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Volume 1, Number 2
Fall 1994

In This Issue:Index of other issues

(Japanese names are presented western style, family name last, except for historical figures and bibliographic entries.)


President's Column

Rod Armstrong

If you are reading this at the Virginia Summit, welcome! If you are missing the 4th Summit, do not fret, we will be reporting on its events in our next newsletter.

Putting an American/Japanese program together always raises first questions. For example, we were asked to respond to Japanese interest with an October 8 afternoon session on "Crime and Violence." But how can we Americans ever inform Japanese of the enormous complexities that lie behind the headlines about American violence they see every day in their newspapers? And do it in an interesting and memorable way?

How can Americans portray the real sympathy we have for the half dozen or so Japanese who have died in violent ways in the United States in recent years while at the same time giving our Japanese guests some idea of the real range and depth of our problem? American crime is overwhelmingly black-against-black and the bitter fruit of our failure to achieve a functioning multiracial and multiethnic society. Even the violence in the heart of the white Louisiana butcher who killed Hattori Kun was undoubtedly inspired by racial tensions.

It is our national shame that so many of our ideals have remained empty of fulfillment for so long after they were written down -- mostly by Virginians. Nevertheless, no American who cares about this country has any choice but to continue working, amidst the horror of violence by guns, at what often seems the almost impossible task of bringing our society into accordance with our ideals.

It has always been very difficult to interest Japanese in the social problems of this huge and chaotic country, although Japanese have always been fascinated with the creative sparks thrown off by the American ferment. With the let down to the Japanese psyche following the end of the "Bubble," there seems to be interest in inspiring more American-style "creativity." But will the Japanese be willing to study the ways problems and conflicts throw off the bright sparks?

As this is written, it seems that American creativity will be most on display at the 4th Summit in the "Modem Networking" session. We will try to introduce the messy but fertile view of Japan as seen on the "Information Superhighway." There are many creatively honest American comments about Japan on the "highway." Some could help unleash Japanese creativity in new ways.

We in the American Manjiro Society are deeply appreciative of the extensive support we have received from our counterpart Manjiro/Whitfield Center in Japan and from such benefactors among Japanese subsidiaries in the US as Canon Virginia, Inc. and Sumitomo Machinery, Inc. But we also feel a high responsibility for obtaining the support from Americans that will make this effort genuinely mutual. We Americans have had to approach American companies on our own, because Japanese corporate leaders in the US who have contributed to American charitable campaigns are still shy about asking in return for contributions to American understanding of Japan.

I am delighted with the way members of the American Society's board have fulfilled their responsibilities. We are particularly grateful to Mr George Knox and the Philip Morris Companies Inc for their path breaking grant of $10,000 for the underwriting of our Society's participation in the Summit.


A Message from the Chairman in Japan

The Honorable Ichiro Ozawa, Member of the House of Representatives, Chairman, The John Mung/Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange

Greetings from your counterpart organization in Japan, the John Mung/Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange. How inspiring to recall John Manjiro's encounter with the United States more than a hundred and fifty years ago! It was the first people-to-people exchange between Japan and the United States, and took place twelve years before Commodore Perry and his "Black Ships" forced open Japan's doors.

Japan in Manjiro's day was an isolated, feudal society, divided into rigidly separate classes. If you did not belong to the samurai, the warrior class, you almost no chance of education or of advancement. Had Manjiro not been shipwrecked and saved by an American whaling ship, he would have lived and died as a simple fisherman who had to get down on his hands and knees every time a lordly official passed by.

By taking Manjiro into their home, Captain Whitfield and his family opened this mid teen-ager's eyes to a society in which everyone had the right to be educated and everyone could aspire to be President. Manjiro took that vision home with him to Japan and did his utmost to help transform his country into a modern state, open to fresh breezes from across the seas.

Today, we in Japan need to complete Manjiro's vision -- not by adopting more American ways, but rather by dropping the mental isolationism that so many of us still subconsciously practice. Physically, Japan is indissolubly linked with the rest of the world. But in our own thinking, we still cling to the notion of a cosy consensual society, within which only Japanese are insiders and everyone else is an outsider.

My interest in the work of the Manjiro Societies on both sides of the Pacific derives from my conviction that we need the stimulus of grassroots exchanges to bring about a true change of consciousness in Japan. The October Summit in Williamsburg, Virginia is a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm Manjiro's ideals and their ongoing relevance to Japanese-American relations. Although it coincides with a critical moment in Japanese domestic politics, which requires my own continuous participation, I recognize the crucial importance of the Summit and shall make every effort to attend, as will my friend Sadao Hirano, member of the Upper House of the Japanese Diet. Mr. Hirano, as many of you know, comes from Kochi, the region where Manjiro was born, and had the original idea of forming a society to commemorate him.

