Member Spotlight - BNA International Airport / Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority 

Nashville International Airport (BNA) connects travelers to the world and is proud of its longstanding connection to JAST. BNA supports JAST’s mission of fostering cultural understanding as a sponsor of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival and by hosting live musical performances by Japanese artists in the terminal for passengers to enjoy. Additionally, Cathy Holland, BNA’s Director of Community Affairs, Arts and Events, cherishes JAST and works to advance its mission as Secretary of the JAST Board.

With its eyes on the horizon—and air service to Tokyo as a strategic priority—BNA is building a state-of-the-art International Arrivals Facility to accommodate rising demand for service to global destinations including Asia, Europe and Latin America. It’s a key component of the airport’s $1.4 billion expansion and renovation plan, known as BNA Vision, that’s transforming Music City’s transportation hub like never before. Learn more at 

Q&A with Cathy Holland

Director of Community Affairs, Arts & Events

JAST Board Secretary


What drew you to the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) originally? And, how has MNAA changed?

In 2000, MNAA was conducting an economic impact study for Nashville International Airport (BNA). Since my background was in economic and community development, I was asked to serve as a consultant for gathering the statistical data from BNA business partners for the study. This consultant role led to a full-time position in the fall of 2000.

When I came to BNA we had a passenger count of almost 6.5 million per year. With nearly 18.3 million passengers in 2019, BNA has been one of the fastest growing airports in North America.

Why is your company’s involvement with JAST a win-win?

Since one of our major goals is to offer non-stop air service to Japan / Asia, JAST provides an excellent opportunity to network with business leaders from Japanese companies that are located in Tennessee. Our involvement with the JAST Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival has allowed BNA to host various music performance groups from Japan, bringing Japanese talent and culture to our travelers.


MNAA staff meet with representatives from Narita Airport 

What advice or favorite quote would you share with the Japan-connected community to inspire us during these challenging times?

When I was in the 5th grade, we studied the life of Helen Keller and the adversity she faced being both deaf and blind. I became intrigued with her life and began a journey to learn her history and read everything she wrote. During the 1940’s and 50’s, she made several trips to Japan and became a favorite of the Japanese people. My two favorite Helen Keller quotes hold true today in everything we are facing in this time of worldwide challenge.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller – 1880-1968

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” Helen Keller – 1880-1968


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 Spotlight - Memphis Botanic Garden


Memphis Botanic Garden strives to enhance lives by connecting people with nature, increasing awareness and appreciation of our environment. The 96-acre property includes 28 beautiful, specialty gardens. One of the specialty gardens is the Japanese Garden of Tranquility (Seijaku-En) featuring a variety of Japanese and regional native plants and symbolic elements that are unique to Japanese garden design.

The Memphis Botanic Garden lawn is the site of the Memphis Japan Festival, a family-friendly, interactive and hands-on experience of Japanese culture presented by the Japan-America Society of Tennessee and featuring Japanese food, entertainment, games, crafts, cultural lectures and martial arts. Thousands of guests attend each year. The wonderful staff at the Garden joins us each year to organize the Festival and greet festival guests.

On June 1st, Memphis Botanic Garden began opening outdoor spaces for their normal seven-days-a-week, summertime hours - 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Some “high touch” areas, such as the iconic red bridge and the Children’s Garden, remain closed for now. Tickets can be purchased in advance - contactless and cashless, and the number of guests admitted is controlled for social distancing.


JAST Partner Events in June

On June 17th, the Japan-America Societies of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee hosted the Virtual Southeast US-Japan Networking Night. After a toast and “Kampai!”, 86 people from across the southeast connected virtually with old and new friends in four networking breakout sessions. We hope this is just the first of many virtual networking events we will be able to offer JAST members.


In partnership with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s International Business Council and Baker Donelson, Consul-General of Japan in Nashville Kayoko Fukushima spoke about Japan's response to COVID-19 and the U.S.-Japan business relationship during the IBC Global Update Webinar on June 25th. 110 people were in attendance. 


Keep a lookout for more events from JAST!


Upcoming NAJAS Events

The pandemic, investing sustainably and corporate governance in Japan + US

June 30th 

Japan-America Society of North California

 [The House of Suntory] Bridging the East and the West   Mini Master Class Series

July 2nd, July 23rd,   August 13th

Japan-America Society of Southern California

COVID’s Impact on China-Japan Détente

July 6th 

Japan-America Society of Chicago 

Virtual Sake Tasting & Pairing Demo

July 11th 

Japan-America Society of Georgia 

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.


Office: +1 615-663-6060

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