LAS VEGAS — The 47th JACL National Convention was held in Las Vegas from July 11 to 14 at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Highlights included the presentation of the Japanese American of the Biennium Award, the highest public award of the JACL.
Award recipients are Americans of Japanese ancestry who have exhibited community leadership or demonstrated distinguished achievement. This year’s honorees are Carole Hayashino, Dan and June Kuramoto, and Delphine Hirasuna.
• Carole Hayashino received the award under “Education and Humanities” for her career-long efforts to address social justice issues facing the Japanese American community. As president and executive director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, she has led efforts to highlight and memorialize the World War II experiences of Japanese Americans in Hawaii.
Hayashino is currently directing the creation of a new Honouliuli Education Center, in honor of an internment camp in Hawaii, which will be permanently located in the community gallery at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
Among her career highlights, Hayashino served as National JACL staff to the National Committee for Redress in the 1980s and later served as associate director of the JACL.
From 1996 to 2005, she was associate vice president for university development at San Francisco State University. She was then appointed as vice president for university advancement at CSU Sacramento, and was the chief administrative officer of the University Foundation. She retired from CSUS as vice president emeritus of advancement in 2012.
Her public service includes two terms on the Marin Community College District Board, having been elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007; serving on the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program’s Advisory Board in the State Librarian’s Office from 1998 to 2011; and serving on the Marin County Human Rights Commission from 1996 to 2004.
She was appointed to the State Commission for One California, where she worked successfully with Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, Universal Studios and the California Teachers Association to release and distribute the video “Farewell to Manzanar” to all California schools and public libraries.
• Dan and June Kuramoto received recognition under “Arts, Literature and Communications.” As the founders of the multi-award-winning jazz band Hiroshima, their work has proved that Japanese Americans can be leaders in an industry that has had minimal representation from the Asian American community.
Hiroshima represents Asian America and has crossed ethnic borders, bringing Japanese American elements to popular American music.
During their illustrious career, they have received two Grammy nominations, produced 20 albums and earned numerous accolades from the music industry, community and government.
In 1979, Hiroshima received an Emmy Award for “Best Music, Children’s Series.” In 1980, the ensemble was named Billboard’s “Top New Jazz Artist” and in 1981, the group received a Grammy nomination for “Best R&B: Instrumental Performance.” In 1985, Hiroshima was named “Top 10 Contemporary Jazz” and received Performance Magazine’s “Best Live Jazz Group” award in 1986.
Hiroshima received another Grammy nomination for “Best Pop Instrumental Performance” in 2009 and was featured in the “Thousand Hearts” Japan Relief Concert in 2011. Most recently, the band performed a musical tribute to honorees Karen Ishizuka and Robert Nakamura at the Japanese American National Museum’s Gala Dinner.
The ensemble also received the Asia America Symphony Association and Guild 2015 Bravo Award for “Community Champions” for its support of AASA and other community organizations.
• Delphine Hirasuna received the award under “Business, Industry and Technology.” She is the author of “The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts rom the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946,” and guest curator of the “Art of Gaman” exhibit.
Hirasuna’s work has amplified the preservation of artifacts and craft art produced in Japanese American prisons during World War II and the utilization of those artifacts to educate the American public about the Japanese American experience.
In 2001, artifacts featured in Hirasuna’s book were turned into a traveling exhibition. She organized the exhibition, which has been viewed by more than 500,000 visitors.
Hirasuna is also the principal of Hirasuna Editorial, founded in 1985 to provide editorial supervision and copywriting services to corporations, graphic design firms and advertising agencies throughout the United States. Her projects have won dozens of national and international awards.
In addition to her corporate consulting work, Hirasuna has authored several additional books on design and other subjects. Among her published works are “Presidio Gateways,” “Design Impact,” “Flavors of Japan” (nominated for a National Tastemakers Award), “101 Baseball Icons from the Baseball Hall of Fame,” “100 American Flags,” “Tejon Ranch,” and “Obsessions.”
She is also the editor of @Issue: Journal of Business and Design and was a columnist for the Hokubei Mainichi and Rafu Shimpo newspapers for more than 25 years.