Historical Timeline

1930: First Official meeting at the Palmer House Hilton. Close ties with the Art Institute are established, as they designed the first logo

1930 first meeting

1931: First formal event of the Society, dinner at the Grand Ball Room in the Palmer House Hilton for the Japanese Prince and Princess Takamatsu

1931 prince and princess takamatsu

1958: Luncheon for Ambassador Koichiro Asakai

1958 luncheon for koichiro asakai

1960: Reception for Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko

1960 crown prince

1965: Seiji & Kyoko Ozawa receive honorary membership in the Japan America Society of Chicago  at an afternoon concert at Ravinia

1965 Seiji & Kyoko Ozawa

1979: Reception for his Excellency Nobuhiko Ushiba, Minister of State for External Economic Affairs

1979 Nobuhiko Ushiba

1988: Dinner for Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, with over 900 attendees

1988 prime minister noboru takeshita

1999: Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, with an attendance of 1,000

1999 Keizo Obuchi-1

2000: The Society hosts the John Manjiro Grassroots Summit, with over 300 Japanese participants

2000 Manjiro

2001: “Revival of the Japanese Economy” presented by Taichi Sakaiya, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan

2001 Taichi Sakaiya

2002: “The Future of Japan’s Economy” featuring Mr. Minoru “Ben” Makihara, Chairman Mitsubishi Corporation, Vice Chairman, Nippon Keidanren (The Japan Business Federation)

2002 Minoru Ben Makihara

2003: U.S.-Japan 150 Festival

2003 150 years

2004: “The Toyota Vision: Challenges and Realization” business executive luncheon featuring Yoshimi Inaba, Senior Managing Director, Toyota Motors Japan

2004 Toyota Vision Yoshimi Inaba

2005: Member Reception featuring Mr. Glenn Tilton, Chairman & CEO, United Airlines

2005 Glenn Tilton

2006: “Elvis Has Left the Building: Goodbye Mr. Koizumi and Welcome Mr. Abe” presented by Gerald Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

2006 Gerald Curtis

2006: “Sticking to the Fundamentals-How to Manage” featuring Mark A. Emkes, Chairman & CEO, Bridgestone Americas Holding

2006 Mark Emkes Bridgestone

2007: “The Only Woman in the Room: A Memoir” by Beate Sirota Gordon

2007 Beate Sirota Gordon

2007: Member Reception featuring The Honorable Norman Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Commerce (2000-2001) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2001-2006)

2007 Norman Mineta

2008: Michael R. Lufrano, Senior Vice President, Community Affairs and General Counsel, Chicago Cubs “The International Past Time: Traditions and Connections between Baseball, Japan and Wrigley Field.

2008 Michael Kufrano

2008: “Japan’s Structural Reform: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” presented by Professor Heizo Takenaka, Keio University and former Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications and Minister of State for the Privatization of Postal Services in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

2008 Heizo Takenaka

2009: 79th Annual Dinner-Japanese Designs: From Eyeglasses to Artificial Organ Technology by Dr. Kazuo Kawasaki, Design Director & Doctor of Medical Science, Osaka University

2009 79th annual dinner kazuo kawasaki


Click below to see the Japan America Society of Chicago 80th Anniversary Video                      https://drive.google.com/file/d/12LNEui6DidLMjo59TZ5rPd9iB0K3-1lN/view?usp=sharing

2010: “The Challenges and Opportunities for Japan in a Rapidly Changing World” featuring Yasuchika Hasegawa, President & Chief Executive Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited Japan

2010 Yasuchika Hasegawa

2010: Board of Governors Annual Dinner: “The Paths I have Followed-A Physicist’s Story” featuring Dr. Yoishiro Nambu, The Harry Pratt Judson Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago, Recipient of the  2008 Nobel Prize in Physics

2011: 25th Annual Holiday Fundraiser & Bonenkai-“Transition Metal Catalysis for Saving Our Society in the 21st Century” featuring Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi, Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Purdue University & recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

2011 Bonenkai 2011 ei-chi negishi 2

2011: 81st Anniversary Celebratory Dinner “The U.S.-Japan Relationship at the Asian Development Bank” featuring Ambassador Robert M. Orr, U.S. Executive Director to the Asian Development Bank

2011 81st annual dinner 2

2012: 82nd Anniversary Celebratory Dinner-“The Impact of March 11 on U.S.-Japan Relations and the Challenges Ahead” featuring Ambassador Rust M. Deming, Adjunct Professor of Japan Studies, Johns Hopkins University and Former Director of the office of Japanese Affairs

