Gardena City Committee

History, Purpose

Gardena City Committee has a long history which started when the Rotary Club of both cities concluded a sister city agreement at the World Rotary Club Congress held in Tokyo in 1961. Exchange activities started after this occasion. Both Ichikawa City and Gardena of California are situated next to large metropolitan areas, Tokyo and L.A respectively. Gardena is reported to have the largest Japanese population in North America with Japanese Americans making up 20% of its residents. The mayors of Gardena and Ichikawa officially signed a sister city agreement in Nov. 1962.

The Ichikawa Sister City and Partner City Association (Meaning the three cities of Gardena, Leshan and Medan) and Ichikawa International Exchange Communication Association (WING) were unified to form the Ichikawa International Exchange Association (IIA) in 2001. The current Gardena City Committee was established at this time.

The purpose of Gardena City Committee is to promote the friendship of both cities, expanding the international exchange activities through the people. This cross-cultural knowledge is developed at a grass roots level.

Main activities

In order to achieve our purpose we have focused on 5 main activities.
1) Sending and receiving youth delegations
We send high school students to Gardena one year and receive youth delegations from Gardena the next year.
2) Exchanging civil delegations
Civil delegations from both cities visit each other every 5 years.
3) Exchange meeting among members
Planning exchange and friendship activities between foreigners and members by:
EMeeting with other cities' International Exchange Associations,
EArranging bus tours to visit the Embassies in Japan.
EOrganizing Japanese tea ceremonies, origami folding demonstrations and arranging Japanese calligraphy sessions.
4) Coordinating seminars
Hosting appropriate seminars according to the season with experts and persons who are experienced in some special field.

5) Participation in various events
We are promoting more exchange with foreigners living in Ichikawa, by participating in various events coordinated by Ichikawa city and IIA such as the City Festival and International Day.

Mile Stone: 50th Year Anniversary of Sister City Affiliation
We celebrated the 50th Year anniversary of Sister City Affiliation in 2012. Both cities sent large delegations to mark the occasion.

We will improve the second stage of our international exchange after analyzing past activities.

Previous events

2022 New Year Lecture "Women's Social Advancement in Meiji Era"

On January 7, we held a lecture for the first time in about two years at Zennikkei Hall. The theme of this lecture was the social advancement of women, with Mr. Shigeru Matsushita, an economist living in Ichikawa.
The lecturer introduced us the social advancement of women in Meiji and the three people who supported them, Tsuda Umeko , Shibusawa Eiichi , Fukuzawa Yukichi, Also he introduced the life of Oyama Sutematsu, who changed the image of women in Meiji. According to Mr. Matsushita, "For women now, the wind is following." This is because we are in days in which we have no choice but to accept a society that respects individual freedom, independence, and self-management, regardless of gender. And it is said that the latest impact of COVID-19 is further accelerating the flow.
To conclude the lecture, Mr. Matsushita said that now we should learn a lot from Meiji era among which Umeko and Sutematsu had a sense of mission to live devotedly for the sake of society and the public interest, and endurance to have a long timeline to nurture people over 10 years. Now we Japanese should realize that human resources regardless of gender are now in demand.(Pictures from left to right: Oyama Sutematsu, Tsuda Umeko, Shibuswa Eiichi and Fukuzawa Yukichi)

QOQOMembers Gathering and Origami Workshop

This year, our activities were suspended due to the spread of novel coronavirus but on December 3rd, we held a members gathering at the Volunteer NPO Support Center and made a crane chopstick holder(Hashibukuro) and a crane New Year's money envelop(Otoshidama- bukuro)as a seasonal Origami.
Eight people participated in the gathering and enjoyed Origami and chatting in an effort to prevent coronavirus infection.

