JCCC, Biggest Chamber of Commerce in the U.S., Celebrates New Year
• The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago
(JCCC) celebrated 2016 New Year at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention
Center Hotel in Schaumburg on January 13, featuring popular singer-songwriter
Anri as the special guest. The number of attendees exceeded 1,000 this
year for the first time in eight years.
• In his opening remarks, JCCC Chairman Kazuaki Tsuda
of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas outlined the history of the JCCC,
which started in 1966 with 58 participating companies and now has more
than 500 members, one of the largest organizations in major U.S. cities.
He thanked JCCC members, senior colleagues, and local people for their
long-time commitments and warm supports to make JCCC’s significant advancement.
“JCCC marked its 50th anniversary in 2016 and has been making progress
toward another 50 years,” Tsuda said.
• Following Tsuda was the JCCC’s Honorary Chair Naoki Ito, Consul General of Japan in Chicago, who spoke about changes. This year, the Japanese Emperor is going to abdicate, and the Crown Prince will assume the throne on May 1st. Governor J.B. Pritzker was inaugurated, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Schaumburg’s long-time Mayor Al Larson are retiring. CG Ito said, “This year is full of changes, but let’s work together to make stronger partnership with local communities and enhance our presence. Let’s push forward to our goals as a boar rushes.” (The boar is the zodiac sign of this year.)
• According to the Consulate General’s survey, as of October 2018, there are 630 Japanese business offices in Illinois, employing more than 46,000 American workers. The number of Japanese residents in the Chicagoland area is 12,000, an increase of 5,000 during past 20 years. “With your power, let’s make a new era of Japan-Midwest friendship, Japan-US relationship together. Also, let’s make a successful Japan Festival in Chicago’s Millennium Park on June 16 together with all of you attending here,” CG Ito concluded his speech.
• Mark S. Peterson, President and CEO at Intersect Illinois, greeted the attendees saying, “I look for a continued partnership with all of you. So much has been brought to our communities, so much culture, so much innovation, and so much color. We look forward to building those ties even closer in 2019.”
• A New Year’s speech by a Japanese student, the annual
feature of the JCCC New Year’s Party, was presented by Riku Takizawa,
a senior at the Futabakai Japanese Saturday School.
• Al Larson, who has been Schaumburg Mayor for 32 years and has welcomed Japanese business investments, made a toast saying, “KAMPAI!”
• After a luncheon, Anri’s awaited concert started. She
made her debut in 1978 with “Olivia wo kikinagara, (Wile I’m listening
to Olivia…)”. She has long attracted her fans with her empathetic themes
and cross-genre music. She celebrated her 40th anniversary last year.
Currently she resides in Los Angeles and has had music activities globally.
• At the end of the concert, Anri said that she was asked by JCCC to come to Chicago last summer and looked forward to coming here. She has been quite busy and couldn’t have much time to travel in the U.S. “I think that Japanese and Japanese Americans are living in many states in America, so I want to visit them and bring Japanese pieces of music as much as I can,” she said.
• The next feature was the annual raffle, a popular event with its generous prizes donated by the participating corporations, including round trip tickets to Japan. During the raffle, a quiz session was held with a theme of 2020 Olympics, and the audience responded by yes or no with body languages. A quiz winner was rewarded with an air ticket.
• At the closing, the event’s Executive Committee Chairman
Ryo Kamisaku thanked the volunteers and the committee members and said
that JCCC is the biggest Japanese Chamber of Commerce in the U.S., followed
by Southern California and New York. “People say that Chicago is the third
biggest city in America, but regarding Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Chicago
is the number one!” said Kamisaku emphatically. He also said, “Probably
JCCC is only Japanese Chamber in the U.S. that is able to hold such a
big shinnenkai with more than 1,000 attendees. It’s a big asset for us.
With this asset, let’s cheer JCCC up all together.”
Popular singer-songwriter Anri performs at JCCC’s Shinnenkai as the special guest.
More than 1000 attendees enjoy the concert at JCCC's Shinnenkai
Consul General Naoki Ito
Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson
Riku Takizawa speaks his hopes for 2019.
Exciting annual raffle and games to get a round trip to Japan
A quiz session featuring 2020 Tokyo Olympics