Keiro Kai and Family Day

Join in festivities honoring the wisdom of our elders and the promise of our youth at 2012 Keiro Kai and Family Day! The Washington Toho Koto Society and JACL-DC Top Chef David Inoue are part of the food, games, and entertainment slated for Saturday, September 15, from 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m., at North Bethesda Middle School (8935 Broadmoor Drive, Bethesda, MD ). All welcome! Free for JACL members. Non-members: $10 per person, or $20 for family of four. Please RSVP now for planning purposes to Janice Faden (


Memorial Day Salute

At Arlington National Cemetery’s Columbarium Courtyard, the JACL DC Chapter and the Japanese American Veterans  Association joined forces at a Memorial Day observance May 27. Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake, U.S. Army/JAG Corp, offered a moving tribute to the history of Japanese Americans who have served in the U.S. military – including her uncle, who served in the 442ndin World War II. To a standing-room-only crowd, students Kendall Griffith and Lauren Penn from Maryland’s Spark Matsunaga Elementary School spoke of the genuine superheroes in the military who “defeat real enemies while making our country very proud.” After the playing of taps, flowers were laid at the gravesites of Japanese Americans interred at Arlington.

(Photos by Miya Hiraoka Sluchansky)



1. JAVA President Gerald Yamada, Executive Director Terry Shima, and Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake address the Memorial Day crowd.

2. Students from Spark Matsunaga Elementary honor members of the military as today’s “real superheroes.”

3. Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake salutes the proud history of Japanese American military service in her keynote address

4. The Memorial Day observance concluded with the playing of Taps.

Medal of Freedom for Hirabayashi

On May 28, President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied Executive Order 9066 during World War II and took his case to the Supreme Court. “This country is better off because of citizens like him who are willing to stand up,” noted the President in his speech. JACL Executive Director Floyd Mori, who was present at the White House event, offers his thanks to President Obama “for this honor to Gordon, which is an opportunity to tell the story of innocent Americans of Japanese descent during World War II when the constitution did not protect them and preserve their rights.”

ISO Future Leaders, and a Salute to Mori


Looking to develop leadership skills and meet prominent members of the Japanese-American community? The U.S.-Japan Council Emerging Leaders Program has announced its 2012 search for young professionals to attend the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference, a forum for education and networking among the highest levels of leadership in business, public policy, academia, journalism and community organizations. Young professionals (ages 18-35) interested in building relations between the two countries can gain access to senior leaders on key U.S.-Japan topics and mentorship opportunities. Application deadline: June 29.

Last call for applicants for the JACL Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellowship, named in honor of the longtime JACL leader. Fellows are placed in the D.C.  offices of members of Congress for six to eight months, in support of developing leaders for public service.

And with heartfelt thanks, the DC chapter salutes veteran JACL leader and outgoing national Executive Director Floyd Mori (pictured top of page, center). For information on a June 6 celebration, call 202-223-1240 or email

‘The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom’

This Oscar-nominated documentary short film by director Lucy Walker opens with real life footage of the tsunami. Interviews with survivors in a northern Japanese village in the heart of the disaster are framed by the metaphor of cherry blossoms, a symbol deep in Japanese culture that suggests rebirth.

Register now (click here) to attend a free showing, April 24, 6:30 p.m., at the Japan Information and Culture Center, 1150 18th Street NW, Washington D.C.


Walker set out to make “a visual haiku about cherry blossoms” in Japan but changed her plans radically following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11, 2011. Taken with the cherry blossom’s beauty and ability to symbolize the ephemeral quality of life,Walker links the disaster with the power of Japan’s most beloved flower to heal and inspire. This showing of her work is presented by the JICC, the Embassy of Japan, and the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C.

Celebrating 550 Years of Ikebana

The Potomac Valley Chapter of the Ikenobo Ikebana Society will be exhibiting in Fairfax, VA on April 21 to celebrate the 550th year of the recorded history of Ikenobo Ikebana. (Ikenobo was the original type of Ikebana, or Japanese flower arranging, which originated in Kyoto, Japan.)

The exhibit will be at Merrifield Garden Center, 12101 Lee Highway, in Fairfax, 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, with demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. by Professor Kiyoko Uyeda and her senior students. For more information, contact Barbara Shea at (202) 461-7603.

Chosei Komatsu and the National Gallery Orchestra


On April 22, world renowned conductor Chosei Komatsu will appear with violinist Charles Wetherbee and the National Gallery Orchestra as part of the 2012 Cherry Blossom Music Festival. This concert is presented in honor of Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716 – 1800) and the centennial of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, D.C. The performance will be held at the National Gallery of Art, West Garden Court, 6:30 p.m. Admission free.

‘Building Bridges Barry’s Rhetoric Can’t Burn Down’

JACL-DC board member David Inoue, a former member of the Ward 7E Advisory Neighborhood Commission, just published this Washington Post editorial following on D.C. Council member Marion Barry’s comment that Asian business owners should close their “dirty shops.”

Arguing for a balanced, thoughtful approach to the easily incendiary topic, Inoue’s observations include this one, of an Asian-owned business in Southeast and the relationship that has grown with the community:

Responding to community concerns, Thai Orchid chose not to put up bulletproof glass to separate the owners from customers. When the restaurant was robbed at gunpoint not long after opening, many Ward 7 residents responded by coming out to the restaurant for a dinner of solidarity. That dinner has since turned into a monthly gathering.

Check out Inoue’s full article, “Building Bridges That Barry’s Rhetoric Can’t Burn Down.”