Jiro Murase, Past President of JAA

One of the best known lawyers and advisers in U.S. –Japan relations, Bingham Partner, Jiro Murase passed away on August 5, 2014. He was 86 years old.
Mr. Murase was a member of JAA since 1975, serving as a board member until last year. He was the president from 1996 to 1998 and became a life trustee in 1999, always showing his support to JAA. He led the Japanese community for more than 40 years.

He was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star, one of Japan’s highest honors, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to increased understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan.

JAA is planning a memorial gathering at our new office on November 3, 2014. Our sincerer condolences go to his family and all who were touched by his kindness.

Bobby Valentine
with Young Baseball Players
visited Tohoku, JAPAN.

From August 1st to 10th , JAA in partnership with the Kizuna Foundation, sponsored 14 young baseball players on a goodwill trip to the Tohoku region of Japan. Bobby Valentine, former MLB player and manager, as well as manager of the Japan Series Champions Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005, traveled with the team to Ofunato, a small town in Iwate Prefecture. There, along with his staff and parent volunteers, he conducted a baseball clinic and tournaments. Bobby noted that the mission of the visit is to let those in Tohoku who suffered as a result of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 know that they are not forgotten. The visit culminated on August 9 at Kobo Stadium, home of the Rakuten Eagles, where the players met the Eagles players and coaches and toured the stadium. Mr. Masa Tanaka, Deputy President of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Delta Air Lines representatives and Mr. Gary Moriwaki, JAA Honorary President were in attendance.

Mr. Moriwaki said "In 1934, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other future Hall of Famers made a goodwill trip to Japan and actually played in Sendai. Now, 80 years later, we continue in the same tradition-baseball is what connects us across generations and national borders." The program has received the very generous support of Delta Air Lines, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the Rakuten Eagles, MLB, the Greenwich Village Little League, Lexco Wealth Management, and Mr. Kazuyuki Tokiwa.

JAA’s moves to New Home

JAA is moving to a new location! The new location is 49 West 45th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10036. (Book Off is on the ground floor). Our telephone, fax and e-mail address will remain the same. The new office will be open on October 6, 2014.

The 8th Senior Week

The 8th Senior Week will be held from Nov.8 to Nov.23 at our new JAA Hall. It is co-sponsored by JAA Committee on Aging Issues and Japanese Medical Support Network with the support of the Consulate General of Japan in New York.

Seven Students from Tohoku, Japan

On August 4, 2014, JAA hosted a reception for 7 students (college freshmen and high school students) from Tohoku who are participating in Beyond Tomorrow’s Leadership Program. Ambassador Sumio Kusaka and Madame Ikuko Kusaka, joined our special reception with over 40 guests, including newly arrived Deputy Consul General Manabu Miyakawa and his wife. The students (many of whom had lost family members or damage to their homes) made a presentation regarding their trip. They had been participating in a 10-day program to visit New York and Boston to gain an understanding of social innovation and thinking that drives the country’s growth. Through these experiences, the students are expected to articulate how they envision themselves becoming leaders of social change and broaden perspectives about their future careers. We had four volunteers from Mitsubishi Corp. (Americas), they were Ms. Tracy Austin, Mr. Masaharu Koba, Mr. Makoto Seto, Mr. Alex Hamabuchi. Thank you very much!

Beyond Tomorrow is one of the NPO’s that received funding from JAA’s Tohoku Fund. JAA continues to support these young people who will be the future leaders of Tohoku and Japan. You can learn more about Beyond Tomorrow by going to their website: www.beyond-tomorrow.org/en/ or googling Beyond Tomorrow Japan.

Mets Spirit Awards
at 5th Japanese Heritage Night
at METS Citi field

JAA director and the Chairperson of the JAA Sports Committee, Mr. Shuji Kato and the NY Japanese Lions Club who dedicated a generous amount of compassion to helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 received the Mets Spirit Award at 5th Japanese Heritage Night on July 11th at Citi Field. Ambassador Sumio Kusaka and his wife Ikuko, and Greg Kimura of the Japanese American National Museum were on hand to congratulate the award recipients. Two community tables were set up near the Shea Bridge inside Citi Field with information about the Japanese American community in New York. A portion of the proceeds from tickets purchased will go to JAA’s Committee on Aging Issues. Outside Citi Field taiko drumming troupes New York Taiko Aiko Kai and Soh Daiko entertained fans as they exited the 7 train and filed into the stadium. Inside the stadium the National Anthem was sung by The Men’s Glee Club of New York and a pregame ceremony was held to present the Mets Spirit Awards. Please see below for Shuji Kato’s message!

