32nd “Award of Honor” Gala

October 20, 2018 at San Francisco Marriott Marquis

Thank you to everyone who attended our 32nd Annual Awards Gala!

Stay tuned for 2019 Gala information

For more than 100 years, the Japan Society of Northern California has fostered collaboration and understanding between the United States and Japan by providing Northern Californians with a range of language, cultural and business programming and opportunities for fellowship. The programming has varied through the years but the mission to foster understanding and collaboration between Japan and the United States remains unchanged.

October 20, 2018 the Japan Society held its 32nd Annual Award of Honor Gala at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The gala is our signature event of the year attended by a wide range of Americans and Japanese from business, government, the arts, academia and the community who share a strong commitment to close ties between the United States and Japan.

2018 Award Honorees:


Mr. Hiroaki Nakanishi

Executive Chairman, Hitachi LTD


Honorable William Perry

Former United States Secretary of Defense

2018 Award of Honor Recipient:

Hiroaki Nakanishi started his career with Hitachi in April 1970 as an engineer in computer system design for industrial applications, such as railway, automotive, steel manufacturing, power, public utility services. He has had rich experiences in USA and Europe while serving in various positions, such as computer system designer, regional sales representative and CEO of the hard disc drive company, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. He was appointed President of Hitachi Ltd. in 2010, just after the financial crisis. He achieved Hitachi’s global transformation through focusing on “Social Innovation Business,” that is, Digital transformation promotion and support business for various industries. In 2014, he became Executive Chairman of Hitachi Ltd. and has been actively proposing the new national concept,
“Society 5.0” to apply technology to help implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He was appointed Chairman of Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Tokyo with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Stanford University.


2018 Award of Honor Recipient:

William J. Perry’s career has spanned academia, industry, entrepreneurship, government, and diplomacy. After serving as the 19th Secretary of Defense for the United States from February 1994 to January 1997, founding the William J. Perry Project in to educate the public on the dangers of nuclear weapons, and publishing his autobiography My Journey at the Nuclear Brink in 2015, Perry is currently Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. He received a B.S. and M.S from Stanford, and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State, all in mathematics.

Perry has also won numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1997), the Knight Commander of the British Empire (1998), the Eisenhower Award (1996), the Marshall Award (1997), the Forrestal Medal (1994), the Henry Stimson Medal (1994), and the Arthur Bueche Medal (1996). 

Special Guest Entertainer – Mai Fujisawa

Mai Fujisawa is a Japanese singer and lyricist born in Tokyo. She made her debut on screen at the age of 4, singing Nausicäa Requiem (featured in today’s concert), from her father Joe Hisaishi’s soundtrack to Studio Ghibli’s earliest film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Her parents are both graduates of Kunitachi College of Music.

She recorded her first album, Mai, in Sweden and the Czech Republic. In 2012, she sang the opening theme of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II and joined the United Nations Singers as a guest singer for their Japan tour. She later joined them again in 2015 as a singer and producer when they toured Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the UN’s 70th memorial year.  She sang and wrote lyrics for an American documentary about World War II called Paper Lanterns, with music by American composer, Chad Cannon.  She wrote and sang the ending theme song for Ojarumaru, a popular anime TV show and also sang the main theme for Clouds Above the Hill, a long-running  NHK historical drama series.

Mai Fujisawa has been contributing to the revitalization of rural towns through the power of music and has served as a goodwill ambassador for Nakano City, Nagano Prefecture while also producing, writing and performing theme songs for cities and schools. Currently, she is on tour with “Joe Hisaishi Symphonic Concert: Music from the Studio Ghibli Films of Hayao Miyazaki” as a solo vocalist, playing a key role in its successful productions in Paris, Melbourne, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.  The tour will continue to Carnegie Hall in New York in November and to Europe in 2019.



San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission Street, San Francisco, California, 94103

2018 Gala Sponsors





Jim & Becky Morgan


Annual Gala


Ambassador John & Susie Roos


Eriko Sekiya

Glen S. & Sakie T. Fukushima

Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California

John Thomas/Bill Fuller

Jon Metzler/Michi Kaifu

Morrison & Foerster

Nikon Corporation

Nobuko Saito Cleary


Squire Patton Boggs 

Tateuchi Foundation

Thomas Brunner / Glaucoma Research Foundation

Individual Sponsors

Frequency Therapeutics

Takenaka Corporation

Buck Gee/Mary Hackenbracht

Dana Buntrock

Dr. Richard B. Dasher

David Makman

Kathleen & Kozo Kimura

Gerald & Keiko Horkan

Leigh Wasson

Marsha Vande Berg

Paul Yonamine

Savonix, Inc.

Shin & Yumiko Sano

Stefan Williams

Yoshiaki Tojo

Tracy Gopal

Rochelle Kopp (Japan Intercultural Consulting LLC)

Norio Nakazawa (JETRO)

Steve Pollock

Howard Hoover

Past Award Galas

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