Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner of
46th Scholarship Awards and
10th Honjo Scholarship Awards

The 46th JAA Scholarship Awards Dinner was held at the Harvard Club on June 9, 2016. Consul General and Madame Reiichiro Takahashi; Mr. Yasushi Takahashi, President and CEO of Mitsui Co. (U.S.A.); Mr. Kanetsugu Mike, Executive Chairman, MUFG Union Bank; Mr. Jason Stevens, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Int’l Corp; Mr. Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President of ANA; 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 $46,500 was awarded to eleven 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.

Mr. Koji Sato, co-chair of the Scholarship Committee, greeted the guests as MC. Remarks came from JAA President Ms. Susan J. Onuma, who talked about JAA founder Dr. Toyohiko Takami, and Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the Consul General of Japan in New York, provided a thoughtful greeting.
Our keynote speaker, Gerald L. Curtis, Burgess Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Columbia University, gave an inspiring speech to all in attendance. His special message to the awardees was to keep an open mind and to be aware of Asia’s growing global power both economically and politically, and you will be a key factor in the relationship between US and Japan.
Following the awarding of scholarships, Miss Miku Fujita, recipient of JAA Murase Scholarship, and Ms. Mary Any Prager, recipient of the Honjo Foundation Award, gave gracious acceptance speeches on behalf of their respective groups.

To conclude the ceremony, Ms. Julie Azuma, co-chair of Scholarship Committee thanked the donors and guests.

46th JAA Scholarship
(for graduating high school students)

(1) JAA Murase Scholarship
($10,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of All Nippon Airways)
Miku Fujita
University of Pennsylvania – School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

(2) Delta Air Lines Scholarship
($5,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of Delta Air Lines)
Corinna Nechamah Ronen
SUNY Binghamton

(3) MUFG Scholarship ($5,000)
Alissa Mori
Barnard College

(4) Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
Sophia Seki Fox
Skidmore College

(5) Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
James Takashi Quinn
end Columbia University

(6) Orient Corp. of America Scholarship ($3,500)
Akihiko Oishi
Cornell University

(7) Toyota Scholarship ($3,000)
Hiroshi Kawakatsu
Haverford College

(8) TV Japan Scholarship ($3,000)
Masahero Masuda 
Carnegie Mellon University

(9) Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya Scholarship ($3,000)
Yume Inoue Murphy
Vassar College

(10) Hartman-Sakazume Scholarship ($3,000)
Emma Jinno
Bucknell University, College of Engineering

(11) ANA Japan Travel Scholarship
($1,000, plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan courtesy of All Nippon Airways)
Mina Elisa Hidaka Sharpe
Boston University

10th JAA Honjo Scholarships Awardees
(for graduate students)

  • Mary Ayn Prager ($10,000):
    Attending Columbia University Law School and Columbia University Business School (joint program) with a focus on comparative legal and economic studies between the US and Japan.

  • James Jin Gerien-Chen ($6,000)
    Attending Columbia University doctoral program in history at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, his dissertation focuses on Taiwanese settlers and the making of Japanese Empire in South China and Southeast Asia.

  • Andrea Janine Horisaki-Christens ($6,000)
    Attending Columbia University doctoral program in Art History and Archaeology with a particular focus on Japanese video production from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

  • Masahiko Haraguchi ($4,000)
    Attending Columbia University doctoral program in Earth and Environmental Engineering, his research focuses on how companies (in particular in Japan and the U.S.) respond to natural disasters.

  • Anne Katherina Mosha Skarpelis ($4,000)
    Attending New York University doctoral program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in sociology, she is focusing on welfare states that developed during a period of racial authoritarianism and total war and how that relates to right wing movements of today.

    2016 Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner Benefactors
    Gold Sponsor: ITO EN (North America) Inc
    Silver Sponsors: Satoru & Hiroko Murase
    Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll Bertolotti LLP
    J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York
    Japanese Medical Society of America

    JAA General Scholarship committee: Julie Azuma and Koji Sato (co-chairs), Yuki Kaneshige, Frederick Katayama, Satoru Murase, Susan J. Onuma, Masaki Shimomura and Nozomi Terao
    JAA Honjo Scholarship Committee: Gary S. Moriwaki (chair), Yuzuru Anzai, Makoto Iwahara, Susan J. Onuma, Koji Sato and Katsuo Takeda

    Professor Gerald L. Curtis

    is Burgess Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Columbia University, former Director of Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation. In the past, he has also taught at Keio, Tokyo, and Waseda Universities in Japan, among other distinguished institutions of higher learning.
    Professor Curtis is the author of numerous books and articles written in both English and Japanese. His columns appear frequently in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and other newspapers and journals around the globe. Fluent in Japanese, he is a frequent guest on Japan’s Sunday morning news discussion programs.
    Professor Curtis is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors. In 2001 he was awarded the distinguished Japan Foundation Award in a ceremony held in the presence of the Crown Prince and Princess and followed by an audience with the Emperor. In 2004 Professor Curtis was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Japanese government.
    Professor Curtis currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Japan Society and the Japan Center for International Exchange (USA), and is a Councilor to the US-Japan Council. Professor Curtis received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1969.

  • Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund

    Mr. Aadchi. Ms, Onuma and artists for 1st program

    Mr. Aadchi. Ms, Onuma and artists for 2nd program

    Ms. Kondo and volunteers

    Our hearts and prayers go to those suffering from the latest series of earthquakes in Kyushu. JAA has been collecting funds to distribute directly to local NPOs in Japan since April 20th. The funds will be used to assist those in the Kyushu region who were hardest hit as a result of the April 14 and 16 earthquakes and aftershocks.

    On May 15, 2016, JAA co-sponsored a fundraising event with several kenjin-kais of Kyushu. Mr. Yoroku Adachi, CEO of Canon USA, served as chair of the newly formed Kyushu-kai. We had two programs, at noon and 4pm with more than 100 participants at each event, which featured music and traditional food from Kyushu. We are grateful to Ms. Mina Kondo, who led a team of hardworking volunteers. Many thanks to the following artists who donated their time and wonderful talent to this event: Singer AK, Pianist Gohei Nishikawa, Soprano Manami Hattori, Jazz pianist Migiwa Miyajim, and pianist Marina Iwao. We also thank the many donors of silent auction and raffle items, including top prizes of airline tickets from Delta and ANA. The event was a huge success with more than $50,000 raised by compassionate supporters from corporations to individuals. So far, $80,000 has been raised for our Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund. We will continue to accept donations throughout the summer.

    Our focus will be on the current and long-term needs of those affected, supporting sustainable programs for the future. 100% of donations raised by JAA will be used for these purposes. Please go to for updated information.

    12th JAA Sakura Matsuri

    JAA members and friends enjoyed our 12th Sakura Matsuri held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, April 23rd with beautiful cherry blossoms. Guests included Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul-General of Japan in NY, and Ms. Dorothy Lewandowski, Administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. More than 500 people attended, including JAA President Susan J. Onuma and Mrs. Chieko Inagaki, a generous benefactor of the annual event.

    We were treated to wonderful entertainment by our guest performers: Soh Daiko, traditional Japanese Taiko; the JAA Chorus led by Ms. Mari Takagi; NY Okinawa Club, Okinawan Dance and Sanshin; and the Japanese Folk Dance Institute. A tea ceremony was held on the lawn. A tree was planted in appreciation of Ms. Suki Terada Ports for her dedicated work for the community. 300 lunch boxes were donated by Mrs. Inagaki and catered by BentOn. We greatly appreciate the donation of $5,400 from Mrs. 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 Julie Azuma, Masao Katagami, Jasmine Wilson, Yuki Kaneshige, Fumihito Shinohara, Kaori Eda, Shuji Kato, Kyoko Hunter, Keiko Nakanishi, Michiyo Noda, Mike Aida and the Japanese American Lions Club.

    The 8th Sakura Health Fair

    Calligraphy Class

    Consul Ishizuka talks about
    My Number in Japan

    Dementia Support Caravan Mates

    JAMSNET World Speakers

    Play Date

    Free hair cut for Seniors

    Zumba excise

    Science Forum for Kids

    Takarabune Awaodori

    Ways to take care of the seniors by Mr. Okada

    Enjoy the Haiku

    Chair Yoga by Ms. Johnson

    The 8th Sakura Health Fair at JAA was co-sponsored by JAA and JAMSNET and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. This event was held at JAA Hall from April 8 to May 1 with more than 50 program sessions covering a variety of topics from Yoga, Flower Arranging, Safety Measures in New York by the Consulate General, Child Education, and Senior Living. It was for all ages with more than 1700 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. Photos in Japanese section.

    Exhibition of Japanese and
    Japanese American Artists in New York 2016

    The 21st JAA Annual Art Exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American Artists in New York was held from May 5 to May 14. Thirty-seven artists (including three new artists and three deceased artists) displayed their work at JAA Hall. New artists were Miki Nagano, Katsura Okada and Yasuaki Okamoto and deceased artists were Risaburo Kimura, Momoji Matsumoto, and Noriko Sakuyama.

