JWLI Hawaii Summit 2023 Report Book is Ready!

JWLI Hawaii Summit 2023 Report Book is now available below. Enjoy!



JWLI新代表就任のお知らせ/JWLI Appoints Atsuko Toko Fish as Chair and Kozue Sawame as President


July 5, 2023

The Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) proudly announces the appointment of Atsuko Toko Fish as its chair and Kozue Sawame as its president. Established in 2003 and based in Boston and Japan, JWLI is among the leading nonprofit and social entrepreneurship programs for women’s executive leadership.

In the last 20 years under Fish’s leadership, JWLI has expanded its vision significantly by launching the JWLI Boston program in 2003, the JWLI Forums in 2010, 2012 and 2013, the annual Champion of Change Japan Award (CCJA) in 2017, the JWLI Bootcamp in 2019, and the JWLI Scholarship in 2021. Today, its alumni community includes 150 women leaders (“JWLI alumni”) who are founders of leading nonprofits and social enterprises in Japan. With the 150 women leaders at its core, the JWLI Ecosystem is a dynamic and interconnected network that includes such global allies as AVPN, Babson College, Dow Japan, the East-West Center, The Japan Times, and Tiffany & Co. This thriving community is united in its shared commitment to driving women-led social change in Japan and beyond. Most recently in March 2023, JWLI hosted a global summit joined by 500 in-person/online participants from 17 countries. JWLI has been and will continue to be administered by the Fish Family Foundation, a private family foundation established in 1999 by Atsuko and Larry Fish in Boston.

Fish recalls, “I am proud of our 20-year accomplishments, especially JWLI Ecosystem’s growth and impacts made to Japanese society through innovative, entrepreneurial women leaders. Japanese society is recognizing women’s leadership slowly but surely, and our work has been timely contributing significantly to the change. I am fortunate to work with a dedicated team. I thank all who have supported my journey and would like to ask for the same support to my exceptionally capable successor, Kozue Sawame.

I am honored to step into this new role. Together with the team, our alumni and allies, Atsuko and I look forward to continuing to create transformative changes and make lasting impacts on our communities and beyond,” said Sawame.

Building upon the successful summit in Hawaii, Fish and Sawame place emphasis on fostering women leaders who possess a global mind yet are anchored in their local communities. This emphasis recognizes that the most effective social change is driven by leaders who are able to think globally, while remaining grounded in specific needs and challenges locally. Fish and Sawame deeply believe in the collective power of women leaders that leads to transformative change, both locally and globally.

Fish has received numerous awards in recognition of her contributions to the advancement of women’s leadership in the U.S. and Japan including the Champion of Change Award from the White House, and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette conferred by the Emperor of Japan.

Sawame has 20 years of experience in the areas of women’s empowerment and leadership in the U.S. and Japan. Sawame graduated from Georgetown University. She is a delegate of the U.S. Japan Leadership Program hosted by the U.S.-Japan Foundation, as well as a program graduate of Babson College and the East-West Center. She was born and raised in Hokkaido and currently lives in Boston.



この度、Japan Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI)では、2023年7月1日付で前プログラムディレクターの澤目梢が新しく代表に就任したことをお知らせいたします。なお、前代表の厚子・東光・フィッシュは新たに会長に就任いたしました。JWLIは、2003年にボストンを拠点に開始した日本女性リーダー育成プログラムです。JWLIは、1999年にフィッシュ夫妻により設立されたフィッシュ・ファミリー財団により運営されています。

20年に渡るフィッシュのリーダーシップの下、JWLIは次々にプログラムを立ち上げ、大きく飛躍しました。2003年にJWLIボストン、2010、2012、2013年にJWLIフォーラム、2017年にチャンピオン・オブ・チェンジ日本大賞(CCJA)、2019年にJWLI Bootcamp、そして2021年にJWLI Scholarship。現在、JWLIプログラムに参加した卒業生(=アラムナイ)は150名にも上り、アラムナイコミュニティを形成しています。アラムナイの中には、日本を代表する非営利団体代表や社会起業家が含まれます。




ハワイでのサミット成功を踏まえ、フィッシュと澤目が目指す新たなJWLIのゴールはグローバルです。つまり、グローバルなマインドを持ちつつ、地域社会に根ざした女性リーダーの育成です。このグローバルとローカルの両面を持つリーダーこそが、最も効果的な社会変革を生み出すと考えます。視座は高くグローバルを見据え、同時に地域特有のニーズや課題に根ざしたリーダーのcollective power(集合的な力)こそが、大きな変革を生み出すと信じています。

厚子・東光・フィッシュ:オバマ前アメリカ大統領から「Champion of Change Award」を2013年に受賞。さらに2018年に天皇陛下から「旭日小綬章」を授与されるなど、日米の女性リーダー育成と東北震災復興支援などの貢献が認められ、数多くの賞を受賞。

澤目梢:日米における、女性のエンパワーメントとリーダーシップ分野で20年の経験を持つ。ジョージタウン大学院卒業。米日財団主催の日米リーダーシップ・プログラム2023年選抜、バブソン大学とEast-West Centerのプログラム修了生。北海道生まれ、ボストン在住。

Atsuko Fish Statement Against Anti-Asian Racism

Recently, out for a walk along a narrow road on Cape Cod, I passed a family wearing no masks. I asked them, “Where are your masks?”  The father turned to me and said harshly, “Go home.” On another occasion I was out walking, followed by young girl on her bike. She asked where I lived, so I pointed out my house. As she stopped and watched me go towards my front door she said “No. You don’t belong here.”


