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Welcome to the website of the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin.  Please feel free to explore our calendar of events and newsletter information.

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Latest News

Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden Volunteer Workday

Join us for JASGA's 13th, annual community service and friends of Taniguchi Japanese Garden on Sunday, June 6 at 10:00am-12:00pm for our workday in Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden. We need your help to keep Austin's authentic, beautiful Japanese garden clean and lively.

Wearing face mask is recommended.  Wear closed toed shoes, a sunhat and sunscreen and bring a water bottle. Small tools and disposable work gloves are available for all voluntees.

Last year, we worked the garden in October and December and the number of volunteers are limted to 10. There is still a restriction for the number of volunteers, but we can have upto 25 volunteers on June 6th this year!  If adult volunteers have not been vaccinated, we'd like to ask that you remain safe for everyones. 

Let's meet at Ten-Wa-Jin (天和人: Heaven-Harmony-People) Teahouse in front of the Lotus Pond in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden at 10:00am!

For all students, you will receive two volunteer credits from us (JASGA) and ZBG. Please bring the volunteer credit paper provided by your school.

Some of volunteers will have a chance to get a designer mask from Japan Foundation or Sanrio character mask (for kids) from Kinokuniya!

When: Sunday, June 6 at 10:00am - noon

Please sign up for the volunteer (email & names only) or just send your participation to kito@jasga.org this year. Thank you for your cooperation!

Volunteer parking directions
Enter the normal botanical garden entrance on Barton Springs Rd. Follow the driveway around - pass the main building and then you will see another small building that has bathrooms, and then you will see a few orange cones. Take a right at the orange cones and drive down the dirt path. On the left, you will see some areas where you can park. There is an old trailer in that area that is commonly called the "Bev Shed".

Thank you and see you all at Taniguchi Japanese Garden on Sunday, June 6 @10:00am. 

                                              (Isamu Taniguchi and the Dancing Princess lotus plants.)
In Fall 2019, JASGA's 13th Japan Fall Festival (Aki Matsuri) celebrated Isamu Tanuguch Japanese Garden 50 years at Zilker Botanical Garden!

Taniguchi Japanese Garden was open to the public in 1969, the Garden was built by Isamu Taniguchi when he was 70 years old. Working without a salary or a contract, Mr.Taniguchi spent 18 months transforming 3 acres of rugged caliche hillside into a peaceful garden. As is often done in Japan, the ponds were designed in the shape of a word or ideogram. In this case, the ponds in the first half of the garden spell out the word "AUSTIN", reflecting the fact that these gardens were constructed as a gift to the city. The remains of the Mother Tree, which inspired Mr.Taniguchi to complete his building of the garden, overlooks the pond." (https://zilkergarden.org/who-are-we-history/)

2021 Summer Japanese Language and Shodo Japanese Calligraphy

Register Now for Summer 2021 Japanese Language, Shodo Calligraphy, and Japanese Business English Classes!  

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Summer 2021 classses will be held using Google Meet (G Suite/Workplace.)  

Thank you for your interest in the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) Japanese Language and Shodo Japanese calligraphy program. We currently offer Japanese language (emphasizing conversation, listening, reading, and writing), Shodo Japanese calligraphy, Japanese Business English classes at various levels in Austin. 

Registration is now open!

At a glance:

  • Class location this Summer 2021: Virtual online classroom
  • The start date:  5/17 (Mon) ~ 5/22 (Sat)
  • Levels from total beginner to advanced and children & young teens, Japanese Business English, and Shodo Japanese calligraphy lessons with a certified, Japanese calligraphy teacher
  • in possession of a degree, qualified, and Native Japanese instructors
  • 10 meetings of 1-hour classes, once per week
  • Available Hiragana and Katakana Intensive classes
  • Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) preparatory course
  • Classes of 3 - 8 students
  • Tailored private tutoring class available (with qualified, native Japanese instructors)
  • Offers Corporate Program
  • Children and/or young teens class are avaialble
  • Registration Deadline: 5/14 (Fri)
  • No classes on 7/4 (Mon) - 7/8 (Thu)

The Hot Dog of the Sea? Surimi and Kamaboko in Historical and Environmental Perspective

Join us for the academic lecture entitled "Surimi and Kamaboko in Historical and Environmental Perspective" by Dr. William M Tsutsui, Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. This virtual event is part of a series of Japanese cultural and educational programs presented by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA).

Surimi (fish paste) and the products made from it (including kamaboko, hanpen, naruto, and chikuwa) have a long history in Japan, but the transformation of surimi into an industrial commodity, processed in global supply chains, and consumed internationally as “imitation crab” is a more recent development. This talk will explore how the Japanese culture of fish paste, the rise of “engineered seafood,” and the postwar decline of the Japanese fishing industry were woven into complex global histories of technological innovation, dietary        change, and over-exploitation of the ocean’s resources.                

Date/Time:  May 4, 2021 (Tue) @6:00pm, CDT/ @1:00pm, HDT,  May 5 @8:00am, Japan

                Watch Cooking Demo            Watch Lecture Video

Bill Tsutsui is a specialist in the economic, environmental, and cultural history of modern Japan. Educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Princeton Universities. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan, Banking Policy in Japan, and Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization.  His 2004 book Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters was called a “cult classic” by the New York Times and a Japanese translation was published by Chūkō Sōsho [中公叢書].  He has received Fulbright, ACLS, and Marshall Fellowships, and was awarded the John Whitney Hall Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2000. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Association for Asian Studies and the US-Japan Council, and was appointed to the Japan-United States Friendship Commission in 2020. 
Tsutsui taught for seventeen years at the University of Kansas before becoming Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University in 2010.  From 2014 to 2019 he served as President of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He is currently the Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. Dr. William M. (Bill) Tsutsui has been selected to serve as University President and CEO at Kansas-based Ottawa University, effective July 1, 2021. Congratulations!

(Moderator:) Nancy Kinue Stalker, PhD is a Professor & Sen Sōshitsu Distinguished Chair Japan (20th century, Cultural and Gender) at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She received MA and PhD n East Asian Studies at Stanford University. Before joining the faculty at UH, Professor Stalker taught at The University of Texas at Austin.

Her work centers on twentieth century culture in Japan, especially the commodification of practices and beliefs associated with traditional Japanese culture and the interpenetration of ideology, material culture, and the marketplace. In this vein, she has written articles in fields as diverse as popular religion, traditional arts and dietary regimes that examine how these areas intersect with larger constructs of historical modernity, including nationalism, imperialism, capitalism, and feminism.

She is the author of Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburō, Oomoto and the Rise of a New Religion in Imperial Japan (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2008, translated into Japanese as Deguchi Onisaburō teikoku jidai no karisuma, Hara Shobo, 2009) and Japan: History and Culture from Classical to Cool (University of California Press, 2018). She edited the forthcoming Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (Oxford University Press, 2018). Professor Stalker is currently working a monograph on the growth and globalization of ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) in the twentieth century entitled Budding Fortunes: Ikebana as Art, Industry, and Cold War Culture.

Kazu Fukumoto is a Chef and Owner of Fukumoto Sushi & Yakitori Izakaya. He was born in Fukuoka, Japan on the northern shore of Kyushu Island.  In 1999, He began his culinary career starting as a dishwasher at Musashino Sushi Dokoro in Austin and worked his way up to become a sushi chef under the apprenticeship of the Owner and Chef Smokey Fuse. He continued to hone his skills for 10 years as Head Sushi Chef at Musashino. After departing from Musashino, Kazu traveled back to Japan to study traditional yakitori at Hiroya Yakitori in Tokyo.

In September 2015, all his hard work paid off when he opened Fukumoto: Sushi & Yakitori Izakaya, serving up traditional Japanese cuisine in a casual gastropub setting. He loves to share his passion for food with everyone around him and continues to do so with his evolving menu. 

He will demonstrate a cooking using surimi hanpen especially for Children and family meal at Children's Day on May 5th in Japan.

Open to the public and Free.  Register now, and you will receive a longin code.

This program is presented in cooperation with:
Kinokuniya Austin, Fukumoto Sushi & Yakitori, and Kibun Foods USA.

The Women in Budo with Dojo-cho and Head Instructors

Join us for a virtual event "Women in Budo with Dojo-cho & Chief Instructors" on one Suday afternoon on April 18th at 3:00PM.

This event is part of a series of Japanese cultural and educational programs presented by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA).

We will invite female Budo practitioners, trainers, and a dojo-cho (dojo owners) who have opened their own Dojo and teach students who want to be trained in Budo in Austin, Texas.

Our speakers and moderator will share their thoughts and experiences concerning how a dojo can retain and encourage women to remain in the practice in budo and promote the martial arts by transferring their skills to the next generations.

These long-time practitioners of budo will discuss questions. Please ask them any questions at Q & A.                 

This event is free and open to the public.  Register now, and receive a login code.                 



Indo-Pacific Security and Multilateral Strategic Cooperation: Past, Present, and Future      [インド太平洋地域の安全保障と多国間戦略協力]

Thanks to all for participating in the virtual discussion on March 24th 2021 (at 6PM, CDT)/the 25th (8AM, JST).  

We featured well-known speakers on diplomacy, Professor Nobukatsu Kanehara from Doshisha University in Kyoto and Ambassador David F. Shear from NAJAS, who discussed the current and future status of multilateral strategic cooperation on security issues and how these factors will affect daily life in each country in the Indo-Pacific region.

Among the issues discussed were the US-Japan relationship, the QUAD Alliance, ASEAN, China, and the political values and economic status of each nation. 

We also invited Professor Patricia Maclachlan from the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government and Asian Studies to serve as moderator.

(Click on each photo to view the bio.)
Amb. David B. Shear        Prof. Nobukatsu Kanehara           Prof. Patricia Maclachlan 

This program was conducted virtually, sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and NAJAS, and in cooperation with promotional partners the Consulate General of Japan in Houston, Japan Airlines, and the Center for East Asian Studies at UT Austin.

(Click on each logo to view the website.)

   Generously supported by                                  Promotional Partners


Indo-Pacific Security and Multilateral Strategic Cooperation: Past, Present and Future [インド太平洋地域の安全保障と多国間戦略協力]

Join us for a virtual discussion on March 24th. We are honored to host two experts on the subject of the past, current and future Indo-Pacific security and multilateral strategic cooperation.

Date & Time:
U.S.:   March 24, 2021 @ 6:00-7:15 PM (CDT)
Japan: March 25, 2021 @ 8:00-9:15 AM (JST) 

Through this program, we would like to be able to open up our mental windows to understand the politics of current security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, including such factors as diplomacy, business interests, the possibility of military intervention, and the ideologies of all the actors involved.

We want to inform the Austin and Central Texas communities about how the nations of the Indo-Pacific are responding to increasing Chinese activities in the East and South-East Sea and Indo-Pacific Ocean. What are the strategies of the U.S. and Japan in response to China's behavior in view of its political ideologies and cultural values?