    The opening reception was MC’d by Mrs. Eiko Aono followed by greetings from Deputy Consul Koji Abe and JAA President Ms. Susan J. Onuma. Guests included the artists, JAA members and more than 200 people. Everyone enjoyed the exhibition of international art. Refreshments were served by JAA Keirokai volunteers. On this occasion, JAA presented JAA Spirit Awards to artists who have supported this art exhibition since 1966. They are Kunio Iizuka, Hiromitsu Morimoto, Masaaki Noda, Shunji Sakuyama, Kenjiro Sasaki, Masaaki Sato, Mizue Sawano, Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Junko Yoda and Toshihisa Yoda.

    JAA greatly appreciates those who bought art, as a portion of the proceeds were donated to JAA. Thank you to Mr. Hajime Nanahara, Mrs. Machiko Sanada, Mrs. Shizuko Kato, Ms. Susan J. Onuma, Mrs. Chizuko Korn, Ms. Reiko Osumi and Mrs. Yoko Sasaki.

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

    The 31th JAA Foreign Minister’s Baseball Tournament

    The tournament began on May 1, 2016 with 17 teams at Randall’s Island and Central Park North Meadow. The six weeks of preliminaries on early Sunday mornings have always been very competitive. The Canadian Japanese All-Star team will be here on July 3rd (Sun.) for a friendly battle with the JAA NY team.
    Please visit for the most recent scores. We’re always excited to see who will be the champion of this year’s JAA baseball tournament.

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

    Memorial Day Services (Bosankai) were held on May 30, 2016 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 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 her hope that students from their respective schools will become leaders for a peaceful future. Mr. Toru Okamoto, Principal of the Japanese Children’s Society; Mr. Masaaki Yamagishi, president of Japanese American Lions Club; and Rev. Akimitsu Nishikawa gave heartfelt speeches. MIS member Mr. Kaz Yamaguchi and Vietnam veteran Mr. Stanley Kanzaki were among the 150 people in attendance.

    We appreciate the students of Japanese Children’s Society for their display of Japanese and American flags. Thank you to members of JAA and Japanese Lions Club for the 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/JAMSNET, Japanese American United Church, the New York Buddhist Church, and JAA.

    10th Annual Japan Day @ Central Park

    Japan Day was held on Sunday, May 8, 2016 at the Band Shell area in Central Park.

    In spite of heavy rain in the morning, volunteers from the JAA calligraphy class demonstrated their beautiful and skillful brush work to more than 2,500 New Yorkers. The booth was so popular that they ran out of ink and paper!

    Our volunteers were Masako Gibeault, Yuri Ishizuka, Atsuko Imaizumi, Ayako Ishizuka, Tomoko Lee, Kanji Tomizawa, Eiko Tanaka, Rieko Uehara, Chiaki Nagasawa, Machiko Sanada, Mariko Narasaki, Namie Suzuki, Chizuko Yamaguchi, Shuji Kato, Michiyo Noda and students from La Guardia HS.

    JAA is now accepting programs for the 10th Anniversary of Senior Month

    This year will be 10th year of this popular event, whose name has been changed from "Senior Week" to "Senior Month." JAA is accepting proposals for projects targeting not only seniors but also children and adults.


    ・ On August 6, Summer Flea Market at JAA Hall
    ・ On August 8, Reception for nursing students from Tohoku at Japan Society
    ・ On September 19, 23rd Annual JAA Charity Golf Tournament at Haworth Country Club
    ・ On December 2, 109th JAA Gala Dinner

    New JAA Honorary members

  • Mr. Yasushi Takahashi (President and CEO of Mitsui Co. U.S.A.) was named new a JAA honorary member after becoming president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York.
  • Mr. Toshikazu Nambu (President and CEO of Sumitomo Corp. of America) was named a new JAA honorary member after becoming president of the Nippon Club.

  • Congratulations!

    Ms. Saori Kawano, Founder & President of Korin Japanese Trading Corp. and founder of the Gohan Society, was selected and honored as one of the "Outstanding 50 Asian-Americans in Business."

    JAA Business Women Committee

    A meeting was held on May 11th at JAA Hall. Guest speaker Ms. Makiko Shibuya talked about her involvement in Broadway’s "Allegiance" and "Waitress" as a Stage Creator.

    JAA "Apple Kids"

    "Parents & Kids: Brushing Teeth Together" was held under the guidance of Dr. Robert Limb at JAA Hall with 10 participating families.

