JAS Small Business Empowerment Academy (SBEA)

The Society has been a member of Washington State’s Small Business Resiliency Network since late 2020. We started the Small Business Empowerment Academy, a program designed to help Japanese immigrant and Japanese American small and microbusiness owners improve their business operations and become more successful. Participants will learn business fundamentals through webinar courses given in Japanese by business professionals.

What can you gain from the program?

#1 Attend informational webinars from business professionals for free

#2 Choose from a wide variety of courses

#3 Get your questions answered during a live Q&A with the instructor after the webinar

#4 Receive a certificate of completion after taking a predetermined number of courses.

#5 Promote your business on a large scale at the end of the program


A. N.

I watched the recording since I couldn’t participate the day of the webinar. It was nice because if there was a part I didn’t understand, I could watch it again until I understood it. The quizzes were also helpful to solidify my understanding of the material. Furthermore, having examples after learning about the concepts in the lecture made it easy even for beginners to understand the content.

A. L.

The instructor used specific examples to explain the accounting process, which made it easier to understand.

Table of Contents


January 6, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
January 20, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
February 3, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
February 17, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
March 3, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
March 17, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
April 7, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
April 21, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
May 5, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm
June 23, 2023 (Fri)10am -1pm

Webinar Series 2 Schedule

The ABC’s of Farmer’s Market

Fred Harriman


The February session of SBEA’s monthly webinar series will be the fifth in the second season. This month’s topic will be “The ABCs of Farmers’ Markets,” presented by Fred Harriman of the JASSW.

The term “farmers’ market” has a very detailed definition.

In addition to farmers’ markets, there are other ways to open a booth, such as fairs and shows.

Come and join us!

Welcome Shippai!

Yuiko Phillips

Yuiko Phillips

Hifumi Coach Co., Ltd.Certified Professional Coach
Completed Start from “Will” LIFE SHIFT
Happy Talk Trainer

Feeling that there was nothing special about her and that she could not get along with anyone, she spent her childhood drawing pictures and singing songs by herself.

Yuiko moved to the U.S. in 2016. She began living with her large in-law family. With the change surroundings, her mental state deteriorated. She was overwhelmed by the daily routine of raising children and family events. She thought to herself, “I can’t go on like this!” She started to think about moving and starting a business but found herself looking for reasons why she couldn’t do it.

In 2021, she learned of the Hifumi Juku and Coaching School. She started taking coach training courses. She began to express her thoughts and feelings that she had been holding back. She began to experience the joy and peace of mind that comes from working with others.

In 2022, she helped manage an online festival to challenge herself to take on things she thought she couldn’t do. In the midst of further self-exploration, she decided to work as a professional coach and help others.

She currently works as a professional coach. In her private life, she travels to Japan and Yakushima Island and she has recently begun trying van life.

In this course, failure is the source of success. We welcome failure! We will help you to change your way of thinking.

ProgramDateTime (PDT)
Welcome Shippai! Basic1/24/20237 pm ~ 8 pm
Welcome Shippai! Practice session1/31/20237 pm ~ 8 pm

Ask A CPA Anything!

Kanako Matsumoto, CPA, CFE

Nishijin Accounting & Consulting LLC

It’s almost the end of the year! The headache of closing the books and filing taxes is around the corner.

This is the third webinar lecture by Ms. Kanako Matsumoto, a certified public accountant who has assisted many Japanese and Japanese small and micro enterprises and sole proprietorships and is truly Seattle’s go-to person. This popular webinar has been very well received each time.

Attend this session to ask Ms. Matsumoto your questions before tax season starts. This is a great opportunity to ask an accountant any questions you may have.

This year’s course will be centered around answering your questions. If you are registered with SBEA, you will receive a questionnaire. If you are not yet registered with SBEA, please click the link above to register to receive the form.

ProgramDateTime (PDT)
Ask A CPA Anything!12/6/20227 pm ~ 8 pm

Using Translation &Interpretation Services / 通訳と翻訳サービスの活用について

Fred Harriman

Freelance Interpreter

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. Here in the U.S. Fred has continued his career as a professional interpreter.

Businesses are rarely prepared to use Translation and Interpreting Services. Needs seem to arise suddenly, and this leads to time and money wasted. This Webinar will cover the basics of translation and interpreting services, and help the business owner save time and money to communicate effectively.

ProgramDateTime (PDT)
Translation & Interpretation Services11/15/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session11/22/20227 pm ~ 8 pm

Immigration Law 101 / 知らないと損するアメリカの移民法

Joel Paget, Immigration Law Expert

Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC

Joel Paget, Immigration Law Expert

Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC

ProgramDateTime (PDT)
Immigration Law 10110/18/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session10/25/20227 pm ~ 8 pm

Webinar Series 1 Schedule

Courses will be offered on marketing, fundraising, business taxation, diversity, and other essential fundamentals of running a business. Each webinar will be about 60 minutes long.

