2017 Fish Family Foundation & The Nippon Foundation CANPAN・NPO Forum

Atsuko enthusiastically described her passion to support and empower female leaders in Japan at “Fish Family Foundation & The Nippon Foundation CANPAN・NPO Forum” happened on December 6th in Tokyo, Japan.  Atsuko gave a lecture on what role family foundations play in the U.S. society. Additionally, she gave a powerful talk on how she expects female leaders in Japan to bring positive social changes to brighten the Japanese society. Furthermore, the 2017 JWLI Fellows shared how they are going to use the lessons they learned during their stay in Boston to make their Action Plans come true. Together with Atsuko and the 2017 JWLI Fellows, the participants of the event completed worksheets for describing the problems they are seeing in Japan and brainstormed what actions they can make to fix it.

日本財団ビルにて12月6日に行われた「フィッシュ・ファミリー財団&日本財団CANPAN・NPO フォーラム」で、厚子さんがトークセッションを行いました。アメリカにおける家族財団の役割や意義に加え、今後の日本社会における女性による社会革命への期待を語りました。また、2017年秋プログラムに参加したフェロー達も駆けつけ、研修での学びやボストンで活躍するビジネスリーダ達との出会い、そしてそれらの経験を今後どのように活かしてゆくのかをお話ししました。トークセッション後は、イベントに参加してくださった方々と共に、厚子さんとフェロー達がワークショップを行いました。「今日の話しを聞いて、あなたが気にかけている社会課題にどう取り組むか?」というテーマについて各自考えをまとめ、ディスカッションする皆さんの眼差しは、「日本をより良い国にしたい」という心意気で満ち溢れていました。

2017 Champion of Change Japan Award Ceremony

The first “Champion of Change Japan” was announced at the Champion of Change Japan Award Ceremony happened at 100BANCH in Shibuya, Tokyo. The award was established by Atsuko Fish and the Fish Family Foundation early this year to shed light on Japanese women leaders who work hard every day to address the most pressing needs in their communities. After receiving the Champion of Change award from The White House back in 2013, Atsuko established the Champion of Change Japan Award to recognize the unsung heroes who are working at the grassroots level.

The award ceremony started with a wonderful opening speech given by Daniel Perel, the president of Tiffany & Co Japan Inc. Among the 145 competitive applicants, 8 finalists were invited to the ceremony. Everyone at the event gave a big round of applause when Ami Takahashi, a female leader who has an organization that supports at-risk youths, was chosen as the Champion of Change Japan. In addition to a cash prize, Ami received a crystal bowl designed by the world’s notable designer Elsa Peretti.

This year’s award was sponsored by Tiffany & Co, Dow Chemical Japan, and the Fish Family Foundation.

12月4日に東京と渋谷区の100BANCHで行われた「第一回チャンピオン・オブ・チェンジ日本大賞」の授賞式にて、大賞が発表されました。アメリカ在住の日本人女性である厚子・東光・フィッシュ氏は2013年、日本女性のリーダー育成プログラムや東日本大震災時の被災地支援活動などをホワイトハウスから讃えられ、 チャンピオン・オブ・チェンジ賞をオバマ大統領から授与されました。同賞は、日本社会における様々な課題に勇気を持って立ち向かい、日々一生懸命に活動されている女性達に光をあてたいという思いから、フィッシュ氏によって創設されたものです。

授賞式ではティファニー・アンド・カンパニー・ジャパン・インク社長のダニエル・ペレル氏による挨拶が行われた後、応募者145名の中から厳正な審査により選ばれた8名のファイナリストの中から、1名の大賞が発表されました。大賞を受賞した「アフターケア相談所 ゆずりは」で所長を務める高橋亜美さんは、児童養護施設などを巣立った若者達が安心して社会活動を営めるように、日々一生懸命活動しています。高橋さんにはティファニー社製のクリスタルボウルが贈呈され、ファイナリスト7名の方々にも記念品が贈られました。

The Reporting Event in Tokyo by the 2017 JWLI Fellows was a Huge Success!

