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  May 2024  Newsletter


President's message

Last weekend I was in Cowra for the annual Koyo Matsuri (Autumn Festival), with a Koyo Oration from Roger Pulvers, renowned translator and author, playwright and director. He spoke about the similarities between Japanese and Australians, and what we could learn from each other, ending with a challenge to each of us to play our part in the deepening relationship.

Cowra Council is looking forward to welcoming officials and dignitaries from Japan and Australia to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Cowra Breakout on August 4-5. See below for details. AJS-NSW will be attending the event, and if you would like to join us, please get in touch.

On this coming Tuesday 14th, we are looking forward to seeing those who have registered for our annual Student Awards, at which we present awards to outstanding students of Japanese Studies nominated by the seven universities in the Sydney region, in front of their lecturers, families and friends. This is always a wonderful event which assures us of the strength of Japanese studies in our region. Consul-General TOKUDA Shuichi will make some remarks and present the Awards.

We have more exciting events in the pipeline, including a panel discussion amid art inspired by Japan on June 15, another Shaberanaito Japanese-speaking evening on July 19, and a joint business networking event planned for August 30. We look forward to seeing you at one of these events soon.

Finally we profile a number of new members below. Please make them welcome.

Anita Byrnes, President

Upcoming Events

Annual Student Awards

Tuesday 14 May @ The Japan Foundation, Sydney

Image: 2023 Awards

Event details here.

Our Endless Yearning for Japan:

Panel Discussion amid Art

June 15 Saturday 3-5PM

This afternoon will feature a panel discussion with a number of people who have had a long engagement with Japan in a range of areas including art, culture and business - in some cases since their time as a high school exchange student.

It will be held among an art exhibition by Michelle Belgiorno, entitled Shadows of Time,  in Art Atrium, a gallery that represents the works of Asian or Asia-inspired artists.

Michelle will be one of the panellists in the discussion moderated by Kathryn Hunyor, a curator and consultant specializing in Japanese arts and culture. The other three panellists are Warwick Johnson, Lotte Lawrence and Relle Mott.

Free event for members and friends. Register here.


July 19th Friday 6:30PM

Another in our joint events with JETAA, this Japanese-speaking night is always over-subscribed. Registrations will open soon.

Supported Events & Community Info

Cowra Breakout 80th Anniversary

August 4 - 5 2024

Cowra Council is hosting a commemoration of the Cowra Breakout in 1944, in which 234 Japanese POWs and 3 Australian soldiers were killed and more on both sides were injured. From this event has developed a long-standing friendship between the people of Cowra and Japan. The ceremonies start at 3:30pm on Sunday 4th August and include a Mayoral Dinner, ceremony at the time of the breakout (1:30am) and a wreath-laying. For details see Cowra Council website.

Introducing new members...

Nathaniel Rowe

  • Lived and worked in regional Japan and Tokyo for approximately 20 years

  • Former Japanese Ministry of Education scholar

  • Former Japan-Exchange and Teaching Program participant

  • Former member of the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

  • Currently working in Sydney as a corporate lawyer focused on supporting Japanese clients

Al Evans

  • A former JET in Nagasaki, also lived in Fukuoka
  • Recently competed a Masters in Counselling, now work in family support
  • I enjoy meeting like minded people with a shared interest in Japan

Ebony O'Connor

  • Western Sydney University student, studying a Bachelor of Law/International Studies

  • 2024 NCP Scholar for Japan

  • Commencing full-time study at the University of Tokyo in October 2024

  • Selected for the 2022 Mitsui Educational Foundation Study Tour of Japan where her interest in Japan’s legal and commercial landscape was sparked.

Ashraf Olife

  • Undergraduate at UNSW studying Law/International Studies (majoring in East Asia)

  • Active in the Japanese Students Association and have assisted Japanese exchange students to UNSW

  • Recently returned from living in Tokyo where I was fortunate to be the Australian Government's New Colombo Fellow for Japan.

  • As part of my studies in Japan I was at Meiji University and did internships with the Mitsubishi Corporation and the Australian Embassy in Tokyo

Paula Comacchio
  • Compliance Officer with Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong
  • Proud mother of 3, including Ellen (UoW Student Award winner 2023) who is studying in Japan at Senshu University Kanagawa
  • Almost completed a Bachelor of Arts with Legal Studies as the major and Sociology as the minor
  • Lover of Asian cuisine, culture, travel

Tokyo Journal offer

Tokyo Journal is providing access at no charge to the digital issue of Tokyo Journal and has renewed their offer below. Members can access Tokyo Journal Issue #282 through this URL and password:

Password: 282ajsnsw

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Like to join AJS-NSW?

Would you like to support our mission of friendship between Australia and Japan? You can now sign up for membership online

Some links for related communities:

National Federation of Australia-Japan Societies

Consulate General of Japan, Sydney Facebook


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