Our premier corporate event. The Japan-America Society recognizes exceptional contributions to U.S.-Japan relations by presenting two awards at the annual spring gala. The Sun & Star Legacy Award honors an individual who has enhanced the U.S.-Japan relationship in the international arena. The Bridges-to-Friendship Award honors an individual or organization that embodies our mission in the community. Attended by hundreds, the Award Dinner is a prime opportunity to meet key players – Japanese and American executives, dignitaries, and political leaders – in the fast-growing Texas-Japan relationship.
2023: Jim Lentz
On April 27, 2023, Jim Lentz received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for his accomplishments in fostering economic activity between Japan and the U.S. in almost four decades working for Toyota, including most recently as the CEO of Toyota Motor North America. Fort Worth Sister Cities International, represented by President and CEO Mae Ferguson, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award for its contributions to North Texas-Japan relations through its successful Fort Worth-Nagaoka relationship. The Honorary Host was Pete Delkus, Chief Meteorologist at WFAA channel 8, North Texas’ ABC affiliate.
2022: Sean Donohue
On May 26, 2022, Sean Donohue received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for contributions to U.S.-Japan bilateral economic exchange through the work of his teams as CEO of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Hideto Nishitani, founder of Virtuous Capital and former Chairman, President, and CEO of ORIX Corporation USA, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award. The Honorary Host was Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber.
2021: Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Nobuko Sasae
On October 4, 2021, Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Nobuko Sasae received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for their contributions to the U.S.-Japan partnership through respective careers in diplomacy and people-to-people relations. The Sasaes were not able to join the event in-person due to pandemic restrictions, however they joined via live stream. Anna McFarland, who served as the Japan-America Society Executive Director from 1997 to 2019, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award. The Honorary Host was Ambassador Ron Kirk, former U.S. Trade Representative and Mayor of Dallas.
2019: Irene Hirano Inouye
On May 13, 2019, Irene Hirano Inouye received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for her work with the U.S.-Japan Council, the Japanese American National Museum, and numerous other community groups in her long career. Dallas Kiyari Daiko, a local taiko drumming group with over a quarter century of history, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award. This event generated the highest revenue and had the highest attendance – over 520 guests – since the award dinner began in the late 1990s. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, was the Honorary Host.
2018: Hideaki Ohmura
Mr. Hideaki Ohmura, Governor of Aichi Prefecture, received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for fostering cooperation and friendship between the two countries, specifically between Aichi Prefecture and the State of Texas. Mr. Shinsuke Takahashi, Chairman of the Board and Head of Government Relations for NEC Corporation of America, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award for his contributions to North Texas-Japan relations as President & CEO at NEC’s Irving headquarters from 2014 to 2018.
2017: Yoshihiko Miyauchi
The Japan-America Society presented Senior Chairman Yoshihiko Miyauchi of ORIX Group with the Sun & Star Legacy Award on April 4, 2017. Mark Berry, Chairman of the Dallas-Sendai Committee, received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award. We welcomed more than 500 guests — the largest turnout in the event’s 20-year history. Ambassador & Mrs. J. Thomas Schieffer served as Honorary Hosts.
2016: Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki
On April 25, 2016, Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki received the Sun & Star Legacy Award for his extraordinary service as Ambassador of Japan to the United States (2008-2012). The Bridges-to-Friendship Award was presented to the Fort Worth Japanese Society. Sean and Susan Donohue served as Honorary Hosts. More than 420 guests from 125 companies attended – reflecting the growing interest in U.S.-Japan relations in North Texas.
2015: Yoshiyuki Kasai
On April 20, 2015, the Sun & Star Legacy Award was presented to Yoshiyuki Kasai, Chairman Emeritus of the Central Japan Railway Company, for his commitment to bringing true high-speed rail service to the U.S. Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award for sharing their collection of samurai armor with the community. Ambassador and Mrs. J. Thomas Schieffer served as Honorary Hosts.