The 49th JAA Scholarship and
the 13th Honjo Scholarship Award Dinner

Photo by Bobby Lopez

The 49th JAA Scholarship and the 13th Honjo Scholarship Award Dinner was held on May 30th at the Harvard Club. Our guests were Ambassador and Madame Kanji Yamanouchi with 132 attendees, including scholarship grantees, awardees and their families.
Mr. Koji Sato, Co-Chair of the Scholarship Committee, served as emcee. JAA President Susan J. Onuma, who was a past JAA scholarship awardee, recalled purchasing a typewriter with her $300 prize. Following the greetings of Ambassador Yamanouchi, Judge Denny Chin, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, presented the keynote speech complete with humor and a video collection of his past cases and family photos.
Fifteen students entering college this fall were awarded a combined total of $72,500 in scholarships and three plane tickets (two ANA Japan Roundtrip tickets and one Delta Japan Roundtrip ticket). The Honjo Scholarship Award provided a total of $30,000 to four graduate students.
On behalf of the high school awardees, Vian Wagatsuma, who won the Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship, and Yurie Amma, who won the JAA Honjo Scholarship, expressed their gratitude and aspirations for the future. The speeches of Judge Chin and the scholarship recipients impressed the audience, garnering loud applause. Congratulations to all the recipients!
Vice President Julie Azuma completed the dinner by thanking guests for their generous donations.
Please refer to page 5 for Denny Chin’s bio, this year’s scholarship awardees, and Dinner Benefactors.

Keynote Speaker
Denny Chin

The Honorable Denny Chin is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was sworn in on April 26, 2010. Judge Chin graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and received his law degree from Fordham Law School. After clerking for the Honorable Henry F. Werker, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, he was associated with the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell. He then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and thereafter he and two of his colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s Office started a law firm, Campbell, Patrick & Chin. In 1990, he joined Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C., where he specialized in labor and employment law. From September 13, 1994, through April 23, 2010, Judge Chin served as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He presided over both civil and criminal cases, including cases involving Megan’s Law, the Million Youth March, Al Franken’s use of the phrase "Fair and Balanced" in the title of a book, the Naked Cowboy, the Google Books project, and the United Nations Oil for Food Program. He also presided over the trial of an Afghan warlord charged with conspiring to import heroin and the guilty plea and sentencing of financier Bernard L. Madoff. Judge Chin was born in Hong Kong. He was the first Asian American appointed a United States District Judge outside the Ninth Circuit.

2019 Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner Benefactors

Gold Sponsor: ITO EN (North America) Inc
Windels, Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP
Silver Sponsors: J.C. C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York
Japanese Medical Society of America
Gary S. Moriwaki
Hiroko & Satoru Murase
Orient Corporation of America

49th JAA Scholarship Awardees (for graduating high school students)

  • Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship
    ($10,000 plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways)
    Vian Wagatsuma, Princeton University

  • JAA Murase Scholarship ($7,500)
    Joe Konno, University of Pennsylvania

  • Delta Air Lines Scholarship
    ($5,000 plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan, courtesy of Delta Air Lines)
    Karenna Catherine Woods, New York University Tisch School of the Arts (Drama major)

  • Tatsuji Namba Scholarship ($6,000)
    Kyle Keitaro Ikuma, Princeton University

  • Miyoko & John Davey Scholarship ($5,000) x5
    Tiger Hashikura, the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering
    Yuki Kanazawa, University of California San Diego
    Sachiko Payton Keane, Columbia University
    Sumire Stephanie Tateiwa,
    Eastman School of Music – University of Rochester (Jazz saxophone and Music education)
    Ayaka Uehara, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • MUFG Scholarship ($5,000)
    Hikaru D. Jitsukawa, Haverford College

  • Orient Corporation of America Scholarship ($5,000)
    Fumika Hasegawa, Rutgers University of New Brunswick, Honors College

  • Toyota Scholarship ($3,000)
    Karen Sawada Chan, John Hopkins University

  • TV Japan Scholarship ($3,000)
    Nina Mirei Theisen, Brown University

  • Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya Scholarship ($2,000)
    Remi Michelle White, Davidson College

  • ANA Japan Travel Scholarship
    ($1,000 plus Round Trip Air Ticket to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways)
    Kazu Shimada, Wellesley College

    13th JAA Honjo Scholarships Awardees (for graduate students)

  • Yurie Amma award of $10,000
    Ms. Yurie Amma san is attending the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is pursuing a Master’s degree focusing on mental health. As a student at Queens College, she conducted an oral history project focusing on the area of New York City’s East Village, which has become known as Little Tokyo.

