• Kazuko Lillie

Japan-America Society of Georgia- Wasshoi Wednesday #13

As many know, JapanFest Atlanta is not just one team, but a collaborative effort among many organizations. One of the major groups that is a driving force behind JapanFest year after year is the Japan-America Society of Georgia! JapanFest as we know it would not exist without JASG. Today, we feature the history of JASG and their involvement both with local and international communities in Georgia!


When Allen Judd, Anne Godsey, Michael McMillan, and George Waldner envisioned a Georgia with tremendous potential with Japan, they conceived of an organization that could create relationships that evolved into friendships, trade that could enhance business for both, and investments that could rival any nation and state in the USA. Their next steps established a now forty-year organization – Japan AmericaSociety of Georgia -which accomplishes all that and more!

Governor Jimmy Carter was actively working with YKK and Murata Electronics to invest in the State – middle and North Georgia. Delta, Coca-Cola, and AFLACwere also proving that two-way trade works!

Building upon the nascent network of attorneys (like Tom Harrold, Joe White, Don Sands, Robert Harlin, Carl Sander, among others), and accountants, insurance companies, construction and banks they initiated numerous opportunities – still fulfilling potential and with an excellent runway ahead.

Today Japan is the Number One foreign investor in the State, and Georgiacompanies have been very active in Japan. Governor George Busbee called fellow Southeastern governors and invited them to organize a region-wide marketing initiative to create awareness of the emerging opportunities of and for the region. The Southeast US Japan Association was established and as recently as 2019 Governor Brian Kemp hosted them in Savannah, home of Japanese companies and US based companies who trade with Japan, supported by the Georgia Ports Authority.

Governor Kemp, along with each of the past governors since the 1970s, has led delegations to and from Japan with the Department of Economic Development and local community leaders, including economic development professionals. A new Georgia Japan Legislative Caucus is now official in the General Assembly.

Each step along the way, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia(JCCG) and numerous public and private sector organizations – large and small – have committed expertise, finances and much work. JASG is led by a public and private sector Board of Directors and professionally managed by a dedicated staff led by Yoshi Domoto and Maki Murahashi.

If you haven’t watched and learned via webinars, or a virtual dinner and a movie or the Women’s always-interesting Tomodachi Club cultural events with Anne Godsey….please activate now – you will learn, enjoy and meet new folks who are mutually interested. Our Young Professionals are also engaged in all kinds of great activities and Chris Kerr welcomes you. Each of our active committees are on the JASG website. Please review and choose the one that fits your interests.

In lieu of the Society’s summer tradition of holding its Annual Dinner Gala, the JASG will be holding a Virtual Tsukimi Moon Viewing Gala, an interactive event featuring music, cultural performances, and much more - you do not want to miss!

We are excited with an important and unique partnership between JASG and JCCG: JAPANFEST!

This celebration of All Things Japan with hearty bows and bounteous cultural activities is the largest of its kind in the South and one of the largest in the US as well! Thank you to all who have been and are involved in JapanFest. Your time, talent and funds help to broaden this very special cultural experience.

All of us are meeting the Creative Challenge and Opportunity for our first ONLINE Time. This will open the world to us and us to the World. Click on and enjoy!

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