29th JAA Foreign Minister Cup Baseball Games

Champion: Jokers

2nd Place: Orega

3rd Place: Brooklyn Dumbos

In a historic game where the score was tied 0-0 until the 12 inning when it was tied 2-2, the Championship Game was held on a beautiful Sunday, August 24th at Central Park North Meadow. The Jokers beat out Orega 3 to 2 in the top of the 13th inning and captured their 10th Foreign Minister Cup. It was a very exciting game!
An Awards Presentation and Closing Ceremony followed the Games with Deputy Consul General Manabu Miyakawa of Consulate General of Japan and JAA President Ms. Susan Onuma and Mr. Shuji Kato, Chairman Sports Committee.

The following awards were presented:
Champion: Jokers
2nd Place: Orega
3rd Place: Brooklyn Dumbos
4th Place: New York Bees
MVP: Ivan Mendez (JRS)
Best Pitchers (6W) : Ivan Mendez (JRS), Daisuke Nagashima (SSG)
Most RBI (13H): Chihiro Aoyama (JRS)
Most Home Runs (3H): Ivan Mendez (JRS)
JAA Spirit Award: Kahori Maki (Rodeo 50’s)

It was a great season. Our committee members were Mr. Shunji Kato, chair, Mr. Shunsuke Takahashi , Mr. Kasei Chin and Mr. Hiroshi Hirayama. The umpires commented that they are always impressed with the excellent sportsmanship exhibited by our JAA league members and how respectful they are to the umpires and to each other.

Summer Flea Market

Summer Flea Market was held on Aug. 2, from 10am to 2pm at JAA Hall. In spite of rain we had many shoppers at the opening. The final gross was $7,500. We appreciate our donors, shoppers and volunteers. Because of our move, most of the unsold items were delivered to the NY Japanese American Lions Club who will do after sales in our community. A portion of proceeds from their sale will go to JAA. A huge "Thank you!" to our donors, shoppers and volunteers.

The21st JAA Charity Golf Tournament
September 15, 2014

We will hold our 21st Charity Golf Tournament on Monday, September 15, 2014 at Haworth Country Club, 5 Lake Shore Drive, Haworth, NJ 07641. (201) 384-7300. Play begins at 9:30AM by "Shotgun" Rules per the New Peoria System.
Fee: $270 includes Greens fee, Cart fee & Dinner. ($100 will be Tax deductible)

JAA’s Year End Party
December 5th, 2014

Please help support our move! JAA’s Year End Party will be a fundraiser to raise funds for our new community center. It will be held on Friday, December 5th, 2014 at the Harvard Club (35 W 44th Street, NYC).


JAA Director Dr. Kamal Ramani and his wife, Neha are proud to announce the birth of their first child, Simran, born on June 28th, 2014. Her name means "god’s gift" in Hindi. Her grandparents traveled from Kobe to greet her. Simran celebrated her grandfather’s 80th birthday with him on August 4.

Mr. Gary S. Moriwaki

Ms. Susan J. Onuma

Our President Ms. Susan J. Onuma and Honorary President Mr. Gary S. Moriwaki will be awarded the 2014 Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for their tremendous contribution to the Japanese American Community in the greater New York area and for furthering US – Japan relations.


The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. IRS does not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

JAA Social Service

They were born in July

Japanese traditional dance by Ms. Ohnishi

Keirokai in July
July 10:
For the Tanabata Keirokai, pork on rice, salad and ice cream were on the menu. After lunch, Mr. Kuni Mikami performed Jazz piano. Our house band, Ichida & Iwaki Band played wonderful music. 85 seniors & volunteers were in attendance.

