Merger of two local Japanese organizations will elevate Japanese arts, business and culture in Philadelphia region

Philadelphia – July 1, 2016 – Japanese arts, business, and culture in Philadelphia, with deep roots dating from an 1860 visit by the first Japanese diplomatic delegation, will have a new, more effective champion to embody the story of friendship between Japan and Philadelphia.

Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia will merge with the stewards of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG), as of July 1, 2016. The new combined organization will become known as the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, or JASGP, and will be the second largest Japan America Society among 37 in the United States.

The boards of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and FJHG determined that their mutual missions could combine and better serve Philadelphia with a single organization that will have a greater impact on the promotion of Japanese arts, business, and culture in the region.

FJHG Executive Director Kim Andrews will be the Executive Director of the new organization. Former Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia Executive Director Kazumi Teune will be Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, focused on expanding the relationship with supporters in Japan.

Under the leadership of the new Japan America Society, Philadelphia, a recognized center of Japanese arts, business, and culture in the United States and beyond, will attract more regional, national and international visitors to the area. The new Japan America Society will elevate the practice of Japanese arts and culture in the region and attract more audience and practitioners, using the preserved historic site of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden as its centerpiece, and will increase Philadelphia’s national and international prominence by expanding interchange in business and diplomacy with Japan.

The historic site Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, the third-ranked Japanese garden in North America by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, will retain its name and continue to be preserved, maintained, presented, and interpreted by existing site staff.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival will continue to grow with Shofuso as its anchor, continuing the authentic representation of Japanese sakura (cherry blossom) culture, with even more Japanese entertainment, activities, and food each spring, drawing visitors to Philadelphia from the region, the nation, and the world.

The merged organization will continue to conduct the existing programs of both organizations. The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia will have four primary programs:

  1. Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
  2. Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival
  3. US-Japan Business Series
  4. Japanese arts, business and culture educational programming

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia Twentieth Anniversary Fund will continue and expand to support the mission of the merged organization. Shofuso’s long-term maintenance will be ensured by expanding its Preservation Fund, Roof Restoration Fund, and Garden Fund. The merger was funded by the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund in Philadelphia.

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden Visitor Information

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is a traditional-style Japanese house and nationally-ranked garden in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the installation of its contemporary paintings in 2007.

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is located at Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives in West Fairmount Park. (Note that the site address inside Fairmount Park is different from the business addresses on Parkside Ave. and on S. Broad St. Only the site address should be used to avoid confusion.) Weekday hours are Wednesday – Friday: 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday & Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm (closed Monday and Tuesday). Admission: $8 adults/$5 students, seniors, children ages 3–18/free for members, children under 3, and active duty military with ID/$2 ACCESS card holders with ID. The Japanese House is closed from November to March but adult and children’s educational programming continues year-round.

About  the new JASGP

The merged Japan America Society was formed in 2016 from the merger of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, a 22-year promoter of Japanese culture and business, and the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden, the stewards of the historic Shofuso Japanese House and Garden since 1982.

JASGP Vision: We envision making Greater Philadelphia a nationally and globally known center of Japanese art, business, and culture.
JASGP Mission: JASGP promotes mutual friendship and understanding between Greater Philadelphia and Japan. We accomplish our mission by:

  • Preserving, maintaining, presenting, and interpreting Shofuso, a traditional Japanese house and garden.
  • Enriching connections between the business and government sectors of Japan and Greater Philadelphia.
  • Offering educational and public programs about Japanese arts, business, and culture.

For more information:

Please direct general questions to merger@japanphilly.org

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