QOPXDonated money for Toshio Hirai 's family

The sad news of the passing of Mr. Toshio Hirai, police officer of Gardena City, by a traffic accident reached us in March. Mr. Hirai came to Ichikawa as a member of Gardena Official Delegation on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the sister city agreement in 2017.
He acted as interpreter and bodygurd of Mayor Cerda and interacted with IIA members on many occasion.
We solicited donation among IIA members and collected money over 200,000 yen. The donated money was transferred to the account of Gardena Police Foundation and a thank-you note was sent from the fund.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Hirai

2019@Lecture Meeting "Kennedy - Myths and Reality"@new

We had a lecture on November 22 at Zen Nikkei Hall. This time, we invited Mr Hiroshi Tsuchida, an American political scientist, prominent in Kennedy studies, to talk about the story of "Kennedy's Myths and Reality." Overcoming the difficulties and becoming a mythical president are his own strong beliefs - gWar must never be wagedh, gAn error is an error, and if you believe in the right thing it should not be benth, gThe notion that all human beings are equalh, A strong belief towards an ideal society that is, "a peaceful America, and a peaceful world where everyone is recognized as the same person."

2019@Gardena Youth visited Ichikawa@new

On July 30, 6 students and 1 chaperon from Gardena arrived at Narita Airport. They were high school and university students composed of 5 girls and 1 boy, with ages between 14 to 17 years old. On their second day, they began to carry out the scheduled activities and made many visits and inspections while staying with their host families. At the farewell dinner party, each student expressed their impressions and talked about the beautiful sceneries, kindness of people, and the precise and well-organized program. Moreover, they did not forget to express their gratitude to their host families and all the people who were involved in this program. @@@

Lecture Meeting "Green New Dealh; Tracing a tendency of American Socialism

On May 29, 2019, we had a lecture meeting at Zennikkei Hall with lecturer , Mr. Noboru Kohsaka.
The Green New Deal (hereinafter referred to as "GND") resolution was drafted in February by the Democrat Representative Alexandra Ocasio Cortes (age 29) in collaboration with Senator Edward Marquee. The resolution is a grand plan that includes not only environmental issues but major reforms of social and political issues. Although the resolution was rejected in the Senate and not yet submitted to the Parliament, it can be the issue of the presidential race as Americans are highly interested in the issue of climate change.
In the second half of the lecture, he talked about the socialism tendency behind the policies of the Democratic presidential candidates and how Americans think about socialism. It seems that the way of thinking about socialism is changing. The main policies of the Democratic Party presidential candidates cost enormously and increase the deficit. These policies tend to be regarded as socialist, and it is the focus of attention whether the Democratic Party will take these as policies and enter the next presidential election.
The Presidential Election 2020 would be important for both Americafs future and the global world.

Workshop gOriamih @new

A workshop called gOriamih was held on Dec. 18 at the Zennikkei Hall. Oriami is a metal mesh that is supple like cloth and has tension like paper that can be folded like Origami.
We tried to fold it into a crane, but we found it difficult to put a crease on it and it did not produce a firm shape like that of a paper crane. Nevertheless, about 25 participants managed to fold Oriami cranes and showed each otherfs work, and shared their impressions. Somehow, we were not satisfied with the result and decided to fold up a gcelebration craneh with paper, and closed the workshop with much satisfaction.

Graveyards and weeping willows in USA @

The lecture meeting of the above theme was held on Aug 24 at Zennikkei Hall with more than 30 attendees. The lecturer, Ms. Mariko Kurosawa, professor of Senshu University, told us about the design of tombs, which were replaced with weeping willows, and about their relation with the graveyard. An Interesting story is about Napoleonfs Willow which is the willow tree planted beside Napoleonfs tomb on Saint Helena Island. Many visitors to Saint Helena Island cut the tip of this willowfs branch as souvenir and plant the cuttings all over the world.

