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U.S.-Japan Grassroots Summit Newsletter - Autumn 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:

Hello again ALL of you wonderful people who define our person-to-person relationships between citizens of Japan and the USA!  WE, are ALL about, the BUILD of Japanese and American relationships - FOR LIFE!  Doesn't matter who you are or from which country you come - we ARE all in this together and our goal IS to create opportunities for friendships that will carry you forever!  So - we in CIE-US a
re adjusting to our "webinar" and socially distant programs for now due to the pandemic and it's fallout... BUT - I call your attention to a sequence of programs that should help you decide that #1) I want a piece of this!; and #2) I'm bringing some friends into the "web"!; and #3) We're going to the Grassroots Summit in Wakayama!!!  
 
Upcoming events: I'll have the chance to present in October via webinar on my past experience as a USN leader in Japan on topics ranging from the change in Prime Ministers in Japan, our coming elections in the USA, and the constant pressures on our alliance from other countries impacting all we do - can't wait - October TBD!  We've also got the Manjiro and Whitfield descendants lined up for what will be an emotional and heartfelt "reunion" via the web on the November schedule - see more please in this newsletter;  and we anticipate a couple soon-to-be announced events for updates on the upcoming 2021 Grassroots Summit in Wakayama! Promise we'll get the word out ASAP!!
 
So in the meantime - THANKS so much for your support and your passion to grow your own personal relationships with great people from another country!  Also a HUGE thanks always to our truly generous and wonderful sponsors, who allow us to do our special work in building grassroots relationships: CGP, USJF, Toyota, Orix, Ito En and Distant Lands!!  Just look over our "crazy world", and you cannot help but know that YOU, can make a difference via friendships for life between two nations' peoples!  Please stay safe and we look forward to seeing you on the web-cam! Ganbarimasho CIE and CIE-US!! 

Most Sincerely and ALL the best,

Jamie Kelly
President CIE-US
Learn More About CIE-US
October 15 2020, 7:30pm EST: The Future is in Wakayama!  2021 Summit Preview

Whether you have enjoyed the Manjiro Exchange as a visitor in the past or are just starting to consider going for the first time to Wakayama in 2021, join friends for a Zoom chat about the upcoming 2020 Wakayama Summit. Ask questions and learn more about how participants prepare and what to expect during the trip in 2020. Past participants and volunteer organizers will be on the call to greet you and share their enthusiasm!

The Summit is planned for June 22-28, 2021, subject to the possibility of ongoing COVID19 restrictions. 
 
Register in advance for this meeting via the button below.
Register for the October 15 Summit Preview Here
Wakayama's Beauty & Poetry

The power and beauty of Wakayama have been espoused by many and even included in Japan's oldest compilation of poetry, the Manyoshu.  Join next year's Wakayama Summit and you will be inspired to write your own poems!

山部赤人 (by Yamabe no Akahito)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamabe_no_Akahito

若の浦に 潮満ちくれば 潟をなみ 
葦辺をさして 鶴鳴き渡る

訳:
和歌の浦に潮が満ちると、干潟ががなくなって
それまでその干潟でエサをついばんでいた鶴の群が
芦が生えている岸辺へ鳴きながら飛んでいくよ

CIE-US Board Member Poetry
A ship lost at sea
Can sail for generations 
When friendship prevails

               -Matt Krebs, CIE-US Board Member

CIE-US Shifts Online with Japan Foundation Funding
 

As COVID forces us to postpone in-person exchanges, CIE-US is moving to online programming this autumn, thanks to a generous $7,000 grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.  Funding from the Foundation's COVID-19 relief program is enabling grassroots exchange organizations like CIE-US carry out innovative activities until they can return to more traditional exchanges. The CIE-US board and family extends a big thanks to CGP!

With this support, CIE-US is planning at least four online events, which are open to Japan-America Grassroots Summit alumni as well as the general public. These tentatively include the following:
  • October 15: "The Future is in Wakayama!  2021 Summit Preview" (online briefing)
  • October (tbc): "A Commander’s View of US-Japan Relations: A Conversation with RADM Jamie Kelly" (webinar, title/participants tbd)
  • November 5: "Family Ties:  US-Japan Relations and the Legacy of Manjiro Nagahama & William Whitfield" (webinar)
  • December (tbc): Japan-America Grassroots Summit Online Reunion
CIE-US’s operations are also supported by corporate and individual donations. Those wishing to donate to CIE-US can do so online via the link below.
Make an Impact - Donate to CIE-US Today
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. 

October 23 @ 8PM EST (October 24 @ 10AM JST): Manjiro:  Drifting, 1841-2020


Join the Japan-America Society of Philadelphia for this dynamic webinar about Manjiro. Manjiro’s epic tale begins in 1841, when, as a teenager, he left his tiny Japanese village on a fishing trip. A violent storm left him shipwrecked and set the course that would lead Manjiro to become the first Japanese person to live in the United States.

In partnership with the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia’s 
JapanPhilly2020 initiative, The Rosenbach will present a special exhibition on Manjiro’s legendary life, featuring holdings from our collection along with partner loans. Highlights include Manjiro’s own illustrated manuscript depicting his world travels, rare letters between Manjiro and the captain who rescued him at sea, and much more.
Details Here

November 5 @ 7PM EDT (November 6 @ 8AM JST): Family Ties:  US-Japan Relations and the Legacy of Manjiro Nagahama & William Whitfield


Join CIE-US and CIE in an unprecedented webinar focused on generations of friendships between the Whitfield and Nagahama families.