  • Oliver Harry White award of $8,000
    Mr. Oliver White is a past recipient of the Honjo scholarship and is continuing his studies at the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture at Columbia University, where he is pursuing his PhD on premodern Japanese popular literature. His goal is to familiarize American students and scholars with this area of Japanese literature.

  • Toru Momii award of $6,000
    Mr. Toru Momii is working towards his PhD at the Graduate School of Art and Sciences of Columbia University in Music Theory. A gifted violinist, his focus is on contemporary hogaku, contemporary compositions played on traditional Japanese instruments, and hopes to encourage transcultural flows between traditional Japanese and contemporary Western repertoire.

  • Eri Kitada award of $6,000
    Ms. Eri Kitada is in the Rutgers University Phd program, Department of History, where she is performing groundbreaking research on American and Japanese imperialism in the Philippines. She hopes that her ongoing studies contribute to an understanding of US-Japan relations both historically and going forward.

The 15th JAA Sakura Matsuri

The tree-planting ceremony for the 40th anniversary of Soh Daiko

Soh Daiko

Amb. Yamanouchi, Councilman Dromm, Mrs. Inagaki and JAA Members (All photos by George Hirose)

In the harsh morning rain on Saturday, April 20, three buses left JAA toward Flushing Meadows Corona Park. A thick layer of the fully blossomed flower petals of the Somei Yoshino cherry blossom trees lay scattered on the ground like a carpet.
With the roar of Soh Daiko’s drums, the rain stopped suddenly, marking the start of the 15th Sakura Matsuri made possible by the co-sponsorship of JAA and the New York City Dept. of Parks & Recreation.
Following welcome remarks by Mistress of Ceremonies and JAA Vice President Susan Hamaker and JAA Vice President Suki Terada Ports, Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Consul General of Japan in New York; Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett; and event supporter Chieko Inagaki addressed the crowd.
We had several wonderful musical performances, including the beautiful voices of the JAA chorus under the direction of conductor of Motomi Tanaka, traditional Okinawan sanshin music and dance by the New York Okinawa Club & Jimpu-Kai NY, and the Hanagasa Ondo Parade by Japanese Folk Dance Institute led by Momo Suzuki. There was an Urasenke Tea Ceremony demonstration under the beautiful cherry blossom trees. Despite the heavy rain, the Sakura Matsuri was enjoyed by all, including members and local residents.
From the first JAA Sakura Matsuri in 2003, traditional taiko performances have attracted a large audience. We express our gratitude and heartfelt congratulations to Soh Daiko on their 40th anniversary. Continuing our tradition, a cherry blossom tree was planted in the park in honor of Soh Daiko. We would also like to recognize and express our appreciation to Chieko Inagaki for her generous contribution.

The Sakura Matsuri Committee Chairperson is Susan Hamaker. Committee members are Suki Terada Ports and Michiyo Noda. Photographer is George Hirose. Volunteers are Riki Ito, Mike Aida, and Kenji Nakano (Lions Club), Yuki Kaneshige, Kaori Eda , Hikaru Aono, Rie Hattori, Hiroko Shimizu, Keiko Nakanishi, Motoe Yakiyama, and Kuni Mikami.

JAA Committee on Aging Issues
The 11th Sakura Health Fair

Report of Survey on Aging Issues 2018

About Medical Debt by SHARES

Instructors at Lions Seminar

Advices for people who are planning to
return to Japan

Choice of nationality

The 12th Breast Cancer Symposium@NYC

Sogetu Ikebana

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation for infants

Awaodori NewYork-ren

Free Hair Cut for Seniors

Keeping Safe in NY
by Consulate General and Lions

Tea ceremony

The 11th Sakura Health Fair at JAA was co-sponsored by JAA and JAMSNET and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. It was held from April 11th to April 28th. 1,416 people participated in the 50 programs offered for all age groups in this year’s fair under the theme "Having fun and learning together." Many thanks to all the volunteers and speakers who provided informative and expert advice.

Looking Ahead: The 13th Fall Health Fair

The Fall Health Fair will be held in JAA hall from Monday, September 9th to Sunday, October 6th. We are accepting proposals from facilitators under the theme of "To lead a healthy and worry-free New York Life."

