Former First Graders Speak of
40 years of Footsteps
Futabakai Day School Celebrates 40th Anniversary
• The Chicago Futabakai Japanese Day
School celebrated its 40th anniversary and held a commemorative gathering
and a ceremonial party on August 29 at the school gymnastic hall. The
Sumire Kindergarten also celebrated its 10th anniversary.
• At the gathering, English teacher Diane
Stark was awarded by Consul General of Japan Naoki Ito for her 39 years
• After remarks from Principal Tadashi Sakano, Consul Hideki Makino, Futabakai treasurer Kunihiko Takahashi, and Futabakai Board of Kenya Yamada, Nagasaka introduced former first graders, Toshiro Arita and Yoko Furukawa. He began searching past students’ names through Facebook to make contact with them.
40 years of Footsteps
• Yoko Furukawa lived in Germany shortly
after she was born and then moved to Chicago in the spring of 1978. She
attended a local school and went to a summer camp. While she was enjoying
the camp, she faced a difficulty with a broken telephone game. When she
heard that Japanese Day School was going to open in the fall, she was
very pleased. Her father’s educational policy was that educating his children
in their native language was the first priority.
• Nagasaka found that Toshiro Arita was
Japan Airlines’ pilot and asked Yamada, JAL’s Vice President & Regional
Manager of Central region, U.S.A, to contact him. Arita managed his schedules
to attend the ceremonial party and came to Chicago for a one-night stay.
• Arita spoke about what he had learned in the Day School. “I believe that a global human resource is someone who is educated with his or her native language and extends studies on diversities overseas, then develops their abilities based on their knowledge and experiences. The students of the Day School are literally in such an environment. They are able to build their sense of nationality, self-confidence, and pride in the school; therefore, they can work internationally,” he continued.
• Kengo Nagasaka was in the Day School
from 1982 to 1984, from the 5th grade to the beginning of middle school.
He returned to Chicago as an exchange student when he was in high school.
He entered Panasonic and was transferred to Chicago for the third time
and spent 7 years here. He moved to another company then he was transferred
here again, so his stay in Chicago is the fourth time. He was appointed
as the Futabakai Board Chairman two years ago.
• Nagasaka also recalled his time in the Day School. The students had a sport shirt, which had a Futabakai logo. They were told not to wear it outside of the school. It was a time that Americans still have negative images toward Japan and threw stones at Futabakai school busses, but the students enjoyed their school lives.
• Nagasaka said, “We, the Futabakai
students, have a special tie. We have shared the same values. The students,
who were studying here 40 years ago, have spread in the world and worked
globally. I believe that we can speak Japanese of course and we can speak
English, too; therefore, we can work globally. I feel that the Day School
has put its mission on that. I wish the school continues and celebrates
the 50th and 100th anniversary no matter if the school faces financial
difficulties or anything else.”
Attendees make toast for Futabakai Day School's 40th anniversary.
Principal Tadashi Sakano (R) and Saturday School Principal Katsu Shimabukuro
English teacher Diane Stark
Toshiro Arita (L) and Yoko Furukawa, first graders in 1978, opening year of the school
The first anniversary of the school. Arita and Furukawa are in the photo.