Until the 1980’s, JASSW was run entirely by volunteers.  Today our staff consists of four full-time professionals and our Board of Directors is headed by an elected Chair and composed of local and state leaders in business, government, education and the arts.


Staff

Dale Watanabe
Executive Director

Dale L. Watanabe was appointed Executive Director in May 2012.  He was born and raised in the south end of Seattle, graduating from Tyee High School.  Watanabe graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and also earned an MBA from Seattle University. He worked for over 20 years with Microsoft as a senior business development manager, before stepping away in 2011. He served as Commander of the Nisei Veterans Committee in 2006 during the initial kickoff of the organization’s $2.5M Capital Campaign to remodel the NVC Memorial Hall, and has served on the NVC Board of Directors since 2004. “I have appreciated the opportunity to be a part of such a well-respected, long-standing organization whose mission it is to foster friendship, cultural exchange, and trade with the land of my ancestors,” says Watanabe. “Japan and U.S. trade, business and cultural exchange are important for many corporations and individuals here and in Japan. I've enjoyed working with and learning from the many JASSW members and volunteers who are dedicated to the mission.”

Akiko Sato
Program & Operations Director
Akiko Sato started as the Japan in the Schools (JIS) coordinator on October 13, 2009, but she got involved with JASSW as a JIS volunteer in 2008. “I love what I do here at Japan America Society, helping to establish an acknowledgement of Japan or Japanese culture in our community. Meeting lots of kind people and getting involved with schools or planning events is a real thrill for me. Talking to young students in a classroom setting is also thoroughly enjoyable. It is truly a pleasure to share what I know about Japan to someone who is interested in my home country!”
Lisa Maria D'Aquila
JIS Coordinator
As a rotary exchange student in high school, and later as a high school English conversation teacher, Lisa Maria has first-hand experience in Japanese Schools. When she heard about the Japan in Schools program, she was very excited to share her experiences with American Students. She joined the Japan in the Schools program as a volunteer in 2004, then as a staff member in December 2012.
Michiko Yoshino
Communications & Social Media Coordinator

Born in Japan and raised in the States, Michiko has had a long relationship with Japan. After spending most of her youth in Seattle, she studied at Middlebury College in Vermont where she spent a year studying abroad at International Christian University in Tokyo and received her Japanese/Sociology undergraduate degree. After graduating, she spent the next four years in Yamagata, Japan as a prefectural Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) for the JET Program. She returned back to Seattle in September 2021 after gaining an appreciation for ryokans, snow, sake, and good food. Although Michiko has lived in various parts of the US and Japan, she considers Seattle her home and is excited to help forge and strengthen international relations between Washington State and Japan.

Asako Tateishi
Small Business Resiliency Program Coordinator

Born in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture of Japan.

After working in Japan as the official race announcer and pit reporter of Suzuka Circuit and Twin Ring Motegi and as an event coordinator & MC, she moved to Orlando, Florida with her one-year-old son and partner, where she started Taiko drumming at Walt Disney World.

After the 2008 financial crisis, she moved to Seattle and founded the microbusiness, “Japan Creative Arts” in 2009 which provided Japanese music, arts and culture mainly though “The School of TAIKO/太鼓の学校”.  In addition, in 2014 she started to produce the “Bellevue World TAIKO Festival” to introduce and promote high quality, unique Japanese culture.

Since its founding, she has been in charge of it all - website production, accounting, grant writing, performance coordination, costume design, etc. - all while working as a Taiko instructor and performer.

She is pleased to take part in this new project to support the community in Japanese, taking advantage of her experience running a small business in the United States as a Japanese immigrant, to surviving the current challenging days due to COVID-19.

Interns

Jiwoo Jung
Jiwoo is a senior from Yonsei University in Seoul, studying theology and English. She spent half a year in Florida as an exchange student and is now interning in Washington State. Growing up in Korea, she used to enjoy Japanese anime and food, and she is interested in taking part in Japan-related programs at JASSW. Jiwoo feels honored to work with capable Japanese/American staff and have the opportunity to learn more and more about Japan and the US. She loves her life in Washington State and looks forward to visiting Japan someday and seeing it for herself.
Chihiro Matsuo
I was born and raised in Nagasaki, Japan and I lived for 5 years in Kanagawa, Tokyo for college. Last September, I came to Seattle as an international student at Seattle Central College to learn the international business. My first involvement with JASSW was through the JIS program as a volunteer. Through this volunteering experience, I got interested in JASSW and decided to intern from the end of June to learn about how to develop the relationship and connections between Japan and other countries.
Satoshi Miki
Satoshi started his involvement with the JASSW in June 2022. He was born in Seattle and later moved to and currently lives in San Franciso, California. He is a rising junior at Wesleyan University and studies East Asian Studies and Economics. He is excited to have to opportunity to experience being a part of the JASSW. He hopes to be able to meet many of the members and partners of JASSW and learn from the talented staff and fellow interns. Satoshi plays baseball at Wesleyan and is a big Mariners fan. His hobbies include photography, cooking, and hiking.
Ellen Uchida
Ellen Uchida got involved with JASSW as an intern in April of 2021. She was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and currently studies finance at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She is happy to dedicate her time helping the Japanese American community and be involved in opportunities that utilize her English/Japanese bilingual skills. She hopes to visit Washington state and visit the JASSW office one day in person. In her free time, she likes to practice karate as pictured in the photo above.
Moena Yamakawa
I was born in Osaka, Japan and grew up in Kyoto. In Japan, I am a junior at Doshisha University, where I am mainly studying the culture and history of the Asia-Pacific region. In the United States, I am studying Global Business and English at Seattle Central College. I have been in Seattle for a year studying abroad and will be returning to Japan this September. I am happy to be able to help connect Japan and Washington State through JASSW, and I hope that I can be a bridge between Japan and the United States in some small way. Furthermore, I hope that I will be able to make use of my experiences here after I return to Japan, and I would like to challenge myself in a variety of different ways. In the future, I would like to work in a job where I can always be involved with foreign countries in some way.


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