The 2017 JWLI Fellows shared their experiences in Boston at the Reporting Event happened on December 2, 2017. In addition to the business lessons they learned in at Babson College, the Fellows described how their encounter with the “role models,” the business leaders of non-profit organizations in Boston, led to their personal growths as well as improved leadership skills. In addition, the Fellows shared their improved Action Plans that they have been polishing since the beginning of the program. The event venue was packed with the audience that was eager to learn about JWLI program.

“The JWLI program truly is a life-changing experience”

Saori Osu, the 2017 Fellow and the Representative Director of Working Mothers Association of Japan, looked back at the month-long program in Boston. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impacts our Fellows will be bringing to the Japanese society.




【Call for Applications】JWLI2018年度春プログラム参加者募集中

Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI)は、日本各地より選ばれた、活躍が期待される女性リーダーたちを、さらに行動力のあるリーダーへと育成します。そして、2006年に設立され11年目を迎える今年、プログラム内容をリニューアルしました。ボストンで行われる4週間のリーダーシップ研修を通じて、応募者の中から選ばれた「フェロー」たちは、リーダーとなる自信とマネージメントに関するスキルと知識を身につけ、社会変革をもたらす具体的なプランを構築します。研修は、東京での事前オリエンテーションとワークショップに加え、4週間ボストンで行われます。ボストンではNPO、社会起業家やインキュベーターを視察訪問し、組織運営のノウハウやファンドレイジングの手法、リーダーシップなどを学びます。また、アントレプレナーシップランキングで過去20年以上にわたって全米1位を誇るバブソン大学にて、1週間の女性リーダーを養成する社会人向けの研修にも参加いただきます。さらに、バブソン大学教授によるコーチングのもと、自身が実現したいと考える社会変革に対するアクションプランを研修参加中に立案および発表します。帰国後はメンターの伴走のもとその実行プランを日本社会で二年で実現していただきます。


  • 5年以上の職務経験
  • 日本社会に変革をもたらすための明確なビジョン
  • 強いリーダーシップ
  • 意欲的で行動を重んじる姿勢
  • アメリカの非営利・ソーシャルセクターでの組織運営および

The Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) is an executive leadership development program that will invest in emerging women leaders from across Japan and will transform them to be action-oriented leaders. Through a four-week leadership development training in Boston, selected applicants, referred to as Fellows, will acquire confidence to lead, skills and knowledge to manage, and create a plan to make social change. The four weeks include participation in the Women’s Leadership Program at Babson College, a 5-day intensive entrepreneurial management program, and visits to successful nonprofit organizations in Boston to learn their best practices on nonprofit management and leadership. During the four weeks, Fellows will develop their respective Action Plans and upon returning to Japan, will work towards achieving their vision, leveraging their experience and knowledge acquired in Boston.

We provide mentors to the Fellows after they go back to Japan so that they can execute their Action Plans within 2 years.

【Program Dates】
April 16, 2018 – May 11, 2018 (tentative)
【Application Info】
Online application opens November 13, 2017 and closes on 9pm on January 15, 2018 (EST) . Click here for online application form!
【Key Qualifications】

  • 5+ years work experience
  • Clear vision for social change in Japan
  • Strong leadership capabilities
  • Passionate, action-oriented mindset
  • Interest to learn about leadership and management in American non-profit organizations and social communities

【Save the date!】2017年度JWLIボストン研修報告会


2016年に設立されたJapanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) は、「日本社会に良い社会変革をもたらす活動を実践する女性リーダーの育成」を目的にした、日本女性を対象とする研修プログラムです。米国マサチューセッツ州ボストン市のフィッシュ・ファミリー財団運営のもと、研修生たちが、米国ボストンに4週間滞在しながら学ぶ唯一無二のプログラムです。






2017 JWLI Program Has Started!

On October 10th, 2017, Atsuko Fish hosted a welcome reception for her program, Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI). Atsuko founded JWLI in 2006 and this year the program celebrated its 11th anniversary.

As the primary mission of the program, JWLI empowers Japanese women to become leaders and make positive social change and innovation in Japan. The reception took place at Fish Family Foundation located in Boston, and many friends came together to welcome five fellows for this year’s JWLI program.

