JASDFW Celebrates Largest-ever Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner

DALLAS, May 28, 2019 – The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (JASDFW) hosted its annual Sun & Star Legacy Award on May 13, 2019 at the Omni Frisco Hotel. Irene Hirano Inouye received the 2019 Sun & Star Legacy Award and Dallas Kiyari Daiko was honored with the 2019 Bridges-to-Friendship Award. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, served as the award dinner’s honorary host.

Over 520 guests attended, a new record for the Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner, which is the JASDFW’s premiere annual fundraiser. A new mark was also set in award dinner revenue at approximately $320,000, which will support the Society’s educational, cultural, business, and public policy programs that further mutual understanding between Japanese and Americans. The silent auction added over $23,000 more to the Society’s fundraising drive. For the first time in the organization’s history, there were three platinum award dinner sponsors – 7-Eleven Inc., ORIX Stewardship Foundation representing ORIX Corporation USA, and Toyota.

The evening began with a patrons’ reception for high-level sponsors and a general reception for all guests. Dallas Kiyari Daiko led guests into the ballroom and played a few of its most popular songs before the master of ceremonies, JASDFW Executive Director Paul Pass, began the formal part of the evening. Following remarks by the honorary host and a toast by the Consul-General of Japan in Houston, guests enjoyed a dinner of salad with beet curls and orange vanilla vinaigrette, a main course of braised beef short rib and crusted salmon, and a selection of white chocolate-topped cheesecake and Black Forest gateau. Floral arrangements by Mami Driscoll added an elegant décor to the event.

After dinner, a special presentation was made by American Second Vice President Harry Whalen and Paul Pass to Anna McFarland, who recently retired after 22 years as the JASDFW Executive Director. After the special moment on stage, JASDFW American First Vice President/President-Elect Grant Ogata presented the Bridges-to-Friendship Award, followed by JASDFW President Jackson Chen, who presented the 2019 Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner. Videos produced by Marketwave highlighted the award recipients’ impressive career accomplishments.

Honoree Irene Hirano Inouye addressed the record number of attendees, stressing the value of U.S.-Japan bonds in North Texas, “You have worked with so many leaders in this great city and great state to bring the presence of the U.S.-Japan relationship to life and I hope we can continue to collaborate on our common goal of bringing Americans and Japanese together, ultimately strengthening relations.”

The Sun & Star Legacy Award is presented each year to a distinguished leader who has enhanced the relationship between the peoples of Japan and the United States. The award is named for the Sun & Star Festival, which brought Japanese art and culture to Texas for three months in 1996. “Sun & Star” refers to Japan’s Rising Sun and the Texas Lone Star, symbolizing friendship between Japan and Texas. Recent past Sun & Star Legacy Award recipients include Governor Hideaki Ohmura of Aichi Prefecture in Japan, Yoshihiko Miyauchi, Senior Chairman of ORIX Group, and Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States from 2008 to 2012. The Bridges-to-Friendship Award is given periodically to a local individual or organization for fostering friendship and understanding between Japanese and Americans in North Texas. Recent past recipients include and recent past Bridges-to-Friendship Award recipients include Shinsuke Takahashi, Chairman of the Board and Head of Government Relations at NEC Corporation of America, and Mark Berry, Chair of the Dallas-Sendai Friendship City Committee.

Dignitaries and business leaders in attendance included Ambassador Kazutoshi Aikawa, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan to the U.S.; Joe DePinto, CEO of 7-Eleven; The Honorable Hideo Fukushima, Consul-General of Japan in Houston; The Honorable Shona Huffman, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Frisco; Hideto Nishitani, Chairman, President, and CEO of ORIX Corporation USA; Tetsuo Ogawa, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor North America; The Honorable Mike Rawlings, Mayor of the City of Dallas; Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer, U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2005 to 2009; and The Honorable John Stich, Honorary Consul of Japan in Dallas.

The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2020 Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner in spring of next year.

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