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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, benefit and enjoyment. We serve as a programming nexus for a network of individuals, institutions, and businesses that are 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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Yuko Handa
Executive Director


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Emily Buttner
Programs Manager

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Michael Shaari
Media/Communications Associate 


Naoko Takayanagi
Operations Manager



Chris Ellers
Special Events Associate



Kira Wencek
Media/Communication Associate

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Julia Napier
Programs Manager
(Langauge and Podcast)

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Sandy (Yen-Yun) Jen Public Relations Associate


Dylan Perry

Yuko Handa has been a business professional for over 20 years, with experience in both the for profit and not-for-profit sectors. Born and raised in Japan, in the Shonan region of Kanagawa prefecture, from a young age, she was educated in International Schools in Yokohama. She attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned her BA degree in Sociology. Returning to Japan after graduation, she worked for three years at an Asian Airline, before joining Analog Devices in Japan. In 2005 she relocated to the United States with her family and now calls New England her home.

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.

Michael is an incoming freshman at Harvard who plans to concentrate in East Asian Studies and Mathematics. He has taken Japanese classes for five years and independently studied Japanese culture, religion, and economics. He hopes to help expand Japan Society Boston's offerings and further understand the richness of Japan.

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 later taught Japanese at Berlitz and tutored through Wyzant. She is CELTA certified.

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.

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!

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. 

Sandy has a bachelor’s degree in Communication with a concentration in public relations at Boston University. Following that, she continues pursuing a master’s degree in media science at Boston University. She has spent one semester studying abroad at Doshisha University in Kyoto and wishes to apply fundamental knowledge of public relations with fluency in Mandarin, English, and Japanese to achieve media relations goals for organizations. 

Dylan is a senior at Suffolk university majoring in Global Cultural Studies with a concentration in Culture, Conflict, and Communication. He has studied Japanese language and culture independently for four years, through which he has developed a passionate interest in the culture and history of Japan that he hopes to combine with his multifaceted study of the humanities to help the JSB in its mission to connect Japanese and American culture in the context of today's globalized world.




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

617-514-7345 [text or call]

Japan Society of Boston

50 Milk Street, 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02109

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JSB History


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Founded in 1904, 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, the Society was revived in 1953 and was legally incorporated in 1958. 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 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.


Since operational support from the Commission ended in 1986, the Japan Society of Boston has continued to thrive and grow, and currently offers its members and the general public an annual slate of more than 30 programs as well as publications and informational services.



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