The First Kaneko Award Recipients Named

August 31, 2017

                                    The America-Japan Society Inc.


   The first two recipients of the Kaneko Award have been announced. They are Ms. Jean Tsuchiya of Los Angeles and Mr. Yasuhiro Yabuzoe of Wakayama. Mr. Joe D. Price of San Diego will receive a Special Award. Ms.Tsuchiya worked tirelessly over half a century for friendship between the Japanese people and American people including sister city relations of Nagoya and Los Angeles. Mr. Yabuzoe, an English language teacher, devoted himself to exchanges between young people of the two countries. In particular, he promoted homestay of American students in Wakayama. Mr. Joe D. Price rediscovered Edo era painters including Ito Jyakuchu and is known as the foremost collector of them. He brought them to Tohoku after great disaster of 2011 to cheer people up.

   The Kaneko Award was founded this year to commemorate the centennial of the establishment of the America-Japan Society in 1917. The Award is given to those who worked for long years to promote people to people exchanges between Japan and the United States. It is given to people who worked on grass roots level. In addition,  prominent persons who have also made contributions to Japan-US relations are recognized with the Special Award.

   Count Kentaro Kaneko was the first president of the America- Japan Society. The Society was established in 1917 to promote people to people relations of Japan and the United States. Kaneko is known because he successfully persuaded his fellow Harvard alumnus, President Theodore Roosevelt to use his good offices to convene  Portsmouth Peace Treaty Conference between Japan and Russia after 1904-1905 war.

   Post war presidents of the Society include Prime Ministers Yoshida, Kishi and Fukuda. The current president Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, is the 9th president.

   Candidates were recommended by Japan-America Societies in Japan as well as in the United States and other exchange-related organizations. An AJS selection committee in Tokyo selected the winners. The committee is comprised of Mr. Kunihiko Saito, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States (Chairman), Mr. Yuzaburo Mogi, Honorary Chairman of Kikkoman Co. Mr. Yoji Oohashi, Senior Advisor of ANA Holdings, Mr. Christopher Lafleur, President of American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Ms. Hiroko Kuniya, a journalist, Dr. Fumiaki Kubo, Professor of Tokyo University and President Fujisaki of the Society.

   The Award is a plaque with a relief of Count Kaneko. It will be accompanied by an ANA business class return ticket to or from the United States and 3,000 dollars to support the trip. The awardee of the Special Award will receive only the plaque. Awarding ceremony will be held at the International House in Tokyo on Wednesday, the 11th of October.



Profiles of the awardees are as follows.


Ms. Jean Tsuchiya (recommended by Japan-America Society of Southern California)


 Born in 1922 in San Francisco, she is a Nisei or Japanese-American.

From her youth days, she learned Japanese language, dance, flower arrangement and tea ceremony. During the war she was placed in an internment camp in Utah. After returning to California after the war, she was convinced that direct exchanges between the Japanese and Americans are the key to promote mutual understanding between two countries. She thus engaged in many exchange programs as a volunteer. When Nagoya and LA became sister cities in 1959, she was asked to organize an event which turned out to be a great success, attended by more than 700 people. She also advised 33 successive chairs of LA-Nagoya Sister City Affiliation (LANSCA). She contributed greatly to many activities of Japan America Society of Southern California and eventually was selected as the vice-president of the Society. As she always worked behind the scene of many events, her name is not widely known but was nominated as an awardee as a symbol of those who worked for many years at the grass roots level.


Mr. Yasuhiro Yabuzoe (recommended by America-Japan Society of Wakayama)


Born in 1944. Mr. Yabuzoe had been an English language teacher in Wakayama Prefecture public high schools near Osaka for many years. He became principal of his high school and also assumed directing posts in the Prefecture Governor’s Office. He involved himself in youth exchanges and lead more than 30 high school teams to the United States. He accepted homestay students from the United States as well as from Asian countries almost every year for more than 40 years.  He accepted at his home three students who stayed the entire academic year as well. His relations with former homestay students are still continuing.


Mr. Joe D. Price


Born in 1929 in Oklahoma. Mr. Price was attracted to and bought a painting in NY antique shop when he was graduating from university. Later he was told it was the work of Ito Jyakuchu. He, guided only by his own taste, started to acquire Edo era paintings which initially was not respected too highly but began to become very popular as he collected them. He is said to have rediscovered EDO era paintings. His only collaborator was his Japanese wife, Etsuko. He has donated many of his paintings to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for general public to appreciate. Also, Shin-en-kan studio was established in his house. He showed his collections to students and researchers to encourage and support their study of these works. JAWS (Japanese Art Work Shop) which was started in 1987 has already gathered more than 250 people.

Only one year after the Tohoku great earthquake and tsunami, Joe and Etsuko Price decided to bring most distinguished and well-known works of Jyakuchu to Tohoku area to cheer up people including those suffered from the disaster. They did this because they thought they owed much to Japan and it was time to express their gratitude.



The Kaneko Award decided

 The America-Japan Society Inc.

President  Ichiro Fujisaki

Thank you very much for your cooperation for the Kaneko Award.

The America-Japan Society Inc. has just decided the winners as attached. Thank you for considering and applying for the award. Those candidates who were not chosen this year will automatically remain on the list for next two years. It is not necessary to send new application form. But if those societies or institutions have other candidates or some new information about existing candidates, please send them.

Those societies, institutions or individuals which did not apply this year, please do apply next year. This will be one of the symbol of friendship between Japan societies and American Societies.

This award is intended for those people who worked on grass root level. Those people who are not members of societies are welcome to be  recommended as a candidate.

The selection committee has decided that the Special Award would be given to those people who are prominent or who have experienced high posts. The Special award is same award but will not be accompanied by air ticket and travel support. Please recommend candidates for this award as well.