As chairman of your counterpart organization, permit me to say how delighted I am that you are off to such a splendid start. We have been impressed by the degree of American support you have received. We wish to express our gratitude to the American donors who have so generously contributed to this mutual effort. See you in Virginia!


The Manjiro Story (Part II)

Manjiro's story starts 150 years ago. As a fisherman's son, his beginnings were humble, but his unique destiny brought him remarkable achievements. Assisted by great good luck in everything but politics, he was not only the first exchange student between the U.S. and Japan, but a genuine hero of the turbulent final days of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

In our last issue, we began to run a summary of John Manjiro's life story compiled from the various secondary sources (at the end of this article, we reproduce the bibliography from the last issue). Now we pick up the story at the year 1853.

1853 Orders for Manjiro came from the Shogunate central government. As the solitary Japanese with practical knowledge of international relations, his opinion was sought for the upcoming meeting with Commodore Perry. Manjiro, now permitted to have a surname, took "Nakahama," after his beloved native village. His status did not permit him to be present at the negotiations with Commodore Perry, but the outcome made Manjiro happy. At last humane treatment for shipwrecked sailors became possible; foreign ships would be supplied with food, water and fuel; and, finally, foreign ships could use two ports, Shimoda and Hakodate.

Manjiro's knowledge of the world outside Japan was now sought on all sides. His basic role was that of a naval expert. He was in charge of training in marine architecture at the Naval Training School, and translated 22 volumes of the New American Practical Navigator by Nathaniel Bowditch. But he also went on whaling expeditions to the Bonin Islands, taught the cultivation of potatoes in northern Japan, and even demonstrated bread making. When he came back from his next trip to the United States, he became one of Japan's first photographers, and introduced the sewing machine.

1860 A Japanese delegation was sent to Washington to exchange ratifications of the new treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation. On this occasion, the vessel Powhatan was provided by the US Navy. Nevertheless, the Shogunate wished to demonstrate Japanese navigation skills and purchased a Dutch vessel, renamed the Kanrinmaru, to sail along with the Powhatan. Captain Katsu of the Kanrinmaru, inexperienced in the rough seas that occurred almost as soon as their departure, was haunted by seasickness. Manjiro took command, although originally hired only as an all-purpose interpreter. The delegation continued their trip to Washington from San Francisco (via Panama) on U.S. naval vessels.

For reasons never made clear, Manjiro was deprived of his position at the Naval Training School, despite his success with the Kanrinmaru. Political infighting did not seem to have a permanent effect, and he later became an instructor at the predecessor institution to Tokyo University.

1870 Manjiro was a member of the official delegation to observe the Franco-Prussian War. Traveling to Europe via the U.S., Manjiro detoured to Fairhaven to meet Captain Whitfield and his family. They welcomed him with affection and friendship, and talked through an entire night. This became their last meeting, for while Manjiro lived on until 1898, his last years were beset by strokes and other illnesses, and he was never again able to travel abroad. The Whitfields and the Nakahamas continued their friendship even through the war years, their trust never broken, and are still enjoying this historic legacy, now five generations old.

Bibliography

The above is based on: Emily Warinner, Voyager to Destiny (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956) and the Japanese version, Emily Warinner [translated by Tanaka Itaru] Shin John Manjiro Den (Tokyo: Shuppan Kyodosha, 1968). Also useful were: Hirao Michio, Sakamoto Ryoma, Kaientai Shimatsuki (Tokyo: Chuo Koronsha, 1976) and Sir Ernest Satow, A Diplomat in Japan (various publishers). There is a new English-language biography of Manjiro which was not available to us at the time of writing, by the late Donald R. Barnard, The Life and Times of John Manjiro (New York: McGraw Hill, 1992).


The 4th Japan-America Grassroots Summit Program

Opening Session

The 4th Summit will open at 9:00 AM on October 8, 1994 at the University Center Auditorium of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia with a short program of performing arts. First will come the Seiryu Taiko Drummers of Kagoshima, Japan, representing the hosts of the next Grassroots Summit. Then the Fife and Drum Corps of Colonial Williamsburg will perform, representing the 4th Summit hosts. Finally, representing Manjiro's home prefecture of Kochi, will be a performance of Japan's oldest musical instrument, the "one-stringed" Ichigen Kin koto.

