Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


About Us
Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
in Asian Film Festival held in Rice University, Houston,
on April 13, 2012

April 13, 2012

I welcome you all.  As you are coming to see the film, and not coming to see my face, I shall be brief.  I would just like to mention a few points.

Texas Governor the Honorable Rick Perry once commended us, saying: “Many people of Japanese descent call Texas home, enriching the Lone Star State’s cultural diversity…I thank you for your many contributions to our state, and I ask all Texans to embrace our diversity.”  Yes, we the Japanese people have always been able to be something important for Texas, but why was it made possible?

Very recently, the Nisei veterans of World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the US.  This fact speaks volumes to the current dignified reputation of the Japanese Americans in the States.  At the same time, it speaks a lot about the long and difficult road of history that the Nikkei people have paved over generations.  How shall we interpret it?

Japan is very proud of its alliance with the United States, and of its mutually trusted bilateral relations with America.  Following the earthquake in Japan last year, the US commenced Operation Tomodachi which saved the lives of many Japanese people.  Admiral Patrick Walsh who commanded the operation said: “As long as we make commitments to each other, and resolve to stand for each other, our friendship will endure…”  How did we consolidate such friendship successfully?

To answer those questions, we may perhaps need to revisit the history of the Japan-US relations, which is deeply intertwined with the footprint of the Japanese Americans.  I would like to congratulate Gary Nakamura, president of the Japanese American Citizens League-Houston Chapter, which has now started the initiative to highlight histories of the Nikkei people. Rice University, the Chao Center, and the Asian Society kindly responded to this initiative.  Dr. Hammer and Mr. Medina, I deeply appreciate it.  This weekend’s event is a part of such a joint exercise, which I sincerely hope will be the first of many future collaborative projects. 

I hope you enjoy tonight’s film, American Pastime.  I believe that, after watching this film, we may understand a bit better what was meant by Admiral Patrick Walsh when he said: “As long as we make commitments to each other, and resolve to stand for each other, our friendship will endure, and the spirit embodied in that friendship will never wither and die.”