2018 Ichikawa high school students visited Gardena

From August 2 to 11, 8 high school students, 1 chaperone from the IIA Students and Youth Committee together with another chaperone from city office were dispatched to Gardena. The committee supported them in 7 preliminary training workshops, running a debriefing session after trip , and a compilation of report booklet. High school students stayed in host families' residence for seven nights and experienced the American life. They visited the Mayor office and the city council as well as library, sister city parkett, museum, famous tourist spots, theme park, major league ballpark. They also enjoyed getting touch with local children at summer camp and local students at pool party.

2018 Lecture gKing of California Winery, Kanae Nagasawah@

The 1st lecture meeting was held at Zennikkei Hall on May 31 with nearly 40 people attending. This lecture followed todayfs lecturer, Mr. Noboru Kohsakafs publishment gSatsuma Clan Kanae Nagasawah.
A few years ahead of the Meiji Restoration, Nagasawa left Satsuma(Kagoshima) with other students at his age of 13. Then he moved to the United States and succeeded in cultivating wine in California. Later, he was called as the king of California Winery.
Mr. Kohsaka talked about many topics with regard to Nagasawa as well as about Segodon.

2018@General Meeting

We held the general meeting at Zennikkei Hall on Feb.23 concluding this fiscal year.
2017 was the big year for us as we celebrated 55th anniversary of the sister city affiliation with Gardena. We visited Gardena in summer and welcomed Gardena delegation in autumn. We wrapped up those events with many pictures on the screen. And in 2018, we will dispatch Ichikawa Youth to Gardena.
We pledged our continuous collaboration for the active international exchanges.

2017 Gardena Delegation visited Ichikawa on commemoration of
55th anniversary of sisiter city affiliation

From November 1 to 5, 30 official members from Gardena City visited Ichikawa..
They spent a busy schedule; a courtesy visit to mayor and city council chairperson, the Imperial Palace, the parliamentary tour, the Ichikawa civic festival , Asakusa, the sky tree sightseeing and more. In addition to those, IIA sponsored event "Japan Day 2017" added the variety on itinerary. At Japan Day, they experienced Japanese traditional art form "do" such as Japanese traditional music, aikido, kendo, tea ceremony, flower arrangement and calligraphy.
Memorial ceremony and celebration dinner were held for the first time at the Yamazaki Creation Center with more than 100 members gathered and we pledged to our exchange activities for the years to come.
On the way to Narita Airport on their homecoming day, we asked members how do you like this stay and they gave us the greatest compliment word "Amazing!"

2017 Lecture "Trump Administration and world of its politics and

On September 14, we had the second lecture this year with more than 30 participants at Zennikkei Hall. Once again Mr. Shigeru Matsushita, the economist living in Ichikawa, was a lecturer. The followings are the summary of his lecture.;
In the background of the birth of the Trump administration, various problems exist such as the falling of the middle class to the low, widening income and asset disparity, disaffection against the political elites and more. Viewing the whole world, the UKfs Brexit, refugees, terrorism, unstable economy and gaining strength of far-right political parties in Europe, China and Russiafs struggling for supremacy, IS and North Koreafs spreading terrorism infer that the world is now entering the new era.
As for the Japan's economy and social affairs, he introduced four viewpoints; (1) the economic growth cannot be achieved only by monetary relaxation, (2) public sectors can assume the leading role in breakaway from deflation, (3) expecting the new era in which women can work active, (4) the multitask can produce the new benefit in society.
The lecture made us realize that the world situation is coming more mixed than before and made us think about how we could live from now.

2017@Ichikawa Citizen Group visited Gardena on commemoration
of 55th anniversary of sisiter city affiliation

30 members of the Ichikawa citizen group visited Gardena for three days after sightseeing the California National Park (Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon) from July 6 to 13. We enjoyed the summer days under the bright sunshine and majestic view of Yosemite and Sequoia. In Gardena, we enjoyed the barbecue dinner with Gardena people, meetings with children at the school and the summer camps in addition to the official ceremony and the celebration dinner. We were very impressed by usual handmade hospitalities and warm welcome of Gardena people more than usual .

