27th Award of Honor Gala

November 16, 2013

Shinya Yamanaka, Margrit Biever Mondavi and Kenzo Tsujimoto

On November 16, 2013, Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) will be holding its biggest fund-raiser event of the year, the 27th Annual Gala at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. This year, the JSNC will recognize Dr. Shinya Yamanaka’s groundbreaking research and 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with its World Visionary Award. We will also bestow both Margrit Mondavi of Mondavi Winery and Kenzo Tsujimoto of Kenzo Estate with its Award of Honor for their respective contributions to the wine industry.

The Recipients

Award of Honor Recipient

Shinya Yamanaka, PhD

Award of Honor Recipient

Margrit Biever Mondavi

Award of Honor Recipient


Kenzo Tsujimoto


  • VIP Reception: 5:30 pm
  • General Reception: 6:00 pm
  • Dinner Program: 7:15 pm


The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

World Visionary Award Recipient: Shinya Yamanaka, PhD

Dr. Yamanaka (山中 伸弥) is a Senior Investigator and the L.K. Whittier Foundation Investigator in Stem Cell Biology at the Gladstone Institutes. At Gladstone, he conducts research at the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center. Dr. Yamanaka is also a Professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco, as well as the Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and at Kyoto University, Japan.

In 2012, Dr. Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that adult somatic cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells. By introducing the genes for four factors that turn genes on and off, he induced the skin cells of adult mice to become like embryonic stem cells, which he called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Dr. Yamanaka has received many awards and honors, including the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Millennium Technology Award, the Shaw Prize, the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology, the Gairdner International Award, the Robert Koch Award and the March of Dimes Prize.

Dr. Yamanaka earned an MD from Kobe University in 1987 and a PhD from Osaka City University in 1993. From 1987 to 1989, he was a resident at the National Osaka Hospital. From 1993 to 1996, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Gladstone.

Award of Honor Recipient: Margrit Biever Mondavi

Margrit Biever Mondavi is Vice President of Cultural Affairs at Robert Mondavi Winery, which she joined in 1967, pursuing a life-long interest in uniting wine with fine arts, music and culinary artistry.  Under her direction, Robert Mondavi Winery developed original cultural and culinary arts programs that are now benchmarks for the wine world.

Married to Robert Mondavi from 1980 until his passing in 2008, Margrit traveled with him around the world.  Upholding the family’s philosophy that all the arts contribute to an enhanced quality of life, the couple worked together as founding patrons of Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.  Margrit played a key role in securing the downtown Napa location for the center, which opened in November 2001, sparking the artistic life of the city.  Also in 2001, she and Robert made a substantial personal gift to the University of California at Davis to establish the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and to launch the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in October 2002.

Award of Honor Recipients:  Kenzo Tsujimoto

Mr. Tsujimoto (辻本憲三) is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Capcom, Co. Ltd. and Chairman of Capcom U.S.A., Inc., as well as owner of Kenzo Estate.  For over three decades, Mr. Tsujimoto’s business and charitable endeavors have served to strengthen the bonds between Japan and Northern California.

Growing up in Nara, Mr. Tsujimoto joined the family food wholesaling business while studying accounting in his spare time.  At the age of 22, he left the family business to open his own confectionary store in Osaka, and soon was also selling cotton candy machines.  In the early 1970s Mr. Tsujimoto added coin-operated game machines to his distribution business, which by then had expanded throughout Japan, and was able to capitalize on the growing popularity of arcade video games.

In 1983 Mr. Tsujimoto founded the company that would become Capcom, now one of the world’s most successful video game publishers, in Osaka.  Within a few years the company had achieved international success through development of original games like “Street Fighter” and “Mega Man,” and in 1985 Capcom opened its first overseas subsidiary, which was originally located in Sunnyvale (since relocated to San Mateo).  Capcom stock was registered as an OTC security with the Japan Securities Dealers Association in 1990, and listed on the First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2000.

2014 Gala Sponsors

Japan Society Strategic Partner
VIP Reception Host


Allen & Michiko Miner



Hiro Ogawa, in memory of
Betty Jean Ogawa


Hiro Ogawa, in memory of
Betty Jean Ogawa


Bank of the West – BNP Paribas

David & Fumiko Hoeft

Gerald & Keiko Horkan

Bill & Yuko Hunt



Individual Sponsors

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

BNY Mellon Wealth Management

Barbara K. Bundy

Richard B. Dasher

Fiduciary Trust International

Glen & Sakie Fukushima

Mary & Thomas Haak-Frendscho

George Hayashi

Howard Hoover

Kathleen Kimura, MBE

Susan Kobayashi & Chuck Han

Law Office of Joanna Kozubal and David Buckley dba Anthony Construction

Tony & Pat Ley

Terry & Keiko Marsh

Isao ‘Steve’ Matsuura

Michael McKechnie, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Shin Nakahara

New People, Inc., Seiji Horibuchi, President & CEO

Robert E. Obana

Allen & Pat Okamoto

Thierry & Yasko Porte

Lon Saavedra, Founding CEO, The Hakone Foundation

Salad Cosmo USA Corp.

Emily J. Sano

SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation

Tsuyoshi Taira, Tazan International

Joyce & John R. Thomas

Tom & Akemi Woofter

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka & Chika Yamanaka

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