Current Society News

2017 Membership Dues

January is when it's time to renew your FWJS Membership but you can still renew at any time! Join us at one of our monthly luncheons or send a check. Check our Membership page for details.

Previous Month(s) Wrap up
March Luncheon - Kodomo-No-Hi

Our March luncheon was well attended with over 60 members and friends joining in the observance of Kodomo-no Hi. Thanks to Elishia Flowers and Sam Sumner, the kaikan (meeting hall) was festooned with decorations typically used during Hinamatsuri and Tango no Sekku, such as paper carp banners. We even had large carp banners flying outside by our front entrance. Several attendees took advantage of Haruko Herness’ offer to dress people up in kimonos. After a delicious helping of chirashizushi and tonjiru miso soup prepared by Chef Julia Dunaway, we enjoyed activities typical of this festival. Mr. Komaki, a visiting professor of the Japanese tea ceremony presented a talk on the subject and showed samples of various popular teas of Japan.

Japanese Garden Spring Festival

The Spring Festival was a great success, with over 5,000 people visiting during the two-day festival. The Fort Worth Japanese Society provided over 80 volunteers and provided many Japanese cultural demonstrations. Thank you all again for your help.

The Art of Japanese Culture

A Texas A&M student recently created an interesting video on Japanese culture which includes the Fort Worth Japanese Garden and Fumiko Coburn on her koto. Here is the link:

May Luncheon - Founder's DAY lUNCHEON

May 21 th 12:30pm - Our theme for this luncheon will be “Founder’s Day,” recognizing the contributions by our earliest presidents, Tadashi Yamagata, Elaine Yamagata and Albert Komatsu. Al and Harvey will speak about the earlier days of the society and some of the highlights since our founding in the early 1980’s. We hope to make this a special occasion and will have one of the local Japanese restaurants cater the luncheon. For this one special luncheon, we will increase the cost to $15 for adults (usually it is $12). No change for children: $8.00 for children 8-12, free for children 7 and under.

BE SURE TO RSVP BY MAY 13TH with Harvey Yamagata at 817-737-9166 or email or

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June Luncheon - Japanese Crafts Day

Jun 25 12:30pm - This will be a Japanese Crafts day for us, and will feature learning about Origami and Calligraphy. Food will be “Hiyashi chuka” and for special desert, we will serve “kakigori” (Japanese shaved ice). Cost will be $12 for adults, $8.00 for children 8-12 and free for children 7 and under.

BE SURE TO RSVP BY JUNE 8TH with Harvey Yamagata at 817-737-9166 or email or

Dondoko Taiko Drum Group

This is one of our popular programs. If you want to learn how to play these Japanese Drums, have Sunday evenings open for practice, and have opportunities to perform at public events like the Japanese Garden Spring and Fall Festivals.

Japanese Classical Dance

This group meets every Monday, 11am-1pm, at the Yamagata Center. Please contact Teruko Greene at 817-294-2224 for more information. Mrs. Keio Miyamoto is the instructor.

Japanese Language Class

Spring Semester will start on Monday, January 20. Please refer to our school website for our refund policy.

Kurumi Ningyo

Join the 17 members who meet twice a month to work on these elegant works of art. The group meets on Wednesdays, 10am-2pm. Please contact Nobuko Foshee at 817-738-4524 for November and December schedule.

Member News

In Memoriam
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FORT WORTH – Elaine Yoko Yamagata, 94, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.

Elaine was born in Walnut Grove, Calif. in 1922, to Dr. and Mrs. Enichi Yamao. At 16, her family returned to Japan. After graduating from Kobe College, she married Tadashi Yamagata in March of 1943. They then moved to Beijing China, where Tadashi worked as a civilian in Japanese occupied China, purchasing raw minerals for export. Their son, Mark was born in December 1943. When the war ended, all Japanese in China were placed in prisoner of war camps. Her second son, Harvey, was born in the prison camp in January 1946. The following April, the family was deported from China to Japan, and settled in Kure, near Hiroshima. While living there, Elaine worked for the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, helping victims of the atomic bomb.

In January of 1951, Elaine and her husband embarked on an adventurous and new chapter in their lives, emigrating to the U.S. They settled in New York City where they started an import business pioneeting in the market of Japanese made consumer electronics. With principals of Radio Shack, the Yamagata's founded A&A International. When Tandy Corporation acquired Radio Shack, Charles Tandy recognized the importance of sourcing products in Asia, and so acquired A&A. These groups, together with Charles Tandy’s unique understanding of retailing and chain store operations, grew Tandy Corporation into a multi- billion dollar company. After her husband’s retirement, Elaine became the president of A&A until her own retirement in 1989.