The first half of the Opening Session will include welcomes from Mayor Trist McConnell of Williamsburg and President Timothy Sullivan of the College of William & Mary, and a response by The Honorable Nobuo Matsunaga, president of the John Mung/Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange in Tokyo. A keynote address will be given by the Honorable Clayton Yeutter, former U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Agriculture and now Of Counsel to the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson. The Honorable Ichiro Ozawa, Member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of the Tokyo Center will respond. Remarks by the Honorable Takekazu Kuriyama, Ambassador of Japan to the U.S., will conclude this half of the morning session.

After a short break, the participants will return at 11:00 AM for a session entitled "Living with a Constitution" chaired by Jeffrey Lepon, Esquire of the Washington firm, Lepon McCarthy White & Holzworth. The distinguished American legal scholar, Dr. Thomas G. Krattenmaker, Dean of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William & Mary, will open the discussion with a talk on judicial review in the American constitutional system. This will be followed by an open discussion, with microphones provided to the audience. Lastly, Vice Governor Suga of Kagoshima Prefecture will issue the official invitation to the participants to come to the 1995 Summit in Kagoshima. As the audience leaves they will be introduced to the children who have made the winning entries in the "Image of Japan" poster contest sponsored by the Japan National Tourist Organization.

Seminar/Panel Sessions

(1) Violence & Crime

While the Japanese are known throughout the world for their low crime rates, our friends from Tokyo report that urbanization and the loss of neighborhood cohesiveness are leading to a rise in crime. The recent killings of Japanese students in the U.S. have led them to a reevaluation of the vaunted "freedom" of American society. The Japanese would like to discuss these trends. They believe that it would be useful to compare the Americans' fondness for western movies with their own for samurai swordplay dramas and yakuza films. The Americans will explain the proposals of the newly-elected Allen Administration in Virginia to limit parole and build more prisons, and will provide some American critical perspectives.

(2) The Working Mother and Her Role in Society

Our Japanese friends note that we meet during the international "Year of the Family," and that women's progress over the past few years has been remarkable. In Japan, women are now being employed in responsible jobs even in the larger companies, and one out of two Japanese women is in the work force. Nevertheless, there remain serious problems such as the lack of day care and the lack of infrastructure to support the increasing economic role of women. The "Post Bubble" recession has had a major adverse impact on employment of women graduates. As Japanese lifestyles change, family roles are changing, but Japan is still a "paternalistic" society in many ways. For example, most men still believe their children's education to be the responsibility of the wife. Moreover, wives are still often responsible for the care of their aged in-laws. On the other hand, the Japanese side understands that there is still discrimination against women in the U.S., and a number of problems remain.

(3) Education in the U.S. and Japan

Our Japanese friends applaud the achievements of American education, which they see as universal education that has gone further than their own to empower individual talents in a multicultural society. While we can think of education as the way a society's ideals are passed on to the next generation, it also provides the concrete means whereby current societal needs are met. But adverse trends can also be seen in the U.S.: increasing dropout rates, declining achievement scores, etc. Japan, on the other hand, has always emphasized rote learning and a rigidly structured educational system. Changing lifestyles in Japan and rapidly diversifying needs have led to a consensus that the existing system needs change.

(4) Preservation of Old Cities and Traditional Architecture

The relationship between a society's architecture and its culture and history are of great interest. In this seminar, we are bringing together Japanese with skills and knowledge in the preservation of their national culture with the Williamsburg preservation community. Specifically, traditional plasterers and carpenters (literally, "shrine carpenters") will demonstrate their specialties and talk about the history and traditions of their crafts.

(5) Retirement Lifestyles in the U.S. and Japan

As we go into the 21st century, the Japanese population is aging at a greater rate than any other. The Japanese are preparing the "hardware" and "software" for this eventuality, and the upheaval will have real impacts on individual lifestyles. The impression in Japan is that the percentage of "netakiri" (literally "sleeping" or passively dormant) seniors is much higher than in the US. Our Japanese friends tell us that they hear great things about the positive and constructive lifestyles of American seniors. Of course, their understanding is that Americans have always been individualistic and independent, and ready to take responsibility for building their own positive retirement lifestyle. Obviously, the Japanese are coming to appreciate the need for enrichment courses and volunteer work in making their seniors' lives more fruitful.

(6) Baseball in Japan and the U.S.

