Chicago Shimpo
Kabeshita Library Opens in Futabakai School
with 1000 New Books

• To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Chicago Futabakai Japanese Day School, Al (Arata) Kabeshita, Chairman Emeritus of the Ark Technologies, Inc. and Altak, Inc., donated 1,000 books to the school library to encourage students to have more experiences through reading.
• The Futabakai School set up a special corner to house the donated books inside of the school library and named it as “Kabeshita Library”.

• The School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 25 at the library. Attendees were Al Kabeshita; his wife Michiko; Hideyuki Takatsuki, Chairman of the Futabakai; Tetsuro Mitani, Executive Director of JCCC; Tadashi Sakano, Principal of the Day School; Katsu Shimabukuro, Principal of the Saturday School; Hiroyuki Kosuge, Administrator; Michiko Shirakami, School Librarian; and about 40 students.

• Riho Tanabe, the third grader of the Futabakai Middle School and leader of the School Council Cultural Committee, thanked Kabeshita and said that books were essential for the students’ studies. “We always visit the library when we need to research new things or find new ways of thinking. The donated books will enrich our knowledge and help our growth. Books always open our mind, stimulate our curiosity, and expand our vision, so we are able to learn how to accept different opinions and thinking,” she said.

• Since Kabeshita was a pilot, the Library was decorated with airplane shaped balloons, and a banner read “Read Books. The Sky's The Limit”
• In addition to the 1,000 books, Kabeshita also donated 10 copies of his book. The book title would be translated into “American Dream of Flying President.”

• Librarian Michiko Shirakami had read the Kabeshita’s book and said, “I was moved by Mr. Kabeshita’s challenging spirits and analyzing attitudes when he faced difficulties. It looks like a novel where a challenge occurs one after another.” She also said that a reading habit starts at the school library. “So, the Kabeshita Library marked a new page in the history of the Futabakai School.”

• Kabeshita spoke to the student that every individual had two lives. One was that the students of the Futabakai School had been brought to the U.S. by their parents’ jobs and have been experiencing what their friends in Japan could not. Another life was that the students could open up their path by studying hard. Then Kabeshita talked about his life.

• He originally didn’t like getting on an airplane. When he decided to found his own company, an American business owner told him, “If you get a pilot license, your life would be different. Being a pilot is not so much a skill, but as taking risk management,” and gave him a thick book related to becoming a pilot.
• Kabeshita thought that he could better understand what his anxiety would be in his new business and find ways to manage it, so he read all the pages of the book.
• He said that his good fortune was encountering the book and changing his dislikes to affirmative things. “If you have something that you are not willing to do it, but you think that it would be a good thing, just challenge it. Such an attitude will bring you a fortune and open up your way. The sky is the limit,” he encouraged the students.

• After the ceremony, all the Day School students gathered in a school gym and took a commemorative photo with Kabeshita. When the student left the gym, each student gave him a high five.

• Kabeshita later wrote a thank you note to the students telling them why he has done something good for society.
• When the WWII ended in 1945, he was fifth grader, and there was no food. In such a circumstance, the U.S. delivered canned food once a week. It was a can of soup with corn, soy beans, flour, and pork fat. His mother added some pieces of sweet potato and weeds, and a cup of the soup was a dinner. His breakfast was two thin biscuits, which were also given by the U.S. At lunch time, only water was available. “I could barely keep my life because of charity by the U.S. So I never forget about it and kept in mind to pay back to the U.S. I wish you to keep spirits of gratitude and spend a meaningful daily life. And don’t forget reading,” he wrote.

Profile of Al Kabeshita

• Al Kabeshita was born in 1934 in Manchuria. After graduating from Meiji University, he entered Sekiya Sangyo, a trading company. In 1967, he was transferred to Chicago as General Manager of the company’s Chicago branch.
• 12 years later, his company asked him to return to Japan, but it was not easy for his family because his children had grown up in Chicago. He left the company and decided to found his own company.
• In 1980, Kabeshita founded two companies, Ark Technologies and Altak. Now the two companies have two factories in Illinois and one in Mexico and employ about 640 local people.
• In 2010, Kabeshita was awarded “The Order of Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays” from the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government. He was previously awarded as the best minority business owner in manufacturing by the Governor of Illinois in 2000, and Altak was awarded as the best minority owned manufacturer by the Cook County Government. In addition, he has received numerous awards for his hard work and contribution to society.
• Currently, Al Kabeshita is Chairman Emeritus of the two companies and Advisor of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago (JCCC).

Ribbon cutting ceremony at Kabeshita Library

Al Kabeshita encourages the students to have more experiences through reading.

The students of Futaba School greet Kabeshita with a high five.