2017 Lecutre "Trump Administration-How does it work?"

On May 25, the 1st lecture of this year was held at the newly opened Zen-nikkei Hall(Yawata Citizen Hall).
We had Mr. Kohsaka again as lecuture of US President Donald J. Trump with its administration.
Showing latest data and photos, he explained the situation of the administration, the arising questions gIs Trump qualified to the President?h. 
Also he introduced astonishing opinion that Trump is suffered by mental illness.
It was a lecture that made us feel uneasy about the way of the United States and the world.

2017 2nd General Assembly and Members Gathering

On Jan 26, the second general assembly and members gathering was held.
At the general assembly, we wrapped up the activities of the year and talked about next year's projection. After that, we enjoyed the tea time chatting over the things about USA and Gardena including visiting and welcoming Gardena on 55th anniversary of sister city affiliation.

2016 Gardena Youth visited Ichikawa

From Jul 25 to Aug 1, two boys, two girls and one chaperon visited the city.
They made a courtesy call to the mayor, visited many places in and out of the city, exchanged opinions with Ichikawa youth as well as experiencing Japanese culture.
They could have good time and memories with their host families on free day.
At the farewell party hosted by IIA and Ichikawa City, they spoke about their expression on this visit and showed dance performance which was acclaimed by audiences.

2016 Lecture gAnalysis and prospect of World Economyh

The second lecture of the year was held on Sept 15 at Yawata Shimin Danwashitsu with more than 30 attendances.
Mr. Shigeru Matsushita repeated the lecturer from last May
and his theme was about world and economy as now. 
He mentioned that the world is now in leader-less situation, so speak to gG zeroh, and the leading countries struggle with their own problems in terms of globalization. Among the leading countries, the key factor in Japanfs economy is seamless strong economic growth which requires technological innovation of companies, proper marketing on demands of aged generation and economic stimulus policies by regulatory reform.
We could understand that the world economy is now in turmoil and need to know more
about economy from speech.

2016 1st General Assembly

The 1st general assembly was held on Jun 23. We took up this yearfs activity plan as agenda which included acceptance of Gardena youth in summer and analysis of questionnaires conducted in May.

2016@Questionnaires to the members

In May, the committee conducted the questionnaires to the members in order to grasptheir demands and use them for future activities and events. About 23% out of 100 members responded the questions and 80% expressed positive answers with regard toexchange activities with our sister city Gardena.

2016 Lecture gBuzz over Donald Trump and Americanfs emotion behind the sceneh

On May 9, our first lecture meeting this year was held with over 40 attendances.
Mr. Kohsaka, the professor emeritus of J.F. Overlin University, took Mr. Donald Trump as todayfs theme. He talked about how Trumpfs popularity is booming, what his policies on politics are and why he can generate enthusiastic support of American people , showing many pictures on slide show.@

2016 gNew Year Festa 2016h

First time ever, International Day In Ichikawa was held in January under the theme of New Year Festa. On Jan.24 more than 300 people came to the venue Ichikawa Kinro Fukushi Center. Our committee with other Overseas City Committees was handling a part of programs gLotteryh. There were a lot of prizes donated by IIA members and we presorted them 1st, 2nd,3rd and 4th places.
4th place prizes went to everybody at the party and others were by picking the ticket numbers. The lucky winners were so happy with prizes including fine ball-point pens, brand-name goods and gift certificates.

2015 General Assembly gTo know more about Gardena Cityh

Committee members got together on Dec. 9 to exchange opinions with regard to our activities. The theme was gwe need to know more about Gardena City, our Partner.
Mr. Miyaki of Ichikawa City gave us informative talks to update Gardena with its organization. It was a good opportunity to talk about our future activities.

2015 The workshop gSouvenirs Makingh

On Oct. 7 and 21, we got together to make souvenirs for up-coming Rosenheim City Delegation with Rosenheim City Committee. The souvenirs are tote-bags made of cloth with beautiful stitches on them.
We handed them over each one of Rosenheim Delegation at the Welcome Party on Nov. 5. They all were pleased with this surprise and we also were happy to see it.

