Current Society News

2018 Membership Dues

January is when it's time to renew your FWJS Membership but you can still renew at any time! Join us at one of our monthly luncheons or send a check. Check our Membership page for details.

Amazon Smile

Do you use Amazon to buy stuff? By shopping at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate a small portion of your purchase amount to the Fort Worth Japanese Society. If you like to participate, use the following link when shopping: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/75-2080094

Previous Month(s) Wrap up
April Shinbokukai - Sushi Axiom

Twenty-one of our members joined in the fun at Sushi Axiom at our last Shinbokukai. We filled up the private room which lent just the right atmosphere for conversation and dining. This is always a great time to relax and enjoy the company of our members. Hope you can make it the next time.

Japanese Garden Festival

Thank you all for making our participation in the Spring Festival in the Japanese Gardens such a success. There were over 90 society members volunteering to demonstrate various Japanese cultural activities from Origami, Calligraphy, Kimono Dress-up, Japanese Games and Tea Ceremony. This was one of the highest attended festivals, with 6,646 visitors over the two-day festival.

May Luncheon - Ikebana & Yoshoku

It’s very rewarding to see that our luncheons have become so popular, with over 50 people attending our May luncheon - many for their first time. Many thanks to the teachers of our language school, Harumi Sharp, Akiko Sonnemann, Fumiko Coburn, Katsuko Johnson, Yoko Hokazono and Taeko Royal for preparing such a delicious “yoshoku” (Japanese style western foods) luncheon, as well as Elishia Flowers for her vanilla and chocolate mousse. Following our meal, Sandra Prachyl, a member of our society gave a “hands-on” lesson in “Ikebana,” the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

In Rememberance

We are saddened to let you know that Terry Furtner passed away on Sunday, Febuary 4, 2018. Raymond and Terry were members of the Fort Worth Japanese Society many years ago. Some of our new members may not have met them, but our earlier members will remember how Terry enjoyed Chinese brush painting and calligraphy.

Shinbokukai - June 1 at Oni Ramen

June 1st 6:00pm -Come and relax with fellow society members while enjoying ramen. Oni Ramen is a cool spot offering poke plus house and build-your-own ramen with traditional & global influences. Their address is 2801 West 7th St, Fort Worth, TX 76107, phone (817) 882-6554 which is the corner of West 7th and Foch streets with a multi-story parking garage just next to the restaurant. Everyone pays on their own.

BE SURE TO RSVP BY May 29TH with Harvey Yamagata at 817-737-9166 or email harvey@yamagata4.com or inquiries@fwjs.org Please let us know your name and the number in your group.

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June Luncheon - Japanese Pottery

Jun 10 12:30pm - If you weren’t already aware that Japan is known for their outstanding pottery tradition, the program for this luncheon will certainly capture your interest. Our special guest, Chris Powell, Associate Professor of Art at TCU’s College of Fine Arts, is an expert in this field and teaches traditional and experimental ceramics techniques. We encourage you to bring in a piece of Japanese pottery you have and share with us the backstory of the piece. We will be making “Hiyashi Chuka” (cold ramen noodles) perfect for the warm weather as well as “Kakigori” (shaved ice). Lead by Chef Julia, members of our Events Committee will help prepare the food. Sam Sumner will be making the “Chashu” pork and Akiko Sonnemann will be making the other ingredients like shredded eggs, ham and cucumber for the dish. Adults $15, children 8 – 12 $12, and children 7 and under are free. There is a 20% discount for members aged 70 years and over (so $12.00).

BE SURE TO RSVP BY JUNE 4TH with Harvey Yamagata at 817-737-9166 or email harvey@yamagata4.com or inquiries@fwjs.org Please let us know your name and the number in your group.

