The 37th US-Japan Capital Gala

On Tuesday, October 17th, 2023, the Japan-America Society of Washington DC was proud to host our 37th US-Japan Capital Gala: Celebrating US-Japan Baseball Diplomacy and 150 Years of Baseball in Japan – at the Salamander Hotel in Washington, DC. 

With over 250 friends and colleagues from across the government, academia, and the private sector in attendance, the Gala served as a celebration not only of the United States- Japan partnership and its leaders across generations, but also of the vital role that the bilateral relationship plays in our two countries and for our partners around the world. Over the years, the Gala has welcomed and honored some of America and Japan’s most distinguished leaders. This year, it was our privilege to host esteemed guests including Masanori “Mashi” Murakami, the first Japanese player in Major League Baseball, Deputy Chief of Mission Koichi Ai, Senator Angus King, Senator Bill Hagerty, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink, DCM Koichi Ai, and Japan baseball legend, Tuffy Rhodes, among several others. 

The 37th Gala paid tribute to baseball and its importance as a pillar to US-Japan civil society ties. 151 years ago, baseball was introduced to Japan by an American teacher from Maine. Today, Japan produces some of the best baseball players in the world, some of whom are now the stars of Major League teams. Meanwhile, to date, more than 600 American professionals have gone the other way, to play in the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB). Today, Japanese players serve as idols to American kids, as do American players to Japanese kids. Baseball has provided to this bilateral relationship a common language that we otherwise lack.  

Society Former President Ambassador John Malott took the stage to present the John & Hiroko Malott Leadership Award, an award presented annually by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC to an individual and a group that is making a significant contribution to the future of US-Japan relations by increasing mutual understanding and cooperation between the next generation of Americans and Japanese. This year, the Society was honored to present the award to J.LIVE Talk, represented by Dr. Takae Tsujioka, and Colette H. Fozard, for her long-standing contributions to US-Japan diplomacy.  

The Marshall Green Award was presented this year by Senator Angus King to Masanori “Mashi” Murakami. Senator King noted Maine’s role in introducing baseball to Japan, ultimately resulting in Mashi Murakami’s arrival in the United States, and baseball’s establishment as a central pillar of US-Japan friendship. The Marshall Green Award was established in 2011 to recognize individuals who have made a sustained and significant contribution to strengthening relations between the United States and Japan, and increasing understanding between the American and Japanese people. Mashi Murakami was the first Japanese player to play in the Major Leagues. He performed with distinction for the San Francisco Giants, and his skill, combined with his kindness and humility, earned him the affection and admiration of many Americans. Mashi blazed the trail for the many more Japanese baseball greats who have followed.

JASWDC is tremendously grateful to all of this year’s event sponsors. We are also grateful to the incredible support from event partners Japan Retired Foreign Players Association (JRFPA), Dassai Sake, and Kirin, as well as our many generous auction donors and community partners. 

It was a privilege to have you and your guests for JASWDC’s 37th US-Japan Capital Gala at the Salamander Hotel this year. We enjoyed eating, drinking, and conversing with you, during what was a wonderful evening and a lively celebration of US-Japan relations. A heartfelt thank you to our community for your support, your collaboration, and your shared advocacy and enthusiasm for the relationship between the United States and Japan. We hope you enjoyed the evening. 

2023 Marshall-Green Award Winner

First Japanese Player in Major League Baseball

2023 Featured Guests






Supported by our partners Japan Retired Foreign Players Association, Dassai Sake, & Kirin Beer

2023 Sponsors

Daikin U.S. Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)

Toyota Motor North America


Beam Suntory


Marubeni America Corporation

Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc.

NEC Corporation of America




Embassy of Japan


The Maureen & Mike Mansfield Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America

MUFJ Bank, Ltd.



2023 Supporters

Asahi-Shuzo Sake Brewing Co., Ltd (Dassai Sake)

Brooklyn Kura

Ceramics by Laurel Lukaszewski

D.C. Sake Co.


Ms. Hideko Uchiyama

High Road Spirits

The Japan Retired Foreign Player Association (JRFPA)

Jeff Song Photography


Kirin Ichiban

Mark H. Rooney Taiko

Nature of Design with Janet Flowers

North American Sake Brewery

Ms. Sachiko Ogata

Sake Brewers Association of North America

Salamander Washington DC

SANWA SHURUI Co.,Ltd. (Iichiko)

SONUS Productions


Valerie Eccleston Ikebana

Willi Singleton Clay Art