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Japan America Society of Chicago Strives for Closer Ties between Japan and the U.S.

• With the guests Governor Bruce Rauner and former Ambassador John Thomas Schieffer, the Japan America Society of Chicago celebrated its 86th anniversary on June 9 at the Union League Club of Chicago.
• Akira “Kevin” Koyasu, Executive Vice President, said that the purpose of the Society was to promote the friendship and understanding between Japan and the U.S. “We do this through various business, educational, cultural, social programs and many classes and events,” Koyasu said.

• Consul General Toshiyuki Iwado, also Honorary Chairman of the Society, welcomed Governor Rauner and former Ambassador Schieffer and said that he has been impressed by the Society’s achievements since he arrived in Chicago last year. “Your broad range of programs, live performances, and Japanese language classes offer one-stop access to everything about Japan. With a great team of expertise, commitment, and support, you do this for one reason - our Japan-Chicago friendship,” Iwado said.

• Adlai E. Stevenson, the Society’s Chairman Emeritus, made a toast for the prosperity of the Society, and the dinner started.

• David D. Johnson, President of the Society, announced the awardees after the dinner.

• Charles O. Harris received the Cultural Achievement Award. Harris assumed leadership of the Chicago Chapter of the Ikenobo and continued to expand its activities after Professor Ikka Nakashima’s retirement.

• Keith Spencer received the Mary Koga/Dick Soter Scholarship Award. He taught English in Fukushima through JET Program from 2007 to 2009 and was named a goodwill ambassador to Fukushima later. He returned to Japan in Kyoto in 2011 and obtained level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test after studying Japanese. In 2014, he enrolled at the Graduate School of the Art Institute of Chicago and graduated in May this year.

• The Nambu Awards, which encouraged the study of science, were given to the New Trier High School and the Rockford Christian High School.

• Kimiko Nakamura received the Adlai E. Stevenson Lifetime Service and Achievement Award for her 18 years of devotion to the Society as a Japanese language instructor. Nakamura also was honored to receive “Certificate of Commendation” by the Consul General Toshiyuki Iwado for her distinguished service in contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the U.S.

Governor Bruce Rauner speaks at the 86th annual dinner of the Japan America Society of Chicago on June 9, 2016