Our Japanese Language School teachers are native Japanese speakers with years of experience. Whatever your level or learning-style, we can guarantee an enjoyable, immersive, and challenging experience with constant support from teachers.

Click the titles below to learn more about the Japanese Language School staff.

Beeman Sensei

Sachiko Beeman started at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC in 2018 and teaches beginner-level (100~ and 200~) Japanese classes to non-native speakers. She has also taught Japanese literature and writing to middle and high school students at the Washington Japanese Language School in Maryland for nearly 10 years.

Using both textbooks and videos, her goal is for students to be able to express confidently what they want to convey in everyday situations. Conversation skills are therefore very important, nurtured through practice drills as well as in small student group discussions. She also aims to ensure students learn vocabulary needed to discuss their own activities, family and interests. She also regularly draws from topical issues and news in Japan to help keep classes fun, enjoyable, and up to date.

She was born and raised in Osaka, and she has lived in other parts of Japan as well as in the United Kingdom and the United States. She has a B.A. in Art History and adores both alpacas and delicious food.

Graf Sensei

Kayoko Graf has been teaching Japanese at Japan-America Society of Washington DC for six years. Ms. Graf’s primary focus is Japanese beginner courses (101-204) in which students learn basic grammar, kanji and vocabulary.

Ms. Graf speaks mostly Japanese in classes and encourage students to use Japanese in the class as much as possible. She also includes lots of pair work activities during the class so that students will have more time to practice with their classmates.

 She was born and raised in Osaka and likes cooking Japanese food and traveling in her free time.

Goto Sensei

Emi Goto is a new Japanese teacher at Japan-America Society of Washington DC. She has completed all the requirements of the Japanese Language Teacher Training Course in Japan. She has experience from beginner to Advanced, business Japanese including appropriate greetings, KEIGO, and social manners. Her primary focus is the Beginner I Japanese course, in which students learn a foundation for becoming fluent in Japanese and successfully perform simply communication with Japanese people in Japanese. 

Ms. Goto believes that learning a new language is a long-term project and that you can’t start from zero and write an academic paper a week later. But, when building on a decent foundation, you can achieve great results quickly if you devote yourself. Her class encourages the students to stay motivated and enjoy the experience of learning Japanese. Don’t forget to have fun while you learn! She always prepares some easy-to-understand materials beyond textbooks for the students and introduces Japanese culture in the classroom using additional resources such as YouTube videos. She also likes taking a communicative style of teaching.  

She was born and raised in Nagoya and graduated from Nagoya Institute of Technology. After graduation, she worked in the manufacturing industry and at a financial institution as a system engineer for 10 more years. She has also completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at a school that is affiliated with the Yoga Alliance and taught yoga in Tokyo for 10 years. Now she enjoys teaching Japanese and doing yoga in the US. She loves making a bento boxes for her husband’s lunch and hiking trails in her free time. 

Hirozane Sensei

Saki Hirozane is a new teacher at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC. She holds an MA degree in Japanese language and literature, and she has been teaching Japanese courses at an American university since 2019. At JASWDC, she primarily teaches Beginner Japanese 1 courses. Her goal is for her students to be able to use Japanese language in a culturally coherent manner. She guides her students to understand and apply Japanese cultural norms, such as politeness, consideration, and culturally appropriate communication strategies.

Ms. Hirozane was born and grew up in Yamaguchi prefecture, Japan. She lives in Portland, Oregon. She likes going to the local coffee shops in Portland in her free time.

Hoshi Sensei

Nozomi Hoshi is a new Japanese teacher at the Japan-American Society of Washington DC, but she has been involved in Japanese language education for children growing up in the U.S. for eight years while running a Japanese language kindergarten. She is also a Japanese tutor for university students and adults.

She thinks that learning a foreign language is very exciting because it opens doors to new worlds. She has experienced that learning new languages gives us the opportunity to meet new people by exposing us to new cultures, art, food, and values. She believes that it is important to develop study habits that fit each student’s lifestyle while respecting each student’s interests and goals.

