ASIAN-PACIFIC CHILDREN’S CONVENTION JUNIOR AMBASSADOR APPLICATIONS OPEN
The Japan-American Society of Hawaii is seeking applicants for the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention, which will be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from Saturday, July 15 through Tuesday, July 25.
JASH is the Hawai‘i-region liaison office for the APCC, where over 200 students from the Asian and Pacific region come together to experience living with a Japanese family in Fukuoka. An adult chaperone, who also passes a selective screening and interview, will travel with the Hawai‘i delegation.
The program consists of two parts: The first component includes mandatory preparatory workshops on select weekends from March through July, including local field trips and an overnight stay at YMCA’s Camp Erdman in Mokuleia. The workshops will be held in-person, where students will explore Japanese and Hawaiian culture, teamwork and communication development as well as global citizenship; the second component includes the ten-day APCC international homestay youth camp in July.
JASH will select four students — two girls and two boys, born between Aug. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012 (10-11 years old) to serve as Junior Ambassadors. Applicants must complete a short question and answer form and submit two teacher recommendation forms. The APCC and JASH will cover the following expenses for selected ambassadors:
- Round-trip airfare including airport tax between Fukuoka and Honolulu International Airport
- Accommodation fees for hotels in Japan or abroad as designated by the APCC
- Transportation fees within Japan as designated by the APCC or host families
- Meals during the entire stay in Fukuoka
- Half the cost of overnight at Camp ($60 per person)
- Half the cost of APCC Registration fee ($50 per person)
The 2023 program will be the first delegation to travel to Fukuoka since the pandemic, which the program used Zoom meetings prior to connect the youth members in their workshops.
During the in-person APCC in July, delegations from over 40 countries and regions will come together in Fukuoka to share cultures and make new friends. The vision of the APCC is to generate appreciation for the cultures of other nations and regions with the aim of promoting mutual understanding and friendship, to nurture international awareness in young people and to realize world peace and co-existence through these activities. After serving as Junior Ambassadors, many alumni remain connected through the Bridge Club International Organizations, like the Bridge Club Hawaii, which is an APCC alumni organization run by former Junior Ambassadors, who stay in touch through the APCC network though various social and community service events. BCH members also help prepare new Junior Ambassadors for their trip abroad. Former Junior Ambassadors who are also active Bridge Club Hawaii members may also be eligible to travel to Fukuoka again in the future through the Peace Ambassador program, where former Junior Ambassadors are invited to return to Fukuoka alongside Junior Ambassadors.
“In 2011, I was overjoyed when JASH selected me, eleven years old at the time, to represent Hawai‘i and share my culture with kids from all over the world,” former Junior Ambassador and 2022 Peace Ambassador Betsy Wo said via JASH’s website. “In my short time in Japan, I learned about creating and maintaining global connections … Because of JASH and BCH, my dream has been to connect with and impact people from all over the world through my language and communication skills. I am thoroughly excited to continue growing as a global citizen through the special Peace Ambassador program to further international communication and understanding between different cultural groups.”
The APCC was founded almost 34 years ago by the Fukuoka Junior Chamber and was part of the 1989 Asian-Pacific Exposition, an event to celebrate Fukuoka City’s 100th anniversary. The APCC is funded by local governments, corporate sponsors and supporter’s associations to continue to keep Fukuoka as a contact point for cultural exchange between Japan and other Asian countries. The program continues the tradition as the digital age ushers in more international communication.
Applications are due in its entirety by Monday, Feb. 6. Applications can be downloaded from the Japan-America Society of Hawaii website at: jashawaii.org/apcc. Physical applications can be mailed to: 1600 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Suite 204, Honolulu, HI 96814.
For more information, contact JASH Program Specialist Christianne Ono at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAUI VETERANS PORTRAITS ON DISPLAY
For more than 20 years, Los Angeles-based photographer Shane Sato traveled across the United States taking portraits of World War II Nisei veterans, creating two coffee table books, “The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage” and The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Legacy.” Fourteen Maui veterans’ portraits from his book will be on display at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center exhibition “The Go For Broke Legacy: Portraits of Maui’s Nisei Veterans” until Saturday, Jan. 28.
The 14 veterans included are: Hiroshi Arisumi; Willie Goo; Barney Hajiro; Takeo Ike Ikeda; Ike Kawahara; Takashi Kitaoka; Harry Kiyabu; Masao Motooka; Masaru George Nakasato; Ed Nishihara; Seiya Ohata; Harold Okumura; Tsutomu Tom Yamada; and Yoshito “Toe” Yoshino.
Sato first began photographing Nisei veterans in 1999, at first not knowing what he was going to do when he started; just feeling that it was something that needed to be done. In Sato’s kickstarter campaign video to fund the second photo book installment, he shares that his project to capture images of Nisei veterans was a personal one. Sato’s father is from Maui; he was too young to fight in World War II, but his older brothers, Sato’s uncles, both fought for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Sato’s mother, a California native, was interned with her family at the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona.
“The Nisei Americans not only fought against the enemy of America,” says Sato in his video, “they also fought against prejudice from the same country they were fighting for.” Sato wanted to honor the veterans of the Military Intelligence Service, the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a nearly all-Japanese American unit that continues to hold the record as the most decorated unit for their size and length of service in United States history. Sato explains that as a Sansei, he was personally invested in the project to remind people that it was just a generation ago that his family and other Americans had their rights and freedoms taken away.
As Sato captured portraits of Nisei veterans over the decades, his project began to take shape. He began photographing the veterans in their military attire of brown heavy uniforms and caps or helmets. He began taking candid photos to show a glimpse of their lives in that era. Some veterans smiled wryly for the camera, others held up fists in a fighting stance, saluted or simply held up a shaka. Sato began working with Robert Horsting, an oral historian, and added a short story component to the project.
“The short story was not necessarily historical,” said Sato. “I didn’t want to make this a history book. It’s kind like ‘talk story.’”
Sato funded and produced the entire “The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage” book by himself, printed in 2017 and filled with 160 veteran portraits and stories. After publishing the first volume, he reached out to the community via Kickstarter, requesting contributions to put together a second volume, to continue taking portraits of Nisei veterans in the Midwest and East Coast to combine with the 40 portraits he had previously taken but had not been able to add to the first book. After the campaign closed, 281 backers had funded $32,462 of the $25,000 goal and the second book, “Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Legacy” was completed in 2019.
The two volume set contains a rich collection of vibrant photos paired with short stories about each veteran’s life, giving the reader a rare glimpse into the lives of the men who so rarely talk about their experiences fighting in the war.
Sato says he’s often asked why his project spanned the course of two decades and explains, “Japanese Americans are very stoic and they’re very proud. They never talked about these things.”
“One of the things I really liked about Shane’s ability to draw out the emotion and range of character and personality of these veterans,” said co-author Horsting, in their Kickstarter video. “You glimpse into their life — these fully lived lives, with experiences that we’re never going to know…we got to see everything from laughter to really somber, solemn moments that they reflected on in that time in their life … I think one of the things that’s really amazing is that you really do get a sense that a picture can touch your soul.”
Sato’s portraits of the 14 Maui veterans premiered at Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Maui just after Veteran’s Day on Sunday, Nov. 13 with a limited seating grand opening, where several of the veterans’ families were able to view the exhibit and meet the photographer. The exhibit opened to the public the next day and will be showing until the last Saturday in January.