Japan/America News

Keep up to date with news about the Japan/Kentucky connection by reading it here. Connect to our RSS feed to keep up with new content in any feed aggregating program such as Google Reader.

News may be submitted through the JASK office: programs@jask.org. Comment on articles to share your opinions.
  • 02 May 2011 9:42 AM | Anonymous member
    This Thursday will mark 25 years to the day since Toyota Motor Manufacturing USA (now Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky) broke ground on their facility in Georgetown, Kentucky.  Since that time, Toyota has been an important member of the Kentucky community.  JASK recognizes the many contributions that Toyota has made to Kentucky since coming here 25 years ago.  The phrase that is used repeatedly by community and government leaders when referring to Toyota is "good corporate citizen."  And Toyota has certainly been that.  In addition to employing 7,000 individuals from 77 different Kentucky counties, Toyota has made $40 million of charitable contributions in the Bluegrass--not to mention all of the jobs created and communities benefited by Toyota's 90 supplier locations in Kentucky.

    Click here to read more about Toyota's 25 years in Kentucky.

    Click here to read about the process of bringing Toyota to Kentucky.

    Click here to see a timeline of Toyota's 25 years in Kentucky.
  • 05 Apr 2011 9:10 AM | Anonymous member
    A group of five Japanese companies, led by Sumitomo Light Metal Industries, Ltd., have arranged to purchase a 60% stake in Kentucky's own Arco Aluminum, Inc.  Arco Aluminum is based in Louisville and is one of the world's largest manufacturers of aluminum sheet for beverage cans.  The Japanese group is buying Arco from BP Company North America.

    Read more, here.
  • 29 Mar 2011 1:59 PM | Anonymous member
    The John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange is organizing its 21st Japan-America Grassroots Summit.  The Summit will take place from June 27 to July 4 and will include a three-night homestay.  All interested people are welcome, regardless of age or language ability.

    The Japan America Grassroots Summit is an annual largescale meeting of Japanese and American citizens, held alternately in Japan and America. The Summit aims to strengthen the peaceful relationship between Japan and America by fostering grassroots friendship.  This year, the Summit will be held in Kochi, on the island of Shikoku, in southern Japan.

    Kentuckians can leave from Lexington for $2,280.  Or you could save $100 by registering early by Thursday, March 31st.  Apply now!

    When:  June 27 to July 4
    Where:  Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku Island, Japan
    Details:  here
    Application:  here
  • 11 Mar 2011 9:37 AM | Anonymous member
    Our thoughts go out to all those living in Japan or with loved ones in the area as a series of powerful earthquakes--including one 8.9 magnitude quake--and a tsunami have struck the northeastern portion of the country.  The 8.9 magnitude quake is the largest earthquake to strike Japan since recording began, 140 years ago.  The resulting tsunami is reported to have been 10 meters tall.

    If you know of somebody affected by the earthquakes or tsunami who needs help or if you know of a need that JASK could lend a hand with, please let us know via email at programs@jask.org.

    Read more about the earthquake and tsunami on Reuters.

    Find loved ones on Google's person finder.

    Donate to the International Red Cross or GlobalGiving.org.
  • 02 Mar 2011 10:04 AM | Anonymous member
    The American Committee for KEEP, Inc., celebrates the legacy of Paul Rusch, who was instrumental in rebuilding Japan after World War II.   The Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) will hold a reception in Lexington on March 11 to celebrate their regional exchange program with Madison County and the legacy or Mr. Rusch.  Learn about ongoing activities in Kiyosato, a thriving economic and community development project, and Paul Rusch, whose roots are in Kentucky.  The reception will be at 6 pm on Friday, March 11 at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral on Market Street.  Please contact Jennifer Corwyn at 1-800-368-5337 or ack@ackeep.org if you are interested in attending.

    Check out their flyer!


  • 02 Mar 2011 9:59 AM | Deleted user

    We sometimes get asked: “Why Lexington?”  “Why is JASK not in Frankfort, Kentucky’s capitol?” 

    The fact is that 70% of our members are near Lexington, which has been a wonderful home to JASK since we started 24 years ago.  However, we have kept our eyes open for an ideal ‘central’ location. 

    We found it.  

    On March 15, JASK will move to Frankfort, where we are grateful to be housed by David Adkisson and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  We will now be closer to more JASK members than ever before.  

    We foresee a lot of positive outcomes beyond just the proximity to our members.  As we grow throughout Kentucky, members can now visit JASK immediately off of I-64 (Exit 58).  The Kentucky Chamber office is literally at Frankfort’s front door.  We will also plan to host more events at the new office.  The Kentucky Chamber recently remodeled and we are humbled to be partial benefactors.  Read more about their elegant artwork and meeting space here.  Finally, we look forward to learning from the great work being done at the Kentucky Chamber as we continually improve JASK. 

    Moving, however, always comes with goodbyes as well.  Ms. Toshiko Tachihara, who has worked hard at JASK since October, has decided to not move with JASK.  The new commute is more difficult for Lexingtonians.  Toshi has been a very valuable member of our team and she will be missed.  Please join us in wishing her the best of luck in her future endeavors.  Thanks, Toshi!  

