New Year Message
It has been a year since the shelter-in-place order went into effect in New York City, and while COVID-19 made lives difficult for so many people, businesses, and organizations (including JAA), we are grateful that many of us have maintained our health and are in good spirits. While we were forced to cancel most of our on-site programs and events, COVID has presented some unique opportunities to serve our community during this crisis. Project Bento was such an opportunity. It was truly a wonderful way for our community to come together and volunteer to serve our vulnerable seniors, who were homebound and in many cases, isolated and living alone.
As we moved our programs on line, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that people from as far away as Japan and Australia also participated. We will continue to offer programs remotely as well as on site while practicing social distancing. Last but not least, we held our first virtual Gala on December 4, 2020. This was our major fundraiser for the year, and we thank everyone for their generous support.
As we enter a new year with a new President in the White House and vaccines finally available, challenges still remain. I hope the lessons learned over the past year will bring us closer as a community as we continue to exchange information, share programs or create new ones to serve and help the various sectors of our community. I am sincerely thankful for the support from the Consulate General of Japan in New York, Japanese companies and organizations, and volunteers. I would like to ask for your continued support this year. For news on JAA events, please visit www.jaany.org, Facebook and the “Information” section of the Nikkei community papers.
Let’s all work together to make 2021 a healthy, safe, and great year!
Susan J. Onuma
JAA 113th Anniversary Virtual Gala
The 113th anniversary virtual Gala was held online from 7pm-8pm on Friday, December 4, 2020. This year, we recognized the significant contributions of Project Bento by honoring the Yoshida Restaurant Group (Erina Yoshida), ITO EN North America (Rona Tison), and Susan Miyagi McCormac (Chairperson of Project Bento). This initiative began on May 4, 2020 to help seniors and people with disabilities by providing free bento and offering wellness calls.. Gala Co-Chair Koji Sato explained JAA’s historical activities. JAA President Susan Onuma spoke about the people who passed away in 2020 and honored the achievements they made to the Nikkei community in New York. (See previous JAANEWS). We were honored to receive congratulatory video messages from Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi and Japanese Minister Taro Kono.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, Ms. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Mr. Kazuo Koshi, Chairman of MUFG Americas; baseball legend Bobby Valentine; and Japanese actor and activist George Takei also sent videos, and Gov. Cuomo sent a written greeting. José Adan Perez’s baritone, the violin performance of Miho Saegusa (JAA Scholarship and Music Award recipient), and the JAA Chorus’s Christmas songs enlivened the gala. JAA Vice President Hiroko Onoyama expressed her gratitude to participants for their support of JAA’s most important fundraiser during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the list of the names of donors ($1,000 or more) on Page 5. Again, JAA would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your support. Thanks to your donations, we are now able to continue JAA’s work in the community.
You can view the Gala on YouTube
This project started on May 4 of last year. After taking a break in January 2021, deliveries resumed on February 4 with The Nippon Club’s “Osechi” meals for the seniors in Manhattan and Isabella House. Deliveries to the seniors in Queens and Brooklyn were postponed twice due to snow and were delivered on February 25. By the end of February, we have delivered 3,600 bento boxes. The number of bento boxes distributed at JAA Hall is also increasing every time.
We are grateful to Sunrise Mart, BentOn, Wasan Brooklyn, and Bessou for continuing to provide bento. Delivery and call volunteers for Project Bento have been returning to work one by one, and we appreciate their support. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers past and present!
Wasan Brooklyn co-owners, Chef Kakusaburo Sakurai and Mr. Toshiyuki Koizumi, visited JAA to present Executive Director Michiyo Noda with a donation. We thank them for their generosity!
In appreciation of frontline workers and in support of Japanese restaurants and cuisine
Bentos for Frontline Workers
In the Japanese community’s ongoing efforts to show gratitude to the brave frontline workers who have helped New Yorkers throughout the pandemic, the Consulate General of Japan in New York, JAA, and the NY Japanese Restaurant Association have been organizing the delivery of hundreds of bento and ITO EN green tea.
In February and March, this Bento Project aims to give a total of about 1,000 bento to hospital workers; public school teachers; and members of the NYPD, the FDNY, and the MTA to provide strength (and joy) as they continue their life-saving work. These beautifully designed bento filled with fresh and healthy Japanese food have been made by wonderful local Japanese restaurants, which we hope to support in their recovery, through the help of the NY Japanese Restaurant Association. We thank all the frontline workers and restaurant staff who have been working so hard to pull New York City through this crisis.
