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2009
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Jan.-Jun. 2011
Jul. ~ 2011

 
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CONSULAR STAFF ACTIVITIES
On June 27, Consul-General Hisaeda welcomed two popular manga artists at his official residence. (More details can be found on the Consul-General’s page.)

From the left: Vice-Consul Yamada, Public Relation Officer Mizukami, Mari Yamazaki, Rieko Saibara, and Vice-Consul Ito.
On June 18, Vice Consul Yamada attended a benefit concert for the Great Tōhoku Earthquake held at the Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Kansas.

The concert was sponsored by the Japan Club of Greater Kansas City, the Heart of America Japan-America Society, as well as JCCC’s international clubs. Various artists including Japanese pop-singer Aya Uchida and the jazz musician Bobby Watson (who held a concert in Japan last year) performed for an awe-struck audience. All proceeds from the event, including CD sales, are to be donated to the people in the affected areas through the Japanese Red Cross.

The picture is a commemorative photograph with the event’s official personnel. The second from the right is Honorary Consul-General of Kansas City Francis Lemery; middle in the front row is Vice Consul Yamada; on her right is the Japan Club Chairman Tamiko Woodsmall; on her left is Aya Uchida; and on the far left is President of the Heart of America Japan-America Society James Kanki.
On June 11, Consul Fukunaga attended the Mid America Japanese Club’s (MAJC) Great East Japan Earthquake Relief charity event, and greeted guests at the opening ceremony.

At the event, titled “Gambaro Nippon!” [Let’s Do Our Best, Japan!], there were a great variety of activities and programs put on by local volunteers, including a Soran Dance for Reconstruction put on by junior high school students from the Chicago Japanese School, and a Japanese taiko drums performance. A great many people attended. Through the Japanese Red Cross, proceedings from the event will be donated to the areas struck by the disaster.

The picture is a commemorative photograph with MAJC’s management, who organized the event. From right are Kiyohiko Shirataki, MAJC Director; Consul Fukunaga; Yuko Shirataki, MAJC Vice President; Mitsuru Koyama, MAJC President; Mitsuko Ishii, MAJC Director; and Yuzaburo Shimotake, Former President of MAJC.


On June 11, Vice Consul Yamada attended Kimiko Gunji’s retirement party, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ms. Gunji is the director of the school’s Japan House.

Director Gunji has served as the Japan House’s director for 12 years, and in that time she has been actively engaged in countless areas of Japan-American exchange, from tea ceremony and flower arrangement lectures to leading trips to Japan, with countless Open Houses and cultural events in between. At the tea party and ceremony held for Professor Gunji’s retirement, a number of colleagues, former students, and others gathered and offered their appreciation for her many achievements.

Top picture: Vice Consul Yamada giving a speech at the ceremony (at far right, in the back).

Bottom picture: Director Gunji (left) and Vice Consul Yamada (right).


On June 7, Consul Fukunaga visited May Whitney Elementary School in suburban Lake Zurich. He attended the presentation ceremony for contributions to victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and accepted the donation money on behalf of the Consulate (top picture).

The 25 students comprising May Whitney’s student council sold paper cranes for a dollar each to fundraise for disaster relief. Their original goal was $1000, but ultimately they managed to raise $2150 from students and their families. This money will be sent to the victims of the disaster through the Japanese Red Cross.

The inside of the school is decorated with the cranes that the students wholeheartedly folded by the students (bottom picture).
On May 22, at the invitation of the Midwest Conservatory of Music, Consul Nakano attended their spring concert, and enjoyed the performance by the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra. Afterwards, he spoke with officials from the Conservatory.

The picture shows Mr. Taka Matsunaga, who chairs the Conservatory (right), with Consul Nakano (left).


For the three days from May 20-22, Anime Central, the Midwest’s largest anime convention, was held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and Rosemont Convention Center in the outskirts of Chicago, with around 23,000 anime fans participating.

The Consulate established a booth introducing various aspects of Japanese culture in the convention center, and also held a Q & A session about the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

The top picture shows Vice Consul Yamada (right) and staff member Gilkeson (left) talking with visitors to the booth.

The bottom picture shows staff member Gilkeson (far left) explaining the JET Program.

The Consulate supports efforts to introduce Japanese pop culture, like anime, to the world.
On May 14, Vice Consul Ito went to CelebrAsian: The 9th Annual Asian Heritage Festival in Des Moines, Iowa.

CelebrAsian is a festival held with the participation of 13 Asian-American heritage communities residing in Des Moines. Together with the Japan America Society of Iowa (JASI), the Consulate ran a Japan Booth at the Festival, and introduced Japanese cuisine, th art of tea ceremony, kimono, and many other parts of Japanese culture to the attendees. Additionally, one corner of the booth was dedicated to explaining the Great East Japan Earthquake, with materials like maps and pictures on display.

