JAA Japan Disaster Relief

Update from Earthquake and Tsunami Ravaged Areas in Japan
by Eiich Kuwana

My travels recently took me to Fukushima where I spent time with two non-profit organizations (NPOs); CWS Japan and Shalom, supported by the Japanese American Association of NY (JAA), with the generosity of the JAA members and supporters. Both organizations carved out time to explain the current situation facing residents; in particular, children in Fukushima. The children are considered to be at higher risk to radiation damage than adults. We visited a day-care center for children aged six months to kindergarten, only 40 miles away from Fukushima nuclear plants. (the classroom in the photo depicts two and three year olds). Shalom’s office monitors the area to record radioactive "hot" spots.
In the day-care center yard, there is the satellite looking machine which shows "0.136" (0.136 micro Sieverts of radiation per hour). In Japan, a reading of less than 0.230 qualifies as being "acceptable", assuming that the "average" person spends only 8 hours a day outside.
Moreover, "hot spots" exist in many pockets within Fukushima. We found numerous areas that registered greater than 0.650 micro Sieverts, which is substantially higher than the acceptable limit of 0.230. A distressing aspect of these readings is the fact that there is a kindergarten and a road used for those local children to commute to their schools along the path.
What cannot be disputed is that living with such concerns on a daily basis affects the mental state of the inhabitants of the area. Therefore, we applaud and support the efforts of Shalom, which has, as one of its core missions, to bring children away for weekends at a time from radiation affected areas to cleaner regions of Japan so that these children can play outdoors without fear of being exposed to radiation. The photo of children wading in a local brook is unimaginable in Fukushima, and this was made possible due to Shalom sponsoring a trip for these children to a different prefecture (state) in Japan. Even just for a weekend, kids need to be kids.
Your generous donations have made it possible for Fukushima children to enjoy moments of peace and relaxation, and JAA and I thank you for your continued support.
With gratitude,

21st Annual JAA Charity Golf Tournament
Grand Prize is ANA Air Ticket (Business Class) NY to TOKYO

The 21st JAA Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, September 15, 2014 at Haworth Country Club, 5 Lake Shore Drive, Haworth, NJ 07641. This will be a shotgun tournament by the New Peoria System. All golfers will tee off simultaneously.

Entry fee is $270.00 ($100.00 of which is tax deductible). Your fee includes breakfast and buffet lunch plus green fees & cart. The deadline for entry is Sept. 2, 2014. Call JAA office for more detail!

Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner of the 44th Scholarship Awards
and 8th Honjo Scholarship Awards

All photos by Masao Katagami

The 44th JAA Scholarship Awards Dinner was held at the Harvard Club on June 3, 2014. Former Major League Baseball Player and Manager Mr. Robert John "Bobby" Valentine, Consul General and Madame Sumio Kusaka, Mr. Tadashi Sano, SVP of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mr. Yosuke Honjo, President and CEO of ITO EN (North America) and Mr. Motohiro Satoh, Vice President of JCCI headed the guest list of 145 donors, awardees, their families and JAA members attended the event. Thirteen high school recipients, a total of $54,500 and three round trip air tickets by ANA and Delta Air Lines and six graduate school recipients (total of $30,000 from the Honjo International Foundation) of the 8th Honjo Scholarship Awards were honored.

The ceremony began with MC Mr. Gary Moriwaki, co-chair of the Scholarship Committee, followed by greetings from Ambassador Kusaka and JAA President Susan Onuma. Mr. Bobby Valentine as our keynote speaker gave a wonderful speech that inspired not just the students but all who were present through his baseball experience and his baseball project for children of USA and Tohoku. He told the awardees that one of his most memorable moments in high school was when he received an award from the Italian-American community in Stamford, Connecticut. Miss Isabella Grabski, recipient of the Bingham McCutchen Murase Scholarship and Ms. Andrea J. Horisaki – Christens, recipient of the Honjo Award expressed their appreciation for their respective groups.
To conclude the ceremony, Mr. Katsuo Takeda thanked the donors and guests.