On February 18, 120 lunches were distributed to police officers for lunch and dinner at the NYPD’s 24-precinct station. It was the first time that we distributed bento boxes to the police station, and Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi visited the station himself to hand the bento directly to the police officers. Each time, the restaurant’s colorful “pure Japanese” bento was declared “delicious” and “great” by the people who received it.
More than 15 Japanese restaurants and food retailers participated in this effort under the leadership of the NY Japanese Restaurant Association.
JAA Received a Certificate of Commendation
On February 23, in celebration of His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito’s birthday, Ambassador Yamanouchi honored JAA with the Consul General’s Award. JAMSNET (Japanese Medical Support Network), The Nippon Club, and Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi of the NYPD 24th Precinct were also recognized.
It is great news for JAA, in recognition of the hard work of our members in taking care of each other and the Japanese and Japanese American community during this time of COVID, especially through Project Bento, led by Ms. Susan Miyagi McCormac, Ms. Erina Yoshida (Yoshida Restaurant Group), and many genki volunteers.
JAA President Susan J. Onuma accepted the commendation on behalf of JAA.
Please view the ceremony on YouTube
JAA Keirokai’s Future
Keirokai will be held on ZOOM and at JAA Hall to coincide with the delivery of Project Bento on the 4th Thursday of each month.
On February 25th, we had a Hina Matsuri-themed Keirokai. There were 25 participants at JAA Hall. Eiko Aono and Shizuko Kato of the JAA Chorus sang hina matsuri songs to the piano accompaniment of Kuni Mikami.
Afterward, Master Tozaburo Yanagiya performed Rakugo via ZOOM.
JAA Annual General Meeting on ZOOM
Our Annual General Meeting was held on January 27, 2021. The meeting began with the eighth-term address by JAA President Susan J. Onuma, followed by the financial report, and the introduction of the Honorary Officers and JAA officers for 2021. Due to COVID-19, the meeting was held online.
2021 Honorary Officers, Officers, Directors and Chairpersons
Honorary Advisor：Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi
Consulate General of Japan in New York
Honorary Members：Masaki Nakajima
-President of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York
Hidenori Takaoka – President of the Nippon Club
Life Trustees：Robert K. Emy, MD, Toshio Kiso
Honorary President：Gary S. Moriwaki
President：Susan J. Onuma
Vice Presidents：Yuzuru Anzai, M.D.; Julie Azuma; David Hiromura; Shunichi Homma, M.D.;
Keiko Ishida; Riki Ito; Makoto Iwahara, M.D.; Yuki Kaneshige; Susan McCormac; Tsuneko Mitsunaka;
Satoru Murase; Hiroko Onoyama; Suki Terada Ports; Kamal Ramani, M.D.; Koji Sato; Katsuo Takeda
Assistant Secretary：Susan McCormac
Assistant Treasurer：Masaki Shimomura
Yuzuru Anzai, M.D., Julie Azuma, Aiko Brody*, Tak Furumoto, Kumiko Hasegawa, David Hiromura, George Hirose Shunichi Homma, M.D., Keiko Ishida, Nobuhisa Ishizuka*, Riki Ito, Makoto Iwahara, M.D. Yuki Kaneshige, Mari Kano-Lueckerath, M.D., Keiko Kato*, Shuji Kato, Nobuko Kodama, Susan McCormac, Tsuneko Mitsunaka, Gary S. Moriwaki, Satoru Murase, Michiyo Noda, Takeo Ohashi, Kimihiko Oishi, M.D., Toru Okamoto, Hiroko Onoyama, Susan J. Onuma, Joe Oshima, Suki Terada Ports, Kamal Ramani, M.D., Koji Sato, Masaki Shimomura, Michi Tahara, Wendy Takahisa, Katsuo Takeda, Shuji Bon Yagi, Robert Yanagisawa, M.D., (37 directors /New directors*)
JAA Welcomed Three New Board Directors
As head of Japanese-SHARE, she has lectured on breast cancer awareness and support activities, women’s health, and the U.S. health care system. These lectures are held every year at JAA’s health fair.
Currently, Executive Director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studios at Columbia Law School. He was a director of JAA from 1995 to 2006 before he was assigned overseas. During his tenure, he chaired the 7th JAA Music Awards in 1997 and the 8th JAA Music Awards in 1999. He is the son of former JAA Vice President, the late Mozart Haruhisa Ishizuka.
In 2002, Keiko Kato opened her office specializing in immigration law, company law, labor issues, and artist visas. She is in charge of immigration law consultations at JAA.
Kuni Mikami, Yoko Sasaki, Matsuko Shibuya and Nozomi Terao resigned due to various circumstances. Thank you for your past contributions to JAA.
