– North Texas has been selected as the venue for the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit, an annual gathering of Japanese and American citizens which aims to strengthen the peaceful relationships between the two countries by fostering friendships at the grassroots level. The Summit, held alternately in Japan and the U.S., honors one of the first friendships between a Japanese and an American, a unique bond begun in 1841 and continuing through their descendants to the present day. This announcement was made today at a press conference hosted by the organizers of the 22nd Grassroots Summit, the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (JASDFW) and the John Manjiro Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE) in Japan and the U.S.


The 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit will take place in North Texas from Tuesday, August 28, to Monday, September 3. Opening in Fort Worth and closing in Dallas, the week-long Summit will span the scope of the Texas cowboy heritage as well as the region’s cultural and sports achievements. Residents of fifteen North Texas cities will open their homes and hearts to the Japanese visitors for a three-night local homestay program. The 15 North Texas host cities are:


Arlington                McKinney

Dallas                    Muenster & Lindsay

Denton                  Parker

Fort Worth             Plano

Gainesville             Richardson

Glen Rose              Southlake

Irving                    Waxahachie


The Summit honors the life-long friendship between Captain William H. Whitfield, an American whaler, and John Manjiro Nakahama, a Japanese fisherman and the first Japanese citizen to be educated in America. Manjiro’s knowledge of America faciliated the opening of Japan to trade with the western world following the arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853. Manjiro taught English, navigation, ship-building and American ideas, such as democracy, to young Japanese samurais who led Japan to modernize and join the developed world.


“The friendship between these two men is unique in that it has continued for more than 170 years between their descendants,” said Hiroko Todoroki, CIE Secretary General. “The purpose of the annual Grassroots Summit is to encourage new friendships between Japanese and Americans that will last a lifetme and beyond. Members of the Whitfield and Nakahama families play a pivotal role in each Summit, and serve as a reminder of the enormous potential of grassroots exchange.”


The 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit is being presented by the JASDFW and the CIE in cooperation with the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, the host cities, and community organizations. Sponsors are  7-Eleven, Inc.; Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc.; and Gulf States Toyota, Inc. Additional support is provided by The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas GiveCamp, and Suzuki Graphic Design Studio.


“North Texas is honored to be chosen as the host for the 22nd Grassroots Summit,” said John M. Stich, Honorary Consul General of Japan at Dallas and Vice-Chairman of the Steering Committee of the 2012 Japan-America Grassroots Summit in North Texas. “We anticipate there will be approximately 150-200 Japanese visitors coming to North Texas. We look forward to introducing our Japanese guests to real Texas hospitality and to the many attractions in North Texas.”


For more information, visit: www.NorthTexasGrassrootsSummit.org or call:


Martha Brounoff, Brounoff Communications


Amy Chae, Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth

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