36th "Award of Honor" Gala

Join us at our signature event of the year to celebrate U.S.-Japan collaboration!


November 19, 2022

5:30 Doors Open
6:20 Gala Dinner


Hotel Nikko San Francisco

222 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

    • Attire: Black Tie optional
    • Parking: Hotel Nikko San Francisco offers valet parking. It is located in the Porte Cochere. Please note the garage has limited spaces and this rate is based on availability. Additional self-parking can be arranged across the street at the Mason O’Farrell Garage, if necessary.

The Japan Society of Northern California 36th “Award
of Honor” Gala

We are proud to present our 2022 Award of Honor to William F. Hagerty, U.S. Senator and Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, our 2022 Humanitarian Award to Takuya Okada, Honorary Chairman of AEON, and our 2022 Visionary Award to YouTube Japan.

2022 Awardees

Award of Honor

William F. Hagerty

U.S. Senator & Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan


Senator Bill Hagerty was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2020 and proudly represents the great state of Tennessee. He is a member of the following U.S. Senate Committees: Appropriations; Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs; Foreign Relations; and Rules & Administration. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Hagerty served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, the world’s third largest economy and America’s closest ally in the region.

Hagerty is a life-long businessman. He started his business career with the Boston Consulting Group, where his work took him to five continents. He later became a venture capital and private equity investor where he invested in and served as an executive and board member of a wide range of companies. From 2011-2014, Hagerty served as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Hagerty is originally from Sumner County, Tennessee. Today, he and his wife Chrissy live in Davidson County, Tennessee, and have four children.

Humanitarian Award

Takuya Okada

Honorary Chairman, AEON


Takuya Okada was born in 1925. In 1964, when he was attending Waseda University, Okada assumed a role as the seventh president of Okadaya Co,. Ltd. (currently known as AEON), a company founded as a kimono trader. During his tenure, Okada made this business grow into the largest retailer in Japan, which is now worth approximately 8 trillion yen. The foundation of this growth came from his experiences visiting the US 60 years ago, whereby he learned the chain retail store system as well as the importance of corporate social responsibility. Reflecting on his harrowing war experiences, Okada has also sought to promote peaceful societies around the world.

In 1990, Okada’s company became the first private corporation in Japan to start a foundation focusing on the global environment. Thus, he has been actively working on conservation activities including the planting of 12.41 million trees with volunteers around the world, with the intention of leaving a healthy Earth, which is the only planet known to possess life, for children of the future.

Okada has also received numerous awards and honors including: the International Retailer Award from National Retail Mutual Association (NRMA) in 1985; the Medal with Blue Ribbon (Japan); the Order of the British Empire; the Order of the Direkgunabhorn of Thailand (Third Class); Honorary Citizenship award from Beijing; Royal Order of Cambodia, Le Grand Cross; and Honorary Citizenship award of Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

AEON Co., Ltd Company Data (as of Feb. 2022)
Operating Revenue: 8, 715,900 million yen
Number of Employees: 560,000
Number of Stores: 20,000
Overseas Operation: 15 countries
Number of Customers per Year: 4.4 billion

Visionary Award

YouTube Japan

Akiko Nakajo

Managing Director, YouTube Partnerships Japan, Google Japan G.K.


As a representative of YouTube Japan, Akiko has been overseeing YouTube Japan since July 2017, working closely with creators, artists, and media partners to support their success and reach a wide range of people of different ages for various purposes beyond borders.  Her priority is also to ensure commitment to responsibly protecting our community. YouTube has been selected as the number one ranked brand in Japan in the general consumer category of  the “Brand Japan” in three years consecutively for the first time in its history starting from 2020.

She is a member of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) Broadcast Programs Council (2020-), and serves as a councilor of Waseda University (2022-).

Before her current position, after joining Google in April 2013, she was responsible for advertising sales including entertainment and technology industries followed by launches of Asia-Pacific Google PartnerPlex where Google helps partners develop their innovative visions, strategies, and digitization.

Prior to Google, after working for broadcasters as an anchor person, Akiko served for Bloomberg L.P. as President/Head of Asia Pacific of Bloomberg Television K.K., then was appointed as Head of Sales/Deputy Representative of Bloomberg L.P in Japan.

Akiko also served society via NPOs and NGOs including IPPF, the second largest global NPO, as one of six external advisors and as an advisory board member of the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW! 2015-2021), hosted by the Government of Japan.

She has a BA in Political Science and Economics from Waseda University and an MBA from The University of Chicago. Akiko also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. She is the co-author of award-winning “The Class Moves the World” with Harvard Business School Professor Richard H.K. Vietor (2010).

She lives in Tokyo with her husband, two sons, and a puppy.


5:30 — Doors Open (General)

6:20 — Dinner Program

  • Welcome Remarks: Steve Pollock, President, Japan Society of Northern California & Nobuko Saito Cleary, Gala Chair, Japan Society of Northern California
  • Special Remarks & Toast: Consul General of Japan in San Francisco, Yasushi Noguchi
  • Dinner

7:45 — Entertainment

  • San Francisco Opera
    • Esther Tonea, Vocalist
    • Marika Yasuda, Pianist

7:55 — Tribute

  • Tribute to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

8:00 — Award Presentations

  • William F. Hagerty, U.S. Senator & Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan – Video Message
  • Takuya Okada, Honorary Chairman, AEON – Video Message
  • YouTube Japan: Akiko Nakajo, Managing Director, YouTube Partnerships Japan, Google Japan G.K. – Video Message

8:20 — Entertainment

  • Keith Tyran, The Gentleman Magician of San Francisco

8:40 — Live Auction & Fund-a-Need

  • Jerry Goldstone, Auctioneer

8:55 — Closing

  • Closing Remarks: Steve Pollock, President, Japan Society of Northern California & Nobuko Saito Cleary, Gala Chair, Japan Society of Northern California

9:00 — Gala Ends


Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorships deliver the greatest impact and visibility possible leading up to, throughout, and following the Gala. A big thank you to all of our sponsors!

Japan Society Gala Committee


Steve Pollock

President, Japan Society of Northern California


Nobuko Saito Cleary

Gala Chair, Japan Society of Northern California

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