Accounting 101

Kanako Matsumoto, CPA, CFE

Nishijin Accounting & Consulting LLC

After 20 years in public accounting as a CPA, Kanako has started her own accounting and consulting firm to assist small businesses owned by Japanese immigrants. Most recently she has been assisting these businesses to maneuver through the application process and reporting requirements of the federal and local government pandemic relief grants and loans. She is actively providing timely accounting and tax information via Facebook at @kaikeikakekomidera.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Accounting 1012/15/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 12/22/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 24/5/2022同上
Q&A Session 3TBD

Business and Commercial Banking / Lending 101

Billy Huntley, VP, Sr Business Banker

Umpqua Bank

Billy is a 20 year veteran in the banking industry working exclusively with business owners to help simplify day to day banking, help again access to credit and loans when appropriate, in addition to being responsive and available to his clients.   Billy works hard to truly understand his clients business, how they operate, and their unique needs.   He prides himself on being a “true partner” assisting in helping business owners meet their financial goals.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Business and Commercial Banking / Lending 1013/1/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 13/8/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 2TBD

Business Law and Employment Law

Naoko Inoue Shatz

Shatz Law Group PLLC

Naoko Inoue Shatz, the managing attorney of Shatz Law Group PLLC, is licensed to practice in WA and NY. She focuses her practice in the areas of business and corporate law including M&A, Franchise, IP, Employment and related dispute resolution and civil litigation. She has assisted numerous clients who have businesses overseas as well as WA or NY. She is currently acting as outside general counsel for several companies and Consulate General of Japan in Seattle. Separate from her primary practice, she helps indigent immigrant spouses subject to divorce proceedings as co-founder and the board chair of International Families Justice Coalition (“IFJC”).  Naoko also serves as Ethnic Organization Representative of the WA Supreme Court Interpreter Commission. She has also contributed articles and presented CLE and judicial seminars hosted by various bar associations and organizations and acted as a guest lecturer at law schools.  

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Business Law and Employment Law Part I3/15/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 13/22/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 2TBD
Business Law and Employment Law Part II4/19/20227 pm ~ 8 pm

Resources: Tax Return & Small Business Support Programs

Kanako will give an overview of the small business support measures available on a local, state, and federal level as listed on the Resources Page of the JASSW website. She will also explain about the tax return that is due soon.

Kanako Matsumoto, CPA, CFE

Nishijin Accounting & Consulting LLC

After 20 years in public accounting as a CPA, Kanako has started her own accounting and consulting firm to assist small businesses owned by Japanese immigrants. Most recently she has been assisting these businesses to maneuver through the application process and reporting requirements of the federal and local government pandemic relief grants and loans. She is actively providing timely accounting and tax information via Facebook at @kaikeikakekomidera.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Resources: Tax Return & Small Business Support Programs3/29/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 14/5/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A Session 2TBD

The Basics of Business Insurance

Hitoshi Suwa

Ogishima & Associates Insurance Company

Ogishima & Associates has been in business since 1946. Today, from its Beacon Hill office, the firm handles personal and business insurance products for leading Japanese and American insurance companies. Hitoshi Suwa is one of the few insurance agents who speaks Japanese and has a background of 20 years. He has lived in Washington State for more than 30 years and has earned the trust of his clients as a customer-oriented, responsive agent. 

ProgramDateTime (PST)
The Basics of Business Insurance4/12/20227 pm ~ 8 pm
Q&A SessionTBD7 pm ~ 8 pm

E-Commerce 101

Mari Kuster, CEO

Applause Ballet Company, LLC

Mari has been a dancer for 30 years and worked with the Shiki Theatrical Company and Illusion in Japan before moving to the United States. She then started selling dance equipment in 2001 at the dawn of E-commerce. Even today, she continues to be one of the first brands to introduce European and American products to Japanese users.

The company’s website attracted consumers through advertisements and social media where fans and repeating customers were acquired. She would be happy to share with you the “techniques of attraction” that she uses on a daily basis.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
E-Commerce 101 & Q&A Session5/10/20227 pm ~ 8:30 pm

Cross-Cultural Marketing

Sachiko Akahori Miller Founder & CEO

Market to Japan LLC

Sachiko Akahori Miller has more than 20 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience in both Japan and the US. With her sales & marketing background, she founded MARKET TO JAPAN in 2004 to make international business more accessible to companies who strive to develop products and services to improve people’s everyday lives. MARKET TO JAPAN specializes in cross-cultural business development for small and medium-sized companies in North America and Japan. Sachiko has also developed a brand called “CHERRYSTONE,” which supports Japanese craftsmanship in the North American market and has been developing new product lines that enrich people’s everyday life. 

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Cross-Cultural Marketing & Q&A Session5/24/20227 pm ~ 8:30 pm

DX For Your Business

Mayumi Nakamura Birt, Managing Partner

Ascent Partners, LLC

Born in Japan, Mayumi came to the United States and received her BA and MBA from Portland State University.  She embarked on a 30-year career in software and computer industry, worked for PSP, Inc. where she served as CEO for 10 years before starting the new company, Ascent Partners, LLC in 2020.  Ascent Partners works with business leaders to find their pathway into future through Digital Transformation, developing and implementing their new business with the technology.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Students will receive an assignment5/31/2022
DX For Your Business & Q&A Session6/7/20227 pm ~ 8:30 pm
Assignment due6/14/2022

Cyber Security 101

Toshio Miyazawa

CISSP: Certified Information System Security Professional

Toshio Miyazawa is Colonel of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force specializing in cyber warfare (CISSP: Certified Information System Security Professional).

Background: Toshio has been an officer in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force for 19 years, primarily in the field of information and communications, serving as a cyber unit commander, equipment R&D developer, personnel officer, and future visioning planer. 

Since 2021, as a fellow at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, he is passionately studying the future of command and control, intelligence, cyber warfare, and electronic warfare, the most important aspects of modern warfare, for the Ministry of Defense and Japan Self-defense Force, while learning cutting-edge technologies and operations.

ProgramDateTime (PST)
Cyber Security 1016/21/20227 pm ~ 8:30 pm


List of Our Past Interns

Chihiro MatsuoJune 29, 2022 ~ September 2, 2022
Moena YamakawaJune 29, 2022 ~ August 19, 2022
Jiwoo JungApril 4, 2022 ~ July 31, 2022
Satoshi MikiJune 2022