    Volunteers at fuel Achilles partner athletes at the Hope & Possibility race!
    Reported by Ms. Yuki Kaneshige

    Bright and early morning on Sunday, June 26th in Central Park , your amazing, supportive energy helped fuel our Achilles partner athletes at the Hope & Possibility race! I hope their determination to finish fueled your spirits as well and that the experience was a joyful one.

    Thank you for being there to contribute your precious time (and wear-and-tear on the knees, Takeda-san!) and exceptional guiding abilities – especially longtime Achilles volunteers, Nancy and Grant, and Brian who’s fast becoming a regular! Joyce, Mari, Rakheem – and Sabrina in spirit! – thanks for joining our volunteer effort for the first time, and Gary, Takeda-san, Namie, Shinohara-san, Anna and Andy, for always being so enthusiastic about helping others.

    Much appreciation and very best wishes to our good-looking team in neon yellow! 😉

    At fuel Achilles partner athletes at the Hope & Possibility race on Sunday Morning , June 26th in Central Park

    Social Service Committee

    Keirokai-Luncheon for Seniors
    April 21:

    The April Keirokai was part of the Sakura Health Fair. Seniors enjoyed Marina Iwao’s piano and Japanese popular songs with Iwaki Band.
    We celebrated Mr. Haruo Ito, who turned 104 on April 15, with other senior birthdays.

    Happy Birthday in April

    Marina Iwao Piano Concert

    May 12 and 26, June 9 and 23:
    On May 12,

    Iwaki Band pianist Ms. Noriko Kumano left the band, replaced by Koji Okazaki. Iwaki Band has been very popular with songs and costumes for seniors.

    Happy Birthday in May

    Ms. Kumano and Iwaki Band

    On June 9,
    KODAN traditional storyteller Atsumi Kodan Juku from Chiba performed, and on June 23, Megumi Izunitani performed yoga with seniors.
    We held our monthly keirokai /luncheon for seniors with Japanese dishes by volunteers and Japanese popular music by Iwaki Band. Monthly birthdays received lunch coupons at the Nippon Club from the Special Birthday Foundation.

    Happy Birthday in June

    Atsumi Kodan Juku and JAA seniors


    JAA member Chiyo Ota Sansone passed away on January 19, 2016 at Isabella House. Her 100th birthday was celebrated and awarded by Ambassador Sumio Kusaka in 2014 at JAA Hall.

    JAA member Kikue Valbuena passed away on May 7, 2016 at the age of 93. A memorial service was held on June 17 at Isabella House with many friends attending.
    Kikue was an active member who established the Handicraft Club and volunteered at the reception desk at keirokai and the handicraft corner at flea market/bazaar.


    Michi Kobi
    Actress, Passed Away at 91.

    Born Michiko Okamoto in Sacramento, California, on November 2, 1924, Michi Kobi passed away on March 1, 2016. She was the daughter of "Henry" Rikikazu Okamoto of Hiroshima, Japan, and Itoko (Ito) Kobinata.
    After her father passed away, and his ashes were brought back to Japan, Michi and her mother returned to the United States to live, while her younger brother, Masayuki, lived in Japan. During WWII, Michi and her mother were interned at Topaz War Relocation Center. After the war, she received scholarships to study English literature at NYU and acting and playwriting at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research, under famed theater producer and director Erwin Piscator. She studied at NYU and did extensive scholarly research, both on her own and inspired by programs at the Asian/Pacific/American Institutes.
    Her passion for acting began in childhood, and her career spanned her lifetime. In her breakthrough role in Tokyo After Dark (1959), she played the romantic lead opposite Richard Long. Michi played roles in Twelve to the Moon (1960), Hell to Eternity (1960), Cry for Happy (1961), and American Tiger (1990). On stage, Michi toured with The Teahouse of the August Moon and Flower Drum Song, and she appeared in the original 1963 Broadway version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Kirk Douglas. She had several roles in television, including The New Adventures of China Smith, The Californians, Studio One in Hollywood, The Ann Sothern Show, Law & Order and even a brief stint on Saturday Night Live. She was also a spokesperson and voice-over actress for documentaries and films and had an active career as a model in print and video.
    In the late 1970s, she was involved in the movement to have Wartime Relocation Commission hearings held in NYC. This was part of the larger Redress Movement, which sought justice in the form of a formal apology and reparation for the 120,000 people who were incarcerated during the War.
    She was an active and valuable volunteer at JAA and at the library at Ellis Island.