July Luncheon - Tanabata

Jul 15 12:30pm - One of our most popular luncheons, we celebrate the Tanabata Festival with “Izakaya” style dining. Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). We will have food stations offering various Japanese delicacies like “takoyaki,” “yakitori,” an assortment of “onigiri” and “yakisoba.” We will have the traditional bamboo wishing tree on which we can hang our “tanzukus” (wishes written on paper and hung on the branches). Adults $15, children 8 – 12 $12, and children 7 and under are free. There is a 20% discount for members aged 70 years and over (so $12.00).

BE SURE TO RSVP BY JUly 9TH with Harvey Yamagata at 817-737-9166 or email harvey@yamagata4.com or inquiries@fwjs.org Please let us know your name and the number in your group.

Dondoko Taiko Drum Group

This is one of our popular programs. If you want to learn how to play these Japanese Drums, have Sunday evenings open for practice, and have opportunities to perform at public events like the Japanese Garden Spring and Fall Festivals.

Japanese Classical Dance

This group meets every Monday, 11am-1pm, at the Yamagata Center. Please contact Teruko Greene at 817-294-2224 for more information. Mrs. Keio Miyamoto is the instructor.

Japanese Language Class

Spring Semester will start on Monday, January 20. Please refer to our school website for our refund policy.

Kurumi Ningyo

Join the 17 members who meet twice a month to work on these elegant works of art. The group meets on Wednesdays, 10am-2pm. Please contact Nobuko Foshee at 817-738-4524 for November and December schedule.

Member News

In Memoriam
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FORT WORTH – Elaine Yoko Yamagata, 94, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.

Elaine was born in Walnut Grove, Calif. in 1922, to Dr. and Mrs. Enichi Yamao. At 16, her family returned to Japan. After graduating from Kobe College, she married Tadashi Yamagata in March of 1943. They then moved to Beijing China, where Tadashi worked as a civilian in Japanese occupied China, purchasing raw minerals for export. Their son, Mark was born in December 1943. When the war ended, all Japanese in China were placed in prisoner of war camps. Her second son, Harvey, was born in the prison camp in January 1946. The following April, the family was deported from China to Japan, and settled in Kure, near Hiroshima. While living there, Elaine worked for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, helping victims of the atomic bomb.

In January of 1951, Elaine and her husband embarked on an adventurous and new chapter in their lives, emigrating to the U.S. They settled in New York City where they started an import business pioneeting in the market of Japanese made consumer electronics. With principals of Radio Shack, the Yamagata's founded A&A International. When Tandy Corporation acquired Radio Shack, Charles Tandy recognized the importance of sourcing products in Asia, and so acquired A&A. These groups, together with Charles Tandy’s unique understanding of retailing and chain store operations, grew Tandy Corporation into a multi- billion dollar company. After her husband’s retirement, Elaine became the president of A&A until her own retirement in 1989.

Throughout her career and after, Elaine was a community leader. While in New York, she served as chair of the board of the Japanese American United Methodist Church. Elaine enjoyed playing piano, so it was natural for her to be drawn to the Van Cliburn Foundation after moving to Fort Worth. She served on the executive committee of the board and as president of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Japan Committee from 1985 to 2002. In this capacity, she encouraged numerous young Japanese pianists to enter one of Fort Worth’s most prominent events.

In additon to her love of music, she was devoted to bringing better relations between the Japanese and Americans. In 1986, she and her husband helped found the Fort Worth Japanese Society. Elaine presided as president from 1988 to 1993 and remained chairman emeritus until 2014. She joined the board of Fort Worth Sister Cities International in 1987 where her efforts were instrumental in developing Fort Worth’s relationship with Nagaoka, Japan. Over the last 29 years, about 1,500 Fort Worth and Nagaoka young people have exchanged home stays making friends and learning about each country’s culture. Elaine served on numerous other boards including the Japan America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and assisted groups such as Camp Fire, Fort Worth Symphony and Ballet. Elaine served on the board of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles from its formative years in the early 90’s to 2007. The museum serves as the main archive for the history of Japanese-Americans – from early U.S. settlement, through World War II internment and U.S. military service to contemporary individuals and organizations.