Membership-Corporate: Satoru Murase
Membership-Individual: Julie Azuma, Tsuneko Mitsunaka
Communications (JAA News, Brochure, & Web): Susan McCormac, Yuki Kaneshige, Michiyo Noda
Archives: Michiyo Noda
Oral History: Julie Azuma
Social Service: Riki Ito, Suki Terada Ports
Scholarship: Makoto Iwahara, Koji Sato
House: Gary S. Moriwaki, Tak Furumoto
Legal: Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Gary Moriwaki
External Affairs: Julie Azuma, Suki T. Ports, Katsuo Takeda, George Hirose
Audit: Kumiko Hasegawa
Art Exhibition: JAA Office
Honjo Scholarship: Gary S. Moriwaki
Sports & Baseball Tournament: Shuji Kato, Dr. Kamal Ramani, M.D.
Memorial Day Service: Katsuo Takeda
Japanese Language: Nobuko Kodama
Charity Golf: David Hiromura, Michi Tahara
Sakura Matsuri: Susan McCormac
Committee on Aging Issues: Susan J. Onuma, Michiyo Noda
Health Fair: Michiyo Noda, Aiko Brody
JAA Women in Business Committee: Keiko Ishida, Tsuneko Mitsunaka, Kumiko Hasegawa
Apple Kids: Kuni Mikami
Young Professionals Committee: Yuki Kaneshige
- 114th JAA Gala Dinner 2021: Koji Sato
- Tanabata Festival: Suki Terada Ports
JAA Art Exhibition “Support the Arts, Support JAA”
JAA’s annual May exhibition was postponed due to COVID-19, but with the support of 16 artists, we were able to hold it online and at JAA Hall from December 10 to 19, 2020. About 60 people attended the opening online and at the venue on December 10. With a limit of no more than 20 people, Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi gave a greeting at JAA and even purchased some artwork. Five works were sold that day. Thank you very much to all the artists and supporters.
Artists: George Hirose, Kumi Hirose, Kazuko Hyakuta, Shigeno Ichimura, the late Kunio Iizuka, Ryoichi Miura, Miki Nagano, Masaaki Noda, Shunji Sakuyama, Kenjiro Sasaki, Masaaki Sato, Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara, Ayumi Takeda, Keico Watanabe, and Yoichiro Yoda
Thank you to those who made purchases: Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Kiyoka Koizumi, Susan Onuma, and Masako Watanabe
Volunteer: Kazuko Hyakuta
JAA Women in Business Committee
Ms. Keiko Tsuyama, an international journalist living in New York, started a series of online lectures in September 2020. Her second lecture, ” Commentary Immediately After the U.S. Presidential Election” was on November 13, 2020, and the third lecture, “The New Biden Administration and What Will Happen to Ailing American Society?” was held on February 19, 2021. There were more than 100 participants for each lecture, and it was very popular. The proceeds of $4,592.50 were donated to Project Bento. We thank Ms. Tsuyama for her valuable lectures.
Prestigious Award for JAA President Susan J Onuma
On November 3rd, 2020, the Government of Japan announced that our President, Susan J. Onuma would be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. This award is granted to Susan in recognition of her outstanding, lifelong contributions to improving the welfare of the Japanese community in the U.S. and for promoting friendship between Japan and the United States. Susan was born and raised in New York by Japanese parents and was a JAA Scholarship recipient. She became a JAA board member in 1986 and has consistently been involved in the activities of JAA, making use of her professional expertise as an attorney. In 2005, she became the first female president of JAA and led JAA’s Centennial Gala celebration. To improve the social welfare of people of all ages and to build goodwill between Japan and the United States, she established the JAA Committee on Aging Issues, and in 2007, she started Senior Weeks, which has expanded to our current Spring and Autumn Health Fairs. In March of last year, in order to help seniors and people with disabilities remaining at home due to COVID-19, JAA started Project Bento under Onuma’s leadership. Susan also participated in the launch of the JAA Women in Business Committee, which was established in 2004. She has established and supported relief funds for disaster areas in Japan and the United States, including the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Kumamoto Earthquake and the Hokkaido Earthquake.
Yamagata Flood Disaster Relief Fund
In response to the Yamagata flood disaster at the end of July 2020, the Yamagata Prefecture’s Kenjinkai in New York (Chairman Kiyoshi Abe) launched the Yamagata Flood Disaster Relief Fund at JAA and held a fundraiser. On December 28, JAA sent $5,520 in donations to the Flood Disaster Relief Fund. The Yamagata Prefectural government sent us a thank you letter.
