- 2023 JAA Annual Meeting
- JAA has completed its move!
- The 15th Sakura Health Fair
- The 18th JAA Sakura Matsuri
- JAA 3.11 Volunteer
- 2023 New Year’s business card exchange party
- New Year Luncheon for Senior at the Nippon Club
- Fred Korematsu Day
- JAA calligraphy class
- JAA Japanese Language Committee
- JAA Women in Business Committee
- The 38th Baseball Tournament
- The 53rd Scholarship Dinner
- Social Service
- Face of JAA Judith Setsuko Hata
2023 JAA Annual Meeting
The Annual JAA General Meeting was held online on February 22nd.
JAA President, Koji Sato gave his thoughts on his second year as President, and treasurer Kumiko Hasegawa presented the financial report for 2022. This was followed by the introduction and approval of this year’s officers, directors, chairmen of each committee, and honorary officers.
2023 Honorary Officers
Ambassador Mikio Mori, Consul General
Consulate General of Japan in New York
Sayu Ueno, President
Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc.
Tomonori Wada, President
The Nippon Club, Inc.
Robert K. Emy, MD, Toshio Kiso, Gary S. Moriwaki
Hiroko Onoyama, Joe Oshima, Suki Terada Ports
Susan J. Onuma
President: Koji Sato
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, Kamal Ramani, M.D., Katsuo Takeda
Secretary: Nobuhisa Ishizuka
Assistant Secretary: Julie Azuma
Treasurer: Kumiko Hasegawa
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,
Maki Kano-Lueckerath, M.D., Keiko Kato, Shuji Kato,
Nobuko Kodama, Susan McCormac, Tsuneko Mitsunaka,
Gary Moriwaki, Satoru Murase, Michiyo Noda, Kimihiko Oishi, M.D.,
Toru Okamoto, Susan Onuma, Kamal Ramani, M.D.,Toru Sakamoto,
Koji Sato, Masaki Shimomura, Michi Tahara, Wendy Takahisa,
Katsuo Takeda, Robert Yanagisawa, M.D.
2023 JAA COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS
Planning & Finance: Makoto Iwahara, Susan J. Onuma
Membership Corporate: Satoru Murase
Individual: Julie Azuma
Communications (JAA News, Brochure & Web)
English: Susan J. Onuma, Yuki Kaneshige (face book)
Japanese: Michiyo Noda
Archives: Michiyo Noda
Audit: Susan J. Onuma
JAA Social Service: Riki Ito, Yuzuru Anzai
Scholarship: Tomonori Wada, Satoru Murase
Legal: Gary S. Moriwaki, Nobuhisa Ishizuka
Nominating: Susan J. Onuma
External Affairs: Susan M. McCormac, Susan J. Onuma
Honjo Scholarship: Gary S. Moriwaki
Oral History Project: Julie Azuma
House/Relocation: Gary S, Moriwaki
Music Concerts: Nobuhisa Ishizuka
Charity Golf Tournament: David Hiromura, Michi Tahara
Sports & Baseball Tournament: Shuji Kato, Kamal Ramani
Memorial Day Services (Bosankai) on May 29: Katsuo Takeda
Japanese Language Workshop: Nobuko Kodama
Bazaar/Flea Market: JAA Office
Young Professional Committee: Keiko Kato, Yuki Kaneshige
Sakura Matsuri-Flushing Meadows Corona Park: Susan McCormac
Committee on Aging Issues: Susan Onuma, Michiyo Noda
JAA Women in Business Committee: Kumiko Hasegawa, Keiko Ishida
and Tsuneko Mitsunaka
Apple Kids: Kuni Mikami
Tanabata Festival: Yuki Kaneshige
Holiday Party honoring JAA Volunteers: JAA Office
Sakura and Autumn Health Fair: Aiko Brody, Maki Kano, Michiyo Noda
Digital Museum of the History of Japanese in New York:
Shunichi Homma, Susan J. Onuma
Community Services: Yuki Kaneshige
JAA has completed its move!
We moved from the 11th floor to the 5th floor on January 31st and began a wide variety of activities in our new space. Please come and visit our new JAA hall.