Throughout her career and after, Elaine was a community leader. While in New York, she served as chair of the board of the Japanese American United Methodist Church. Elaine enjoyed playing piano, so it was natural for her to be drawn to the Van Cliburn Foundation after moving to Fort Worth. She served on the executive committee of the board and as president of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Japan Committee from 1985 to 2002. In this capacity, she encouraged numerous young Japanese pianists to enter one of Fort Worth’s most prominent events.

In additon to her love of music, she was devoted to bringing better relations between the Japanese and Americans. In 1986, she and her husband helped found the Fort Worth Japanese Society. Elaine presided as president from 1988 to 1993 and remained chairman emeritus until 2014. She joined the board of Fort Worth Sister Cities International in 1987 where her efforts were instrumental in developing Fort Worth’s relationship with Nagaoka, Japan. Over the last 29 years, about 1,500 Fort Worth and Nagaoka young people have exchanged home stays making friends and learning about each country’s culture. Elaine served on numerous other boards including the Japan America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and assisted groups such as Camp Fire, Fort Worth Symphony and Ballet. Elaine served on the board of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles from its formative years in the early 90’s to 2007. The museum serves as the main archive for the history of Japanese-Americans – from early U.S. settlement, through World War II internment and U.S. military service to contemporary individuals and organizations.

For her generous gift of time and service, Elaine was honored with many accolades: the Foreign Minister’s Award from the government of Japan, the Nagaoka City Award of International Goodwill, Sister Cities International Volunteer of the Year Award, Outstanding Women of Fort Worth by the City of Fort Worth, and the Bridges-to-Friendship Award by the Japan America Society of Dallas / Fort Worth. In 2007, Elaine was inducted into The Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Ray, one of the highest honors conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

Elaine never acknowledged a “glass ceiling” and set an example not just for women, but for all who have loved her and have had the privilege to work and live alongside her. We will miss her greatly even as she remains in our hearts.

The 411

We’d like to know what our members are doing, and if we can, support you in your efforts. Please send all news to or to his address at 4220 Ridgehaven Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76116.




We have a couple of writers in our midst. Ian Yamagata just released his first work of fiction, The Mark of the Remaker. If you or some you know is interested in Heroic Fantasy, this mixture of adventure, science fiction and fantasy will capture the imagination. Mark of the Remaker is available at or at online booksellers such as





Eric Bakutis, son of David and BJ Bakutis is also an author. Here is what one reviewer wrote about Eric’s book, Glyphbinder: "...weaves a spell that captures the reader's attention and imagination and doesn't release them until the last page is read." --Ronald Garner, Editor, Silence in the Library Press. Glyphbiner is available at or at online booksellers such as


Charity News

Earthquake & Tsunami News

去る3月11日に起きました東北関東大震災、またその直後に東北地方太平洋沿岸を襲った大津波により、1万人を超える尊い命が奪われ、今なお1万人 を超す行方不明の方がいらっしゃることに、フォートワース日本人会の会員一同、心よりお悔やみ申し上げます。 また、日本にご在住の皆さまのご家族、ご友 人のご無事をお祈りいたします。

わが日本人会でも、こちらに居住する日本人および日本を愛する者たちとして、被災地から遠く離れたフォートワースで何ができるかを考え、今までに募 金活動やベイクセール、折り紙プロジェクトなど近郊団体などと力を合わせて行ってまいりました。 また、来月にフォートワース日本庭園で開催されます春祭 りでも、フォートワース姉妹都市協会などの他団体と同様に募金活動を行います。 それ以外にも、当会として募金活動や支援活動などに関わる際には、随時お 知らせしていく予定です。

現在、さまざまな団体、組織が義援金を募集しています。 オンラインや小切手送付にて寄付をお考えの方、アメリカ赤十字社( やダラス日本人会( でも、募金を受け付けていますので、ぜひご協力お願いいたします。




On Friday March 11th, a strong earthquake struck the north east part of Japan.  More than 10,000 people have lost their precious lives and about 16,000 people are still missing from earthquakes and subsequent huge tsunami caused by the quake.  Our thoughts go out to the people of Japan who were affected by the disaster.   We hope that your family and friends in Japan are safe and well.

We, Fort Worth Japanese Society, have been involved in Japan relief fundraising; bake sales, and senbazuru (thousand origami cranes) projects, cooperating with other organizations and societies in our local  communities, hoping we could be of some assistance to people in Japan, even though we are far away.  At the Fort Worth Japanese Garden Spring Festival in April, you will see our donation boxes as well as those many other groups, such as Fort Worth Sister Cities.  Regarding the details for upcoming relief activities and charities, we will keep you posted in our website.  

Other than ourselves, there are lots of organizations who are currently raising donations.  For those who wish to contribute to a relief fund by check or online, you can do so with American Red Cross of Dallas ( and Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth (

Though we are rather a small organization, we will continue to pray and assist people in Japan with relief fund and recovery effort.


Japanese Class of Fort Worth Japanese Society

Upcoming Charity Events