For release: May 15, 2009
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843
A partnership between the University of Memphis and the Japan America Society of Tennessee
(JAST) will create the West Tennessee Center of the Society on the University campus.
The Kaminari Taiko Drummers
performed on the U of M campus as
part of the opening ceremonies.
Officials of the University, the Society, and the government of Japan announced the
formation of the partnership and the Center during ceremonies on the campus recently.
Speaking for Japan was Consul General Hiroshi Sato. He was joined by Dr. Shirley Raines,
president of the U of M, and Memphis businessman Arnold Perl, founder of the JAST.
Sato said the establishment of the Center symbolizes the continuing and growing partnership
between his country and the United States. He said there are more than 3,000 Japanese-speaking
people living in Tennessee, and that the partnership between the Society and the University
will help strengthen the relationship between the people of the two countries.
JAST was established in 2000 as a means for Japanese businesses to network with Tennessee
businesses and government. Currently, there are 160 Japanese businesses operating
in Tennessee, and one quarter of them are in West Tennessee.
In honor of the JAST Center’s being established at the U of M, six Yoshino cherry
trees will be planted on the University campus. The trees, which will be donated by
the Memphis Botanic Garden, are the same type of trees that grow along Cherry Drive
near the Botanic Garden in Audubon Park.
For more information about the Japan America Society of Tennessee, call Yuki Matsuda
in the U of M Department of Foreign Languages, 901-678-3163, or Patti Lechman at 901-521-9916.