2015 The Lecture gUltimate American Dream; the president who won the fame and fortune back from povertyh

On Sept.4, we had this yearfs 2nd lecture with Mr.Hiromi Hemuki as a lecturer.
shis time his theme was Mr. Gerald R. Ford Jr., the 38th President of USA.
Mr. Hemuki talked various episodes of Mr. Ford from his boyhood to presidency based upon his recent book under the same theme which will be soon published.
On the way to the presidency, Mr. Ford exerted enormous effort but at the same time good luck backed him up greatly. Mr. Ford is an only President of USA who assumed a post of Vice-President and President without election processes.

2015 The Lecture gWorld Economy and Our Daily Livesh

The first lecture of this year was held on May 22 at Shimin Danwashitsu.
Mr Shigeru Matsushita, the Economist who lives in Ichikawa City, gave us very informative talks on what happening in World Economy and how it may affect our daily lives. His four key topics were, @The world is experiencing unforeseen situations,AStrong concerns regarding Chinafs development, BJapan needs to develop further strategy of growth, CHow Japan can take advantage of upcoming events to increase world wide interest in its local creativity
such as food, art and ways of living lifestyles. This may trigger further growth of Japanese Economy.

2015 The Lecture gPublic Safety and Racial Problem in USAh

On Feb.27,@we were pleased to have Mr. Noboru Kousaka, the emeritus professor of J.F. Oberlin University, who is a famous academic in American Politics and Social Study. He introduced three recent cases which were based on racial problems and continuous efforts of New York City Mayors to calm down the racial situation.
He emphasized that the discrimination in American Society which triggered a High Crime Rate of minorities is still underway.
The lecture may prompt us to foresee the same problems in our future society.

2015 General Assembly

On Mar. 13, we had the last General Assembly this fiscal year at Shimin Danwashitsu. After talking about our activities this year and plans for next year, we enjoyed Origami Lesson to make gjumping frogh. The frog can jump when snapped by finger and we enjoyed the competition of frogs broad jump.
As our time run out, gtalking lipsh Origami will be planned next time.

2014 A Handmade Christmas Goods gSaint Claus and Christmas Cardsh

About one week ahead of Christmas Day, we got together to have a lesson for making handmade Christmas Goods. First, we tried to make a tumbling Saint Claus , using a do-it-yourself kit which contains many parts to be put together.
It is fun to see the Saint Claus can right itself when knocked over.
Next, we made original Christmas Cards with Origami and cardboard.
The completed cards designed by Christmas tree with decorations were all fine.
We showed works each other and cheered gMerry Christmash.

Ichikawa High School Students visited Gardena City in 2014

During Jul. 28 to Aug. 6, nine students visited Gardena City,California, USA on Youth
Exchange Program. Our committee helped students preparing for the travel at the orientation meetings in cooperation with IIA Student Section and Division of the International@Relations, Ichikawa City.
The students stayed host families houses and visited City Hall, City Council, Police Department, Museum, Theme Park and more. They also enjoyed sightseeing and sports on their free days. At the farewell party, they entertained Gardena People with their performances of playing piano and dancing.
At the debrief session on Aug. 18, each student reported his/her experiences with confident look.

2014 International Day In Ichikawa

It was held on Oct. 26 as a part of programs of Onitaka Sansha Festival at the Green Studio, Media Park Ichikawa.
Our committee joined in displaying panels which introduced the international exchanges with our counterpart cities. On a fine and warm day, many people came to our site and enjoyed stage performances and panel displays.

