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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 1, 2011

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Chris Komai - ckomai@janm.org - 213-830-5648

TRUSTEES ORGANIZE GIFT FOR JAPAN RELIEF, TRIBUTE TO SPIRIT OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE AT ANNUAL GALA DINNER

Museum's Dinner, 'Continuing Family Stories: The Expanding Nikkei Community', Set for Saturday, April 16, at J.W. Marriott Hotel

Los Angeles

Members of the Board of Trustees of the Japanese American National Museum announced their support for the Japan relief effort, and that the Museum will include a short tribute to the spirit of the Japanese people as part of the institution’s 2011 Annual Gala Dinner set for Saturday, April 16, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel at L.A. LIVE.

The dinner, "Continuing Family Stories: The Expanding Nikkei Community", will highlight contributions and stories of people of Japanese ancestry in the post-World War II era, including those who arrived in America in the 1960s and 1970s and beyond. Sansei cartoonist Stan Sakai, the creator of the Usagi Yojimbo character, will receive the Museum’s Cultural Ambassador Award. Jane Aiko Yamano, a leader in the kimono fashion industry, will be presented the Museum’s Creative Visionary Award. Mr. Noritoshi Kanai, President of the Mutual Trading Company, will be recognized with the Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in bringing quality Japanese cuisine to the United States.

Aware of the important events happening in Japan since the devastating earthquakes and tsunami, members of the leadership of the Museum’s Board of Trustees wanted to make contributions to the Japan relief effort on behalf of the institution. Dinner patrons will have the opportunity to join in contributing to the Museum’s gift that evening.

The evening’s master of ceremonies, Frank Buckley, co-anchor of KTLA’s Morning News, who went to Japan to cover the story, will briefly recount his experiences there. This will be followed by a special musical tribute to the spirit of the Japanese people, who have shown their unique character and strength in the face of adversity.

"We know that many people have already made generous donations to the various Japan relief campaigns," observed Akemi Kikumura Yano, President & CEO of the National Museum. "Our leadership on the Board of Trustees wanted to make a gift in the name of the Museum, and I personally heard from our supporters who would also like to contribute in this manner. So we felt the annual dinner could help facilitate their wishes.

"We also wanted to acknowledge the character of the Japanese people," Kikumura Yano continued. "Those of us in the Japanese American community are very familiar with the cultural values that will enable Japan to get through this unbelievable crisis. Our community used the same values to endure the forced removal from our homes and businesses during World War II, and then rebuilt their lives. We are confidant the spirit of the Japanese people will enable them to recover from this heart-breaking tragedy."

The National Museum’s Annual Dinner is its largest single fundraiser. The Signature Sponsors for this year’s event are George & Sakaye Aratani, the Terasaki Family Foundation, and Union Bank/Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., is the dinner’s Presenting Sponsor, while AECOM, The Boeing Company, Mutual Trading Co., Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, William & Carol Ouchi, and Guy and Audrey Watanabe are the Diamond Sponsors. The Emerald Sponsors are American Fish & Seafood Co., and The Capital Group Companies/Frank Sanchez.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, and Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, CEO for the Americas, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., are the Honorary Dinner Co-Chairs for the 2011 Annual Gala Dinner. The Dinner Committee Co-Chairs are Gene Kanamori, National Museum Governor; Dana Heatherton, The Capital Group; Linda Fitz-Horioka, Ernst & Young; and, Yuko Kaifu, Union Bank.

The dinner also includes a Silent Auction, the opportunity drawing for the 2011 Lexus RX 450h, donated by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and the live Bid for Education, which supports the Museum’s educational programs. This is the first year the Museum has held its annual dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, which opened in 2010.

 

 

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