Year-End Holiday Party
JAA’s annual Holiday/Volunteer Appreciation Party took place on December 18, 2020 from 6pm to 7pm. It was held online and at JAA Hall with a limited number of people. Eveyone thoroughly enjoyed the JAA Chorus’s songs, Rich Kameda’s skilled magic, the traditional storytelling of Rakugo by Tozaburo Yanagiya, and Kuni Mikami’s dynamic jazz piano. About 50 people participated at JAA Hall and on ZOOM.
2021 Online New Year Reception
On January 15, the annual New Year Reception was held online. Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi; Mr. Masaki Nakajima, President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York; Hidenori Takaoka, President of The Nippon Club; and JAA President Susan Onuma gave remarks for the new year.
Appreciation of volunteers by Mr. Yagi
At the end of each year, Mr. Shuji Bon Yagi, JAA board director and President of T.I.C. Restaurant Group, hosts a thank you party for JAA volunteers at Sakagura in Midtown. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, an in-person event was not possible, but Mr. Yagi presented the volunteers with soba noodles. The volunteers enjoyed his delicious gifts!
JAA 13th Sakura Health Fair
This year, the Sakura Health Fair will be held from Thursday, April 8, 2021 to Sunday, April 25, 2021 online and at JAA Hall (limited entry). The theme is “How to live a safe and healthy life under COVID-19.” held co-hosted by JAA and the Japanese Medical Support Network (JAMSNET) and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York and the Japanese Medical Society of America (JMSA). The Fair will be held We are currently looking for presenters to participate in this year’s program. Please contact Mrs. Noda if you are interested in presenting.
JAA Membership renewal and emergency contact registration
In mid-December of last year, we sent out a JAA membership renewal application form for 2021, and many members have renewed their memberships. Thank you very much. If you haven’t, please send it in by the end of May. Emergency contact information in the United States and Japan is becoming more important as our members age, so please keep it up to date at JAA. You will receive emails updating you on COVID-19 in New York. Please register you email address with JAA.
If you haven’t received your renewal form yet, please contact the JAA office at (212) 840-6942.
2021 JAA Activities
When the COVID-19 situation is under control, we will gradually return to our normal activities.
Regularly scheduled events & programs
Senior Luncheons: Every 4th Thursday at JAA Hall with a limited number of people & on ZOOM
Apple Kids: Rhythmic Class with parents and children (limited to five families) at JAA Hall & on ZOOM on every 3rd Friday 10:30am-11:30am. Occasional family-focused events.
Free Telephone Consultations
JAA provides free telephone consultations by professionals for everyone in the community.
Legal consultation on wills and other topics by Helen Irie, Esq. and Reiko Takikawa, Esq. on the 4th Thursday of odd months
Legal consultation (excluding immigration law) by Reiko Kasano, Esq. on the 2nd Thursday of even months
Legal consultation on immigration law by Keiko Kato, Esq.; Katsumi Miki, Esq.; and Mami Terai, Esq. on the 3rd Thursday of every month
Tax consultation by Joe Oshima, CPA, in February
Free Hair Cut Service
Hairstylists Michi Tahara, Shige Kosuda, Nori Sasaki, Yasuko Tsuda, Haruka Kobayashi, and Yusuke Akimoto provide free haircuts for seniors
on the 2nd Monday of every month.
●JAA member Nobuko Sato passed away on December 9, 2020 at the age of 60. She had recently started volunteering with Keirokai.
●JAA member Masao Wu passed away on December 13, 2020 at the age of 83. He frequently participated in Keirokai and had greatly appreciated receiving bento from Project Bento.
●JAA member Yoshiko Fang passed away at her home in New York City on January 9, 2021. She was an eager recipient of Project Bento and enjoyed the bento every time. She was 86.
●JAA member Morimasa Horiuchi passed away in his home in Queens on February 22, 2021. He was 83 years old. He loved the Project Bento lunch box. He belonged to JAA’s calligraphy class and was a calligraphy volunteer for Japan Day in Central Park.
●JAA member Reiji Kimura passed away on January 21, 2021 at a nursing home in Philadelphia. She was 96 years old.
Mr. Kimura is a meritorious person of NY Haiku, and he presided over the haiku party “HAKOBUNE.” In 1968, he launched the haiku booklet “Hakobene/Ark” and worked to develop haiku. He was a judge for the Shukan NY Seikatsu North American Ito En New Haiku Contest. Since moving to the United States in 1957, he was active as a painter in the SoHo area and exhibited his work at JAA’s New York artist exhibition.
Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
We wish to thank the following companies, organizations and individuals for their generous support of the JAA.