July 24: Mid-Summer Keirokai Unagi kabayaki (baked eel on rice), cucumber & seaweed and orange jelly were on the menu for this summer Keiro Kai. After lunch, Dr. Kinichi Shibutani lectured on about "Health in Summer" and Ms. Kyoko Ohnishi talked about "Japanese Dance & Exercises". She also performed a beautiful Japanese traditional dance. The Ichida & Iwaki Band performed with Kunio Iizuka, Yasushi Suzuki, Akio Shirakawa, Toshiko Matsukawa, Keiichiro Hayashi, Ken Sato and Shizuko Bonaparte. 135 seniors and volunteers were in attendance.

(There were no luncheons for seniors in August.)


Keizo Suemura passed away on June 13th at Forest Hills Hospital. He was 88 years old. An artist, teacher and businessman, he graduated Third Tokyo Teachers College and came to New York in 1959 with his wife Toshi to pursue his passion for art. He was one of the first Japanese artists to settle in New York. He had many shows in New York City, throughout the US and in Japan over the course of his long career. As a teacher and a mentor, he taught at Hoshuko for 25 years as well as operating his own jyuku until retirement in 1991. He was a director of the Japanese Artists Association of New York and a longtime member of JAA.

Yeiichi "Kelly" Kuwayama, 96, passed away on June 29, 2014 following a stroke. Please see page 5 "The Face of JAA" for more about Mr. Kuwayama.

Our deepest condolences to Board member and Vice President Suki Terada Ports on the untimely passing of her daughter Ailyn K. Ports (55) on August 12, 2014.

Thank you very much for your support of JAA !

JAA received support from Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation for JAA-Mitsui U.S.A Scholarships $5,000 to three students, $3,000 for JAA Committee on Aging Issues and $10,000 for general program especially keirokai and apple kids programs. JAA really appreciate Mitsui U.S.A’s continued support of JAA.

To: JAA Committee on Aging Issues
ANA New York Senior-Kai $2,000.00
Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation $3,000.00
JAMSNET $3,500.00
NY Japanese-American Lions Club $1,000.00

Mr. Shuji Kato

Shuji Kato Volunteer Spirit

I was born in Peking, China during WWII and returned to Japan when the war ended in 1946. People have told me that my height was a result of growing up in the then starving nation of Japan. I was raised from a very young age as an athlete and have participated in all kinds of sports throughout my life. I started boxing when I was in junior high school. It was a sport that I disliked most but continued into adulthood. Now, I’m grateful for my boxing experience.

I came to the United States in 1969, then returned to Japan to marry in 1971.
I came back to the US with an American dream to be a rich businessman. I worked at Asahi Breweries, JTB International and Toyota over the course of 35 years.

I joined JAA-NY in 1976 and The Japanese American Lions Club in 1979. I am one of the longest living members of the club. In 1985, I became the chairperson of the JAA Sports Committee. I founded and established the Japan Foreign Minister Cup Baseball Tournament. Since 1985, I wake up early every summer Sunday morning to support the baseball league. Hundreds of diverse members of the Japanese community have participated in our league.
After the Sandy storm in October 2012, I worked with New York Cares in Rockaway Park for four months to help the recovery effort.

My motto is "dedicate my life to society and not think about my own financial benefit."

Mr. Kelly (left) attended
the Bosan-Kai on 2012.

Yeiichi "Kelly" Kuwayama
Honored Veteran as Medic

Mr. Kuwayama passed away on June 29, 2014 following a stroke. He was born in New York City on June 1, 1918 as a son of Mr. Senzo Kuwayama who was the owner of the first Japanese Restaurant "Miyako".

Mr. Kuwayama graduated from Princeton University in 1940. In 1943 he joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team as a Medic. He was credited with saving the life of the late Senator Daniel Inouye during the combat in Italy in 1945. Mr. Kuwayama received a Silver Star and Purple Heart, the Italian Medal of Merit, and was named a Knight of the Legion of Honor on behalf of the allied government honoring those who fought for the Liberation of Europe. Following the war, he earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, and was employed by Nomura Securities as its General Manager in New York. He subsequently worked in Washington, D.C. for the Office of Foreign Investments and the Securities and Exchange Commission, retiring in 1984. In retirement, he has dedicated himself to many charitable activities and causes. A memorial service was held in Washington, D.C. on July 15.