Sayonara to Our Students!

The Ota Students sang at our Goodbye Party

The students said a teary goodbye this morning as we saw them off for their final day of sightseeing before flying back to Boston tomorrow morning. On behalf of the Salem Ota Cultural Exchange, I want to thank all of the host families for opening their hearts and homes to our students; the chaperones and members of the exchange for their dedication to making the student’s visit so memorable and wonderful; and to the teachers and principal from Ota who traveled with this delightful group and made this all possible. Thank you all and please come and visit us again!

The Students are here!

The Students arrived safely on Saturday evening and are due to meet their host families today at the House of the 7 Gables. Families should arrive at the House of the 7 Gables by 4:30 pm for instructions, and the students will join us at 5 pm!

Keiko Thayer will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays

Bostonians, JSB Members, to be Decorated by Japanese Emperor and Government

23 May 2019 10:29 AMMatt (Administrator)

Since 1875 when Emperor Meiji established the Order of the Rising Sun, or 旭日賞 (kyokujitsu), Japan has honored global citizens for their distinguished achievements and their contributions to Japan. This year, five individuals from the Boston area have been awarded. In this new Reiwa era, this is a special honor indeed. At JSB, we are thrilled that two awardees are members of our board of directors.William W. Hunt will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (旭日小綬章). Our current Chair of the Board, Mr. Hunt has been dedicated to the US/Japan friendship for many years. In the official award announcement, Mr. Hunt is cited “for an enormous contribution to enriching understanding and communication between Japan and the United States.” Hunt has lived and worked in Japan, especially in investment management, and has been a leader in many projects to bring Japan to Boston.Keiko Thayer will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). Ms. Thayer is a long-time board member of the Japan Society of Boston (since 1987) and a professional Ikebana Master. Ms. Thayer is cited for “promoting Japanese culture and cultural exchange between Japan and the United States.” The Society gives an annual award for cultural exchange named for Ms. Thayer’s late husband, John E. Thayer III.It is also notable that Ashton B. Carter, former Secretary of Defense (2015-2017) under President Barack Obama, will receive the highest degree: Order of the Rising Sun, Grand Cordon (旭日大綬章), for his work building the US-Japan security alliance. Carter is currently Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.Keiko Matsudo Orrall, a former Republican Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, will receive The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays (旭日双光章). As the daughter of Japanese, German, and Irish immigrants, she worked to help Japanese and other groups to have a voice in the State, and to strengthen ties between the US and Japan. Ms. Orrall is now the executive director of the State Office of Travel and Tourism.John Paul Holdren, former director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and senior advisor to President Barack Obama (2009-2017), will receive The Order of the Rising Sun,Gold and Silver Star (旭日重光章). Holdren was cited for “advancing the cooperation in science and technology fields between Japan and the United States.” He continues to dedicate himself to studying environmental changes, energy technology and policies, and nuclear energy and weapons.The Japan Society of Boston congratulates these remarkable individuals as they are decorated by the Emperor and government of Japan. We are all inspired by their efforts to make the world stronger by strengthening the US/Japan friendship and alliance. 

Picture Story of Morse, Episode I and II

Edward Sylvester Morse is the key to the Salem-Ota sister city relationship. While living in Japan, member Hugh Stewart also became a member of the Ota Salem Club in Ota, and was invited to participate in a ceremony by the E.S.Morse Commemorative Society last summer.  There he met Masaru Akisawa san.  He created, with others, a PowerPoint show and book about the life of Morse.  It is copyrighted and in Japanese.  However, he elected to create an English story of Morse for our use. Please have a look and enjoy!

Episode I:

Episode II:


Paper Lanterns

Please join us, along with our Japanese visitors from Ota, for a special members-only showing of the movie Paper Lanterns at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Morse Theater.

PAPER LANTERNS tells the little-known story of twelve American prisoners-of-war killed by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Mr. Shigeaki Moril, a hibakuisha or A-bomb victim, who devoted nearly forty years to researching their fates and reaching out to their families across the United States. Mr. Mori was personally thanked by President Barack Obama at the Hiroshima Peace Park on May 27, 2016. The picture of their embrace was immediately featured by news media around the world and has since become an iconic image of Japan-U.S. reconciliation. The film has been shown with great success at international film festivals, at many venues in Japan and the U.S., and at the United Nations.

The Salem- Ota Cultural Exchange is delighted to welcome the film’s director Barry Frechette to the screening to share with us his stories about the making of the film.

Please visit our evite page to RSVP!