art. Refreshments were made by JAA Keirokai volunteers.

JAA greatly appreciated those who bought art, as a portion of the proceeds were donated to JAA. Thank you to Mr. Shigeru Aoki, Ms. Yumiko Morimoto, Mr. Katsuo Takeda, Ms. Reiko Osumi and Mrs. Yoko Sasaki.

Art Show Co-chairs: George Hirose and Yoko Sasaki. Members: Eiko Aono, Chizuko Korn and Shizuko Kato

Memorial Day Ceremony
at the Japanese Cemetery in Mt. Olivet Cemetery

Memorial Day Services (Bosankai) were held on May 25, 2015 at the Japanese Cemetery at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Queens. The event, sponsored by JAA, with the support of the New York Buddhist Church and the Japanese American United Church (JAUC), was conducted by Mr. Katsuo Takeda, Vice President of JAA.

The ceremony began with Pastor Kaz Takahashi from the JAUC, who performed music, and Rev. Earl Ikeda from the Buddhist Church, who read from the Sutra. Participants offered incense and flowers to the pioneers who had contributed so much to the Japanese and Japanese American Community.

Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi expressed his appreciation to the Japanese pioneers who had promoted good relations between the U.S. and Japan. Ms. Fukuko Fujimoto, Principal of the Greenwich Japanese School of NY spoke of attending this memorial services for the past 37 years, and Mr. Toru Okamoto, Principal of the Japanese Children’s Society, gave a heartfelt speech. They both spoke of their hope that students from their respective schools will become leaders for a peaceful future. Mr. Nobuo Miki, president of Japanese American Lions Club, spoke of having appreciation and respect for Japanese immigrants aspiring to be good American citizens. MIS member Mr. Kaz Yamaguchi and Vietnam veteran Mr. Stanley Kanzaki were among the 150 people in attendance.

We thank the staff of Japanese Children’s Society and members of Japanese Lions Club for their cleanup of the cemetery on the days before and after the event.

Wreaths were offered by the Consulate General of Japan in New York, Nippon Club, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York, Japanese Lions Club, Japanese Medical Society of America, JAA, JACL, and the New York Buddhist Church.

The 30th JAA Foreign Minister’s Baseball Tournament


The tournament began on April 26, 2015 with 18 teams at Randall’s Island North field and Central Park North Meadow. The six weeks of preliminaries have been very competitive. "A" block includes the teams Jokers and Radiator, "B" Block consists of the teams OREGA, Bees and Hamakko.

Please visit for the most recent scores. Team Matsui, one of Nippon Club Baseball teams, consists of members of JAA baseball. We are very excited to see who will be the champion of this year’s JAA baseball tournament and the Nippon Club baseball tournament.

9th Annual Japan Day @ Central Park

On Sunday, May 10, 2015 more than 55,000 people gathered at the Band Shell area in Central Park.

Volunteers from the JAA calligraphy class demonstrated their beautiful and skillful brush work to more than 2,000 New Yorkers. The booth was so popular that they ran out of ink and paper!

Our volunteers were Yumiko Abe, Masako Gibeault, Yuri Ishizuka, Atsuko Imaizumi, Ayako Ishizuka, Terue Saito, Namie Suzuki, Chizuko Yamaguchi, Shuji Kato, Michiyo Noda, the calligraphy class, staff members from JETRO New York, and students from Stuyvesant HS.

(L to R )Mr. Sasaki, Mr. Takahashi, Ms. Tahara, Mr. Nakamura of Takara Belmont USA and Mr. Kubota

Thank you to Takara Belmont USA
for donating four chairs
for JAA’s monthly haircut service!

JAA has offered free haircuts for seniors every month since 2002, when the first hair stylist, Ms. Michi Tahara, started volunteering. Now, four hairstylists volunteer their services to more than 20 seniors each month.


JAA Vice President Julie Azuma received the Clara Lemlich Award for Social Activism by Labor Arts, Puffin Foundation and the Rubin Foundation on May 4, 2015 at Museum of the City of New York.

JAA Board of Director Toru Okamoto received the 2015 Japanese Consul General’s Commendation for his remarkable contributions to the enhancement of the education of Japanese children in the United States by managing a Japanese school for 30 years as President and as a Principal.

JAA President Susan J. Onuma received the Distinguished Community Service Award by Hamilton-Madison House at its Japanese Mental Health Clinic 4th Annual Benefit Dinner on May 18, 2015.

Mr. Masao & Akiko Katagami had their first child, a baby boy named Ao, on May 16, 2015. Masao is a photographer who takes many of the photos at our JAA events.

Social Service Committee

Keirokai-Luncheon for Seniors
April 17: The April Keirokai was part of the Sakura Health Fair.

Menu was Chirashi & Matsukaze-Yaki. Mr. Sansho Murayama performed Rakugo, then the Iwaki Band played a birthday song for JAA members who were born in April and in particular to Mr. Haruo Ito, who celebrated his 103rd birthday.

Mr. Haruo Ito, who celebrated
his 103rd birthday


May 14:
Menu was Inarisushi & Chizuzen-ni. JAA Chorus sang beautiful Japanese songs.
May 28:
Menu was Chicken and baby bamboo with rice and Mitarashi Dango, Rev. Miki Nakura spoke about Buddhism. At both events the Iwaki Band performed and members enjoyed a Karaoke sing-along.

Those who were born in May

Rev. Miki Nakura

We held Keirokai on June 11 and 25.

Ms. Arai

We need your assistance!

JAA needs 100 people to take part in a survey on Community Health Resources and Needs Assessment by NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health.

Please keep in mind:
1. This survey is intended for: a) Persons of Asian descent, b) Persons who live in the metropolitan New York area, c) Persons between 18-85 of age.
2. Answer the questions based on your own experience or own opinions. There is no right or wrong answer.
3. All of your answers are anonymous.
4. You may decline to answer any question or to stop at any point during the survey process.

Please contact JAA office for survey sheets. Thank you for your participation!


JAA member Miyano Tokita passed away at Bellevue Hospital on April 25, 2015 at the age of 79. Her Memorial service was held at United Church on May 24, 2015. Our condolences to her family.


Remarkable Contribution to
the enhancement of the Education of
Japanese children in United States
Toru Okamoto

Mr. Okamoto was born in 1949 in Takaoka City, Toyama. He loved to draw pictures since childhood. He enrolled at the Tokyo University of the Arts to study Japanese Painting and after graduating in 1973, he briefly worked as an elementary school teacher. Then he moved to Mexico to study Mexican Muralists at the National University of Mexico. He became an art teacher there and at the Iberoameriana University.

In 1979, Toru met Mrs. Miyoko Niwa on a visit to New York. He then helped to establish "Yoiko no Gakuen." After the passing of Mrs. Niwa, Toru succeeded in running the business of the school. At the same time, the landlord asked the school to move from the premises. Amid the crisis of losing the school, the Tanaka Ikueikai educational organization based in Japan offered to finance funding a new school building in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. The school was re-established as the NY Ikuei Gakuen (the Japanese Children’s Society) in 1989. The school taught students from preschool to 6th Grade under Mr. Okamoto’s leadership. For 35 years, he generously kept up with the needs of the children in the Japanese Community. More than 3000 students graduated from his school. He plans to open the new nursery/ kindergarten "Tanpopo" on West 103rd Street in Manhattan this autumn.

He has been a member of JAA since 1984 and has served on the Board of Directors since 1997. He lives in NJ with Rieko, his wife of 17 years, and their three children.