She was born in Sendai, Japan and graduated from Keio University with a BA in Philosophy. She loves classical music, playing the piano in her spare time, watching dramas, cooking, and reading books. She is also a huge fan of Japanese animation!

Hunter Sensei

Ms. Kaori Hunter has been teaching Japanese at Japan-America Society of Washington DC since 2012. She has experience teaching at all levels.

 Ms. Hunter believes that it is essential for her classroom to feel like a community where everyone feels they can learn in a positive, productive, fun & relaxed environment.  She holds students to high standards (lots of homework!) but will also make sure they have proper support.

Ms. Hunter was born and raised in Kanagawa, Japan and holds a BA from Tsuda University in Tokyo. Her hobbies include running, gardening and spending time with her beloved Shiba Inu.

Iwai Sensei

Kaori Iwai has been teaching Japanese at Japan-America Society of Washington DC since 2020. Ms. Iwai offers introductory and beginner courses, supporting hiragana/katakana study and using the textbook “Genki”. 

Ms. Iwai provides constructive assistance for each student, carefully observing his/her Japanese language development. To do so, she uses an interactive online tool during the class, by which each student can demonstrate his/her individual reactions/work and she can provide customized feedback during and after each lesson. Believing that making mistakes is an important part of the learning process, she encourages all students to speak, write and practice Japanese in a friendly and enjoyable environment. She is also very accessible whenever students need her advice and assistance. 

She was born and raised in Osaka. While enjoying teaching Japanese to adult students, she also provides Japanese lessons for children living in the U.S., Canada and Japan. She has been a language learner throughout her life and is currently enjoying/struggling with Thai language study.

Kikunaga Sensei

Kunie Kikunaga joined the Japan-America Society of Washington DC in 2022. She has a strong track record of work in language education. At JASWDC, she primarily teaches intermediate and JLPT prep courses.

Ms. Kikunaga believes in supporting students to reach their highest potential. She strives to instill the joy of learning and an inquiring mindset in students, regardless of age or language proficiency. She also proactively introduces a variety of tools and resources to facilitate students’ learning and understanding of language and culture.

Ms. Kikunaga was born and raised in Tokyo. Her outside interests include travelling, visual & performing arts, and hiking.

Kimoto Sensei

Hisami Kimoto is a new Japanese instructor at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC but has taught Japanese and other subjects at a Japanese private girls’ high school and international schools in Tokyo for more than 20 years. 

Ms. Kimoto has taught Japanese intermediate-high courses and intermediate/advanced conversation classes, in which students master high-level and well-balanced communication skills in Japanese. She believes it is important to respect cultural values and traditions when learning another language. Therefore, she uses authentic online resources such as news articles, magazines, and websites in addition to textbooks so that students can gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and society. 

Ms. Kimoto was born in Sendai, raised in Osaka and Tokyo, and has lived in Tokyo for more than 30 years. She loves to take tea ceremony lessons to appreciate Japanese culture and refresh her mind in her free time. 

Kinoshita Sensei

Chisato Kinoshita has been teaching Japanese at Japan-America Society of Washington DC since 2018. She enjoys teaching Japanese language and culture in a friendly classroom atmosphere. She encourages students to speak Japanese through oral practice. Her approach in class is to 1) allow students to think and figure out how to express themselves by building upon simpler elements, 2) speak it out, 3) learn the grammar, and 4) practice with classmates. By following this approach, students can speak Japanese naturally at any level. 

Ms. Kinoshita was born and raised in Nagano, Japan (where the 1998 Winter Olympic Games took place) and holds BA in International Relations from Tsuda University in Tokyo. After working for a bank, she lived in the U.K. for two years. She moved to Washington DC area with her family in 2001. She likes to learn about other cultures and enjoys traveling. 