The 15th Sakura Health Fair
Co-sponsored by JAA and the Japanese Medical Support Network (JAMSNET), supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York, the 15th Sakura Health Fair was held from April 8th (Sat) to May 6th (Sat). The events were held both online and at JAA Hall. With the theme of “safe and healthy life”, we provided exercises such as yoga and Kikuchi exercise, lectures by doctors on breast cancer, dementia and osteoporosis, mental care, medical insurance, nationality and visa issues and children’s education. We have prepared a full range of programs for all ages, including Japanese language education for children, parent-child classes, and other family aspects of life in the United States, as well as introductions to Japanese culture such as calligraphy, tea, and origami. Over 50 programs attended by over 1,500 people.
The 18th JAA Sakura Matsuri
JAA and the NY City Parks Department co-hosted the 18th annual Sakura Matsuri Festival at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on April 22nd, when Yae Zakura cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Beginning with a magnificent Soh Daiko drum performance, Minbuza’s folk dance, the beautiful singing voice of the JAA chorus conducted by Ms. Saya Callner, New York Okinawa Club/Jinpukai’s sanshin, Ryukyu dance and song, open-air tea ceremony, and finally the Hanagasa Ondo. Ambassador Mikio Mori, Consul General of Japan in New York, Mr. Koji Sato, JAA President and Mr. Anthony Sama. Director of Flushing Meadows Corona Park gave greetings. This year, we planted a tree in honor of Mr. Tak Furumoto’s achievements in the human rights movement. Sakura Matsuri was chaired by Susan McCormac with assistance from advisor, Ms. Suki Terada Ports, committee members Yuki Kaneshige and Michiyo Noda, photographer Masao Katagami and volunteers Mike Aida, Kenji Nakano, Yumiko Hirose, Nobuo Miki, Hikaru Aono, Hiroko Shimizu, Keiko Nakanishi and Motoe Yakiyama. Also, seven volunteers from ABeam NY participated. In addition, we are extremely grateful for the tea donations from ITO EN (North America), cost of portable toilets from Susan McCormac and $5,000 donation from Mr. George Hirose, JAA board member. Thank you so much! We were pleased to hear that many local residents look forward to the cherry blossom festival every year.
JAA 3.11 Volunteer
On 3.11, volunteers from JAA and Consulate General of Japan in New York commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Tohoku triple disaster with meal service and food rescue. While volunteers at Food Bank For New York City assisted with pantry distribution, others at The Bowery Mission prepared and served meals, organized the clothing donation closet and prepped care kits. Hardy volunteers picked up over 100 lbs of food donations from all three Sunrise Marts, some of which was served with dinner. In these ways, we hoped to honor the memory of those lost on 3.11, give back to NYC as a Japan-related community, and to connect with other communities as we all try to recover from the pandemic.
(Reported by Yuki Kaneshige, chair of JAA Community Service Committee)
JAA is grateful to the wonderful organizations that joined us at 3.11 Community Service : JET Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY), MUFG Bank, Ltd., Sunrise Mart (Takuya Yoshida), The New York Japanese-American Lions Club, Mitsui Foundation, Sumitomo Corp. of Americas, members of ZAJA and U.S.-Japan Council, and all our amazing 50 volunteers: Namie Suzuki-Appelbaum, Michiyo Noda, Nozomi Terao, Koji Sato, Tomoe Sato, Aoi Yamagishi, Christy Jones, Naomi Mizoguchi, Karlsballs @Karl Palma, Kenji Nakano, Nana Kikuchi, Mari Morimoto Dvm, Mari Matsumoto, Keiko Masubuchi, Haruka Kokaze, Sarah O’Connell, Brendan White, William Tomita, Takuto Nonaka, Eiko Aono @Uyanga Ayur, Noriko Furuhata, Cybill Su, Matt D’Aquila, Sandra Kenny, Mr. and Mrs. Hayashi, Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki, Mr. and Mrs. Katsuo Takeda, Akemi Takeda, Amara Hosojo, Kiyo Matsumoto, Kathryn Bannai, Ezra Berkenwald, Kyoko Ohnishi, Chizuka Korn, Takako Imura, Aya Bukres, Makiko Hiromi, Mika Matsutani, Wakana Kaga, Yuki Kaneshige
2023 New Year’s business card exchange party
From noon on January 13th, the annual New Year’s business card exchange party was held at the Nippon Club, sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in New York and supported by three Nikkei organizations (the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in New York, the Nippon Club, and JAA). 200 people attended.