44th JAA Scholarship (for graduating high school students)

1.Bingham McCutchen Murase Scholarship
($6,000 plus Trip to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways)

Isabella Natalie Grabski (Born in Hackensack, NJ)
Bergen County Academies, will attend Princeton University

2.Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya Scholarship ($5,000)
Koko Ayaka Nakajima (Born in Torrance, CA)
Bergen County Academies, will attend Brown University

3.Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
Erika Nicole Axe (Born in San Francisco, CA)
James Caldwell High School, will attend Cornell University College of Engineering

4.Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
Yuri Iwahara (Born in New York, NY)
The Dalton School, will attend Brown University

5.Mitsui USA Foundation Scholarship ($5,000)
Masaharu Ono (Born in Tokyo, Japan)
Tenafly High School, will attend California Institute of Technology

6.Delta Air Lines Scholarship ($5,000)
Sakura Sakae Tamaki (Born in New York)
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, will attend Smith College

7.Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
Yuta Kakutani (Born in New York)
Hunter College High School, will attend The University of Chicago

8.Dr. Soji Tomikawa Scholarship ($5,000)
Rintaro Lin Mori (Born in New York)
Queens Metropolitan High School, will attend School of Visual Arts

9.Orient Corp. of America Scholarship ($3,500)
Taiyo Keith Hamanaka (Born in Bronxville, NY)
Eastchester High School, will attend Columbia University

10.Toyota Motor North America Scholarship ($3,000)
Sana Fujimura (Born in Huntington, NY)
Bethpage High School, will attend SUNY Stony Brook University Honors College

11.TV Japan Scholarship ($3,000)
Miya Colleen Matsumoto Lee
(Born in New York, NY) Saint Ann’s School, will attend Columbia University

12.Hartman-Sakazume Scholarship ($3,000)
Julia Hamae Yuge (Born in Tenri, Japan)
Forest Hills High School, will attend New York University College of Nursing

13.ANA Japan Travel Scholarship
($1,000 plus Trip to Japan, courtesy of All Nippon Airways

Satoko Mii (Born in Poughkeepsie, NY)
Yorktown High School, will attend Syracuse University

8th JAA Honjo Scholarships

・Joshual Paul Batts ($6,000): Joshua is a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.
・Scott Xavier Marchi ($6,000): Scott is a PhD candidate in the Economics Department of Columbia University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago.
・Jeffrey Tyler Walker ($6,000): Tyler is a PhD candidate in Japanese Literature at Columbia University.
・Kristopher Reeves ($5,000): Kris is a repeat awardee and continues his studies at Columbia University towards a PhD in East Asian Studies.
・Andrea Janine Horisaki-Christens ($4,000): Andrea is a PhD candidate in the Art History and Archaeology Department at Columbia University.
・Sacha C. Chadwick ($3,000): Sacha is an MA candidate at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she focuses on issues of international crime and justice.

2014 Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner Benefactors
2014 Annual JAA Scholarship Dinner Benefactors
Gold Sponsor: ITO EN (North America) Inc.
Silver Sponsors: Bingham McCutchen Murase LLP
Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti, LLP
J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York
Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

The Scholarship Committee consisted of co-Chairs
Gary S. Moriwaki & Katsuo Takeda
The committee members
Julie Azuma, Michiko Ito Crampe, David Hiromura, Akiko Kamata, Frederick Katayama,
Yumi Kuwana, Satoru Murase, Susan J. Onuma, Suki Terada Ports and Koji Sato.

