It is my great pleasure and honor to be appointed as Director of the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA) since the fall of 2020. Before coming to the United States, I served as the Director of the Educational Training Section at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai, and Master of the Ceremony at the Imperial Household Agency. My overseas experiences include Director of JF Bangkok, Thailand, as well as JF Sydney, Australia.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to adjust ourselves to the unprecedented circumstances by delivering all of our programs online while our staff worked from home. What encouraged me most was the fact that our supporters selected our programs out of the numerous Japan-themed online programs from all over the world, raised many interesting questions, and gave us encouragement as well as much positive feedback. For some time, I was even amazed at how deep and diverse our supporters’ interests and knowledge were about Japan.
For arts and cultural programs, I think that it is very important to keep creating diverse content related to Japan, even for those who are already familiar with Japan, as well as the younger generation who may encounter Japan for the very first time through our programs. In addition, we will continue to devote ourselves to provide programs that are not only fun and intriguing, but also inspiring and thought-provoking so that you will deepen your their knowledge and understanding of Japan.
With regards to Japanese language education in the US, I was deeply impressed by the tremendous efforts made by Japanese teachers in the U.S. to not only teach the language, but also to introduce the rich and diverse culture of Japan to their students. By doing so, they create global minded students, who are better able to take on the real world challenges of the 21st century.
I definitely respect this characteristics of Japanese language education in the US and would like to provide support in any way possible.
Although there were many limitation for going out and meeting people during the first half of 2021, nevertheless, I experienced many unique aspects of America and was sometimes even astonished by them. These are things that I would never have experienced if I never came to the US.
As the Japanese proverb goes “Seeing is better than hearing,” and I look forward to going out and encountering as many Americans as possible during the latter half of 2021.
I hope that cross-cultural exchange and understanding will deepen and shine even more gracefully through actual in person meetings and programs in the near future.
Please remain safe and I look forward to seeing you soon!
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles