Newsletter Volume 38

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Japan-America Society of Greater Austin
Fall 2015
Newsletter Vol. 38
November 2015
In This Issue
Japanese Language Program
Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden.
New Corporate Members
Margit Nagy Receives Order of the Rising Sun
Guest Essay




Senba Tsuru

The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) helped with a fundraising event for the Asian Family Support Services of Austin.

JASGA opened ORIGAMI table to present the thousand origami cranes which was "popularized" through the tragic story of  Sadako Sasaki (1/7/1943-10/25/1955), a Japanese girl who was 24 months old when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. 

We also presented a Summer kimono/yukata fashion show with kids and their moms.
Iwama Dojo
Click on the photo to see more
Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba in 1942. Austin Iwama Aikido founded by Christopher S. Field demonstrated the Iwama Aikido style. There were so many participants who enjoyed their demonstration
  with Filed dojo-cho and his students.
Golf tournament Click on the photo to see more.
The Japan-America Society of Greater Austin hosted the forth Friendship Golf Tournament at Avery Ranch Golf Club on Sunday, August 9, 2015. The tournament was intended to provide an opportunity for friendship among the players and friends in Austin, Central Texas and Japanese communities.
Matsuri Flyer
Click on the photo to see more . 
Thanks for coming by the JASGA`s ninth Japan Fall Festival.  Hope you enjoyed the festival with us on October 17th!
Japan Collaboration
HVDC Forum

`@ Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)  
 J.J. Pickle Research Campus
Austin, TX 78759
TEL Art Exhibition
Exhibition dates:
11.16 - 12.4.2015 
Thu, 12/10
2015 Bonenkai
Year End Party
Bonenkai 2014
Authentic Taiwanese and
Japanese inspired home-style food
JASGA has Japanese language classes that began in the middle of September. The classes continue to meet every Wednesday until Dec 9th.  
(The kids Fall class has completed on Nov 18th.)
Anderson High School
Japanese Language Program
The registration for Spring 2016 Japanese language and Shodo classes will start in the mid or end of January. Please visit our home page ( and calendar in the late December. You will also receive a registration info via emai.  Please watch your email box!
Isamu Taniguchi 
Japanese Garden 
in Austin
The Spirit of the Garden: 
Isamu Taniguchi
Isamu Taniguchi
Mr. Isamu Taniguchi and the
Dancing Princess lotus plants
Before JASGA hosted the presentation about Taniguchi Japanese Garden Revitalization Project by Mr. Terry Ward, we had been helping the Austin Parks & Recreation Dept. by holding workdays in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden.  
  Isamu Taniguchi created and built the Japanese Garden in Austin and donated it to the city. His grandson, Evan TaniguIchi made a informative video film about his grandfather and the garden. We'd like to share the pretty cool video clip with you! 

Click here and Enjoy!


JASGA Newsletter

 Fall 2015

is compiled and edited by:

Kako Ito 

Happy Fall and Thanksgiving!
The shrines and restaurants were crowded with children and their families celebrating the Shichi-go-san (7-5-3 years old) Festival in Japan last weekend. Since Shichi-go-san is not a national holiday, most families hold their festivities on the nearest weekend instead of the official date on November 15.

Today, November 23rd, Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day [Kinro Kansha no Hi], on which we express gratitude to one another for work done throughout the year.  Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan is a national holiday.

neighbors Indicating that autumn days have arrived, the leaves on trees here start turning color to beautiful reds and yellows.  Many local residents as well as tourists begin to visit distant places famed for their beautiful autumn foliage and enjoy excursions into the mountains to look for autumn colors and gather colored leaves.
Mountain in Nagano
Fashion contest
Okinawan dance
Nihon buyo
Seido karate
Yukata booth
Many thanks to all those who helped us to make the JASGA's ninth Aki Matsuri -Japanese Fall Festival 2015 - such a success!
The effort and dedication of all groups, including performers, demonstrators, vendors, exhibitors, festival volunteers, Japanese language students from JASGA and McCallum high school as well as the generosity of our festival sponsors, auction and prize donors, are much appreciated.
太鼓 Japanese Drums | Austn Taiko

茶の湯  Chanoyu Tea Demonstration | Sheila Fling (Tea name: Soshin
誠道塾空手道  Japanese Traditional Seido Karate | Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense
沖縄舞踊 Okinawan Traditional Dance | Setsuko Kuniyoshi Miyagi-ryu Nosho kai Ryukyu Dance School
日本舞踊・民謡踊り  Japanese Traditional & Festive Dance | Tubomi & Austin Japanese Folk Dance group 
居合道  Iaido - Japanese Martial Arts | Daishinkan Dojo Shinshin-ryu Iai-Jutsu
剣道  Kendo - Japanese Martial Arts UT Kendo Club & Austin Kendo Doshikai 
JASGA New Corporate Members!

Silver Bridge-Builder            Bronze Bridge-Builder
C. Maund Toyota  MSIG
Pure Bikram Yoga
    NPO             NPO
Austin Aikikai
Thanks for upgrading the membership level to 
Cocos Cafe
Red Industrial
Thanks for renewing the corporate membership!
Platinum Bridge-Builder
Thank you, Kumon Westlake (Dr. Yuriko Kiguchi) for supporting of our activities for 6 years!  Best wishes for your new start!
Press Release
909 Fannin St. Suite 3000 Houston, TX 77010

On Tuesday, November 3, the Government of Japan announced that Ms. Margit Maria Nagy, Professor at Our Lady of the Lake University, is the recipient of "the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon". She was presented with this award in recognition of her esteemed service in the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States of America.
Professor Nagy was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1942 and moved to the United States with her parents. She became interested in modern Japanese history when she was a university student. She studied at Waseda University, receiving the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Grant in 1976, and taught at the University of Tokyo Law School as a Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1984. After receiving her doctoral degree from the University of Washington, she began working at Our Lady of the Lake University, became a Professor in 1991 and has been serving as the Head of the History Program since 2004. She is also a founding member of Japan America Society of San Antonio and served as the Second President for two years from 1987.
Professor Nagy has a history of numerous achievements for promoting Japan-US relations in San Antonio. Firstly, she has raised interest in and understanding of Japan's modern history. She established a course on Japanese modern history at Our Lady of the Lake University in 1984 and still continues to conduct the course there. She has also conducted lectures on this area at Saint Mary University and Saint Thomas University to offer opportunities for students throughout Texas to touch upon Japan's history. Professor Nagy has not only issued numerous research papers on Japan's society during the Taisho and Meiji Period, the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the changing role and status of women in modern Japan, but she has also presented her research at conferences and symposiums. The most recent are "Dr. Shiga Shigetaka's Monument to the Alamo Heroes and the Fulbright Experience" at the Southwest Fulbright Symposium (2014) and "The Steadfast Christians of Nagasaki from Meiji Persecution to Showa Bombing" at the 40th Annual Southwest Conference for the Asia Studies (2011). In addition, she has written articles for local newspapers such as "Japan's Tribute to the Alamo Heroes" (2014), "Keep Sister City Ties Relevant" (2013) and "Taisho Chic" (2005). She has also written booklets such as "Women Who Inspire: Kumamoto Women from the Meiji Era" (1999) and "Remembering the Alamo Japanese-style: Shigetaka Shiga's Monument as Tribute to the Alamo Heroes" (1989).
Secondly, after serving the City of San Antonio as a volunteer with Japanese expertise, Professor Nagy was involved in establishing Japan America Society of San Antonio (JASSA) and has been volunteering for the society since then. When she served as second President from 1987 to 1989, she made efforts to strengthen the base of the organization, by establishing large-scale events such as the Alamo anniversary and various sister-city relationship events, as mentioned below. Even after serving as president, she had numerous achievements as a core member of JASSA, such as initiating the Japan Information Center, a free telephone service for the general public to answer questions related to Japan, and organizing business-related lecture events. Her hard work led to the stable development of the society.
Thirdly, Professor Nagy recognized the importance of the Japanese monument in the Alamo Convent Courtyard as a tangible symbol of the friendship between the US and Japan. The monument was presented by Professor Shigetaka Shiga to recognize the common values of selfless courage and loyalty exemplified by both Texans in the battles of the Alamo, and Japanese in the battle of Nagashino. She initiated and chaired a Japanese Monument Committee in 1985 and organized "The Rededication of the Friendship at the Japanese Monument at the Alamo" event to commemorating the portrait of Professor Shiga, as well as inviting descendants of Professor Shiga and Musashino City Junior Ambassadors Friendship Mission led by the current International Friendship Association. She also organized the event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the monument in 1989 which descendants of Professor Shiga, Okazaki City Mayor and representatives of Japanese media and Rotary clubs in Okazaki and Shinshiro City attended. At that time Professor Nagy also published the booklet "Remembering the Alamo Japanese-style: Shigetaka Shiga's Monument as Tribute to the Alamo Heroes". Last year, she coordinated the 100th year anniversary event which was hosted by the Texas General Land Office and the Alamo, and cosponsored by numerous organizations in Texas. Representatives of Junior Ambassador and Shinshiro City were invited. She also gave numerous presentations on the monument, and coordinated the Cherry Seed Presentation Ceremony in 1993 and Cherry Tree Planting Ceremony in 1995 with the attendance of the Rotary Club of Shinshiro City and Horai Junior High School.
Lastly, Professor Nagy has been involved in sister-city events since the relationship's inception and has contributed tirelessly to its stable development. Right after the agreement was made, she hosted a number of delegations from Kumamoto City including a Mayor, a Councilman, Kumamoto City Wings of Friendship Citizens' Delegation and the Kumamoto Youth Baseball Team. She coordinated volunteers including some 75 faculty, staff and students of her university to assist Kumamoto City staff and artisans with the Kumamoto City Fair held in San Antonio in 1989. She delivered a speech for the opening ceremony of the Kumamoto City Cultural and Women's Center in 1990 and for her lecture event held at a Senior Center in Kumamoto. Professor Nagy also initiated and coordinated Our Lady of the Lake University's participation in the Sister City Kumamoto Student Exchange with Kumamoto University of Commerce which continued from 1990 to 2002. She also published another booklet for the occasion of the 1999 Kumamoto-San Antonio Women's Leadership Conference, for which she was a member of the steering committee and a moderator.
Professor Nagy is well known in the Japanese community in San Antonio for her fluent Japanese and her modest and polite personality. Her tireless dedication to the promotion of the friendship between the U.S. and Japan has always been admired by the people of San Antonio.
Congratulations, Sister Margit Nagy!
Guest Essay

Yagyu Shinkage Ryu 450th Anniversary
Kushu Jamsek, Head Instructor
Austin Aikikai members traveled to Japan for training and commemorating the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu school of Japanese swordmanship. Austin Aikikai offers training in Aikido, Rinzai Zen meditation and the Shinkage school of sword.
The Shinkage school is currently lead by Yagyu Koichi Toshinobu, the 22nd headmaster of the school. Every summer members from all over Japan gather for training in June (natsu gasshuku). In addition, international members join prior to the all-japan seminar for a foreign students seminar and join the all-japan training with the Japanese members. Yagyu Sensei personally leads all training sessions and Austin Aikikai Shinkage students are direct students of the soke (headmaster).
This year's special 450th anniversary of the founding of the school commemorates Yagyu Munetoshi receiving inka from Kamiizume Isenokami thus establishing Yagyu Shinkage Ryu as a school. The trip included traveling to Yagyu Zato (Yagyu Village) which is the traditional home of the Yagyu family. The Austin Aikikai members trained for several days in Nagoya at the Aichi-Ken Bodukan. This was followed by a traveling to Kyoto and by bus to Yagyu village where training and ceremonies were conducted.


       Training at Yagyu Shinkage Ryu dojo 

The visit to Yagyu village included training sessions, demonstrations by all members in the original Yagyu Masakizaka dojo, memorial services at Rinzai Zen Hotoku-ji temple, and chanting (Okyo) at the Yagyu family grave site.  I had the personal honor of leading chanting at the grave site for all members of the Yagyu kai from Japan and around the world attending the gasshuku (training camp).

Being immersed in Budo training and traditional Yagyu Village atmosphere was very moving and we look forward to returning soon.
Kushu Yamsek
Stay active and see you at JASGA's upcoming program and events.  We'd love to see all of you!

JASGA logo   



Japan-America Society of Greater Austin