My name is Atsuko Toko Fish. I am originally from Japan. I came to Boston in 1983 when I was 40 years old and 7 months pregnant, with my husband and 3-year-old daughter. I have been fortunate and am proud of the life I have created in the U.S. I am also proud of my legacy as an Asian woman and a descendent of a Samurai family. I strongly condemn anti-Asian attacks targeting our community, especially women, youth, and the elderly. I am writing this letter to urge you to use your voice and stand with me in collective action.


My husband Larry and I created a family foundation in 1999. The Foundation serves immigrants in Massachusetts, an area I care deeply about as an immigrant myself; high and proven-risk youth; and leadership development for women in Japan. In Japan we have over 100 alumnae. They are women non-profit leaders making major strides towards social change. In my 10-year role as chair of the board of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK), I have served Asian women and children who were survivors of domestic violence and other forms of violence. I treasure my work with ATASK’s staff and clients, but it is a reminder of this country’s long history of systemic racism and gender-based violence.


As an Asian woman, I too have been a target of discrimination and racism. On the street and in the workplace. These experiences are deeply rooted in misogyny and hypersexualization. My fellow Asian women, this is our chance to break our silence. We must use this moment for good, as an opportunity to raise awareness of this issue. We now have the power to change the course of our future and respond. Let us speak up and show our strength. As role models to girls and young women, we must teach by example and show how proud we are of our heritage and rich cultures. America is the land of opportunity, a place where we are welcomed and have a chance to thrive.


I urge you to join me in collective action. We can make a difference in our future together.


Atsuko Toko Fish

Co-Founder, The Fish Family Foundation
Founder, Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative Ecosystem





夫のラリーと共に、フィッシュ・ファミリー財団を米国ボストンで1999年に立ち上げました。財団では、マサチューセッツ州に住む移民の支援、社会的困難な状況に置かれているハイリスクな若者支援、そして日本の女性リーダー育成事業をしています。特に移民支援は、私自身が移民であることから、非常に重要な支援です。日本の女性リーダー育成事業では、100名以上の卒業生を輩出しました。彼女たちは、社会変革に向けて大きな成果を上げている非営利活動に従事する女性リーダーたちです。また、Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK)で理事長を10年間務め、ドメスティック・バイオレンスなどの暴力被害を受けたサバイバーのアジア人女性や子どもの支援をしてきました。ATASKの職員やクライアントとの活動経験は私にとっての貴重な経験となっていますが、それは同時にこの国に刻まれた構造的人種差別とジェンダーに基づく暴力の歴史を思い起こさせるものでもあります。


共に行動を起こしましょう。私たちは今、歴史を作り、未来を変えようとしています。私たちは変化をもたらすことが出来るのです。We can make a difference!


JWLI Bootcamp in Ishinomaki Update: Day3

6月14日(金)から6月16日(日)に宮城県石巻市で、JWLI Bootcampが行われました。JWLI Bootcampは、2006年から13年間続くJWLIボストンプログラムのエッセンスを、3日間に凝縮した合宿型研修です。8名の宮城県の女性リーダーが、2017年度CCJAファイナリストである兼子佳恵さんが代表理事を務める団体・特定非営利活動法人石巻復興支援ネットワーク(やっぺす)に集いました。

ブートキャンプも、いよいよ最終日に突入。今回共催いただいた、やっぺす 代表理事の兼子佳恵さんが、これまでの活動の軌跡と失敗からの学びについて話しました。山川恭弘さんとのまとめのセッションの後は発表会が行われ、参加者の皆さんがそれぞれの活動、課題とその解決策について発表しました。選出された3名の参加者は、11月7日にベンチャーカフェ東京にて行われるThursday Gatheringにて発表を行います!

The JWLI Bootcamp is almost over! Yoshie Kaneko, the Representative Director of the co-hosting organization, Yappesu, gave a talk on how she leveraged failures for the growths of herself as well as her company. After the summary session with Yasu, the participants gave presentations on their activities. The 3 winners were selected during the presentation; they will be giving pitches at Venture Café Tokyo’s Thursday Gathering on November 7th! For more photos and details, please check out our Facebook page.

Atsuko was Featured in the Boston Globe!

Atsuko’s story was featured in the Boston Globe! Click here to check it out.