Premier Patron Spotlight  

Kiyomi Hamamoto Hardman and Gregg Hardman


Kiyomi Hamamoto Hardman and Gregg Hardman are generous and longtime sponsors of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival.

Kiyomi and Gregg first began their support for the Festival as a way to memorialize Kiyomi’s beloved grandmother and other loved ones. Kiyomi says that cherry blossoms are a comforting reminder of where she is from, as they are for so many people from Japan, and that supporting the Festival helps to keep the memories of her grandmother and other loved ones close.

Kiyomi and Gregg also enjoy attending the Festival in person. Kiyomi performs on the Main Stage as a member of Choir Sakura, and Gregg, along with Kiyomi's close friends and students from the Japanese Supplemental Middle Tennessee School (JSMT), join as festival-goers to cheer her on.

Kiyomi left her job of more than 16 years right before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and she currently serves as a teacher on Saturdays at JSMT. She and Gregg both enjoy gardening and love the way the bamboo they planted in their yard three years ago has grown from 37 plants to more than 1,000! Kiyomi’s love for the bamboo is also rooted in memories of Japan, especially those of the huge bamboo forest on her great auntie’s estate.

JAST appreciates the many ways that Kiyomi and Gregg support the Festival and looks forward to seeing them again when the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival returns!

New JAST Website


With the New Year comes the new JAST website!


We have updated our website to give it a fresh look. 

New design. New colors. New photos.

Check it out today for updates and news about JAST upcoming events, membership, outreach programs and more!


The new JAST website was designed by Decision Designs.


2021 Middle Tennessee

Industrial Wage & Benefit Survey


A collaborative project is underway throughout the mid-state to document the local wage and benefit structure in our communities. Geared towards INDUSTRIAL and MANUFACTURING jobs, the survey will be conducted by Dr. Murat Arik at MTSU’s Business & Economic Research Center (BERC). Regional partners working together sent direct mail packets in early January to over 1,600 companies. Among other things, this packet contained a guide for the survey so industries could begin to prepare before February. Be on the lookout for posts containing additional information about the survey on LinkedIn during the coming weeks.

The 2021 Industrial Wage & Benefit Survey will be open for six weeks, and the data will be exclusively available to participants in the late spring. This year’s survey has been redesigned by MTSU to provide a more user-friendly experience. The survey results will provide human resource managers a clear understanding of the compensation structure of key industrial occupations in middle Tennessee.

“This survey is built upon the success of our 2017 and 2019 surveys. Of the three surveys the regional partners have done with MTSU, this one has the potential for heightened importance due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are eager to see the results” said Robert Bibb, MTIDA Executive Director. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please call MTIDA at 615-269-5233 or email The survey guide and additional information can be found at:”.


Upcoming NAJAS Events


An American Salaryman in Tokyo

February 4, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm CST


At this event, author and Chicago native Michael Howard will discuss his romp through four Japanese companies during his recent decade as an immigrant-turned-salaryman in Tokyo. His 2019 memoir, The Salaryman, was called “thoroughly entertaining” by The Japan Times, and his new The Salaryman manga series has been called “the best English manga available” by the Voices in Japan podcast. 


You are also invited to attend these virtual events:


Please join the Japan-America Society of Northern California to hear two experts share their views on Japan’s evolving role in Asia and what that means for the U.S. Hiroyuki Akita, commentator of the Nikkei Shimbun and former Washington correspondent, is one of Japan’s top analysts on foreign policy and the US-Japan relationship. Professor Thomas Berger, professor of international relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, is one of America’s top experts on Japanese foreign policy.


Welcome to the mystique of Noh, the traditional Japanese performing art that has been recognized as a world cultural heritage, a unique and profound art with over six hundred years of history. (The kanji for Noh (能) means “skill,” “craft,” or “talent”). You will learn from Professor Emmert all important aspects of Noh such as its “mai” (dance), “utai” (vocal), four “hayashi” (music) instruments and “noh-men” (masks), watch some performances and hear his fascinating story.


Join the Japan Society at this virtual workshop where Maiko Kyogoku, owner of New York-based Japanese restaurant Bessou, teaches how to make Bessou's version of these special pancakes in the comfort of your own home. She will be assisted by Bessou cook Sanju Gurung. This Valentine’s Day, let Japanese soufflé pancakes be the perfect sweet treat for someone special, or simply treat yourself!


Women in Leadership 2021

February 11, 2021 4 pm PST


Join the Japan-America Society of Oregon in conversation with three global leaders telling personal stories of how gender has influenced their careers. Linda Akutagawa is a national leader in diversity, equity, leadership and inclusion; running a dedicated non-profit and serving on several California state boards. Sakie Fukushima’s entire career has proven ground-breaking, and includes serving as the first female board member at Sony, Ajinomoto, Mitsubishi Corp., Minolta Konica, and Bridgestone. Claire Chino is a rising star at New York-based Itochu International and Itochu Corporation. In 2013 she became the first executive officer of a major trading company in Japan.


Guide to Daily Living in Tennessee 


JAST's Guide to Daily Living in Tennessee is now available! It's for newcomers and long-time residents originally from Japan to familiarize them with essential information on aspects of daily life that may differ from life in Japan and other parts of the world where they may have lived before relocating to Tennessee. Please let your Japanese friends know about this guide. We hope this will be helpful to our Japanese community! 

Partner Resources COVID-19 

JAST is generously supported by these outstanding partners


Austin Peay State University

Baker Donelson

BB&T now Truist

Jack and Barbara Bovender

DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc.

Humanities Tennessee

Clay and Cathy Jackson

Komatsu America Corp.

The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation 


Office: +1 615-663-6060