2017 Summer party (June 18)

This June 18 th , the Japan-Minnesota Association Summer Party was held at Josui Hall in Takebashi. Altogether, 44 members joined the event.

As usual, the party was divided into two parts. In the first part, Ms. Maya Inoue, the representative director and president of a theater company called “Komatsu-za”, gave a wonderful speech. Ms. Inoue is the third daughter of the late Mr. Hisashi Inoue, who was a well-known writer and playwright.


We asked her to discuss various topics that passed on her father’s memory, such as the meeting with Mr. Yoji Yamada, who is a famous movie director and director of “Haha to Kuraseba (Living with your Mother)”. Ms. Inoue also showed us her father’s works and expressed that she had struggled to sow the seeds of the stories that her father had left behind for future generations. Additionally, she shared some of the interesting secrets behind the production of “Haha to Kuraseba”. During her presentation, she emphasized the importance of passing on our thoughts and sentiments to the next generation. During the second part of the event, we enjoyed the cuisine at Josui Hall while socializing. Over the course of the event, many multi-generational exchanges took place, which was a pleasure to see.

The 9th Big Ten Golf tournament (April 16)

The Minnesota team’s results are…?
I believe that many people know of a tournament called the “Sports Conference”, where fourteen major mid-western American universities, referred to as the “Big Ten”, compete
together. In 2009, eight years ago, the focused turned to Japanese graduates from Purdue and the University of Illinois, and the Big Ten golf tournament began in Japan.


The 9 th Big Ten Friendship Golf Tournament’s 23 participants from 7 of the Big Ten schools were blessed with a beautiful day for golf on Sunday, April 16 th at the Yamada Golf Club in Chiba Prefecture. This year’s 7 participating schools were Indiana, Michigan,
Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. From the Minnesota Association, the six members (names:) were entered into the competition, which was the largest number of participants ever.


The competition rules and rank were based on the team competition and individual score calculations using the New Peoria method (a type of handicap calculation), so each school’s team competition ranking was determined by calculating the total net score of their top three players. After the competition, the player’s impressions were that it was not easy to score points considering the distance to each hole, the fairway slant, the spring season’s late green, and so on.

Michigan State’s outstanding performance could be seen in both the individual and team competitions. In the individual competition the 1 st and 2 nd rankings were monopolized, but Minnesota narrowly hung onto the 3 rd rank. The overall victory went to Michigan State, who went on to win the prize, with the University of Minnesota behind at a difference of 3.4 points, followed by the University of Indiana at a difference of 4.8 points.
Although we couldn’t expect to continue last year’s consecutive victory, the Minnesota team remained strong.


The 10 th tournament is scheduled to take place this year on a weekday in November at the course proposed to host the Olympic tournament, Kasumigaseki Country Club. The Minnesota Association appreciates everyone’s participation and continued support.

Ohanami(cherry blossom) Party 2017, April 2

On Sunday April 2nd, 2017, the Japan Minnesota Association (JMA) hosted its annual Ohanami, or cherry blossom viewing party, in Inogashira Park, located in western Tokyo. This event is always highly anticipated, as it is a great chance for members to get together and enjoy each-others company while picnicking under the unique beauty of the impermanent sakura blooms. This year over 40 members gathered for yet another unforgettable JMA Ohanami.

Inogashira Park is a go-to place for cherry blossom viewing, boasting around 500 sakura trees, many of which surround the central pond. Despite this year’s unusual cold snap, the park was covered in the unmistakable sakura pink in the form of opening buds and new flowers. It was the perfect setting for this year’s JMA Ohanami. Everybody gathered at a spot near the pond, right along a line of trees, and enjoyed a huge potluck-style spread— members shared homemade chirashi-zushi, niku-jaga, and many other traditional foods and snacks. Matusmori-san, one of the planning contributors, began the party with a kanpai!, or “cheers!”, to another great year together.

One impressive feature about the annual Ohanami is the diversity present in the group, and this certainly remained the case at this year’s event. There are many connections to Minnesota in this group, some of which date back to times long before the University of Minnesota’s Washington Avenue Bridge had a roof. This event is a chance for families, study abroad students, both young and experienced professionals, and many others to get together; it is a cherished opportunity for members to share memories of Minnesota and to stay connected to our experiences or roots.

One of the participants, Abbey Burtis, a study abroad student at Hitotsubashi University from University of Minnesota said “Ohanami was delightful! It was a pleasure to meet others connected to the University, share traditional Japanese food and enjoy the beautiful Sakura. I look forward to the next event hosted by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Tokyo Chapter”.

As the event came to a close, Yamaguchi-san announced the details of the upcoming Summer Party which is scheduled to be held on June 18th, 2017, at Josui Kaikan. Finally, members gathered for a commemorative photo, holding the University of Minnesota Alumni Association flag with the beautiful sakura blooms serving as a gorgeous backdrop. The 2017 JMA Ohanami event was a great success and we look forward to next year and other upcoming JMA events in Tokyo.
(Reported by Alex Ehret)


"Employee Engagement" seminar by Dr. Kenneth Bartlett (Jan 17)

The seminar was held at 19:00 in January 17th, at the seminar room of Tohmatsu Innovation, Yurakucho.


Professor Kenneth Bartlett in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), University of Minnesota provided the great presentation, "Employee Engagement", which is the pretty popular topic in Japan as well as US.


The approximated 30 participants joined the seminar and exchanged some questions and comments with Dr. Bartlett in a passionated mode. The presentation consists of several sections, and he introduced the research results of Employee Engagement rate from the comparison between Japanese and US employees in each country.


After the seminar, some participants, Dr. Bartlett and his wife joined the late dinner, and continued to share some thoughts of the seminar and other topics. The participants gave the good feedback about the seminar and the members arranging this seminar had the very delightful time.


Although Dr. Bartlett made first his visit to Japan as the presenter, he was quite impressed with Japanese culture and enjoyed some time with his wife in Tokyo. We are looking forward to having another opportunities to boost exchanges with him in the future.


Dr. Bartlett's Profile