Bobby Valentine, Former baseball player and Manager
Stamford native Bobby Valentine was widely recruited out of high school and attended college at the University of Southern California. He was voted by Sports Illustrated as one of the best athletes of the 20th century from Connecticut. After his selection in the first round by the L.A. Dodgers, he spent 10 years as an MLB player with successful stints with the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Mets and Mariners. After retiring from baseball as a player, Valentine later coached and managed the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets and the Texas Rangers where he was the winningest manager in Rangers history. In 1994, he became the first American to accept a management position in the Pacific League of Japan for the Chiba Lotto Marines. In 1996, he was hired as the manager of the New York Mets, where he led the team to the World Series in 2000. In 2004, Valentine returned to Japan and led the Marines to its first Asian championship. In 2006, he became the first foreign manager to win the prestigious Matsutaro Shoriki Award given to the person who contributes the most to Japanese baseball. Over the years, Valentine has received numerous awards both for his athletic successes and philanthropy. When he was appointed director of public health and safety in his hometown of Stamford, he donated his salary back to the city. Valentine co-founded the Shin Taku Juko School in Japan which teaches values to parents and their children. The school also offers a stay-abroad program for children who lost their parents in the tsunami that devastated Japan. Valentine was instrumental in raising funds for JAA’s Tohoku Relief Fund and will be taking a group of 15 year olds to Japan this summer to play baseball not against but with their counterparts in Tohoku.

Exhibition of Japanese and Japanese American Artists in New York 2014

Photo Masao Katagami

The 19th annual Art Exhibition of the Japanese and Japanese American Artists in New York were held from May 1 to May 10. The 37 artists (including four new artists: Reina Kubota, Shu Ohno, Isamu Enrico Oyama and Akemi Takeda), displayed their 69 art works at the JAA Hall.

The opening reception was held on May 1st from 5pm, attending were Consul Yoshikatsu Aoyagi, Mr. & Mrs. Motoatsu Sakurai of Japan Society, JAA President Ms. Susan J. Onuma, the artists and JAA members and guests. Everyone enjoyed a unique international art exhibition and refreshments made by JAA Keirokai Volunteers.

JAA greatly appreciated those who bought art. A portion of which is a donation made to JAA: Mr. George Hirose, Mr. Michio Ishii, Mrs. Kaoru Kokaze, Mrs. Tokiko Miura, Ms. Susan Onuma, Mr. Hirotada Sakai and Mrs. Yoko Sasaki.

All photos by Masao Katagami

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

On a beautiful sunny day, Memorial Day Services (Bosankai) was held on May 26, 2014 from 11am-at the Japanese Cemetery at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Queens. The event, sponsored by the JAA, with the support of the New York Buddhist Church and the Japanese American United Church (JAUC).

First, Rev. Earl Ikeda, the new minister of the Buddhist Church, read from the Sutra while incense and flowers were offered to the pioneers who had contributed so greatly to the present standing of the Japanese and Japanese American Community, followed by services performed by Rev. Kaz Takahashi, the new pastor of JAUC.

Ambassador Sumio Kusaka expressed his appreciation to our pioneers who had promoted good relations between the U.S. and Japan. Mr. Motohiro Satoh, vice president of JCCI gave a brief history of Dr. Jokichi Takamine, founder of the Nippon Club and Dr. Toyoshiko Takami, founder of JAA. Ms. Fukuko Fujimoto, new Principal of Greenwich Japanese School of NY and Mr. Toru Okamoto, Principal of the Japanese Children’s Society each gave a heartfelt talk. MIS member Mr. Kazu Yamaguchi and Vietnam veteran Mr. Stanley Kanzaki were among the 150 in attendance.

We appreciate the staff of Japanese Children’s Society and members of Japanese Lions Club for their clean up of the cemetery on the days before and after.

Wreathes 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 and three organizers.

New York Buddhist Church New official Resident Minister Rev. Earl Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda officially took up residence as of March 1. Rev. Ikeda was formerly resident minister with the Hawaii Honpa Hongwanji to the Moiliili Hongwang Mission. Rev. Ikeda is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of Buddhism and is a devotee of Japanese culinary and cultural arts. He is bilingual minister.

2014-the 28th JAA Foreign Minister’s Baseball Tournament

Results of the six weeks of the preliminaries are very competitive, "A" block includes the teams Bees, Junks, Biggies and Babes, "B" Block consists of the teams Jokers, Dumbo, Nikoniko and Hamakko. Please visit www.jaabaseball.blogspot.com for the recent scores.

8th Japan Day @ Central Park

On a beautiful Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014 more than 50,000 people were gathered at the Band shell area in Central Park. Volunteers from the JAA calligraphy class demonstrated their beautiful and skillful brush work to 1600 New Yorkers. The booth was so popular that we ran out of ink and papers!