The picture is a commemorative photograph with officials from the JASI. Second from the left is Vice Consul Ito.
On May 13, Vice-Consul Ito attended the IowAsia Business Summit, held in the outskirts of Des Moines. The event was held to promote economic relations between Iowa and countries across Asia, and was attended by Midwestern Consular representatives, state government officials, and Iowa business leaders.

The picture is a commemorative photograph from the opening ceremony. Fifth from the left in the front row is Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and to his right is Consul Ito.
On May 12, Deputy Consul General Sawada attended the Japan America Society of Chicago’s (JASC) Sake Tasting Event which was held in Chicago.

The JASC is collecting donations for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and they have been fundraising through various events. At the Sake Tasting Event, elementary school student Lindsay Peigh sold paper cranes she had made, and donated the money she made to victims of the earthquake.

The picture shows Deputy Consul General Sawada (left) and Lindsay (right).


On May 11, Deputy Consul General Sawada attended a fundraising event held by the Consulate General of the Philippines at Chicago and the Filipino community to benefit victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The Consul General of the Phillipines said, “Japan has always helped the Philippines in the past; now it is the Philippines’ turn to help Japan,” and the Filipino Consulate continues to support Japan with various fundraising events held in Chicago.

Top picture: Deputy Consul General Sawada (at far right) thanks the crowd for their support.

Bottom picture: High school students selling T-Shirts with “Hope For Japan” written on the front.


On April 9, Deputy Consul General Sawada took part in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Japan House’s Spring Open House, and greeted the visitors.

Every spring and fall, Japan House holds these open houses to facilitate understanding of Japan, and invites anyone and everyone from the area to come experience Japanese culture.

This time, around 750 participants came and enjoyed a lecture about Japanese culture, ikebana demonstrations, the artistry of a tea ceremony, a stroll through the Japanese gardens, and more.

Top picture: Deputy Consul General Sawada (left) and Japan House Director Kumiko Gunji (right) chatting in the Japanese garden.

Bottom picture: Mr. Glen Pereira (at far right) giving a lecture on Japanese confectionaries.
On April 8, students at Forest Park, Illinois’ Japanese-English Bilingual Kindergarten Montessori Language Academy presented the Consulate with 1000 paper cranes they made for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

The students wrote messages on origami paper, and folded the cranes with prayers in their hearts.

The picture shows the class and their cranes. Third from the left in the back row is Principal Yoko Avramov. To her right is Consulate Staff Member Kojima.
On April 2, Consul Fukunaga went to an event organized by Iowa City, Iowa’s Japanese Saturday School to benefit victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The school was raising money to support victims of the disaster by selling T-Shirts and the like.

The picture shows the organizers of the event holding up the T-Shirts designed for the fundraiser by American students studying Japanese in Iowa. From right are Junko Kasuya, Misa Johnson, and Hiroe Hara.
On March 19, Consul Fukunaga went to a charity garage sale held in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois to benefit the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

This garage sale was organized by the Bloomington-Normal Japanese Saturday School, with assistance from “Morokoshi-kai,” a neighborhood Japanese residents association, and others. A large crowd came from far and wide.

Proceeds from the event will be sent to assist victims of the disaster via the Red Cross.
In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago has opened a condolence book in the Japan Information Center.

The picture shows Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White writing his condolences in the book.

The book will be open for signing from March 17 to 18, and again on March 21, 22, and 23 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM.
On March 7, together with the University of Chicago, the Consulate held a panel discussion entitled, “The Future of the Asia-Pacific Region: Challenges for China, Japan, and the U.S.”

The discussion featured Professor Tomoo Marukawa from the University of Tokyo, Assistant Professor Kay Shimizu from Columbia University, Professor Tom Ginsburg from the University of Chicago, and Assistant Professor Daniel Abebe, also from the University of Chicago. The four discussed matters ranging from domestic affairs in contemporary China, to Japan-China relations, to international relations in the Asian region; afterwards, they answered questions from the audience.

The picture shows Deputy Consul General Sawada giving opening remarks.
On February 12, the Japanese Olympiad of Indiana was held at Valparaiso University. High school students from 15 Indiana schools were divided into teams based on grade level, and competed to answer questions about Japanese and Japan-related subjects.

Concurrent with the competition, workshops were held on topics in Japanese culture, like calligraphy and Japanese clothing.

The picture shows Consul Menda (at left) as, during the results ceremony, she greets the participating students and teachers.