Nagasaka Sensei

Yoko Nagasaka Myers has been teaching Japanese and Japanese history at Japan-America Society of Washington DC since 2002. She has experience from beginner to advanced levels, including JLPT 1, newspaper reading and Japanese history. She creates a lively atmosphere through interactive and thought- provoking discussions.  

Ms. Nagasaka Myers enjoys getting to know each of her unique students’ personalities. She is also a researcher at the National Archives in College Park, MD. In addition, she has a BA and MA in Japanese History, as well as an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.  

Naito Sensei

Yumiko Naito is a new Japanese instructor at the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. Ms. Naito has over 14 years of experience teaching Japanese at a number of locations, including Hong Kong, the Philippines, and universities across the United States, at a variety of levels, ranging from beginner to business level. Ms. Naito has experience using various mediums to help her students understand difficult concepts, including newspapers, manga, television dramas, and games. Ms. Naito also spends the summers teaching courses at a couple of universities in Japan.  

Ms. Naito received her M.A. in Japanese Pedagogy in New York. Her research interests include Japanese theatre and performances, particularly Taishu Engeki, known as “popular theatre.” As part of her research focusing on theatre preparations, story development, and inter-group relationships, Ms. Naito joined a Taishu Engeki troupe on their journey across Japan and presented her research findings at a Japanese language conference. Whenever Ms. Naito is in Japan, she makes sure to support the Taishu Engeki groups that come to the local theatre. Ms. Naito has also practiced calligraphy for over 20 years. 

Ono Sensei

Ono Shuu is a Japanese teacher with more than 14 years of experience teaching trainees and exchange students at university, training centers, and language schools.  Mr. Ono enjoys teaching grammar, practical conversation, and everything you need to know about the Japanese language. 

Mr. Ono believes that by using simple words and grammar, you can say a lot. As a result, speaking in Japanese can be very fun. Because it is fun, you will want to find more opportunities to speak Japanese, and then you will be motivated to study new words and grammar.  These are the vital steps to mastery of the Japanese language. Mr. Ono looks forward to learning Japanese language with his students.   

Mr. Ono lives in Sapporo, Japan. Sapporo is rich in nature and delicious food. He lived in Thailand for 10 years from 2004 to 2014 and loves rugby and baking bread. 

Otero Sensei

Kazue Otero is a new teacher at Japan-America Society of Washington DC, but she has taught Japanese language to international students in Japan for 10 years before relocating to the U.S.  Ms. Otero offers introduction and beginner courses. 

Ms. Otero speaks mostly in Japanese in classes.  She believes students acquire foreign languages best in an environment where the language primarily spoken.  She encourages students to use Japanese as much as possible.  She includes lots of pair / small group work and role-playing activities so that students can communicate with each other and with the teacher. 

Ms. Otero was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan and has lived in Australia and South Korea.  She loves reading, traveling, painting and learning other language/ cultures. 

Suzuki Sensei

Julie Suzuki has been teaching Japanese to young students who wish to come and study in Japan since 2020. Ms. Suzuki’s primary focus is the Japanese 101 Prep course, in which students learn Hiragana and Katakana. 

Ms. Suzuki currently resides in Tokyo in Japan. She uses textbooks and anything (she means anything!) written in Japanese that she finds interesting in the city of Tokyo such as signs, advertising, comic books, etc… Her students will learn Hiragana and Katakana through Tokyo culture. 

She was born in Hokkaido, and worked in Tokyo for several years before she moved to New York. In her spare time, she travels around Japan. You can find her travel vlogs on her YouTube channel. 

Tokura Sensei

Eriko Tokura is a new Japanese teacher at Japan-America Society of Washington DC but she has been teaching singing and Kimono-dressing for a long time in Sri Lanka and in the United States. She is dedicated to teaching and also conducts choirs at various public schools. Her primary focuses are the Beginner Japanese Prep and Beginner Japanese I courses, in which students learn the basics of Japanese with syllables, Hiragana, Katakana and basic Kanji. 

