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.

Office 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.”

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.

Tobi McCann
Program Coordinator

Originally from Phoenix, Tobi McCann moved to Seattle in 2020 to live in a more international hub - determined to explore opportunities with a strong connection to Japan. They have always been passionate about Japanese language and culture, studying Japanese in their free time as a student. During college, they worked part-time at the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix as event and office staff, helping to coordinate public events that teach and celebrate Japanese culture. They hope to share the excitement and love for Japan they feel with others and hope to inspire a deeper understanding of Japan and its culture.

Education Staff

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.
Elizabeth Lee
Programs Coordinator

Elizabeth commits herself to bridging communities. She has been an Academic Adviser for first-year Whitman College students, English Teacher for over 4,000 Japanese students on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, Project Coordinator at the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington, and Board Member of the Japan Arts Connection Lab (JACLab),  Currently, she is a fifth-year Japanese teacher at South Kitsap High School and is excited to be back with the Society as a remote program coordinator. Her other interests include onsen, theater, and karaoke.

SBEA Staff

Fred Harriman
Interpreting & Translations

フレッド・ハリマンは1977年から1994年まで静岡県浜松市にてプロの日本語とスペイン語翻訳・通訳者として活動していました。 現在はここアメリカで引き続きプロの通訳者として活躍しています。

Fred Harriman has worked as a professional interpreter and translator of Japanese and Spanish since the time he lived in Hamamatsu City of Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan from 1977 to 1994. During his years in Hamamatsu with his wife Takayo he participated in the local community as a father of 2 daughters and a son-in-law to Takayo’s Mom and Dad. He also worked in local radio and television as well as volunteering to translate and interpret for the local non-Japanese community.

Here in the U.S. Fred has continued his career as a professional interpreter. He has also worked many years recently as a contract interpreter for the US Department of State – handling DoS program work, ceremonies, conferences, and military interpreting work. He is also registered by the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts as an Interpreter of Japanese.

Fred remarked for this profile: “Japanese people have shown me patience and kindness throughout my life. My fellow Americans can learn much from Japanese culture and the Japanese worldview, and I hope I can play a role in bringing those to the Pacific Northwest."

Miki Smith
Small Business Resiliency Program Coordinator




Hi! My name is Miki Smith. I’m from Funabashi, Japan. I will be in charge of helping Japanese immigrant and Japanese-American owners of small businesses and microbusiness owners  with their business operations in Washington. Since I arrived in Washington in 2015, I have wanted to work as a bridge between Japan and the United States. It is an honor to be able to do this work at JASSW, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Since 2020, JASSW has partnered with the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Washington State Small Business Recovery Working Group to stay up-to-date with the newest information regarding small business support. Feel free to contact me! I look forward to helping you.

Past SBEA Staff: Kiersten Zugg, Asaka Tateishi


Christie Jung

Christie was born in the States, raised in Southeast Asia, and completed her undergraduate degree in Japan. She currently attends the University of Washington as an MA student in the Japan Studies program. Having lived in and experienced many different cultures, Christie is interested in cross-cultural exchange, history, and language learning.

KyungYoung Kim

KyungYoung was born and raised in Seoul. She is majoring in Japanese interpretation and translation at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and currently participating in the WEST program organized by the Korean government. The reason why she chose her major is because she always wanted to know more about other countries and wanted to be a bridge between culture and other cultures. As an intern, she is passionate about communicating with many people around the world and contributing to society, so she wants to make a good impact during her stay at JASSW.

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.

List of Past Interns


List of Our Past Interns

Koki MatsumuraJanuary 23, 2023 ~ March 30, 2023
Harin ParkOctober 3, 2022 ~ January 20, 2023
Chihiro MatsuoJune 29, 2022 ~ September 2, 2022
Moena YamakawaJune 29, 2022 ~ August 19, 2022
Jiwoo JungApril 4, 2022 ~ July 31, 2022
Satoshi MikiJune 2022
Isami February 24, 2020 ~ April 3, 2020
RioFebrary 3, 2020 ~ Febrary 27, 2020
DaichiFebruary 3, 2020 ~ February 27, 2020
Tomohiro IshiiJanuary 2020 ~ February 2020
Naoki KokubuNovember 1, 2019 ~ 
Randy UnJuly 2019 ~ September 2019
Tomomi July 1, 2019 ~September 13, 2019
Nanami KikuchiAug 7, 2019 ~ August 30, 2019
ChirikoJuly 2019 ~
Misako SatoJuly 22, 2019 ~
Kana KitahamaFebruary 6, 2019 ~ April 30, 2019
Aya OgataFebruary 1, 2019 ~ February 26, 2019
Yuno TanifujiJanuary 28, 2019 ~ March 30, 2019
Shari MonsonOctober 2018 ~ Febrary 2019
Midori NakanoAugust 16, 2018 ~ August 31, 2018
Hiroki IshiiJune 26, 2018 ~ August 31, 2018
Yuka MuroiFebruary 7, 2018 ~ March 2, 2018
Lee Hyung WooFebrary 2018 ~ June 2018
Nao MiyamotoJanuary 28, 2018 ~ April 1, 2018
Hitomi Kase January 2018 ~
Ryoko YamamotoOctober 11, 2017 ~
Raymond SimOctober, 2017 ~
Chihiro KurokawaOctober 9, 2017 ~ December 1, 2017
Tomomi TsukadaAugust 25, 2017 ~ September 13, 2017
Shohgo MiuraJuly 6, 2017 ~ 
Jumpei AsakuraEnd of February 2017 - Mid-March 2017