Baseball in Japan is changing. Brought from America in the mid-19th century Meiji era, amateur and professional baseball in Japan has developed a cramped national style. Following the Japanese pattern of other sports, there has been an effort to give baseball a "spiritual" element a la kendo, Aikido, karate, judo, etc. The result has been Japanese "establishment" baseball. Now, with the coming introduction of the "free agent" system, larger ballparks and other developments, we are beginning to see change. We hope the Atlanta Olympics will see a worldwide expansion of interest in baseball, and that, riding this wave, Japanese baseball will break out of its "box," and become a source of true enjoyment for fans and players alike.

(7) Japanese Language Education Workshop

This session will be a workshop for teachers of Japanese at the high school level in public and private institutions. Professor Takimizawa of Showa Women's University, a former senior instructor in Japanese at the U.S. State Department Foreign Service Institute, will be the moderator of this session. He will demonstrate effective methods and evaluate recent developments in the field.

(8) Doing Business in Japan

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is sponsoring a session on "How to Do Business in Japan." The session will have the support of William & Mary's Business School and the Economic Development Department of the Virginia State Government. Topics to be covered include exporting to Japan, JETRO services available to American business, a case study of success in Japan, and "working for a Japanese corporation." All topics will be addressed by speakers with hands-on, practical business experience. Mr Jack Boyd, Assistant to the President of Canon Virginia, Inc., will be the moderator.

(9) International Meetings and Grassroots Exchange

This session is being sponsored by the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), which is also sponsoring the poster and computer graphics contests. The Japanese side will report on the enthusiastic efforts by local people throughout Japan to bring international congresses and meetings to their cities. The speakers will provide examples of the role of international congresses in people-to-people exchanges, and outline some of the activities Japanese cities are using to promote international exchanges and broaden their citizens' horizons.

(10) The Role of Nonprofits in the 21st Century

The structuring of non profit organizations ("NPOs") is a major topic in present day Japan. With the aging of the population and the increasing requirements for services to the general population, many Japanese feel it is urgent to outline areas where volunteers can help and develop a base of volunteers who can perform their services in genuinely helpful ways. It is an unfamiliar concept in Japan that NPOs can serve the public interest as usefully and efficiently as governmental agencies, while remaining independent of the government and responsible for their own management and accounting. The Japanese side has found the American "Filer Report" on NPOs of interest, particularly its suggestions that NPOs can (1) develop and implement new ideas and processes; (2) help the government in the development of effective policies; (3) assist minorities; and (4) aid in the solution of location problems. In addition, the American report talked about volunteerism as a part of foreign aid; in Japan, one aspect of this is international exchanges. Reflecting on their progress thus far, the Japanese side sees the need to (1) set appropriate limits to NPO missions; (2) democratize organizational patterns; (3) organize fund-raising efforts better; and (4) professionalize staff.

(11) Postal Workers' Exchange

About sixty Japanese postal workers will be coming from Japan, and some fifty to one hundred American counterparts are expected. They will exchange ideas and views on topics related to their work -- including wages, hours, working conditions, etc. This is the second Postal Workers' Exchange, following Nagoya, where the two sides, sharing a commonalty of profession, felt that great progress had been made in learning about each other's culture.

(12) Sister City Relations

This session, sponsored by the Japan Local Government Center in New York City, will have the theme "A Fresh Approach for Sister City Exchanges." It is widely recognized that international exchange at the local level can significantly contribute to the stability, development and awareness of diverse societies by deepening human understanding of the world. With the end of the Cold War, a new global community is forming with the help of emerging local exchanges, such as the trilateral exchange program. The objective is to discover fresh approaches for international exchanges by discussing freely initiatives and ideas.

(13) Modem Networking -- Grassroots Exchange

This session will have computer "nerds" (the Japanese equivalent is otaku, and some of ours will be pretty distinguished) available to describe the state of e-mail communications and conferencing between Americans and Japanese on the "Information Superhighway." The session will be held with the cooperation of NTT America and the CompuServe and NIFTY-SERVE networks, and Gateway Japan, the leading American "bulletin board" for serious information on Japan. They will provide assistance to participants in any other session who wish to communicate with their friends and contacts in Japan (always assuming that someone can be found awake during the wee hours of October 9th Japan time). During the 5 to 7 PM Reception, communications will be provided for on-line conferencing between the US and Japan for conference participants at what will be a more reasonable hour in Japan. The Society's participation in this session is funded by a grant from Bell Atlantic-Virginia, Inc.