Co-sponsored by EngageAsia and the American Friends of the International House of Japan (AFIHJ), this webinar will explore the legacy and lasting impact of the Manjiro-Whitfield family ties and friendship. 
Register for the Webinar Here

The Manjiro and Perry Connection
By Dr. Matthew C. Perry, CIE-US Board Member


World history is not typically changed when a 14-year-old stranded fisherman is rescued by a passing ship, but then Manjiro was not your typical 14-year old.  He and his four older companions had sailed from Japan in January 1841 and unfavorable winds and currents drifted them far from Japan.  They were stranded for six months on a distant island, Torishima, 370 miles south of Tokyo.
 

Torishima with birds as drawn by Manjiro.  

             
Location of Torishima, 370 miles south of Tokyo.
 
A group of sailors from an American whaling ship discovered them on June 27, 1841, while searching the island for turtles.  The ship’s captain, William Whitfield, befriended Manjiro and offered him the opportunity to go to the United States.  Manjiro accepted the offer and arrived in 1843 at the captain’s hometown of Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

Although the Manjiro story is well known to most Japanese, it is not well known to most Americans, at least not to those living outside of Fairhaven.  Captain Whitfield treated Manjiro like a son and became his surrogate father.  In 1846, Manjiro participated in whaling trips and at one point even was involved in the California gold rush.  However, he longed to return to Japan and to see his mother, so in 1851, with money saved from gold mining, he began the long journey home to Japan.

Manjiro traveled to Hawaii on a whaling ship and then traveled on an American merchant ship to the Ryuku Islands.  Manjiro was cast adrift in a small rowboat, but as expected he was arrested and spent time in jail.  But Japan was changing, and his stories of the United States interested Japanese officials.  As Japanese learned about the outside world, they became more interested and respectful of Manjiro, and his status improved from being a prisoner to a respected two-sworded samurai.  He was now allowed to take a second name, which was Nakahama.
           
Occurring simultaneously to the planning of Manjiro’s return to Japan, was the planning made by Commodore Matthew C. Perry to go to Japan to open a port for American ships.  Perry had attempted to learn as much as he could about Japan and its people and contacted whaling ship captains in New Bedford with secret letters for information.  The letters were secret because Perry and the US government did not want England and Russia to know of the planned trip to Japan.  Perry also made several trips to New Bedford and in 1852 inquired about the Japanese man from the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), who had lived in the New Bedford area.  Although this query demonstrates that Perry knew about Manjiro, no contact was made between them, as Manjiro had already returned to Japan.
 
       
       Manjiro’s journal translated to English.
 
       
       Statue of Manjiro 

Japanese leaders were intrigued by Manjiro’s knowledge of the Americans.  Influenced by what they had learned from Manjiro, they were willing to compromise with Perry representing the American government, if it would benefit Japan.  Authorities, however, did not trust Manjiro and thought he might even have been “planted” as a spy.

Manjiro’s role in the negotiations between the USA and Japan in 1853-54 is somewhat vague in American history books, and most books do not mention Manjiro.  Commodore Perry knew nothing of the boy from Fairhaven, who now was a consultant to the Shogunate in Tokyo.  Manjiro provided information about the US and its people, and as a translator for the negotiations between the Japanese and Perry.

Colorful descriptions by some historians of Manjiro listening to negotiations while hiding behind curtains contrast with comments made by Manjiro.  In 1884, thirty years after the negotiations, he was interviewed in Hawaii by his friend Reverend Samuel Damon, editor and publisher of the newspaper, The Friend.  Manjiro modestly stated that during the negotiations between Commodore Perry and the Japanese commissioners he was in Tokyo and was not introduced to any of the officers of the expedition.

Dr. Hiroshi Nakahama, a 4th generation descendant of Manjiro, who died in 2008, wrote many books about Manjiro and his adventures.  Dr. Nakahama believed that Manjiro was not trusted by the Japanese leaders negotiating the Treaty with Perry and was not allowed to directly translate the negotiations.  He was behind the scenes where he could confirm the translations, which were done in Chinese and Dutch.

Because of the secrecy and mistrust that existed in 1854 during the negotiations for the Treaty of Kanagawa, we might never know the full influence that Manjiro Nakahama had on the results.  Most historians agree that his role in speaking positively about Americans was very influential in changing the view that Japanese held about Americans being barbarians.

Manjiro and Perry never met and knew very little about each other, but their individual activities helped to achieve the objective that both were pursuing.  Diplomacy was aided by friendship of the two countries, started by Whitfield and Manjiro.

In 2011, the Cultural Exchange between the US and Japan occurred in the Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku.  Attendees, including descendants of Captain Whitfield and Manjiro Nakahama, had the pleasure to visit Manjiro’s birthplace and his impressive statue in Tosashimizu (a city that includes the town of Nakanohama).  The friendship that exists between the Nakahama and the Whitfield families continues to this day and helps preserve the friendship between our two countries.  This friendly relationship occurs due to the original friendship and compassion displayed by Whitfield and Manjiro.  The descendants consider that their family friendship, that continued during World War II, is the oldest relationship in the world between two families of different origin, race, and culture.  May it long endure!!
 
       
       Captain William Whitfield (1804-1886).

       
       Manjiro Nakahama (1827-1898).



Descendants of Manjiro Nakahama and Captain Whitfield at breakfast in Japan. Left to Right – Scott Whitfield, Asuka Nakamura, Aya Nakamura,
Kyo Nakahama, Morgan Whitfield, Robert Whitfield
 

Peace delegation in Japan in 1939 assembled by Ambassador Grew, married to a Perry.
Image courtesy of Kyo Nakahama from her book, John Manjiro.
ALUMNI CONNECTIONS!

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: manjiro@us-japan.org
Thank you to our sponsors!!
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