ACCJ Person of the Year: Speech at the Award Reception Celebration Luncheon



Several days ago, I posted a column titled ‘ACCJ Person of the Year, Why Me?’ .  It reported on my being selected as the ACCJ Person of the Year.

To celebrate, ACCJ kindly held a luncheon at the newly renovated Tokyo American Club on February 8th.  I gave a 2 hours speech followed by a Q/A.  ACCJ’s official report is on its web site (Japanese, English).

Princess Takamado honored us with her presence. ACCJ also kindly invited prestigious members of the ACCJ as well as many of my friends and staff at the beautiful banquet hall. In total there were about 100 guests.  It was truly a great honor.

Because my selection was a surprise to me, I tried to think ‘why they chose me, and what I could do to honor my selection.  I organized the speech into 4 parts. They constituted of 1) Kurokawa as ACCJ Person of the Year- what does it mean ?  2) What is Kurokawa saying, anyway?, 3) What I learned in America, and 4) What we need from America.  The full speech is here for your reference.  A 20 minute Q/A followed.

When the Q/A ended and the session was over people stood to applause for a while.  The standing ovation surprised me, but I was genuinely happy and honored.  The guests seemed to truly welcome my speech.

My adventures and education started in 1969, when I went abroad to the U.S. as a young physician for ‘nternational study. I had intended to return to Japan in 2 or 3 years.  It turned out that I ended up staying in the U.S. for almost 15 years. During this time I went through countless important experiences, leading me to a life that I have not imagined or expected.

This year, as Ambassador of ACCJ, I intend to contribute in any way possible to the enhancement of the already well-established U.S.-Japan relationship.