Exhibition of Japanese and
Japanese American Artists in New York 2019

Amb. Kanji Yamanouchi and Articts.
Photos by Isaac Fujiki

lecture of Ms. Winchester

lecture of Mr. Sasaki

With the support of the Japanese Consulate General in New York, New York Japan Chamber of Commerce, the Nippon Club, Shukan NY Seikatsu, and Yomi Time, the 24th Exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American Artists was held at JAA Hall from May 2nd to the 18th. Special "tea time talks" led by Kenjiro Sasaki and Setsuko Winchester were held throughout the exhibition. The opening reception on May 2nd included a greeting from Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi. More than 200 participants, including exhibitors, filled the hall. This year, 59 works by 32 artists (including Ushio Shinohara and three newcomers) were displayed.
Exhibitors: Natusko Hattori*, George Hirose, Kazuko Hyakuta, Shigeno Ichimura, Yuki Iguchi, Kunio Iizuka, Kino Maho, Atsuko Kawai*, Ryoichi Miura, Keiko Miyamori, Hirokazu Morimoto, Kazuya Morimoto, Yasuhiro Morito, Miki Nagano, Masaaki Noda, Kei Okada, Yasuaki Okamoto, Tomomi Ono, Shuji Sakuyama, Mayumi Sarai, Kenjiro Sasaki, Masaaki Sato, Mizue Sawano, Eriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, Akemi Takeda, Mayumi Terada, Keico Watanabe, Setsuko Winchester, Junko Yoda, Toshihisa Yoda, Yoichiro Yoda* *New Artists
Purchasers: K&L Planning LLC, Julie Azuma, Sachiko Goodman, Hideaki Numazawa, Hiroko Onayama, Susan Onuma, Reiko Osumi (Total of 9 pieces sold)
Volunteers: Rie Shirakawa, Toshie Hattori, Hikaru Aono, Hiroko Shimizu, Keiko Nakanishi, Motoe Yakiyama)
Venue Volunteers: Eiko Aono, Kazuko Hyakuta, Shizuko Kato, Reiko Matsuura, Yoko Sasaki.
Thanks for your help!

Memorial Day Ceremony
the Japanese Cemetery in Mt. Olivet Cemetery

At the Japanese Cemetery

JAA and the Japanese Lions Club cleaned before the visitation

The annual Memorial Day Services (Bosankai) was held at Mount Olivet Japanese Cemetery in the Queens on Memorial Day, May 27th. Among the 80 people in attendance were Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Consul General of Japan in NY; JAA Vice President Katsuo Takeda; Rev. Earl Ikeda of the NY Buddhist Church; Rev. Stanley Way of the Japanese American United Church; Riki Ito, President of the Japanese American Lions Club; WWII veteran (MIS unit) Kaz Yamaguchi; Vietnam War veteran Stanley Kanzaki; and teachers, parents, and children of the New York Japanese School (Principal Noboru Kojima) and Japanese Children’s Society (Principal Toru Okamoto). The New York Japanese School has attended each one since 1978. The ceremony began with remarks from Rev. Earl Ikeda and Rev. Stanley Way. Participants offered incense and flowers in memoriam. Ambassador Yamanouchi described the history behind the purchase of the Japanese cemetery, as well as gratitude for the pioneers. Principal Noboru Kojima expressed his hope that the children in attendance would be the bridge between Japan and the US and contribute to world peace. Principal Toru Okamoto recounted the powerful and inspiring story of Taro Kusakabe, a study abroad student at Rutgers University in 1867. He died in poverty from tuberculosis just before graduation on April 30, 1870. In addition to Taro Kusakabe, there is a grave marker in Willow Grove Cemetery in New Jersey for six other Japanese students who died before completing their dream. Riki Ito acknowledged the achievements of our predecessors who forged the relationship between the United States and Japan.
Following the ceremony, the gravesite of Dr. Toyohiko Takami was honored.

Before the visitation, JAA and the Japanese Lions Club cleaned the cemetery and decorated it with flags of Japan and the United States created by the students of Ikuei Gakuen-Japanese Children’s Society. This year, garlands from JAA, the NY Buddhist Church, the Japanese American United Church, the Japanese Consulate General in New York, The Nippon Club, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York, Japanese American Lions Club, and the Japanese Medical Society of America/JAMSNET were offered.

The 13th annual Japan Day @ Central Park

Japan Day @ Central Park, held every year on Mother’s Day, was held on May 12th. Despite the rainy weather, 400 people were able to enjoy JAA’s calligraphy demonstrations. Thank you to all who braved the cold rain! Volunteers for the JAA calligraphy class included Yuri Ishizuka, Tomoko Lee, Atsuko Imaizumi, Ayako Ishizuka, Kanji Tomizawa, Rieko Uehara, Namie Suzuki, Machiko Sanada, Toshie Hattori, Chikako Olsen, Masae Fujimoto, Chiyomi Koike, Chiaki Nagasawa, and JAA Executive Director Michiyo Noda.