Manjiro Watch

From time to time, we will note the manner in which Manjiro and historical impact are treated in current American culture. The editorial below, "The first Japanese Tourist," from the San Francisco Examiner of June 22, 1994 was written by Mr. Lynn Ludlow as a welcoming gesture on the occasion of the visit of Their Imperial Majesties to that beautiful city. Recalling Manjiro's two visits to San Francisco, Mr. Ludlow contrasts the bluff and bluster of Commodore Perry's visit to Tokyo Bay and Manjiro's peaceful approach to the Americans based on an assumption of "mutual respect." Mr. Ludlow's editorial was a part of the general atmosphere of welcome and respect during Their Majesties visit to the U.S., and a most graceful and thoughtful one, doing credit to the sophistication of his city.

THE FIRST JAPANESE TOURIST

Everyone knows that Matthew Calbrith Perry pushed open the door to Japan, but no monument honors Nakahama Manjiro. And it's a fair bet that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who were to arrive Wednesday as the latest Japanese tourists in San Francisco, don't know of the pioneer sightseer who arrived here four years before the commodore's squadron sailed into Tokyo Bay in 1853 with guns at the ready.

The shoguns, annoyed with missionaries, had slammed the door shut in the 17th century. For people who left Japan, the penalty was death. (Note to the emperor: This law has been repealed.)

Manjiro became an unexpected emissary when, as a shipwrecked sailor on a desert island, he was rescued by a Yankee whaler in 1841. He was probably the first Japanese since the 17th century to speak, read and write in English. The Gold Rush brought him here in 1848.

He arrived in Hawaii in 1850 and worked his way back to Japan in a whaleboat. His abilities as translator and navigator brought him back as skipper of the first Japanese warship to visit Frisco.

Unlike Perry, Manjiro didn't threaten to open fire. Instead, his open-door policy was founded on mutual respect. It's too bad that historians remember the gunboat diplomacy of Perry and ignore the resourceful shipwreck survivor who preceded the emperor to San Francisco by 146 years.

Reprinted with permission from the San Francisco Examiner (c) 1994 San Francisco Examiner

The other reference to Manjiro in the American media came in the article, "When East met West: Perry's mission accomplished," in the July, 1994 issue of the Smithsonian magazine, published by the U.S. national museum complex, The Smithsonian Institution, in commemoration of The Smithsonian's lending to the American Festival Japan '94. The article is by the noted American "revisionist" James Fallows, who has written widely of his view that the Japanese economic system is merchantilistic and unfair to its trading partners. Mr. Fallow's article on Commodore Perry is much lighter stuff than his usual pieces on Japan. It is an historical pastiche, and would be of little interest if it had not mentioned Manjiro. The brief paragraph on Manjiro would also be unexceptionable, except that Fallows draws on a book by Walter McDougall, entitled Let the Sea Make a Noise... (Basic Books: New York, 1993) to say that Manjiro reported in his interrogations in Nagasaki that the Americans were "lewd." Our review of the literature has never indicated that Manjiro said anything like this. To quote from the standard translation of the interrogations in Warriner (see above "Manjiro Story" article for a full citation), "Man and wife are very loving and families are peaceful and affectionate. The happiness of their homes is not matched in other countries." We checked the McDougall book and found (page 273) an alleged quote from the Manjiro interrogations stating that Americans are "lewd by nature," but there is also the quote above about Americans' good family life. McDougall, who misspells Manjiro's later family name "Nakahama" as "Nakajima," cites as his source Foster Rhea Dulles, Yankees and Samurai: America's Role in the Emergence of Modern Japan, 1791-1900 (New York, Harper & Row, 1965), pp. 48-49. We will obtain this book and continue the research into whether Manjiro did actually think Americans "lewd by nature."


Programs Past and Future

"Sky Day," Sora no Hi

The Japanese Government's Ministry of Transportation has long sponsored a day for programs designed to highlight the role of aircraft in national life on September 20th -- the date of the first flight by Japanese in 1910. This year, the Japan Airlines Foundation sponsored "World Study Tours" abroad for children interested in air travel, with the children asked to submit essays for judging upon their return. The winning essay was announced at a large reception in Tokyo on September 20, with the winner required to read the effort aloud in the presence of 800 people, including the Minister of Transportation.

