Gallery Exhibition: Tokyo American Club: Through the Years

Since 51 American businessmen established Tokyo American Club in 1928, the Club’s history has been interwoven with the evolution and fate of the city itself.

With the Club set to celebrate its 95th anniversary in May—two months after the Nihonbashi hub’s second anniversary—the Culture, Community & Entertainment Committee launches an exhibition on the fascinating history of the Club and its various homes across the Japanese capital over the decades.

Held in the Fredrick Harris Gallery, the exhibition opens with the Club’s Edo-era connections, when the Akita samurai clan resided on the land where the Azabudai Club now sits, and features photographs and historical artifacts from the Club’s past.

Drew Damron, manager of the Club Library, who had already started building a Club archive, helped to curate the exhibition.

In the January issue of INTOUCH magazine, he writes about the challenges and revelations he faced along the way.

Timed with the exhibition, the Culture, Community & Entertainment Committee will host a tree-planting ceremony on January 21 for a sapling grafted from the famous Miharu Takizakura. The ancient cherry tree grows in the Fukushima town of Miharu, the ancestral home of the Akita clan.

“Through [Drew’s] extensive research, we learned that the Club has roots with Fukushima, which made this exhibit more meaningful,” says the committee’s JoAnn Yoneyama. “The relationship we developed with Fukushima City after the Tohoku earthquake helped us get in contact with Miharu officials, who are generously donating the tree.”

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