    We are also saddened to bid farewell to our friends at the Kentucky World Trade Center.  Every day for nearly four years, we have enjoyed their good company and cooperation on many projects.  Our relationship with KWTC has always been strong and mutually beneficial.  We want to thank the Kentucky World Trade Center for being our gracious host. 

    Luckily, we have many reasons to stay in touch with both Toshiko and the Kentucky World Trade Center after we move. 

    Our move to Frankfort represents a momentous new beginning.  We hope you will drop in after March 15 to say hello: we will be right at Frankfort’s front door!  

  • 22 Feb 2011 9:57 AM | Anonymous member
    The Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra begins its fiftieth season this fall and the first performance of the season will feature Midori, the world-famous violinist.  Born in Osaka, Japan, Midori made a name for herself at age 11 when she performed Paganini's notoriously challenging Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic.  Midori will be playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto in Lexington on September 30.
  • 21 Feb 2011 11:42 AM | Anonymous member
                The cultural exchange between Kentucky and Japan is based on many factors: economic cooperation, mutual academic pursuits, shared cultural interests, and others.  But now we have one more to add to the list: cheerleading!

                The co-ed cheerleading team at Graves County High School (GCHS) will be featured on Japanese television in mid-February.  The Mainchi Broadcasting System of Osaka, Japan sent one of its camera crews to Mayfield on January 31 to film a day in the life of the exceptional GCHS cheerleaders.  The camera crew interviewed cheerleading coach Jon Summerville and co-captain Jacqui Lopez, spent the day following some of the cheerleading team members, and filmed the squad’s after-school practice.  The segment will be aired on the channel’s Chichin Puipui show, which is similar to a show like The View or The Today Show in the United States.

                Everyone here in the Bluegrass State should be very proud of the GCHS co-ed cheerleading squad.  They have managed to win four of the past five national titles of the Universal Cheerleading Association and five of the last six championships of the Kentucky Association of Pep Organization Sponsors.  They are certainly a jewel of the Commonwealth and we are proud to see them featured on Japanese television.

  • 01 Feb 2011 4:59 PM | Deleted user
    Thanks to everyone for another great Shinnenkai. 

    We cannot believe that next year will already be our 25th Anniversary Shinnenkai!

    This year we gave the stage to Lexington's first-ever taiko drum group.  They trained together at a workshop, organized by JASK, with a professional from Columbus, OH.  Their performance really wowed everyone.  See the video below.

    Ms. Patty Breeze won two round-trip tickets to Japan, courtesy of Delta Airlines.  Guests bid on exquisite silent auction items donated by Fifth Third Bank, AGE International, Shelia Bayes Jewelers (arranged by Breeze Financial), and Mr. Hiro Okazaki. 

    The Hyatt Regency hosted us in their beautiful ballroom again this year.  Our traditional "Kagami Biraki" Sake Barrel Ceremony was sponsored, as always, by AGE International, distributor of Blanton's Bourbon.  Our sushi was by Sugano. 

    Special thanks to Consul General Mr. Hiroshi Sato, Toyota (TMMK)'s Mr. Wil James, AGE International's Mr. Kenichi Matsui, and Hitachi's Mr. Kenny Nashimoto for participating in the Kagami Biraki ceremony.  Special remarks from the Consul General and from Mr. Wil James encouraged us to make the best of 2011.  We thank Governor Martha Layne Collins, Honorary Chair of JASK and Honorary Consul General of Japan for Kentucky, for taking time to be with us. 

    In 2010, JASK organized nearly 40 events, the most ever, including our third annual Summer Festival and a celebration upon receiving the Gaimudaijin Hyosho award from Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  This new year builds on this broadened horizon for new friendships between Japanese and Americans in Kentucky.  We will see you there!




  • 01 Feb 2011 9:29 AM | Anonymous member

    Greetings to everyone at JASK!

    My name is Matt Forgue and I am a new Project Manager on the JASK staff. 

    I am originally from Lexington, where I attended college at Transylvania University.  After college, I spent some time overseas before going on to law school at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Until recently, I have practiced law in Cincinnati, Ohio.  My practice focused mainly on corporate and commercial law for international and closely held businesses.

    In my free time, I like to get outside.  I love to jog or hike in Kentucky’s many beautiful natural areas.  I also like to read, particularly novels and short stories from authors like Steinbeck, Chekhov, Vonnegut, Hemmingway, Ellis, and Faulkner.  I also really like to travel.  I have visited Mexico, Spain, Greece, and China, as well as much of the continental United States.  I have not yet been to Japan but I hope to have the opportunity to go there someday!

    I am very fond of Japanese food and I cannot wait to try some local restaurants that JASK members and staff have recommended.  Let me know if you have any suggestions, yourself.

    I am happy to be back in Lexington and I am excited to be involved with JASK.  I look forward to meeting and working with all of you in the coming months.

    -Matt Forgue

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