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Japanese American Storytelling

This session welcomes speakers from the Japanese American Storytelling Program (JASP), a signature program of the U.S.-Japan Council. JASP presentations utilize the art of storytelling woven with many opportunities for students to engage in discussions throughout each presentation. The stories are personal histories, making each one of them unique. JASP seeks to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the United States by connecting the past with the present to create a better future. JASP believes it is crucial to nurture university students in Japan towards a global perspective through inspiring personal stories.

Anna Nagamine

Anna Nagamine was born and raised in Okinawa and educated in both American and Japanese schools. Her parents emigrated and started a family in the US, but moved back to Okinawa before she was born. Anna is the Manager of the Business Development Section at OIST Innovation at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). Anna’s work involves developing industry partnerships, supporting entrepreneurship, and incubating startups in the region. She was an integral part of the team that established the first OIST startup (biotechnology) in 2014. Her current team manages an incubator in Okinawa and the first international startup accelerator program. 


Anna graduated from Chuo University, Faculty of Policy Studies, and holds a MA degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Asian Studies Program (East-West Center Obuchi Student Scholarship recipient). She was selected for the 2017 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program and has participated in the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future Program (The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation). She loves to travel, surf, and be an auntie to her nephews and niece.

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Yuhka Mera

Yuhka Mera

Yuhka Mera was born in the U.S. to Issei parents. He attended public schools in the U.S. & Japan and attended university in Massachusetts. After graduating with a Masters in Microwave filter design he continued to spend time in the US and Japan as a business professional. Yuhka has over 25 years of experience in worldwide business and technology development. His success as the Site Technical Director and Global Technical Film Specialist at 3M Optical Systems Division led to his next role as the Global Design Center Senior Director at Synaptics. During his time at Synaptics, he was instrumental in the development of large size touch screens along with the release of the first touch integrated display driver IC which revolutionized the touch IC market.
Building off of his extensive experience in the United States, Korea, Taiwan and China, he is now working as a consultant and helping companies outside Japan develop and expand their business in Japan and Asia.

Unleashing Your Leadership Potential: Defining Your Unique Style and Reflecting on Experiences

This workshop offers a dynamic platform for participants to explore and cultivate their personal leadership style. Through interactive discussions and self-reflection exercises, this workshop encourages individuals to uncover their innate strengths, values, and leadership philosophies. By examining past experiences and learning from diverse perspectives, participants gain valuable insights that enable them to become more effective leaders. Join us as we embark on a journey of self-discovery, honing our leadership abilities, and charting a course for personal and professional growth. Together, let's unleash our leadership potential and make a positive impact in our communities and beyond.


Yoichi Suzuki

Yoichi Suzuki is the Executive Board Director of Wake Up Japan. As a student, he participated in Model United Nations, United Nations Student Federation of Japan, and Rotary International, and made policy proposals to the G8. After graduating from Gakushuin University, he worked on environmental awareness activities for youth in Malaysia. In 2009, he joined Oxfam, an international NGO, to work on youth and movement building. The number of signatures, which had previously been in the hundreds, increased to the 3,000 range within a few years. In 2014, he founded PowerShift Japan, and in 2016, Wake Up Japan with members who were high school students at the time. In 2017, he became a Youth Engagement Advisor for the international NGO Free the Children. He has traveled extensively in Japan and abroad to engage with diverse social movements, including Black Lives Matter, and to share what he has learned with Japanese society. His main areas of interest include leadership development, campaign implementation, community organizing, social change theory, civic education, education and bias, self-care, wellbeing, and interfaith dialogue.

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