Our volunteers were Yumiko Abe, Masako Gibeault, Yuri Ishizuka, Atsuko Imaizumi, Ayako Ishizuka, Hiroko Shimizu, Terue Saito, Namie Suzuki, Eiko Tanaka, Sachie Ueshima, Chizuko Yamaguchi, Shuji Kato, Haruko Sakurazawa, students from Stuyvesant HS and Michiyo Noda.

Social Service Committee

Keirokai-Luncheon for Seniors

Regular luncheons were held for seniors on May 8 and 22. At both events the K. Iwaki Band performed and members enjoyed Karaoke sing along. We will hold Keirokai on June 12 and 24.

The Fifth Annual Japanese Heritage Night

The Fifth Annual Japanese Heritage Night at Citifield, home of the New York Mets, will be held on July 11, 2014.

Summer Flea Market at JAA Hall
on August 2, 10am-2pm

This is the last flea market at this office. We are accepting donations of new/used clothes, chinaware, jewelry and others. This is a fun-filled major fundraiser!

Social Service Committee

Yoshiko Watanabe passed away on May 9, 2014 at the age of 89 at Isabella House.
She was born on Feb. 16, 1925 in Los Angeles, the second child of Keitoku Watanabe, a 1905 graduate of the University Pennsylvania and Tomoko Watanabe. In 1931, when her father passed away at the age of 45, the Watanabe family moved to her mother’s home in Gifu. After graduating from Toyo Music School where she studied singing, Yoshiko became a music teacher in high school and junior college in Gifu. In 1972, she came to New York to aide and support her ailing sister. After her sister’s death, Yoshiko stayed in New York as a teacher at the Japanese Weekend School in Fort Lee, NJ. Miss Watanabe was an active member of the Japanese-American United Church.

Yuri Kochiyama (May 19, 1921-June 1, 2014)
Please see below for her obituary.

Thank you very much for your support of JAA !
(5/1/2014- 6/15/2014)

To General Account
NRS Logistics : $1,000.00
The Kresge Foundation : $1,950.00

To 44th JAA Scholarship
Mitsui USA Foundation : $15,000.00
Bingham McCutchen Murase : $6,000.00
Orient Corp. of America : $3,500.00
TV Japan : $3,000.00
Toyota Motor North America : $3,000.00

To 44th JAA Scholarship Dinner
Ann Harakawa, Chizuko Korn, Teruko Neuwalder, Motoatsu Sakurai
Toshiteru Tada, Tsugie Watanabe

Yuri Kochiyama
Japanese American activist

(May 19, 1921-June 1, 2014)

Yuri Kochiyama died of natural causes in Berkeley at the age of 93. She was a lifelong champion of civil rights in the African American, Latino, Native American and Asian American communities.

Born in 1921 as Mary Yuriko Nakahara, she spent her early years in San Pedro prior to relocation and internment. She met Bill Kochiyama while in internment. He served in the 442nd Regimental Combat team, at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas.

They married after the war and moved to NYC. Living in Harlem, her Black and Hispanic neighbors inspired her interest in civil rights. Their home on was always open to activists and was the center of many communities. She taped newspaper clippings on the wall and kept piles of leaflets on the kitchen table. Yuri had many causes to champion. Back before computers, she had several address notebooks to keep track of all of the people she knew. Whenever there was a mailing, she would remember each name with a special connection and fondness. "Our house felt it was the movement 24/7" said her daughter, Audee Kochiyama Holman.

She had a brief but transformative friendship with Malcolm X whom she met in 1963. Through her friendship she began to work on Black Nationalism and was with Malcolm X during his last speech. She was captured in Life magazine with him in the final moments after he was shot.

In the JA community she and her husband Bill are most known for pushing for Redress and Reparations for Japanese American Internees through to the Civil Liberties Act signed into law by President Reagan.

Her dedication to social causes inspired generations of young activists in every community.

"She was not your typical Japanese American, especially a Nisei" quoted her cousin, Tim Toyama, "She was definitely ahead of her time and we caught up with her".