Ambassador Mikio Mori, President of the New York Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sayu Ueno, President of the Nippon Club Tomonori Wada, and JAA President Koji Sato gave greetings and toasted, and a lively New Year’s business card exchange/networking party was held with New Year’s dishes and pleasant conversation.
New Year Luncheon for Senior at the Nippon Club
On February 9th, the 31st annual “New Year Luncheon for seniors” was held, sponsored by the Nippon Club and supported by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, inviting seniors living in the New York area to the Nippon Club. After the opening remarks and a toast by Mr. Masaaki Maeda, vice president of the Nippon Club, the lunch began.
60 seniors over the age of 80, participated and enjoyed the heartfelt New Year dishes of the Nippon Club with delivery and pick-up. Also, people enjoyed singing of Ka-NA (Kana Uemura). Finally, Mr. Sato, President of JAA, gave Mr. Maeda, an orchid flowerpot as a token of appreciation.
Fred Korematsu Day
JAA President Koji Sato, Honorary President Susan Onuma and board member Tak Furumoto, who worked tirelessly to push this legislation through, attended Governor Murphy’s signing in Trenton of a joint resolution (AJR98) designating January 30 of each year as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New Jersey.” The day of recognition honors the legacy of Fred Korematsu, an American civil rights activist of Japanese heritage who fought against the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Governor Murphy was joined by Dr. Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu and Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute; Ambassador Mikio Mori, Consul General of Japan in New York; Vice-Consul Haruna Maki; legislators; and advocates to commemorate New Jersey’s first Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, which will be celebrated annually on Mr. Korematsu’s birthday. New Jersey became the sixth state in the nation to designate January 30th of each year as a day of recognition and honor for Fred Korematsu’s legacy. A historic event we should all be proud of !
JAA calligraphy class
On Friday March 3rd, we held a calligraphy and origami workshop at Hunter College with 74 participants. Ms. Toshiko Kobayashi, an origami artist, also participated, and it was a very good and fun event. I received a happy email from Professor Balkan, who is the chief executive of Japanese language education. (Reported by Namie Suzuki)
JAA Japanese Language Committee
The workshop was held on March 25th from 10:00 to 12:00 on ZOOM, with 35 participants. The lecturer was Professor Miyuki Yonemura of Senshu University, who gave a lecture on the theme of “Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle: Visual Narrative and Aging”. Miyazaki’s imagination was observed, and there was an explanation of how it was expressed in the video. Regarding aging, the scene where 18-year-old Sophie turns 90 due to the curse of a witch was analyzed, and her feelings towards Howl were analyzed. Regarding the elderly, this is a topic that is relevant to today’s aging society. It was a good opportunity for Japanese learners to gain a deeper understanding of Miyazaki’s animations, as the anime they watched as a child is often a good motivation for the study of Japanese.
(Reported by Nobuko Kodama, Chairman of the JAA Japanese Language Education Committee)
JAA Women in Business Committee
From 6:30 pm on March 17 (Friday) The lecture titled “What is the current state of gender issues after MeToo in Japan under question?” was given by Ms. Kazuko Ito. During her visit to New York, Ms. Ito gave a presentation on the current state of gender issues in Japan at the United Nations. Moderator was Ms. Keiko Tsuyama (journalist). 60 people participated.
The 38th Baseball Tournament
Starting May 7th, 15 teams will compete in Central Park and Randall Island. Please see the blog below for more information.
The 53rd Scholarship Dinner
The 53rd New York JAA Scholarship Award Dinner will be held on May 31st at the Harvard Club. A total of $62,000 in scholarships and two ANA round-trip air tickets to Japan will be awarded to 11 students who will go on to study in the United States starting this autumn. Also, Honjo Scholarship (a total of $30,000) will be awarded to graduate students studying in the US in areas contributing to Japan-U.S. Relations. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, technology business entrepreneur. Please join us!
On February 23rd, the Hinamatsuri Keirokai was held. Ms. Shizuko Kato decorated the hina dolls with flowers, the Iwaki Band performed, and everyone sang Hinamatsuri together, and Ms. Ema Sanyutei who was visiting from Japan demonstrated the wonderful art of paper cutting.
Keirokais were held on March 9th & 23rd. JAA Vice President Satoru Murase donated the delicious lunch boxes from the Nippon Club for the 3/9 Keirokai.
