Japan Society Announces its 2009 Annual Dinner

For Immediate Release

With keynote address by Fujio Mitarai; Japan Society Award recipients Peter G. Peterson and Nobu Matsuhisa; and a live performance by Jake Shimabukuro

Monday, June 15, 2009, at the Grand Hyatt New York

New York, NY – Japan Society announces the 2009 Annual Dinner, featuring keynote speaker Fujio Mitarai, Chairman, Nippon Keidanren, Chairman & CEO, Canon Inc. This year, Japan Society Award Recipients include The Honorable Peter G. Peterson, Founder and Chairman, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Chairman Emeritus & Co-Founder, The Blackstone Group, and Nobu Matsuhisa, Chef & Restaurateur, with awards presented by Sir Deryck C. Maughan and Tim & Nina Zagat respectively. The evening includes a Performance by international ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. Frederick H. Katayama, Anchor, Thompson Reuters, serves as Master of Ceremonies.

The 2009 Annual Dinner takes place Monday, June 15 at the Grand Hyatt New York Ballroom Level, 4th Floor, Park Avenue at Grand Central, New York City. Receptions begin at 6:30 pm with the dinner program, keynote speech, award presentations and performance taking place 7:30-9:45 pm. The event is black tie optional.

Japan Society's Annual Dinner draws hundreds of esteemed guests from the business, diplomatic and cultural communities; Japan Society’s Corporate and Individual members; and a broad array of eminent individuals important to U.S.-Japan relations. The 2009 Annual Dinner is the first dinner under newly appointed Japan Society president Motoatsu Sakurai.

Fujio Mitarai is Chairman & CEO of Canon Inc. and Chairman of Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). A native of Oita Prefecture, Japan, Mr. Mitarai graduated from Chuo University’s Department of Law. He joined Canon Camera Co., Inc. (later called Canon Inc.) in 1961. In 1966, Mr. Mitarai moved to Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s Accounting Division. In 1979, after over a decade at Canon U.S.A., Inc., he was named President. While serving as President, he was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of Canon Inc. (1981) and Managing Director of Canon Inc. (1985). In 1995, Mr. Mitarai was appointed President & Representative Director of Canon Inc. and in 1997 he was appointed President & CEO. In 2006 he became Chairman & CEO. Chairman of Nippon Keidanren since 2006, Mr. Mitarai served as an Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Keidanren (2000) and later Vice Chairman of Nippon Keidanren (2002-2006). In addition, Mr. Mitarai has acted as President of the Japan Camera Industry Association (1999-2001); Chairman of The Industrial Structure Council, part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (2006); Member of Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (2006); and Chairman of The Japan-China Exchange Year of Culture and Sports in 2007, among many other business leadership roles. In 1999, Mr. Mitarai was made Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration, and was awarded Japan’s Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon (for individuals who have made significant achievements in the areas of public welfare or public service). Most recently, he received Japan’s Commendation for Business Reformers (2002) and The People’s Republic of China’s Prize of Contribution for Cultural Exchanges (2007).

Peter G. Peterson
is Chairman Emeritus and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group, a private investment banking firm he co-founded in 1985. He recently launched the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. He is the Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relation’s International Advisory Board. He is also founding Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (Washington, D.C.) and founding President of The Concord Coalition. He was also Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 to 2004. Prior to founding Blackstone, Peterson was Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers (1973–1977) and later Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. (1977–1984). In 1971, President Richard Nixon named Peterson Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. He was named Secretary of Commerce by President Nixon in 1972. Peterson is the author of several books, including Running On Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It; Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America – and the World; Will America Grow Up Before It Grows Old?; and Facing Up: How to Rescue the Economy from Crushing Debt and Restore the American Dream.

Nobu Matsuhisa--known to the world simply as “Nobu”--is the acclaimed and highly influential chef proprietor of Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants all over the globe. Notable citations bestowed upon Nobu’s restaurants start with Matsuhisa chosen as one of the Top Ten Restaurant Destinations in the world by The New York Times (1993). Nobu was awarded Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation (1995) and Three Stars by Ruth Reichl of The New York Times (1995). Nobu Next Door awarded Three Stars by Ruth Reichl of the New York Times (1998). Nobu London awarded One Michelin Star (1997). Nobu Fifty Seven awarded Three Stars by Frank Bruni of the New York Times (2005). Nobu Berkeley St. awarded One Michelin Star (2005). And Matsuhisa Beverly Hills and Nobu Las Vegas awarded One Michelin Stars (2007). Some of Nobu’s personal honors from the culinary community are America’s 10 Best New Chefs by Food and Wine Magazine (1989), Southern California's Rising Stars by Los Angeles Times Magazine (1998), induction into Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America by the James Beard Foundation (2002), and nomination for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006). Nobu currently has 24 restaurants in 20 different cities around the world. The most recent openings were Nobu Cape Town and Nobu Moscow in the Spring of 2009. He is the author of five cookbooks: Nobu the Cookbook (2001), Nobu Now (2005), Japanese Finger Food – Nobu Style (2006) (in Japanese only), Nobu West (2006), and Nobu Miami the Party Cookbook (2008).

Jake Shimabukuro is recognized as one of the world's top ukulele musicians, renowned for lightning-fast fingers and a revolutionary technique that encompasses jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock. He has appeared on a number of CDs and DVDs, and his hit full-length CD Gently Weeps has sold 100,000 copies worldwide. He has played renowned venues such as Joe's Pub, Highline Ballroom, and B.B. King's Nightclub (NYC); the House of Blues and The Knitting Factory (Los Angeles);The Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle); The Fuji Rock Festival and The Music Is Good Medicine Tour covering thirty-two shows (Japan), and many others. He has toured extensively with Jimmy Buffett and Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, and has collaborated with artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Cyndi Lauper, and Ziggy Marley. He scored the award winning Japanese independent film Hula Girls. He has performed on national television shows such as NBC's "The Late Show with Conan O'Brien" (twice) and "Last Call With Carson Daly," and was featured on NPR's "Morning Edition," Public Radio International's "The World." Recently he performed the National Anthem at the 2008 January PGA Opening Drive on Maui (broadcast live on The Golf Channel), and has been selected three years in a row as spokesperson for the Hawaii Tourism Japan's (HTJ) campaign to market Hawaii to Japan.

Established in 1907, Japan Society has evolved into North America's major producer of high-quality content on Japan for an English-speaking audience. Presenting over 100 events annually through well established Corporate, Education, Film, Gallery, Language, Lectures, Performing Arts and Innovators Network programs, the Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides access to information on Japan, offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture, and fosters sustained and open dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan, and East Asia. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street.

The Japan Society 2009 Annual Dinner takes place Monday, June 15 at 6:30 pm. The Grand Hyatt New York Ballroom is located at Park Avenue at Grand Central. Individual seats range from $750-$3,500; tables range from $7,500-$50,000. To purchase tickets, call the special events office at 212-715-1219 or email For more information visit

Press Photo/Video Opportunity: There will be a photo opportunity with the keynote speaker, Japan Society Award recipients, and other guests of honor at 7:15-7:25 pm. Observation seats for the dinner portion are available to members by advance reservation only.

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Shannon Jowett
Japan Society
T: (212) 715-1205
F: (212) 715-1262

Kuniko Shiobara
Japan Society
T: (212) 715-1249
F: (212) 715-1262

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