As I continue on my own cultural journey as a yonsei, fourth-generation Japanese American woman, leading a 35 year old Japanese cultural institution in Los Angeles, I finally have a moment to catch my breath and take stock of the last few months. Early on, Hirokazu Kosaka (JACCC artistic director and my sensei, teacher) taught me about yoin, the Japanese word for resonance or reverberation. I’ve reflected on this concept many times. Our hope is that JACCC cultural programs incite yoin, that visitors come to the JACCC to see a taiko, dance or music performance, visit the Japanese Garden, dance on the Noguchi plaza, jam on your ukulele, or experience ikebana, calligraphy or a tea ceremony, and that they go home enriched in spirit and soul, a feeling that reverberates, resonance that only culture and the arts can achieve.
Today, as we fly over the Pacific Ocean, we embark on a journey to strengthen our ties with Japanese colleagues, people-to-people, using arts and culture as the best translator. JACCC was founded 35 years ago with the understanding that arts and cultural diplomacy would help strengthen ties between the two countries and what better way then to showcase Japan and bring the best of Japanese arts and culture to American audiences—everything from the traditional to what’s popular now. Today, the popularity and influence that Japan and Japanese culture has on America and the world is powerful – it’s not just sushi and karaoke anymore, but influences in design, culinary, fashion, gaming, technology and so much more. Yet, sometimes those influences are so subtle or so engrained in American and global culture that it goes unnoticed. JACCC is the perfect multi-disciplinary venue for shedding light on these contributions.
I imagine the concentric circles after a stone is tossed in a pond and I look forward to the reverberations that this board-funded trip to Japan has on JACCC as we seek new partners, ideas and supporters. And for me, personally, I plan to soak in the culture—both the familiar and the unfamiliar, to observe the traditional and contemporary design elements and the impeccable customer service in hopes of integrating them into our work back home, and of course, I look forward to the culinary delights!