The Society arranged the program for the "Sora no Hi" group of Japanese children in the U.S (other groups went to Southeast Asia and Europe). There were six boys and girls from grades 8 and 9, all around 14 years old, all from the Nagoya area, where there is great interest in the coming construction of a major new airport. Whether the age grouping was chosen because it was the same as Manjiro's when he first came to America, we do not know. We joined them with 11 American children drawn from "immersion" classes in Japanese or nominated by the American Federal Aviation Agency. The real work was done by Ms. Cally Williams of the Society staff, who took the youngsters on a whirlwind tour of airports, traffic control centers and government agencies in Atlanta and the Washington, D.C. area between August 30 and September 4. The trip was exhausting, but Cally reports everyone behaved and appeared to have a good time. From the fun they had on the buses and in the evenings, none of us on the American side thought that the Japanese students had gotten all that much out of the program, but we were surprised by the high quality of the essays (one of which ended with English written in katakana, "I'll be back!").

"Visiting Some World Class Airports"

The winning essay was by Miss Yoko Oike of the 9th grade of Miyoshi Choritsu North Middle School in Aichi Prefecture

It is only one word--airport--but it is a very complicated thing. For someone starting with as little knowledge as me, I was continuously gasping with surprise and developing new interests as we went along. Starting at Narita, there were all kinds of facilities for the passenger, a "refresh room," playroom, and a video room--everything a waiting passenger could want. Narita is not just a place where airplanes take off and land, a lot of thought has been given to the needs of tired passengers, and the tour was of great interest. I thought that it would be wonderful if all airports had these kinds of facilities.

The first thing that strikes anyone comparing Narita with Dulles International and Hartsfield International is the difference in size. I suppose because of the difference in the two countries' land areas, the Japanese airport is much smaller. The best example is simply the runways. Narita has one only; Hartsfield has four. I was able to ride alongside of one Hartsfield runway. It was wide and long--really wide and long. Narita has two concourses. Hartsfield will soon have five. I would think that these factors have something to do with how efficiently and how safely an airplane can take off and land. I was impressed that Japan, which has a very large number of jumbo jets operating, has tried to overcome its spatial limitation in many ingenious ways.

What both countries share is the readiness of a range of on-call emergency services. Knowing about these services gives me a real sense of security. Firemen stand ready twenty four hours a day and the newest types of fire trucks are available. The most surprising thing to me was that the firemen have to keep up with physical fitness test. There are exercise rooms with equipment, and the firemen keep up their fitness, ready for any emergency. The ambulances carry complete medical equipment. I was astonished at the rate the new fire truck pump water.

When the new Chubu International airport is built, I hope it has a "Refresh Room" like the one at Narita. I am hoping for an airport that puts safety first, that is easy for passengers to use, and that has the quality of spaciousness. In fact, with Japan a part of the international community, I would hope that all of Japan's domestic airports could become this kind of facility.

We also toured the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and other sights. For me, seeing America for the first time, everything was impressive. I lost my breath at the size of everything. I can still remember the green of the cities, the massive buildings, the magnificent scenery--things I had only seen in books--I can remember that they expanded my spirit and made me feel like I was in a dream.

The most memorable thing about the study your was the interchange with the 22 members of our party. There were unavoidable failures to communicate because of the language barrier. The Americans looked me right in the eye, and no matter what the problem, made every possible effort to understand me. Those Americans who could speak a little Japanese made every effort, no matter how troublesome, to speak with me. Touched by the efforts of such girls, I concentrated wholeheartedly on speaking and listening; it was only at these times that I forgot to be shy. I learned the phrase, "Would you pose with me?" Wherever I used it, everyone grinned and said, "OK." It was delightful! Because of all this, parting was very difficult, but I now have pen pals and can look forward to a long association.

I became great friends with the five members from Aichi Prefecture. Our house are scattered, but we agreed to exchange telephone calls and letters, and see each other from time to time.

This study tour taught me more than I can say. I want to use what I have learned in my daily life and cherish the friendship of my comrades. I want to thank everyone who helped me to go on this study tour--the biggest "arigato" in the world. Thanks for this week that made me so happy and made me a person one size larger.

Translated and published with permission.

A Spring "Mini" Summit?

The idea has been put forward of a Spring "Mini" Summit during the Japanese extended holidays in the first week of May. The plan would be to bring about fifty Japanese guests for an abbreviated version of the program we give to participants in American Grassroots Summits. Our members in northern Indiana, led by director Don Crawford of Mishawaka, have been most welcoming, but there is some question about the warmth of the weather in the Hoosier state that early in the year. Another candidate would be Atlanta, which would match up nicely with Kagoshima for the full Summit in the fall, since Atlanta is Kagoshima's sister city. We hope to carry planning forward as soon as the October Virginia Summit has ended, and we will inform the membership in the next newsletter.

