UPDATED:  February 27, 2011 10:42 PM
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JAVA Co-Hosts 2 Educational Events

Washington–The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) participated in two events during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in this capital.

On April 2, it co-sponsored with the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation the 13th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk. On April 9, JAVA partnered with Japan American Society of WDC (JASW) in its 51st Sakura Matsuri festival, held in six blocks on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Reuben Yoshikawa, succeeding long-time JAVA chair Dr. Tsuneishi, said the events were important because they educate the American public on the Japanese American story.

The events were subdued, due to the Japan disaster. The festival marks the 99th anniversary of the gift of cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

JAVA’s booth, provided free by the JASW, consisted of hand-outs of literature pertaining to internment, the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, and Japanese Americans who served in the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

The festival drew 150,000 visitors. Participating were 30 food and product vendors of Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. It featured Japanese culture and the new Sakura Science Pavilion, where kids learned about Japan’s latest technology.

On sale at the booth were JAVA’s book, “American Patriots: MIS in the War against Japan,” edited by Dr. Stanley Falk and the late Dr. Warren Tsuneishi; “Hello Maggie” by Shig Yabu, and Aki Konoshima’s “What Pearl Harbor Wrought.” Konoshima donated proceeds to the Japan relief effort. Docents, comprised of veterans of WW II, Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars, responded to visitors’ questions.

This fall, the Congressional Gold Medal will be awarded to members of the 100th, 442nd and the MIS. JASW featured two JAVA veterans in its program, Grant Ichikawa (MIS) and Terry Shima (442nd) to relate their experiences in the MIS and the 442nd.and the Medal’s significance the Japanese American community.

Supporting JAVA’s education program were: Dr. Raymond Murakami, Grant Ichikawa, Dr. Stanley Falk; Lt. Col. Alan Ueoka, USA; LtC. Mike Yaguchi, USAF (Ret); Noriko Sanfuji, Robert Nakamoto, Aki Konoshima, LtC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret), and Betty Taira. JAVA President Gerald Yamada, and immediate past president Bob Nakamoto also participated as docents.

“Over the past decade, the Sakura Matsuri has grown ten times. It takes almost 4,000 people to put on this great show, the biggest Japanese festival in America,” said Ambassador John R. Malott, JASW president and CEO.

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