U.S.-Japan Grassroots Summit Newsletter - Summer 2020
John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (U.S.)

Connecting Americans and Japanese Through Grassroots Exchange
A Message from CIE-US President Rear Admiral Jamie Kelly, USN Retired
Dear Friends of CIE-US:

I hope this note finds you well - healthy and happy - as we "roll out" our first letter of 2020 with the idea to better inform you all on "what's up", build upon the past between ALL who hold Japan-USA personal relationships dear, and set the scene for our future Grassroots Summits!

Know that during the past months of COVID-19, we've all been impacted by "stay-at-home" policies, businesses closed, limits on personal contacts, etc.  Many have been very closely involved as medical professionals - if that's anyone reading this, please accept my/our thanks for your magnificent work in taking care of people in our communities across the country.  The pandemic is truly devastating around the globe, with consequences that we haven't even figured out please take good care of you and all whom you associate with!

Seems extremely important to give you our latest from CIE-US, which IS the purpose of the newsletter.  So up front, I regret that due to the virus and its continued fallout, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the Philadelphia Grassroots Summit this October.  As with so many events that involve extended international and interstate travel, and close personal contacts - especially for the planned Delegates from Japan and our host Families in the greater Philadelphia area - we just cannot take chances with people's lives and the still too many unknowns about how things can/will open back up this year.  In addition, with many businesses severely impacted that were to provide local support/sponsorship - it's simply best to relieve pressures on all involved, and give everyone time to recover.  So it goes...and therefore it's best that we have made an early decision for the Philly Summit cancellation.  I know that you will understand - and more importantly that you'll stay active and supportive of your "home" Japan-America organization:  whether CIE-US, one of our great JA Societies, Foundations like USJF, and so many others who want to grow our personal relationships between the two countries.    

There IS however, MUCH good news in this!  Up front, our generous Sponsors:  This year and for MANY years, The U.S.-Japan Foundation, Toyota and Orix have proudly supported CIE-US Grassroots Summit efforts; and now we are so proud and happy to add as significant Sponsors, the Ito En Corporation (recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the "50 Companies That are Changing the World"), and the Distant Lands Coffee Company in Renton WA and Tyler TX, one of the world's premium specialty coffee producers!  We cannot do our job of bringing people from our two countries together, without their extraordinary support!  And given the Covid 19 economic issues associated globally and in Japan and the USA,  our Sponsors are even more critical to our efforts - Please thank these Corporations every chance we get!!  This year we have turned CIE efforts in the USA to better coordinate and inform our JA Societies and Sponsors like yourself - we're now especially focused on using this year to strengthen our institutional outreach to Grassroots Summit alumni and other "affinity groups" (JET, JUMP et al) and other potential future participants - and exploring ways to encourage online exchange ie "Zoom" or "google webinar" tools.  And the CIE-US is now totally engaged towards Japan's hosting of the CIE Grassroots Summit in Wakayama Prefecture next year - please see our "save the dates" flyer attached - looking towards what will be a superb event in 2021!

Please stay safe and healthy!

Most Sincerely and ALL the best,

Jamie Kelly
President CIE-US
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The Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange-U.S. (CIE-US) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. All donations are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

July 7 @ 8:30 PM EDT: Join A Live Video Session on the Wakayama Summitt

The 2021 Summit in Wakayama will be dynamic! To hear more about the Summit and meet some of the people involved, join a video meeting with Matt Krebs on July 7 at 8:30 pm EDT. This will be a great year to participate again in the Summit or perhaps you will want to share the program with your friends and family.
Register for the July 7 Meeting Here

Wonderful Wakayama!
By Peter Grilli, CIE-US Board Member 

Wakayama Prefecture, together with its adjoining regions of Nara Prefecture to the north and Mie Prefecture to the east, might well be called “the historical, cultural, and spiritual heart of Japan.”   With some sites extending far back into Japan’s pre-history and modern cities representing the developments of contemporary Japan, the region is like a living textbook of Japanese history and culture.  It also boasts stunning natural scenery, including primeval forests, high mountains, deep river valleys, and a coastline that have been celebrated in Japanese poetry and literary writings for nearly two thousand years.   Religious monuments of the ancient Shinto and Buddhist traditions abound in the region, and have been visited by pilgrims and other travelers throughout Japanese history.

The mountainous district of central Wakayama is known for the Yoshino-Kumano National Park, a region of spectacular scenery, with numerous historic shrines and temples, linked by ancient trails traveled by religious pilgrims and other visitors seeking enlightenment or the solace of extended sojourns in Nature.  In springtime, the vast mountain vistas of Yoshino are covered with cherry blossoms considered the most beautiful in Japan.  The animistic ancient traditions of Shintoism celebrated the sanctity of notable features of Nature like mountains and waterfalls, and the Kumano area includes many major Shinto sites of worship.  At the Nachi Shrine, for example,  the great Nachi waterfall is the revered deity.   At the Hongu Shrines, Mt. Otake and other high nearby peaks are worshipped.  

In northern Wakayama stands Mt. Koya, a religious mountain revered since the early 9th-century by the monk Kukai and his followers in the Shingon sect of Buddhism.  The crest of Mt. Koya is covered with scores of Shingon temples that provide accommodations to pilgrims who travel from all over the world to worship at the sacred tomb of Kukai.  An overnight stay at one of the temples at Mt. Koya is an unforgettable experience for foreign travelers to Wakayama from abroad.

The beautiful coastline of Wakayama and Mie prefectures is dotted with small fishing villages, shrines to deities of the sea, and luxurious beach resorts.  Other notable attractions include the birthplace of aikido, a leading Japanese martial art, at the coastal town of Shingu; the center of the cultured pearl industry at Ise-Shima National Park; and the Imperial Grand Shrines at Ise.  These shrines, dedicated to the Sun Goddess and other Shinto agricultural deities, are built in an ancient form representing the highest ideals of traditional Japanese architecture that have been impeccably preserved since the 6th-century by a process requiring that they be completely reconstructed in facsimile every twenty years.  The Ise Shrines have been acclaimed for their purity and natural beauty by architects from all over the world.
First-time travelers to Wakayama and its environs are astounded by the natural beauty and cultural variety of the area, and frequent visitors return repeatedly to delight in new discoveries and in the warm hospitality of its people.  So rich and bountiful are the historic, cultural, and spiritual heritages of the region that they often exclaim: “Wakayama Has it All!”

Koyasan is among the highlights you can see during the 2021 Summitt!!
Learn More About CIE-US

Expedition Japan:  Commodore Perry's Hidden Interest in Science - A Webinar Featuring CIE-US Board Member Dr. Matthew C. Perry

On April 23, CIE-US Board Member Dr. Matthew C. Perry led a dynamic webinar exploring Commodore Perry's interest in science and the roots of U.S.-Japan scientific interchange as well as information about his time in Okinawa. The webinar provides fascinating and relatively unknown information about aspects of Perry's time in Japan and also highlights some dimensions of Manjiro's life. The webinar was hosted by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Foundation and co-sponsored by Manjiro-Whitfield CIE-US and the National Association of Japan-America Societies and moderated by NAJAS President Peter Kelley. 
Watch the Webinar Here

Join the New Alumni Facebook Group!
Join the new Manjiro/U.S.-Japan Grassroots Summitt Alumni Facebook Group!
Link is here.

Send us News for the Next Newsletter!
The Manjiro-Whitfield Grassroots Summits have engaged over 50,000 Americans and Japanese in exchanges, homestays, and cross-cultural communications. We want to hear from you! Share your news with us for the next newsletter. Send us updates here:
Thank you to our sponsors!!
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