The 5th Japan-U.S. Grassroots Summit
Fall 1995, Kagoshima, Japan

The Vice Governor of Kagoshima, the Honorable Tatsuro Suga, and twenty members of the Kagoshima Seiryu Taiko drummers led by Mr. Mamoru Matsumoto are coming to the 4th Grassroots Summit. These are the folks with the big drums, and they will be beating their hearts out for their audiences at the Summit Opening in Williamsburg on October 8 and in the historic center of the restored colonial Williamsburg on October 9. They move to Richmond on October 10 and play at the State Capitol. Please join us in Williamsburg and see some of what Kagoshima can offer you next year at the 5th Grassroots Summit. Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southern end of Kyushu Island, one of the four main islands of Japan.

The Seiryu Taiko group is an outgrowth of the Youth Group in Kanoya City in Kagoshima Prefecture. There was concern about the loss of traditional arts, and someone proposed the revival of Taiko drumming. At first, only five young men turned out to take lessons. In the early days, they used rubber inner tubes to give the right resistance for practice -- they knew the sound would come along when they were able to get proper drums. Their dedication convinced the city fathers, and Kanoya City bought real drums. The group practices in the evenings after work and plays wherever asked (they are popular at wedding receptions). They are bringing twenty five drums to Virginia, the largest five feet in diameter. They are not too concerned about their English, confident that they can communicate through their drumming.

The cost of participation in the 5th Grassroots Summit in Kagoshima has not yet been established, but the Manjiro organization in Japan is seeking to hold the cost to something like last year's $2,000, which included airfare and accommodations for a week long program. Participants will be free to extend their stay at their own expense. This Grassroots Summit is planned to be enjoyed by first timers and non first timers. Worried first timers will be well informed and taken care of -- with interpreters always around. Please include the 5th Grassroots Summit in your vacation plans for next year. For your background reading, an article about Kagoshima in the Spring edition of our exchanges newsletter is available. We will have more detailed information about the trip very soon.


Editor's Note

With cameras and camcorders in hand, the parents of Ms. Kanagae's class patiently wait for the play to start. This is the end of the school year, and the children are eager to show their parents a major achievement. After the normal last-minute chaos, the 2nd graders appear as the "Peach Boy," "grandparents," and the requisite number of "devils" for a performance of Momotaro. The entire play is in clear Japanese. Though the parents of the 25 students do not understand Japanese, they look on with perhaps even more than usual parental pride and satisfaction. Out of Ms Kanagae's 25 students, only three have ever been to Japan.

This is Fox Mill Elementary School, which has one of the three partial immersion programs in Japanese offered in Virginia. For the new fall 1994 semester, out of a total of 685 students, an astonishing 38% (258 students) are taking the Japanese "immersion" program. French, German and Spanish immersion programs are also offered in the Fox Mill school district of Fairfax County in Virginia. This program is not the usual language course, but rather use of a foreign language to teach certain portions of the standard curriculum (mathematics, science and health).

In Ms. Kochuba's science class at Fox Mill, the 3rd graders are learning how to hook up electrical batteries in Japanese. "Negative" and "positive" are inkyoku and yokyoku, with all the connections to "yin" and "yang" these Japanese words imply. On the walls, the Japanese syllabaries (alphabets) and student compositions are displayed. One of the boys in the class is the son of a neighbor. At first, he whispers tentatively in reply to my questions in Japanese, but when he realizes I do in fact understand, his voice becomes audible and he proudly shows me his composition in Japanese. One of the children tells me "Japanese are just like us." Then, after a pause, he adds, "maybe a little different."

When Commodore Perry left for Japan from Norfolk, his interpreters were Dutch and Chinese speaking contractors who knew no Japanese. In 140 years, communication has moved through all kinds of levels, but what is taking place in American elementary schools is by any standard a big step. There are immersion courses in elementary schools in Alaska, California, and Oregon as well as Virginia. Other states have more standard Japanese language training at the elementary and high school levels.

If you ask the parents why they chose to immerse their children in this difficult language, many say they were motivated by Japan's economic power, and the thought that Japanese would be useful for their children in the future. Of course, many of the children will pick up other interests and fall out of the program at some point. Even if they study Japanese all the way through college, there is no guarantee that they will ever be able to use the language professionally. After all, only a small percentage of the millions of Americans who study German or French -- even for many years -- ever use the language professionally.

