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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Legacy of Senator Inouye in Bringing the U.S and Japan Together

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A group photo of students Attending U.S.-Japan Council in Ryan Lounge.

During March 3-14, 2015, 100 college students from four Japanese universities visited Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, CA, then divided into groups to visit their host cities (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Honolulu) on the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program as part of MOFA’s KAKEHASHI Project.
This reciprocal trip included sightseeing, giving presentations, and programming focused on the legacy of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.  In Washington, the participants attended an educational program about Sen. Inouye and gained insightful knowledge about his personal and professional achievements. Following the program, Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae invited the scholars and guests to his residence and expounded on the history and accomplishments of Sen. Inouye in bridging the United States and Japan. Keiko Nishikawa, one of the Japanese students, said it was her first time traveling to the States.
While here she was excited to meet with the Japanese ambassador at his residence and was happy to visit Boston and to meet University of Massachusetts Boston students during the U.S.-Japan Council gathering.  Keiko said her mission is to convey culture and history and to be a student ambassador of goodwill to the U.S.
The visit by Showa Women’s University students to UMass Boston was highlighted by Showa students’ presentations on aspects of contemporary life in Japan. One of the presentations was to educate tourists on updates to the Japanese train system that’s being improved in anticipation of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
They reported that signage is available in several languages to provide assistance to tourists who will be coming for the Olympics from all over the world.
Over 150 people attended the vibrant and informative event. As part of the exchange program, four Japanese universities and four American universities were chosen to participate, including UMass Boston. Last year 23 students from Boston visited the Showa Women’s University. Student Trustee Nolan O’Brien, Danielle Cochran, Susie McCormick, and Vonds Dubussion were some of UMass students who participated.
According to the U.S.-Japan Council website,  the U.S.-Japan Council organization aims at strengthening the relation between the two countries. “By promoting people-to-people relationships through its innovative programs in networking and leadership, the Council serves as a catalyst to inspire and engage Japanese and Americans of all generations,” as it is stated in their mission statement.
Cochran was part of the TISP Tokyo and Hiroshima Summer of 2014, July 28 to August 7th.  Cochran said, “Japan is a modern country yet very traditional, one could see shrines in the middle of skyscrapers. Both cities were really beautiful, with lots of history still preserved.”  Danielle is an Asian studies major. She further reported that Japan was a very accommodating atmosphere: “It just felt like home because they were so welcoming, Japan is really about the people, who make the experiences worth it all — we still keep in touch with them today.”  Danielle will graduate May 2015 with a bachelor’s in Asian Studies and a Japanese Minor from the CLA.
Nami Watanabe, student and tour guide for the American students summer 2014 program, was part of the delegation from Japan. Nami studied English in Boston for one year on the Showa Boston Campus and was not aware of Japan/U.S. relationships, but after meeting with Senator Inouye’s son, she said that she was enlightened about the connections between the U.S. and Japanese relationship and the program.  Nami concluded that, “we should be involved in helping to make changes and take personal responsibility — programs like these can have an impact on stereotypes and impression both at home and abroad.”