For her generous gift of time and service, Elaine was honored with many accolades: the Foreign Minister’s Award from the government of Japan, the Nagaoka City Award of International Goodwill, Sister Cities International Volunteer of the Year Award, Outstanding Women of Fort Worth by the City of Fort Worth, and the Bridges-to-Friendship Award by the Japan America Society of Dallas / Fort Worth. In 2007, Elaine was inducted into The Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Ray, one of the highest honors conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

Elaine never acknowledged a “glass ceiling” and set an example not just for women, but for all who have loved her and have had the privilege to work and live alongside her. We will miss her greatly even as she remains in our hearts.

The 411

We’d like to know what our members are doing, and if we can, support you in your efforts. Please send all news to harvey.yamagata@sbcglobal.net or to his address at 4220 Ridgehaven Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76116.




We have a couple of writers in our midst. Ian Yamagata just released his first work of fiction, The Mark of the Remaker. If you or some you know is interested in Heroic Fantasy, this mixture of adventure, science fiction and fantasy will capture the imagination. Mark of the Remaker is available at www.remakerseries.com or at online booksellers such as www.amazon.com.





Eric Bakutis, son of David and BJ Bakutis is also an author. Here is what one reviewer wrote about Eric’s book, Glyphbinder: "...weaves a spell that captures the reader's attention and imagination and doesn't release them until the last page is read." --Ronald Garner, Editor, Silence in the Library Press. Glyphbiner is available at www.tebakutis.com or at online booksellers such as www.amazon.com.


Charity News

Earthquake & Tsunami News

去る3月11日に起きました東北関東大震災、またその直後に東北地方太平洋沿岸を襲った大津波により、1万人を超える尊い命が奪われ、今なお1万人 を超す行方不明の方がいらっしゃることに、フォートワース日本人会の会員一同、心よりお悔やみ申し上げます。 また、日本にご在住の皆さまのご家族、ご友 人のご無事をお祈りいたします。

わが日本人会でも、こちらに居住する日本人および日本を愛する者たちとして、被災地から遠く離れたフォートワースで何ができるかを考え、今までに募 金活動やベイクセール、折り紙プロジェクトなど近郊団体などと力を合わせて行ってまいりました。 また、来月にフォートワース日本庭園で開催されます春祭 りでも、フォートワース姉妹都市協会などの他団体と同様に募金活動を行います。 それ以外にも、当会として募金活動や支援活動などに関わる際には、随時お 知らせしていく予定です。

現在、さまざまな団体、組織が義援金を募集しています。 オンラインや小切手送付にて寄付をお考えの方、アメリカ赤十字社(http://redcrossdallas.blogspot.com/) やダラス日本人会(http://godja.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=60) でも、募金を受け付けていますので、ぜひご協力お願いいたします。




On Friday March 11th, a strong earthquake struck the north east part of Japan.  More than 10,000 people have lost their precious lives and about 16,000 people are still missing from earthquakes and subsequent huge tsunami caused by the quake.  Our thoughts go out to the people of Japan who were affected by the disaster.   We hope that your family and friends in Japan are safe and well.

We, Fort Worth Japanese Society, have been involved in Japan relief fundraising; bake sales, and senbazuru (thousand origami cranes) projects, cooperating with other organizations and societies in our local  communities, hoping we could be of some assistance to people in Japan, even though we are far away.  At the Fort Worth Japanese Garden Spring Festival in April, you will see our donation boxes as well as those many other groups, such as Fort Worth Sister Cities.  Regarding the details for upcoming relief activities and charities, we will keep you posted in our website.  

Other than ourselves, there are lots of organizations who are currently raising donations.  For those who wish to contribute to a relief fund by check or online, you can do so with American Red Cross of Dallas (http://redcrossdallas.blogspot.com/) and Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (http://www.jasdfw.org/pages/news_earthquake.html).

Though we are rather a small organization, we will continue to pray and assist people in Japan with relief fund and recovery effort.


Japanese Class of Fort Worth Japanese Society

Upcoming Charity Events