Memorandum for Record 4 February 2001
SUBJECT: Minutes of the JAVA General Membership Meeting, 27 January 2001
1. The General Membership meeting of the Japanese American Veterans' Association (JAVA) of Washington, D.C. convened at the Harvest Moon Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia at 1130 hours on 27 January 2001. Secretary Dave Buto welcomed members and displayed to members the new JAVA flag, which was first seen at the Veterans' Day ceremonies at the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington, D.C.
2. President Phil Ishio officially welcomed members and opened the meeting.
a. He recapped all the momentous events marking last year: Dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial, award of the Medals of Honor to 22 Asian Americans, award of the Presidential Unit Citation to the Military Intelligence Service, etc. On behalf of the JAVA members, he wished Tom Masumori a quick recovery from a recent injury. He also announced that in order to assist Aki Konoshima with publication of the JAVA newsletter, an editorial board has been formed.
b. Phil presented Maggie Ikeda, Warren Tsuneishi, Yukio Kawamoto, and Grant Hirabayashi with the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon. He was given permission to present the ribbons to those members of the MIS who had submitted their applications.
c. Distinguished guests were recognized: Dr. Ken Campbell who is currently a professor of the American Military University; Gerald Yamada, Counsel General for the NJAMF; Ray Murakami, Secretary for the NJAMF; Mrs. Nishida, whose daughter is the Secretary for Environmental Protection (State of Maryland);Fred Murakami, stalwart member of the NJAMF; Jack Herzig, researcher of documents at the National Archives; and Bina Cady Kiyonaga, author of the book, My Spy.
d. New members were introduced: Harry Tanabe (OK), Ted Yenari, Minoru Endo, George Yuzawa, Toshiyuki
Maeda, Susumu Toyoda, George and Sylvia Nakamura (OK), Glenn and Donna Nelson.
3. Calvin Ninomiya, who was in Uruguay, was not present to give his report.
a. Phil used Phil's notes to described some ideas for increasing membership. Two things stand out: retention of member base, make JAVA an organization that newcomers find appealing. Cal suggests that membership considerations open a larger issue -- should JAVA reconsider aims and objectives. JAVA originally was for just MIS but now Includes 442 RCT, Korea veterans, etc. A special effort must be made to encourage wives, widows, to join. Also, we need to create a special hospitality group to help newcomers feel welcome. Another idea is to consider a "tracing" service for names on the memorial. Phil showed an example of a rubbing on certificate that was framed - can we do it here? Someone from JAVA is checking with the NJAMF to ensure such a service is allowed.
b. Grant Ichikawa suggested that membership costs for active duty members should be lowered to $10 (vice $25) to make it more affordable and appealing. A motion was made, and seconded. In the discussion, Warren Tsuneishi pointed out that dues might be too low and we may need to raise the costs rather than lowering them. Stan Falk stated that it is not a money issue with active duty that is keeping them from joining, it is the lack of appealing benefits and reasons for joining. Jack Herzig said that active duty personnel still have hardship and should be given a break. A vote was taken and the measure passed. It will require a change in by-laws.
4. The Secretary read minutes from the 13 January Executive Board meeting and described the JAVA web site. (Much of the discussion at the General Membership meeting was a rehash of the Executive Board meeting) He encouraged all to capture their personal accounts and to take advantage of the web site to publish the information for posterity. In the last year we have received contacts by the White House, the inaugural committee, NBC News, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, as well as inquiries from around the world. We averaged 3 Requests for Information per month about Japanese Americans veterans.
5. Mike Okusa introduced himself as the new Treasurer, having recently assumed the position.
a. He reported the balance in our savings and checking accounts and explained how last year JAVA spent more than it took in. The balance sheet remains in good shape because of a positive cash flow in the previous year. He cautioned that because most of our revenues are from membership dues, JAVA members need to help increase the membership rolls, sell more of the JAVA book ("MIS in the War Against Japan"), and make voluntary donations. He underscored the value of donations in helping the cause -- he used the Japanese expression, "if the dust collects, it can be come a mountain!" to illustrate how even the littlest donations add up.
b. Expenditures. Some of the expenses included the last installment made this year to the NJAMF; $1000 more paid to have a JAVA ad in the dedication brochure; also JAVA paid to reprint the JAVA book ($2.4k), and JAVA helped subsidize a video tape ($2k); $500 for Cherry Blossom walk; etc.
c. Revenues. Most came from membership dues (about $2600); book sales accounted for $1000. Costs for luncheons were paid for by participants.. Donations were about $236. Increased membership will help. We have 336 books left -- sales have stopped. Mike encouraged everyone to buy a few more. Otherwise, we may take a loss.
6. General topics.
a. Phil spoke about the GALA dinner being planned for Sen. Akaka in recognition for his part in the award of the Medals of Honor last year. The dinner will be tentatively be sometime near the Memorial Day weekend. Armed Forces Day may be available. The Embassies of China, France, Italy, Australia, England, etc. will be invited -- there are lots of other dates for possible activities -- let us know if you have any ideas.
b. Norm Ikari described the Veterans speakers committee. The Speakers panel has 10 names of JAVA members. Norm would like to expand this…he solicited volunteers. He indicated that the JAVA Speakers panel will be a part of the JACL Speakers' group since the JACL has a well-organized and well-established group. In fact, JACL and JAVA speakers have gone out together in the past.
c. Warren Tsuneishi described the Oral History project sponsored by the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress. It was authorized last year, and one person is on the project now. There is more information atwww.loc.gov/folklife/vets.
d. Battle of Okinawa. For those who were in the MIS interrogating POW or civilians on Okinawa -- someone is interviewing veterans to get their reactions. If you were on Okinawa, please contact Warren so he can pass your name on.
e. Jack Herzig spoke about NARA, National Archive Records Administration -- 10 years ago, he met with Maggie Ikeda and the Yamamotos. They met for 4 hours, and he gave to them benefit of his and his wife's research for the commission of internment of civilians (they dug out over 8k docs which formed basis for the commission on war relocation and internment of civilians -- for redress actions). Ted Tsukiyama of Hawaii benefited so much (as a historian) from the 10 years of hard work. He praised their work and everyone applauded Maggie Ikeda, who was present for the luncheon.
f. Stan Falk was available to speak to anyone regarding the book being written about the MIS…the item was discussed at the 13 January Executive Board meeting and the minutes document the topic (see the web site).
g. Seiko Wakabayashi spoke about the third annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk. This year's funds raise dollars for the education fund for the memorial She made a motion for JAVA to contribute $500 to the education fund. This was Seconded and Passed.
h. Phil presented Hank Wakabayashi -- past president of JAVA -- with a plaque…"distinguished leadership award…in recognition of his service as president of JAVA." Hank was grateful and indicated how pleased he was to see JAVA moving forward under the Phil's leadership.
i. Grant Hirabayashi brought an album of photographs he has taken over the last year at various events, such as the Medal of Honor ceremonies and the dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial. Anyone interested in getting copies should contact Grant.
7. The meeting adjourned at about 1430 hours.