As a finale of the four-week long program, the JWLI fellows will be giving short presentations on their “Action Plans” at Cambridge Innovation Center on Thursday, November 2nd from 5:15pm to 6:15pm. This year’s fellows have backgrounds in a variety of fields, ranging from end-of-life care, temple management to refugee and immigrant empowerment. Please come join us for this excellent opportunity to learn how these women leaders are trying to change Japan!

Please visit the following page for more information:


Kozue’s Presentation to Japanese Students from the Showa Boston Institute

On May 30th and May 31st, JWLI Program Manager, Kozue Sawame, gave presentations on “The Importance of Marketing to the Success of an NPO” to a total of 39 undergraduate Japanese students from the Showa Boston Institute.

Kozue’s presentations helped the students assimilate the application of “marketing concepts” to real life situations and furthered their understanding of JWLI’s initiative. Kozue addressed how JWLI staffs used a variety of marketing methods to help the organization increase its online presence and reach emerging women leaders in Japan’s social sector.

Moreover, Kozue warmly invited the students to share their thoughts on marketing techniques that could be used to help the JWLI program grow. A lively discussion sparked when Showa students talked amongst their peers about alternative and innovative marketing methods that could help JWLI expand its outreach. Some students gave many constructive feedback on JWLI’s current marketing and even shared their own marketing ideas with Kozue.

Atsuko Hosted a Luncheon with a Talk by Gen. Yoshikazu Watanabe

On Wednesday, May 17, Atsuko Fish, U.S.-Japan Council Board Member and Chair of its New England chapter, hosted a luncheon with a talk by Yoshikazu Watanabe on the topic of “Japan and Two Big Countries: China and the U.S.” Watanabe is the retired Lieutenant General of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and currently a senior fellow at the Harvard Asia Center. The talk was based on his book 「米中戦争 そのとき日本は」recently published in Japan. Watanabe explored Japan’s national security and the current sensitive relationships with other East Asian countries. With the Olympics taking place in 2020, Watanabe shared his perspectives on how Japan could benefit greatly from preparing for different types of threats. The event attracted over 20 people including Shinju Fijihira, Executive Director of the Harvard University Weatherhead Center, Yumi Kuwana, Founder of the Global Citizens Initiative, and Paul Niwa, Chair of the Emerson College Journalism department.

6th Cherry Tree Planting Ceremony Held in Boston

Atsuko Fish, JWLI founder, attended this year’s cherry tree planting ceremony at the McCormack Middle School in the Dorchester area of Boston on April 28th. It was Fish Family Foundation’s 6th year to give five cherry trees to a school within the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Japanese is taught at these six schools. The students at the McCormack Middle School welcomed Atsuko and other Foundation staff by singing songs in Japanese. Special thanks are due to the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston and ZEN Associates, Inc for their support, as well as Tim Nagaoka, the BPS teacher for continuing to teach Japanese in Boston and to strengthen the friendship between Boston and Japan!

Atsuko Fish Hosts a Commemoration Luncheon for Tohoku

Atsuko Fish, the JWLI Founder and a U.S.-Japan Council board member, hosted a luncheon featuring two speakers, Megumi Ishimoto and Hideki Matsunaga in Boston on Friday, March 10th. Six years have passed since the Tohoku disaster in 2011. This event was to commemorate the tragedy and learn the current situation in Tohoku from the speakers.

Megumi is our 2014 Fellow and a founder of Women’s Eye. She gave a powerful presentation about her work with Women’s Eye. Women’s Eye has approximately 600 workshops, and has served 6,000 women since its inception in 2011. She also shared her future plan to continue to host the International Grassroots Women’s Academy Leadership Development Training in Tohoku and abroad.

The other speaker, Hideki Matsunaga, is a former Tohoku team leader of Japan Platform. He has been involved in a number of Tohoku-based projects and organizations including BEYOND Tomorrow and, currently sits on the board of Tono Magokoro Net. He spoke about the big picture of what has happened so far and what is happening now.

After the presentations, over 25 attendees discussed the importance of events like this luncheon as interests in Tohoku in the Boston area are fading away.