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Japan-US Military Program Comes to Nisei Vets Hall

Japan-US Military Program Comes to Nisei Vets Hall

By Dale Watanabe
North American Post Contributor

▲ Group photo from the 2018 gathering of the Japan-United States Military Program.

On Saturday, February 24, Rear Admiral Takaaki Hayamizu, the Defense and Naval Attache, Embassy of Japan in the United States, will pay his first visit to Seattle as a featured speaker for the ninth Japan-United States Military Program (JUMP) at Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) Memorial Hall in Seattle.

Rear Admiral Mark Sucato, Commander, U.S. Navy Region Northwest, will also keynote the event organized by Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW) in partnership with the NVC and supported by the National Association of Japan America Societies (NAJAS) and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.

▲ Shig Tanagi (1922-2020), left, and Fay Tanagi, right, chat with Command Sergant Major Stephen H. Helton at the 2018 gathering. Former Japan-America Society of the State of Washington Executive Director Dale Watanabe is in the background.

The luncheon is free to the public but registration is required at https://jassw.org. Check-in is at 10:30 a.m. with program activities starting at 11:00 a.m. The program will feature welcome remarks from Makoto Iyori, Consul General of Japan in Seattle; Shanti Shoji, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA; and U.S. Army Major General Matthew McFarlane, Deputy Commander of I Corps, on behalf of Lieutenant General Xavier Brunson.

Portions of the program honoring Nisei veterans will feature a special video from David Ono, ABC television commentator, and comments from John Suzuki, author of American Grit: From a Japanese American Concentration Camp Rises an American War Hero. John will also make himself available to sign books for attendees. Japanese dance performance by Mari Ikeda-Wilson and Seattle Kokon Taiko performances will be the featured entertainment.

A group photo from the first JUMP gathering in 2013.

◀︎ NVC Member Sam Mitsui talking with Japanese soldier at the inaugural JUMP gathering in 2013.

Beginning in 2013, NVC has provided a potluck lunch gathering for Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers and Japanese Ground Self Defense Force soldiers as a thank you to the outreach from former Major General Stephen Lanza to the former NVC Commander Allen Nakamoto to create a community event. The partnership between JASSW and NVC with support from Sasakawa Peace Foundation and USA/NAJAS expanded the event with Japanese and American food. It also recognized and celebrated the Japan-U.S. alliance as well as honoring World War II Nisei veterans—many of whom were directly involved with rebuilding the bridges between the U.S. and Japan.

Although few World War II Nisei soldiers are still with us, honoring them remains an important part of this event. During the COVID years, the annual JUMP event was streamed and remains available for viewing.

Dale Watanabe served as the executive director of the Japan-America Society for the State of Washingtonfrom May 2012 to November 2023