On February 10, with the Japan America Society of Chicago and the Osaka Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International co-sponsoring, a Japan Student Network Reception was held at the Chicago Cultural Center. Students with an interest in Japan, university and business officials, exchange students from Japan, and many others gathered in the Center, and networked.

The Consulate prepared a booth inside the meeting hall, and introduced many of its activities, including government scholarship recruitment, and the upcoming 25th Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest in Chicago.

The top picture shows Deputy Consul General Sawada greeting the participants.

The bottom picture shows Consul Menda (left) and Staff Member Drake (right) explaining the Consulate’s varied activities to the participants in front of the booth.
On February 4, Japan Information Center Director Tajima spoke with students from Kansas’ Free State High School who were to represent the Japanese delegation at the Model United Nations of the University of Chicago’s (MUNUC) Twenty-Third Annual Conference. Together with other JIC staff members, Director Tajima explained Japan’s policies regarding the United Nations, its initiatives to address global concerns, and other topics.

This Model UN Conference is considered to be one of the biggest and most authoritative high school meetings of its kind in the United States. For four days, more than 2000 students discuss, negotiate, and argue various global issues.

At left is a commemorative photograph from after the JIC’s talk with the students. From center left (towards the back of the photo) are JIC Director Tajima, Staff Member Kelly, and Staff Member Jarvis.
On January 30, Consul Fukunaga attended the Mid America Japanese Club’s (MAJC) New Year’s Meeting, and gave congratulatory remarks.

MAJC was founded in 1993 by Japanese nationals living or staying long-term in the Chicago area and hoping to build a future for themselves through mutual cooperation. Every year in the summer, many Americans and Japanese nationals gather for MAJC’s annual “Japan Festival.” The picture shows the New Year’s Meeting’s attendees assembled for a commemorative photograph.
On January 30, Japan Information Center Director Tajima attended a Nagasaki-St. Paul Sister Cities Exchange Luncheon held in St. Paul, Minnesota. The cities’ sister city relationship dates back to 1955, and is the first of its kind for a Japanese city. The exchange has been very active. Last year they celebrated the 55th anniversary of their connection, and high school students and girl scouts from Nagasaki paid a visit to St. Paul. The consulate supports sister city relationships between Japan and the United States.

The picture shows, from left, Director Tajima; Takayuki Miyanishi, President of the Nagasaki-St. Paul Sister Cities Committee, and his wife; Elizabeth Simmer, President of the St. Paul-Nagasaki Sister Cities Committee; and JoAnn Blatchley, Vice-President of the same Committee.
On January 29, Deputy Consul General Sawada attended the Indiana Japan Chamber’s General Meeting, which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and gave New Year’s Greetings.

In Indiana, Japanese corporations help support the economy, as they have opened more than 200 businesses, creating more than 40,000 jobs.

Also at the meeting was a special guest, race car driver Takuma Sato (until 2008, a competitor in F1 racing, and since 2010, an Indy 500 competitor), who spoke about his decision to compete again this year. His achievements in the coming years are highly anticipated.
On January 22, Vice Consul Ito attended the Heart of America Japan America Society’s Shinnenkai, or New Year’s Party, which was held in Kansas City, Missouri. At the shinnenkai, around 80 Japan America Society members and friends attended, and welcomed in the New Year. The event's program included a traditional Japanese dancer and a Kansas City jazz band which visited its sister city, Okayama Prefecture’s Kurashiki, as part of a cultural exchange program last year.

The picture shows, from left, Mr. Francis Lemery, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, Vice Consul Ito, and Mr. James Kanki, President of the Heart of America Japan America Society.


On January 8, Consular Staff traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to offer mobile consular services to local Japanese residents. Many Japanese citizens used the opportunity that day to renew their passports, request various types of certificates, register to vote from abroad, and so forth.

Then, the following day, January 9, Consular staff were graciously invited to the St. Louis Japan Society’s Annual shinnenkai, or New Year’s Party. The around 100 Japanese nationals and other interested parties who attended excitedly welcomed the new year, and were even treated to a mini-concert with a violin and choral performance.

The top picture shows a table at the shinnenkai with, from left, Consul Nakano, President of the St. Louis Japan Society Yoshiaki Shibusawa, and Honorary Consul General of Japan at St. Louis Bruce Buckland. The bottom picture shows Consul Nakano providing mobile consular services.
On January 7, Deputy Consul General Sawada attended Chicago Futabakai Japanese Day School’s Junior High School graduation ceremony, and gave a congratulatory address.

The availability of a first-rate education for Japanese children living here is very important to Japanese families and companies in the Midwest and America. It plays a large part in advancing our Japan-U.S. economic cooperation and cultural exchange. Chicago Futabakai Japanese Day School provides a top quality education, and has the strong support of the Consulate.