"The Global Appeal of Manga: Medium, History, and Aesthetics"

by Dr. Shige (CJ) Suzuki on June 5, 2019 at JAA Hall.
Dr. Suzuki is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, CUNY. 40 people attended.

Asian American Heritage Month Festival

On May 20th, JAA participated in the 40th anniversary celebration of the Coalition of Asian Pacific American (CAPA) held in Chinatown with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Japan Society. At this festival celebrating Asian culture, JAA Vice President Suki Terada Ports received an achievement award for her long-standing community involvement. Consul Tateo Ohashi was also in attendance at the celebration. From JAA, Julie Azuma, George Hirose (JACL), Riki Ito, Yuki Kaneshige, Michiyo Noda and others participated. Many children enjoyed the origami organized by Toshiko Kobayashi of the Origami Therapy Association.

Congratulations! @

Japan Society’s annual dinner was held at the Hilton New York on June 19th. Jazz pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi and community activist Suki Terada Ports (JAA Vice President) were honored. The awards were presented by Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi.

JAA Women in Business (JWB)

At the May 13th lecture and exchange event, JWB welcomed international journalist Keiko Tsuyama, who gave a speech called "Was Trump’s Victory a Coincidence? Was it Inevitable?" The lecture’s themes included modern American politics and the media’s influence on the future of change. Ms. Tsuyama discussed the dangers of SNS and its influence on the presidential election. In the case of Mr. Trump, she stated that his election was a combination of inevitability based on past presidential elections as well as the influence of SNS. About 100 attendees listened intently to Ms. Tsuyama’s lecture.

Apple Kids

Rhythmic classes are held by Ms. Yoshiko Inoue on third Friday of every month. Each time 30 parents and children enjoy it.

A lecture about Children’s Dental Care by Dr. Robert Limb was held on June 5th. 35 families attended.

Save the dates!

The 26th JAA Charity Golf Tournament
The 26th JAA Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, September 30th at Harbor Links Golf Course in North Hempstead, NY. Prizes include an ANA Business Class NY-Tokyo round trip ticket and other luxury prizes. The participation fee is $270 ($100 tax deduction). For groups of four, the total fee is $999.

The JAA 112th Anniversary Gala Dinner Party
This annual fundraiser will be held on Friday, December 6th at the Harvard Club.

Member’s News

JAA member Ms. Akiko Okada celebrated her 101st birthday with her family on April 21st.

Social Service

April 18th
This Keirokai was held in conjunction with the 11th Spring Sakura Health Fair. A special hanami chirashi sushi bento was served.

Happy birthday for April

May 9th & 23rd
On the 23rd, theatre group Amaterasu-Za performed a reading of "Chii Sakobe," written by Shugoro Yamamoto.

Happy birthday for May

June 13th & 27th
The Iwaki Band performed at eirokais. Many thanks to Mr. Iwaki and the band members!


  • Emiko Okawa passed away on July 16, 2018.
  • Joe Kasuga, who won the 100-year-old+Senior Citizen’s Award last year, passed away at home at the age of 101 years and 1 month. Born in San Francisco, he spent his childhood in Nagano, Japan, before returning to the US. He was interned at Poston Camp in Arizona and went on to work as a dental technician in postwar NY until the age of 78.
  • Fusako Otsubo passed away on May 8th at the age of 89. She taught JAA calligraphy classes for 24 years. A memorial service was held on the June 4th.

  • JAA’s intern Amy Watsky

    JAA welcomes their very first intern, Amy Watsky, from the Princeton Internships in Civic Service program made possible through the generosity of JAA member, Jackie Alexander. Amy is a rising junior at Princeton, majoring in Sociology, and will be spending the summer (through the end of July) working on the Oral History Project and carrying out various tasks in the JAA office.
    Born in New York to a Japanese mother and a Jewish-American father, she grew up immersed in both cultures and deeply values the significance of this unique cross-cultural exchange. Her interest in the history of Japanese Americans started from early on in her childhood, during which she was exposed to the incredibly harrowing stories of some family members who had experienced being placed in American internment camps. The Oral History Project strives to preserve this history as well as those of Japanese who immigrated to the New York area after WW2.
    Amy resides in Princeton, NJ with her twin brother, parents, and two cats. She hopes to meet as many members of the community possible and most importantly, keep learning about Japanese American history during her time here. Please stop by to say hello to Amy when you visit the JAA office.

    Amy (far right) with members of the New York Japanese American Oral History Project.