JAA 113th Anniversary Gala Dinner
$20,000 from The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation
in support of the association’s programs targeting seniors (Spring and Autumn Health Fairs) and in support of JAA’s Senior Luncheons/Project Bento and Apple Kids Group.
$10,000 from JCC Fund at the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York
Support of JAA activities
$4,000 from JCOP 2020 Grant Award
$1,500.00 towards JAA’s Keiro-kai Program and $2,500.00 towards JAA’s Spring and Autumn Health Fair.
JAA 113th Anniversary Gala Dinner
$20,000 and above
SASAKI, Kenjiro & Yoko
$10,000 and above
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.
ITO EN (North America) INC.
Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
Nomura America Foundation
Orient Corporation of America, Inc.
$5,000 and above
J.C. C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York
ONOYAMA, Hiroko & SUGAWARA, Ken
$1,000 and above
○All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (ANA) ○AZUMA, Julie / Different Roads To Learning○Daiei Trading Co., Inc. ○HASEGAWA, Kumiko ○ ISHIZUKA, Nobuhisa ○IWAHARA, Makoto○KATO, Shizuko ○Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America, Inc. ○Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.○MORIWAKI, Gary S. ○MURASE, Satoru & Hiroko ○NANAHARA, Hajime ○NODA, Masaki○ONUMA, Susan J. ○RAMANI, Kamal ○Sojitz Corporation of America ○Sony Corporation of America○T.I.C. Restaurant Group ○YANAGISAWA, Robert ○YUZAWA-RUBIN, Pat
○ALEXANDER, Jackie ○ANZAI, Yuzuru ○FURUMOTO, Tak & Carolyn ○Gorgeous Entertainment, Inc.○HOMMA, Shunichi ○HSIA, Reiko-Seo ○ITO, Mary ○KODAMA, Nobuko○Mitsui Sumitomo Marine Management (USA), Inc. ○OHASHI, Tateo ○OTA, Fusako ○PAN, Peter & Yoko○TAKAHISA, Wendy ○TERAO, Nozomi & LEVINE, Joshua ○NOGUCHI, Shoko ○PORTS, Suki T.○HIGASHI, Yumi ○CORNELL, James & Jill Fund ○AONO, Eiko ○DACHS, Ako ○FRISKE, Keiko○GINNS, Hosono Kikuko ○HANWAY, Tomoko ○HIROMURA, David ○HIROSE, George ○IMURA, Nillie○ISHIDA, Keiko ○ITO, Riki ○Itochu International, Inc. ○JANES, David ○Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.○JETRO New York ○KAGESHIMA, Kumeko ○KANESHIGE, Yuki ○KANO-LUECKERATH, Maki○KATO, Keiko ○KAWAMOTO, Yasuko ○KORN, Chizuko ○KOZU, Patricia ○KUME, Teruyuki○LIELL, Lilli Ann ○LINDSAY, Emiko A. ○MATSUMOTO, Toyokazu ○New York Mutual Trading, Inc.○NODA, Michiyo ○OISHI, Kimihiko○SAKURAI, Motoatsu ○SERITA, Toko ○SHIMOMURA, Masaki○SUZUKI, Akira ○TAHARA, Michi ○TAKEDA, Akem i○TAKEDA, Hiroko & Yukio ○TAKEDA, Katsuo○WILDER, Kazuyo○KATSUMI, Yoko○ISHIGAKI, Fumiho○HONDA, Stan○IWAMA, Morimi & Midori○YOSHIKAMI, Theodora ○SANJEK, Lani & Roger ○HIRUMA, Akemi ○JUBA, Hisashi ○AMUNDSEN, Susan ○BANNAI, Kathryn ○DAN, Hideo○LEE, Lawrence ○MASHIKO, Aiko ○MATSUMOTO, Nancy○OMURA, Jeffrey ○RAITH, Fumi Matsuki ○TAYLOR, Nakako ○TOBE, Atsuko ○TANABE, Ann A.○GOLD, Lisa ○MYUNG, Virginia ○TAGUMA, Kenji ○LEE, Kathleen Wah ○TAKESHITA, Hiroshi○HATA, Ryan ○MORI, Saki ○YUGE, Michael ○HOM, Gregory ○TSUFURA, Donna
2020 JAA Corporate Supporters
○Consulate General of Japan in New York ○Ikebana International NY○Chapter HKK Chain Corporation of America ○Japan Airlines International Co., Ltd.○NHK Cosmomedia America, Inc. ○Orient Corporation of America○Pasona N.A., Inc. ○Sony Corporation of America ○Sumitomo Corporation of Americas Foundation○T.I.C. Group
Thank you very much for your support of JAA !