The Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established on September 28, 1976, with a mission of "promoting understanding and friendships between the peoples of Japan and the United States through the special and unique perspective of Hawaii." We do this by providing programs, which help to expand knowledge, increase meaningful human contact and facilitate discussion of important issues.
To carry out our mission, the Society conducts educational programs for the schools, informational programs for members and the community, seminars, panel sessions, and special projects, such as the First International Symposium of Japan-America Societies and the Ehime Maru Fund. More information on these programs can be found under Programs and Calendar pages.
Membership is open to anyone interested in learning more about Japan, the United States and the U.S.-Japan relationship. The Society sponsors a wide range of business, cultural, and educational programs to fulfill its mission. There are forty Japan-America Societies in the United States representing over 30,000 members and twenty-nine America-Japan Societies in Japan with an equally impressive membership. JASH is a member of the National Association of Japan-America Societies.
The Society is also affiliated with the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation (CPASF) and the Ehime Maru Memorial Association (EMMA). Both the CPASF and EMMA are separate nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. The CPASF provides two two-year scholarships to American graduate students studying at the University of Hawaii for study in Japan and two two-year scholarships to Japanese scholars to study at the University of Hawaii Graduate School. EMMA is responsible for the maintenance of the Ehime Maru Memorial in Hawaii and helps to promote Ehime-Hawaii relations.
Let me get straight to the point. Those of us who believe in a strong U.S.-Japan relationship and the benefits this relationship brings to the people of Hawaii don't need convincing that the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) plays a critical role and will continue to play a critical role in the community. I want to address those whose support may be slipping or are thinking of loosening the bonds as a result of tough economic times or a sense that the U.S.-Japan relationship may not be as relevant today.
Is the U.S.-Japan relationship, and the logical corollary follow-on, is the Japan-America Society, still relevant today? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES! Former Senator and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield called it "the world's most important bilateral relationship." It was true then and it is true today. The call by the new Japanese government to make the alliance with the U.S. more "equal" and the delay in the implementation of the Futenma relocation plan are being interpreted by some pundits that the relationship between the U.S. and Japan is heading for rocky grounds. To be sure, the security relationship which marks its 50th year this year is going through growing pains. However, the fact remains that Japan is a major U.S. trading partner; it shares many basic values with the U.S. (such as rule of law and commitment to democratic principles); its government and people support the U.S. and its policies around the world; and the Japanese hold affection for America and Americans, not like any other people or culture. Hawaii relies on Japan and the Japanese for its tourism industry, for business collaboration and expansion, and to enrich the daily lives of the people through cultural and educational contacts. Except for the interlude of the war years, this relationship is long and deep, strengthening more so after the war. More than ever, this relationship and what it brings to our country and the State of Hawaii needs to be nurtured and cherished.
Country-to-country relationships are a lot like personal relationships. . .you can't take them for granted. Good relationships require constant input, feedback, and reassurance. Much of the important work in this area springs from grass-roots, personal relationship building in which our Society excels. Our educational programs for Hawaii's students from kindergarten through grade 12 teach our youth to see themselves through the eyes of others and expose them to thoughts and ideas of other cultures. These programs are stepping stones to college level programs such as summer internships in Japan and scholarships to study in Japan which we either help sponsor or manage ourselves, such as through the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship. From this process, we are helping to develop a future generation of citizens who understand the unique values of their own culture while being able to appreciate the perspectives and ideas of other cultures. These are the kinds of leaders and people we need in this new century. It's the Society's significant contacts and partners in Hawaii, on the mainland and in Japan who help us achieve these goals. No other organization enjoys the depth and breadth of contacts and partners to make this happen.
But you may still ask, what's in it for me? I can clearly state that the Society will look for ways to bring more benefits to the members and expand opportunities to use the membership in JASH and its significant network of contacts to help you pursue your desired goals. That I will promise. We have begun this process with several of our members and will look to expand the scope.
We have a lot to be thankful for. The Society should be justly proud that it has a capable, dedicated staff that can plan and execute these programs. And the Society enjoys great credibility and support from Hawaii's State and City governments, the U.S. Government at all levels to include the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and the Japanese Government evidenced by the very close relationship we have with the Consul General and staff. These relationships are crucial for planning and executing meaningful and rewarding programs for the membership and the community. We need to remember that ours is the only Society in Hawaii dedicated to promoting and preserving this most important relationship and we have been active and effective in the past, are now, and will be in the future. I ask for your continued support.
Mahalo and Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu![Top]
Edwin P. Hawkins