All we can really say at this point is that by exposing children to multicultural understanding in such depth and at such an early age, with all the sensitivity and flexibility these children bring to the experience, we are entering a new stage in American/Japanese communications. Will it bring new levels of understanding?


CONTRIBUTORS & MEMBERSHIP
As of September 30, 1994

Corporate Contributors

All Nippon Airways
Washington, District of Columbia
Representative, Mr. Kazuo Takaya

Arthur Andersen & Co., S.C.
Washington, District of Columbia
Representative, Mr. Izumi Asano

Bell Atlantic - Virginia, Inc.
Richmond, Virginia
Representative, Mr. John Knapp

Canon Virginia, Inc.
Newport News, Virginia
Representative, Mr. Shin-ichiro Nagashima

Firehole Land Corporation
West Yellowstone, Montana
Representative, Mr. Lewis S. Robinson, III

Philip Morris Companies Inc.
New York, New York
Representative, Mr. George Knox

Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America
Chesapeake, Virginia
Representative, Mr. William M. Lechler

Vie de France Bakery Yamazaki, Inc.
McLean, Virginia
Representative, Mr. Yasunobu Ogasawara

Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
Washington, D.C.
Representative, Thomas M. Clark, Esquire

hibernation software, inc.
Herndon, Virginia
Representative, Mr. Rodney E. Armstrong

Supporters

Mr. & Mrs. David H. Badger, McLean, Virginia
Mr. Ryoichi Kamenosono, Washington, D.C.
Peter Malkin, Esquire, New York, New York
Mr. Steven A. Rum, Washington, D.C.
Norihiro Takeuchi, Esquire, Yokohama, Japan
Mr. & Mrs. Jay G. Tompkins, McLean, Virginia

Family

Mr. & Mrs. Izumi Asano, Derwood, Maryland
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth G. Bartels, New York, New York
Mr. Walter and Mrs. Taeko Floyd, McLean, Virginia
Mr. Robert & Dr. Susan Hammond, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Hardy & Mrs. Walle Hargreaves, Reston, Virginia
Ms. Gayle Monkkonen & Family, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Kazuo & Mrs. Masako Nomura, Potomac, Maryland
Major Monty and Mrs. Harumi Westmeyer, Alexandria, Virginia
Mr. Ernest & Mrs. Yoko Wiles, Potomac, Maryland
Mr. George & Mrs. Solveig Wright, McLean, Virginia

Individuals

Ms. Hatsue K. Armstrong, Reston, Virginia
Mr. Rodney E. Armstrong, Reston, Virginia
The Honorable Esther Coopersmith, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Sam Damon, Billings, Montana
Mr. Alex Chartove, Bethesda, Maryland
Mr. Shindo Choi, Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Stuart Frank, Sharon, Massachusetts
Mr. Robert Lewis, Aspen, Colorado
Mr. John Rodgers, Rockville, Maryland
Ms. Lynn Kennedy, Bumpass, Virginia
Mr. Junji Kitadai, Scarsdale, New York
Mr. Warren Little, Missoula, Montana
Mr. & Mrs. John McCaleb, Woodstock, Virginia
Mr. Stephen Maguire, New Orleans, Louisiana
Mrs. Masako Nakajima, Potomac, Maryland
Mr. Rodger L. Srigley, Petoskey, Michigan
Ms. Yuriko Rollins, Springfield, Virginia
Ms. Dorothy P. Tua, McLean, Virginia
Ms. Keiko Uchida, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Cally A. Williams, Herndon, Virginia
Mr. Takehiko Yoshikawa, Midlothian, Virginia
Mrs. Reiko Young, Vienna, Virginia
Dr. Christopher F. Zabawa, Annapolis, Maryland

Students:

Ms. Sue Duval (Seattle, Washington), Ms. Betsy Fowler-Shallow (Rowayton, Connecticut), Ms. Julie Grey (San Diego, California), Ms. Yukiko Jane Nakano (Williamsburg, Virginia), Ms. Amy McCaleb (Savannah, Georgia), Ms. Kayoko Omori (Indianapolis, Indiana), Ms. Cindy Reves (Honolulu, Hawaii), Mr. Kimitake Sato (Front Royal, Virginia), Ms. Jennifer M. Sweitzer (Hampstead, Maryland), and Ms. Maki Wakaba (Washington, D.C.)


Editor: Mrs. Hatsue K. Armstrong


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