2012 Rust M. Deming

2012: “Japan and U.S. Economy Forecast in 2013” featuring Masaaki Kanno, Managing Director and Head of Economic Research, J.P. Morgan Japan

2012 Masaaki Kanno 1

2013: “Taking the “A” Train: Tokyo to Chicago” presented by Michael Fisch, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago and Daniel Gornstein, Manager of Engineering Planning, Nippon Sharyo Engineering and Marketing

2013 taking the a train

2013: “The TOMODACHI Generation: Investing in the NEXT Generation of U.S.-Japan Relations”? Featuring Suzanne I. Basalla, Former Senior Advisor to Ambassador Roos, U.S. Embassy Tokyo & Executive Vice President, U.S.-Japan Council

2013 Suzanne Basalla

2014: 84th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner. “Hope to Fight Against Cancer: Why I Moved From Chicago to Japan” featuring Dr. Yusuke Nakamura, Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology; Professor of Surgery & Deputy Director, Center for Personalized Therapeutics, The University of Chicago


2015: The Society hosts the first Illinois Japan Bowl at North Central College


2015: 85th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner

“The TPP Agreement: A Defining Moment in U.S.-Japan Relations and American Politics” featuring Ambassador Ira Shapiro, Chairman of the Board-National Association of Japan America Societies, Former Clinton Administration official at USTR: General Counsel, Ambassador and Chief trade negotiator with Japan and Canada

85th - JASC-6-11-15 -18

2016: Trains, Planes & Automobiles: Current and Future Trends in the Transportation Industry in Japan and the U.S.

Koki Konishi, Managing Officer & Chief Officer, Technical Administration Group, Toyota Motor Corporation; Hiroyuki Idei, Executive Vice President, Nippon Sharyo U.S.A., Inc.; David Yamada, Manager Engineering and Marketing Support, Nippon Sharyo U.S.A., Inc. & Grant Crampton, Chief of Staff, IT Infrastructure, The Boeing Company


2016: 86th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner

“The Case for Trade Between the United States and Japan”

Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer, Ambassador to Japan (2005-2009)


2017: “Japanese Products in American Homes: TOTO’s Corporate Strategy in the U.S.” featuring Kazuo Sako, President & CEO, TOTO Americas Holdings & TOTO USA, Inc., Josina Morita, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner & Tobias Harris, Vice President, Japan, Teneo Intelligence


2017: “The Trump Administration and U.S.-Japan Relations,” featuring Glen S. Fukushima, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, Former Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan and China & Former President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

2018: “Japanese Economy: Successful Recovery, Challenges, Foreign Policy, and U.S. Relations” featuring Shujiro Urata, Dean and Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University

2018: “Improved Sustainability: A Look into Japan’s Eco-House Design” featuring Hikaru Kobayashi, Professor, Keio University and Yasushi Ikeda, Professor, Keio University

2019:  Abenomics in 2019 featuring Motoshige Itoh, a former member of the advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe & Emeritus of the University of Tokyo

2019: “U.S. – Japan Relations in 2019” 89th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner featuring keynote speaker Marc Knapper, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan & member of the Senior Foreign Service, U.S. Department of State

2021: The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago: Perspectives on the U.S. Economy featuring Charles Evans, President & Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

2021 historical timeline

2021: A New Presidential Year: An Update on U.S.-Japan Relations During a Pandemic featuring Professor Fumiaki Kubo, University of Tokyo; Glen Fukushima, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and Cecile Shea, Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Global Security & Diplomacy, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

2021 historical timeline

2022: Update on Japan: From Business to the Economy OMRON: Creating Social Value through Business and Contributing to Society & The Future of the Japanese Economy featuring Nigel Blakeway, Chairman & CEO, OMRON Management Center of America, Inc. and Edward J. Lincoln, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University


2022: Annual Update on U.S.-Japan Relations and Post Pandemic Japan and the Great Power Competition & “The U.S.-Japan Alliance: the View from Washington” featuring Hiroyuki Akita, Commentator, Nikkei and Emma Chanlett-Avery, Specialist in Asian Affairs, Congressional Research Service

90th Anniversary Sponsors


Jean & Jim McClung


Barnes & Thornburg

Joyce Chelberg


Terri & Ed Grant

Jane & David Johnson

Suzanne & Michael Moskow

Ann & Stephen Potter


Kirkland Ellis
Mayer Brown

93rd Annual Program Sponsors

Mayer Brown

Joyce Chelberg

Edward A. Grant

Bradley J. Hamm

David D. Johnson

Kirkland Ellis

Jean & Jim McClung

Suzanne & Michael Moskow

Ann & Stephen Potter