By Yuka Takeda
The North American Post
The John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) decided to hold its 2008 grassroots summit in Seattle. Members of the event preparatory committee and community representatives met last Wednesday and discussed the meaning of this summit and how they should deal with this project.
“Right after [World War II], I arrived at the United States,” said Minoru Makihara, director of CIE. “Obviously, memorial was still there, but some people were so kind and that made huge impression on me. That’s why I think this project, which get people together and establish relationships between people is unique and should be kept going.”
The Japan America Grassroots Summit is an annual week-long meeting of Japanese and Americans and has been held alternately in Japan and the United States. The purpose of this event is to establish relationships between Japanese and Americans beyond the cultural differences.
Since a few years ago, the National Association of Japan-America Societies became a partner of CIE to host the events in the states. The 2016 summit will be held in Atlanta and Nara will host the event in 2017 .
The Japanese government is also supportive.
“Seattle already has strong connection and basis with Japan,” said Takeshi Murasawa, Senior Consul of Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle. “We, Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle would like to support this summit.”
By the 2018 event, the executive committee will begin to establish work on concrete plans. To make the summit successful, the committee rallies support from the local community.
“Seattle is very attractive city and I’m glad that we can hold summit,” said Samuel Shepherd, former president of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) and preparatory committee member. “I hope that many people join. We need support from local community in order to hold the summit and make it successful. We are trying to call for support.”
More information can be found at <www.manjiro.or.jp/e/>.