2014@The@Lecture gWhatfs happening in USA now. No. 2h

We had the 2nd session on May 23 following to the previous lecture in February.
Mr. Hemuki took care of the lecture again and focused on USA as life, talking many topics in terms of daily life which are quite different from those of Japan.
Here are some examples; many people live in their camping vehicles without settling in one place; some states enforce regulations which banned their citizen from neglecting
lawn mowing; parents sometime let their children manage all the entry procedures to school by themselves to breed a childfs self-esteem; some states admit usages of cannabis commonly known as marijuana; it is a general rule to kill all the terrorists on antiterrorism measures; and more. We were amazed at these topics and realized the differences in social system between USA and Japan.

2014 Origami Lesson gKusu-dama(decorative banners)h

On March 28 when cherry blossoms began to bloom in Ichikawa, we enjoyed origami lesson to make Kusu-dama. It is made of 40 pieces of small origami parts and we put them together to shape a sphere. It was rather difficult to complete them but a lot of fun we had.
Those Kusu-dama will be handed over the Ichikawa high school students to bring them to Gardena City as souvenirs in July.

2014 The Lecture gWhatfs happening in USA now?h

Although it was a very cold day in February, many audiences got together at Yawata Shimin Danwashitsu to join the lecture by Mr. Hemuki who is a head of NPO body as well as a member of IIA. According to his wide experiences in USA, he talked about many phases of USA such as nation, land, people, religion, politics and so on.
His talks included many things which we have never known before, thus they were informative.
It is important to know whatfs happening in our counterpartfs country and let them know the same things in our country as well.
This lecture will follow on next occasion.

2013 Origami Lesson gSaint Claus and Gift Bags"

A paper Saint Claus is coming to town?
Our Christmas get together featured Origami Lesson to make paper Saint Clauses and Gift Bags. The teacher was 95years old gentleman lives in Ichikawa. We all admired his skill in handling origami and could finish a lot of works.
They are good for gifts for grandchildren.

2013 International Day In Ichikawa

At the first time in two years, International Day In Ichikawa was held at Gyotoku Bunka Hall on October 20.
We, Overseas Cities Exchange Division, took care of Japanese Culture Corner and Japanese dances on stage. Although it was a rainy day, many people enjoyed calligraphy, origami, tea and modern and traditional Japanese dances.

Gardena youth delegation visited Ichikawa in 2013

In August, a boy and girls from Gardena city visited Ichikawa.
During 8 days stay, they made courtesy call to the mayor and coucil chairman and visited various places in and out Ichikawa.
The picture tells that they enjoyed barbeque party at Nature's house for boys and girls.

2013 The Lecture gLearning the Japanese traditional culture (the rules of decorum)h

On Jnne 28, we learned the rules of decorum which means proper manners in our daily life and has been observed long time in Japan. Our teacher, Ms. Inoue taught us how to sit the table according to a formal seating arrangement, a first motion should be taken to meet an unknown person, a proper way to fold/unfold Furoshiki (wrapping cloth) and Fukusa (crape wrapper).
A picture here is a chopstick rest like a crane which we made of Japanese paper.

Commemorative Booklet in 2013

The booklet were publised for the memory of 50 years of Gardena/Ichikawa sisiter city affiliation.

Gardena delegation visited Ichikawa in 2012

Members of Gardena delegation dressed in Kimono
were introduced on the stage at IIA sponsored
farewel party.

Gardena delegation visited Ichikawa in 2012

The delegation visited Gardena booth at Ichikawa
City Festival to exchange courtesies with Ichikakwa

Ichikawa citizens visited Gardena in 2012

Goodwill tour commemorating 50th anniversary of
Gardena/Ichikawa sister city affiliation visited the city hall of Gardena.

Origami Class in 2012

Candy Boxes and tops were made at the committee's general meeting and we used them as souveniors when
we visited Gardena.

International Day in Ichikawa in 2011

We set Japanese Culture Corner at the site so that foreign
residents can experience a tea ceremony, Japanese Calligraphies, and Oirgami Foldings.

Ichikawa City Festival in 2011

A penny arcade at the festival site, where we sold
candies, cheap sweeets etc.

International Day in Ichikawa in 2011

Children are enjoying to try Origami Foldings.