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About Us

The Japan Society of Boston, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote cultural and economic ties and active interchange between Japanese and Americans for mutual understanding, business exchange, social connection, and friendship. We serve as a programming nexus for individuals, institutions, and businesses linked together by a strong interest in Japan and a shared recognition of the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship.

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Naoko Takayanagi



Chris Ellars
Special Events Associate


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Claire Gallion


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Julia Napier


Ian Malloy Japan_edited_edited.jpg

Ian Malloy
Media/Communication Associate 

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Emily Buttner
Special Programs Advisor


Joanne Ha
Programs Manager



Kira Wencek
Media/Communication Associate

Naoko Takayanagi was born and raised in Tokyo. She received a B.A. in Modern Languages from McGill University and an M.A. in International Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She worked in corporate banking, asset management, and financial translation, and has extensive experience teaching Japanese.

Christopher is a student at Boston University, where he majors in both Voice Performance and Japanese. He wishes to bridge his studies together to explore and spread Japanese music and culture throughout the world.

Claire Gallion is a sophomore at Vassar college and is a Psychology and Japanese double major. She enjoys studying Japanese, but is also a fan of Japanese literature and film. Outside of JSB, she works at Maruichi, and her hobbies include knitting, listening to music, and taking walks with her friends.

Julia Napier has a BA in East Asian Studies and a minor in Art History. She has spent three years in Japan and loves learning about Japanese pop culture, traditional culture, literature, film, and food.

Ian was born and raised in Bristol, Rhode Island. He has been interested in Japanese history and culture from an early age after wearing out old VHS tapes of Godzilla films. Ian graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in History, East Asian Studies, and Film, Animation, & Video. He lived and worked in Noto, Ishikawa through the JET Program and is now back home working to bridge US and Japanese cultures. 

Emily is a 2021 M.A. graduate of the Department of Theater & Performance Studies from Stanford University. She also holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and spent four years in Ibaraki Prefecture on the JET Programme. In addition to working with JSB, Emily currently teaches Japanese Performance as a remote adjunct instructor at Rikkyo University. She hopes to work in Japan again in the future.

Joanne Ha was born in South Korea, and was raised in a multilingual and multigenerational household in Maryland. She graduated from Boston University with a BS in Film and Television, a BA in Religion, and a minor in Japanese language. Outside of JSB, she works as a freelance videographer and her current hobbies include tennis, nail design, and crochet!

Kira graduated from the University of Rhode Island and studied abroad for a year at Kochi University in Japan. She double majored in Art and Computer Science and minored in Japanese. In the summer she works as a kayak guide in southeast Alaska. She loves Japan and Japanese, anime, the outdoors, drawing, climbing, music, and adventures of all sorts!




Michael H. Armacost
Lawrence K. Fish
Heisuke Hironaka
Seiji Ozawa
John Curtis Perry
Robert D. Reischauer


Peter M. Grilli

*denotes Executive Committee

Brian Chiappinelli*
Nicholas Elfner
Glen S. Fukushima
Megan Gates
Andrew Gordon*
Todd Guild
William W. Hunt, Chairman*

Kiyoshi Kurokawa
Midori Morikawa
Kiyoko Morita*

Susan Napier

James Nuzzo

Bernard Pucker

Toby Rodes, Treasurer*

Roger T. Servison*

John A. Shane, Vice Chair*

John Sinclair

May Takayanagi

Hirotaka Takeuchi
Keiko Thayer

Mikio Yoshimura

Contact Us


Japan Society of Boston

50 Milk Street, 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02109

Contact Us

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JSB History

The Japan Society of Boston began as an informal discussion group sympathetic to Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. Until it disbanded during World War II, the Society was primarily an informal social organization, and mainly hosted visiting Japanese dignitaries.

Under the leadership of the late Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer, with his return to the U.S. and to Harvard in the late 1960s, interest in the U.S. Japan relation in Boston and the surrounding regions was revived. In the late 1970s, the Society began to expand, acquired office space, and hired its first part-time staff member. Beginning in 1980, the Society received a series of milestone grants from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission that enabled it to hire a full-time executive director, expand its membership, increase its level of programming, and introduce new publications and other services.


The Japan Society of Boston has continued to thrive and grow, and currently offers its members and the general public a wide array of programs and informational services.



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