33rd “Award of Honor” Gala

Thank you for attending!

About the Gala

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.

On November 23, 2019 the Japan Society held its 33rd Annual Award of Honor Gala at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco. 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.

Black tie-optional.


2019 Award of Honor Recipients:

Carl Pascarella, who headed Visa USA as CEO and President from 1993-2005, is currently Executive Adviser at TPG Capital where he focuses on financial service and technology. He is also an angel investor and has enabled many Silicon Valley and international entrepreneurs, including from Brazil, China, Europe and Southeast Asia, to achieve success in the financial technology area.

Mr. Pascarella has had an expansive career in financial services and investing. As President & Chief Executive Officer of Visa U.S.A. Inc. he led the launch of the debit card product, which remains the pervasive product in the US today, globally positioned Visa as the world’s premier payment brand and established partnerships with major arts and athletics organizations. Before assuming that position, he was President & CEO of Visa Asia Pacific Limited and Director of the Board based in Singapore and Tokyo, where he built Visa into the top payment system in Asia, introducing electronic payments products and infrastructure into many Asian markets for the first time, including in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Korea.

In 1984 Mr. Pascarella moved Visa’s headquarters to Tokyo where he spent the next five years establishing Visa as the market leader in payment services in the booming Japanese market. By leveraging Visa’s vast global reach with the rapidly expanding world-wide footprint of Japanese business, Visa became the pre-eminent payment system throughout Asia and globally. In addition, as Asia President and CEO, Mr. Pascarella negotiated an agreement between Visa and the National Olympic Committee in Korea that resulted in Visa’s global sponsorship of the Olympics that continues up to the present day. Carl and Yurie have attended six Summer Olympic Games and three Winter Olympic Games over the past 31 years.

Prior to joining Visa, Mr. Pascarella was Vice President, International Division at Crocker National Bank and Vice President, Metropolitan Banking at Bankers Trust Company. Mr. Pascarella received a Master of Science in Management from
Stanford Sloan Program at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Carl and Yurie Pascarella have been heavily involved with the arts in San Francisco for over two decades. He is currently on the Board of the San Francisco Ballet, Vice Chairman for the Fine Arts Museums and a life-time governor of the San Francisco Symphony. Yurie is on the Board of the American Friends of the Paris Opera and Ballet and has chaired many galas and fundraisers to support the arts in San

Ben Yoneyama was born in the deep countryside of Niigata, Japan, Ben grew up playing next to the factory and subconsciously watching his father Minoru Yoneyama build the foundation of Yonex. Upon graduating Chuo University in 1980, he entered the University of Tennessee to study business and to improve his English language skills. Within a year, Ben was tasked to set upwhat became Yonex USA, marking the official start of his career. In 1983, Yonex Corporation was established in Los Angeles. He was critical in establishing Yonex as an innovator in technology by bringing the first widebody ADX 200 driver into the US market in 1989. Although Yonex started with badminton followed by tennis, it was golf that put Yonex on the map in the US. Through his strategic marketing mind, Ben’s contributions to the development of the Yonex brand led him into the role of president at Yonex headquarters in 2007.

With his leadership and drive to be the best in quality and innovation, Yonex developed wind turbines and entered the cycling business by using its graphite technology. Outside of Yonex, Ben’s contributions to sport go wide and deep. He has taken interest in the development of sport, sporting equipment and more. Some roles he currently partakes in include the Vice Chairman of Japan Sports Goods Industry, Vice Chairman of Japan Golf Equipment Association, Chairman of Tennis Equipment Association, Chairman of Japan Badminton Manufacturers Association, and many more. Ben is an advocate for health through exercise and sports. He enjoys playing tennis, golf, badminton, and snowboarding during the colder months

Past Award Galas

32nd Gala Image
31st Gala Image

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