Our senior members enjoyed the lunch boxes from BentOn. Ms. Mai Mukai sang several songs which was well received by the seniors at the April 13th Keirokai and Dr. Yuzuru Anzai talked about Senior’s Health at the April 27th Keirokai.
- Mrs. Kayoko Klotz passed away on February 17th. She was 90 years old.
- Ms. Kiyoko Okajima passed away on April 24th at the nursing home in Flushing, she was born February 1922 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents ran and operated a farm in Imperial valley, California and her mother worked as a nurse and midwife. She was sent to her grandmother in Japan to receive a Japanese education. Kiyoko attended Bunka Fukuso Gakuin College in Tokyo. She returned to her parents in California on the last ship from Yokohama to the US before the beginning of World War II. During the war under Executive Order 9066 she and her family were interned in Manzanar, California detention camp for 3 years. After she was released, her family moved to New York City where she started working for Countess Alexander as a dress designer while going to school at night to finish her education. On July 27, 1952 she married Robert Okajima. Kiyoko helped support her husband while he finished his PhD at NYU. Kiyoko Okajima was kind, bubbly and creative. Her whole life she made beautiful things, designing dresses for celebrities like figure skater Sonja Henie, making and teaching how to make traditional Japanese Mataro dolls, and hand crafting flower bouquets. Kiyoko is survived by her two sons Robert and Peter, and her grandchildren Stephen and Michelle. Kiyoko passed peacefully early Monday morning of April 24, 2023. She was 101 years old.
- Mrs. Teruko Yamagata passed away on May 3, 2023. She was 87 years old.
- Mrs. Suma Robinson passed way at home on May 5, 2023. Her memorial service was held at Williams Funeral Home on May 13, 2023.
Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
Judith Setsuko Hata
Judith Setsuko Hata was born in Nestor, California, a Japanese American community in San Diego in 1925 but moved to Japan not long after following the death of Judy’s father. Plans for Judy to rejoin her mother in the United States were derailed with the start of the second World War. Despite being born in the US, Judy was raised in Fukuoka prefecture and needed to learn English when she finally returned 22 years later. Moving back to the States wasn’t easy; she felt that she barely knew her mother, and having lived most of her years in Japan, she felt more Japanese than American.
Growing up in Japan is where she started her life-long journey of teaching and love of ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. As a child, Judy Hata was first drawn to ikebana because of her love of nature and trees. During WWII, she taught elementary school giving her the foundation in teaching. After moving to the US, ikebana became a way that Judy was able to both remain connected to Japan and bring some of its culture to the people around her. Though she was initially too busy with her young family to devote time to ikebana, she eventually found a teacher. Then tragedy struck her husband with a life-altering brain anueurysm and she was left raising two young children and trying to make ends meet on her own. Yet, she continued and quickly made a name for herself in the ikebana community.
Today, Judy’s list of accomplishments is diverse and extensive as a talented and experienced artist. She was a pioneer in introducing ikebana to New York’s major museums, cultural centers, government buildings, gardens, and more. She published a book, titled Flowers Are…East and West. She is the recipient of a numerous awards, including the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays which was presented on behalf of the Emperor of Japan for outstanding contribution to Japan-US cultural relations through teaching ikebana. She served as president and 58 contiguous years as an active board member of Ikebana International New York Chapter. She holds the highest teacher’s degree in the Sogetsu School, and founded the New York Branch in 1971 appointed as its Director by Head master Sofu Teshigahara. Judy has taught and held demonstrations in over 20 states, Bermuda and the country of Jordan. Her students continue to reach out to her to tell her of the impact she has had on both their craft and their lives.
Judy’s life hasn’t always been easy, but she says that there are two mindsets that she has held onto: looking forward, and learning from every experience. During the war, she said that keeping her eyes ahead was what got her through those difficult years. She believes that through every experience, she has learned something valuable — even through the mistakes and the hardships. It is with these two mindsets that she approaches her work both practicing and teaching the art of ikebana. Her goal has been to enrich the lives of others through Japanese culture and ikebana and is grateful to make many friends along the way. She has had to cut back her activities significantly over the recent years, but she continues to teach, demonstrate and exhibit to this day.
Interviewed by Anna Chung, intern from Princeton University in 2022