JASDFW Celebrates its Golden Anniversary with Special Online Program

PLANO, October 29, 2020 – The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (JASDFW) hosted a special 50th anniversary program to commemorate the past, celebrate the present, and create a legacy for the future. The event was livestreamed via YouTube from the JASDFW offices in Plano and Sylvia Komatsu of KERA served as the emcee. Viewers tuned in from around the world for this commemorative evening. All attendees enjoyed special presentations, including remarks from previous Sun & Star Legacy Award recipients, former and current Japanese and American ambassadors, actors, and community leaders from both Japan and the United States. The program also included musical performances, interactive trivia, a silent auction, and a special historical video.

There were numerous sponsors that wished to support the Society’s ongoing mission and its work in the community. Major sponsors included Toyota, 7-Eleven, American Airlines, ITO EN North America, MUFG, Mizuho, NEC Corporation of America, SMBC, Gulf States Toyota, Haynes and Boone, the Irving Economic Development Partnership, Jackson Walker, Mitsui Bussan Logistics, the City of Plano, and PwC. The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership served as the logistics sponsor and CinemaStory Productions was the extremely important presentation and content partner.

To see a full list of the sponsors, please visit https://jasdfw.org/event/celebrating-the-50th-anniversary-event/.

The broadcast began with a message from Grant Ogata, President of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, before a prepared statement from President George W. Bush was read by JASDFW Executive Director Paul Pass. Other recorded remarks followed from Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer, Ambassador Ryozo Kato, U.S. Secretary Norman Mineta, and community advocate and Star Trek actor George Takei. Later in the program, additional remarks were shared by Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and his wife Nobuko; current Ambassador from Japan to the United States, H.E. Shinsuke Sugiyama; Toyota North America President and CEO Tetsuo Ogawa; Crow Museum Senior Director Amy Hofland, Dallas-Sendai International Friendship Cities leader Shogo Kamei; Ambassador Ronald Kirk; Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price; and Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki. Paul Pass also read letters of congratulations from Ambassador Walter Mondale and Sendai Mayor Kazuko Kori.

The historical video documented the first 50 years of the Society, its growth, its programs, and significant individuals who played a part in its success. Notable speakers included charter member and past president Hiroo Nakahara; former Honorary Consul-General of Japan in Dallas and past president John Stich; current board member, past president, and Honorary Consul Sam Shichijo; and Anna McFarland, who served as JASDFW Executive Director from 1997 to 2019. Among the many moments shared were the dedication of a Kosuge lantern for the silver anniversary in 1995, the inaugural Sun & Star Legacy Award Dinner, the creation of the Mochitsuki New Year’s Celebration and the Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival, and the Japan-America Grassroots Summit.

Viewers were entertained by musical renditions from harpist Naoko Nakamura and violinist Kaori Yoshida, as well as a shakuhachi performance by Stan Richardson. Fun trivia questions also gave the audience an opportunity to test its knowledge on the Society’s history and the Dallas-Japan connection. Additionally, attendees could participate through the silent auction, which generated thousands of dollars in revenue for JASDFW’s mission and future operations. Popular items included American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, chopsticks made from the splinters of Nippon Professional Baseball teams’ bats, a premier Japanese whisky set, and a signed Japanese national basketball team backpack from Yudai Baba.

The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth is excited to bring events to audiences in a modern format, to showcase the on-going friendship between the United States and Japan, and to demonstrate the Society’s place in creating a shared future for Japanese and Americans in North Texas. We look forward to continuing to bring amazing programs and cultural outreach opportunities throughout 2020 and into 2021.

To watch the full program, please play the video below or visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn90LIpqQmg.

Join JASDFW for future events at https://jasdfw.org/events/list.


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