Report of the 28th JASH Day


Report of the 28th JASH Day
Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of JASH

On March 19, 2014, the 28th annual JASH Day was held at the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo. Blessed with the soft and soothing spring sun, there gathered more than 200 participants not only from the metropolitan area but also from three different areas in Japan where the Sacred Heart schools are located. The general meeting opened to the sound of Mozart’s Ave verum corpus performed by “Sordino Ensemble,” eight former members of the University orchestra club.

In the opening prayer, Sister Reiko Tanaka, board member of JASH representing the Society of the Sacred Heart, gave thanks to God for our half-century’s journey. Then, Sister Provincial Mieko Shinjo, Honorary President of JASH, declared the opening of the meeting. Already by then, the hearts of all present were united and became one.

In the address by Kimiko Hotta, JASH President, all the former JASH Presidents were introduced. Unfortunately, the first President, Mariko Kadono, and her three successors, pioneers who had made much effort in establishing JASH, have already passed away. However, we were very happy to have with us the six succeeding presidents, Chise Mita, Kazuko Tatsuta, Taeko Sakagami, Fumiko Kuwata, Sueko Watanabe, and Reiko Kobori. When their names were called, the hall resounded with the audience’s applause of appreciation. Additionally, AMASC administrative officers at the time of the AMASC Tokyo Congress and five former AMASC board members from JASH were introduced. All these alumnae have contributed much to the history of JASH and of AMASC.

As part of the special program for our anniversary, a congratulatory message from Pamela Snyder, AMASC President, was read. Next on the program was a presentation ceremony. As one of the activities in commemoration of our anniversary, a volunteer group had worked on translations into Japanese of two books by the religious of the Sacred Heart: The Education of Catholic Girls by Mother Janet Erskine Stuart and Les Loisirs de l’Abbaye by Mother Pauline Perdrau. Two of the volunteers presented the finished translations to Sister Shinjo, who received our gifts on behalf of Sister Mieko Uno, chairperson of the board of directors of the Sacred Heart School Corporation and the one who had requested the translation three years ago.

Next, the two JASH secretaries, Kaori Okamura and Akiko Karasawa, gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Fifty Years’ History of JASH.” In preparation for this presentation, we, the JASH administrative officers, thoroughly studied the history of JASH in relation to AMASC by investigating into the newsletters of all the alumnae associations as well as into history books published by the Sacred Heart schools. By doing so, we came to know exactly how Mariko Kadono and her colleagues had tried hard to achieve their goal of establishing an integrated alumnae body. They had been encouraged and helped by the then Reverend Mother Vicar and other mothers (as they were called at that time). The examples they had tried to follow were the national alumnae associations of the European Sacred Heart schools that had already begun their activities. This great work of unification of all the alumnae associations of the Sacred Heart schools in Japan had been achieved with enthusiasm and excitement of each and every one of those involved. Indeed, we prepared our presentation in the hope of sharing with all the JASH members such enthusiasm and excitement. Our PowerPoint presentation, together with the exhibition by the Archives Committee held in the lobby of the hall, succeeded in putting the spotlight on the history of JASH, a unique association.

Due to the fact that half of the JASH administrative officers will leave their posts at the end of March (Japanese fiscal year), Kimiko Hotta gave a concluding speech in which she expressed gratitude for the support given to us during the mandate. The outgoing administrative officers were called onto the stage. This was followed by the inauguration speech by the president-elect, Yoko Nakayama, and the introduction of the new administrative officers.

The meeting ended with twenty-seven former members of the University glee club leading the chorus for the medley of all the school songs of our alma mater, which was arranged and accompanied by Mami Kumabe, a JASH member. To sing our school songs for the first time in years and to watch the screen showing old and familiar photographs of our alma mater brought tears to some of us.

This year, we had the honor of having Her Majesty the Empress of Japan attend the latter half of our program.

As every year, the Hospitality Committee played the central role in preparing the luncheon after the general meeting. Ikebana and various homemade cakes prepared by our volunteers and the Colombian coffee that had been donated by her Excellency Ms. Patricia Eugenia Cardenas, Colombian ambassador to Japan and AMASC member, contributed much to the atmosphere of festivity. All of us enjoyed both food and conversation.

There was also a mini-bazaar in which the eight alumnae associations together with JASH had tables to display their own goods.

In this manner, it is obvious that JASH Day could only be accomplished by having each and every member involved, exercising her peculiar capability. The same can be said as for the management of JASH itself. What keeps all of us together is our common feeling for our alma mater. The very reason JASH has succeeded in continuing its activities for half a century is not only the leadership of all the former presidents but also all the efforts of the administrative officers, board members, and the cooperation of Sacred Heart schools and the Society of the Sacred Heart. If any one of them were lacking, then JASH would not exist now.

We, the present administrative officers, would be very happy if all the participants of this JASH Day came to know how JASH and AMASC had been established and to acknowledge their raison d’étre. It would also give us much pleasure if the day had become an opportunity for all the participants to be grateful for the bonds of the Sacred Heart family. This day will also become part of the past, a new page in the history of our association. With this as our starting point, what path JASH will tread in the future depends upon us, JASH members. We, the administrative officers of JASH, promise to keep on working hard so that JASH will continue walking with steady steps.