Mission and History

Mission Statement

The Japan America Society of Houston (JASH) is the leading organization that connects Houston’s diverse community, local businesses, and individuals to advance the mutual interest of American and Japanese peoples.  

Our programs in language and education, arts and culture, and business initiatives and networking provide opportunities for collaboration and important people-to-people exchange. 

History of The Japan America Society of Houston

JASH was established in December 1968 by a group of prominent Houstonians led by the likes of General Maurice Hirsch, Bernard Sakowitz, and R.W. Smith.

Sharing the vision of John D. Rockefeller III, who revitalized the original Japan Society in New York, the founding members of JASH desired to serve as a medium through which to encourage and deepen understanding of Japan by Americans and of America by Japanese.

1995 JASH introduces its Japanese Language Program.
1993 JASH presents the 1st Annual Japan Festival.

The first Houston Regional and Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest is presented by JASH.

1982 The Houston-Chiba Youth Ambassador Exchange becomes an official annual event between the two cities.

The Houston-Chiba Youth Ambassador Exchange Program for middle and high school students is launched.

1972 JASH tapped to administer Houston’s sister city relationship with Chiba City

By 1970, JASH had a board of 30 among whom were the following notables:

  • Dr. Carey Croneis
  • Dr. Michael DeBakey
  • James A. Elkins,  Jr.
  • Edward J. Fay
  • Dr. Philip G. Hoffman
  • Dr. Makoto Igarashi
  • Leon Jaworski
  • Harvin C. Moore
  • George Strake, Jr.
  • and others of like stature.

Community Impact 

Since its founding, JASH has been dedicated to promoting in Houston, Texas, meaningful lasting understanding between Japan and America.  JASH brings Japanese culture to Houston in the form of dynamic, thought-provoking experiences that pave the way for new understanding and new ideas. 

JASH's primary activities include:

  • Coordinating a wide range of events that enhance knowledge of Japan
    • individual cultural events
    • business lectures and lunches
    • social and networking events
  • Providing Japanese and English language instruction
  • Assisting Japanese expatriates adjust to Texas
  • Supporting schools and community organization in teaching about Japan
    • "Japan in Your Classroom" visits to schools by JASH staff/volunteers
    • ad hoc presentations and workshops
    • general advice service

JASH's annual signature events are:

  • JASH annual fundraising dinner
  • Japan Festival of Houston
  • Houston Regional Japanese Language Speech Contest
  • Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest
  • Houston-Chiba Sister City Youth Ambassador Exchange
JASH activities for the community have provided cultural enrichment for Houston area schools and community groups, increased economic insight for businesses, and enjoyment for all.