Ms. Tokura believes that fastest way of learning Japanese language is speaking in Japanese. She encourages all students to speak loudly in the classroom and at home as much as possible. To build up and improve Japanese vocabulary, she gives students challenging but fun exercises by introduce modern words used in texting and SNS messages. She also introduces polite manners and useful dialogues for business use.

Ms. Tokura was born and raised in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture where she learnt traditional dancing and singing when she was a child. Now Eriko is a professional Kimono dresser following her mother’s footsteps. She has been a Kimono dresser to Cherry Blossom Princesses for the Sakura Matsuri in Washington DC for last 7 years. She is also a classic concert singer and has performed at Carnegie Hall, NYC with the professional soprano singer group “7Sopranos” based in VA.   Now she enjoys teaching Japanese and baking bread at home.

Watanabe Sensei

Ms. Kimiyo Watanabe has been teaching Japanese at Japan-America Society of Washington DC for 8
years. At JASWDC, Ms. Watanabe has taught the Japanese 101 Prep course, 300, 400 courses, and all levels of students in private teaching.
Ms. Watanabe believes that exposing the students to the target language and culture as much as possible is the best way to learn a foreign language. She knows that the learners learn best in a relaxed atmosphere with clear goals. She strives to create a fun and friendly environment in each class, and encourages students to create their own sustainable study habits.
She was born and raised in Tokyo, trained as an actor since third grade, and can coach “Standard Japanese.” She has extensive experience teaching Japanese to non-native speakers in Japan and in the US. Her interests are in classical music, especially opera, and fine arts.

Watarai Sensei

Chika Watarai is a new teacher at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC. She has been teaching Japanese at a language education company for over four years, teaching students from beginner to advanced levels. Her primary focus is the Beginner I Japanese course, in which students learn the foundation for everyday conversation and basic reading and writing skills that would facilitate learners to enjoy traveling in Japan, communicating with Japanese people, consuming cultural content, and so forth.

Ms. Watarai believes using the language in real life is the best way to learn Japanese. She would like to communicate with students in Japanese as much as possible so that students can practice speaking the language. Her goal as a teacher is to provide a fun class in which students can enjoy learning the language and various cultural aspects of Japan.   

She was born and raised in Gifu, graduated from a university in Nagoya, and worked for a manufacturing company in Tokyo. She was living in Maryland for seven years and moved to Texas a few years ago. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, learning to play the clarinet, reading, and sometimes crafting piñata.

Yamabayashi Sensei

Nobu Yamabayashi started teaching at the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC) in 2023.  

She teaches Beginner Japanese Prep (Formerly 101 prep). Nobu speaks mostly in Japanese in classes to give students maximum exposure to the language and encourages them to practice Japanese often. She conducts group work activities during the class, so students have ample time to speak and listen to Japanese.

Nobu was born and grew up in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. After graduating from community college in Shizuoka, she came to the US to study abroad and received BA in Communication Arts and MS in Occupational and Adult Education in Oklahoma. She has worked at universities in Japan for 10 years to help international students. She loves gardening, fishing, creating crafts, and watching Japanese anime with American friends.

Yoshida Sensei

Yumiko Yoshida has been teaching Japanese for over 25 years in both Japan and the US. She has taught Japanese in a variety of settings, including high schools in DC and VA, the Japanese heritage school in MD, Japan-America Society of Washington DC, and the Montgomery County adult language class. She enjoys teaching Japanese language and culture in a friendly classroom atmosphere. Her goal is for her students to speak Japanese comfortably at any level. She often brings Japanese news articles to class to help students understand current affairs. Outside of teaching, she enjoys printmaking and ballroom dancing.

Start your language journey today!

The Japanese Language School offers three terms yearly with classes from beginner to intermediate and advanced Japanese. Read our course outline to learn more, or contact us to see how we can find a class that best suits your needs.