Dr. Joseph Amato
Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato is founder and director of the International Center for Japanese Culture since its inception in 2011. Before ICJC, Dr. Amato founded the Yokohama International School Japanese music program in 2003 and served as its director until 2011. The program is the first and only primary/secondary traditional Japanese music program in the world.
Dr. Amato received his Ph.D. in music composition in 1998 from New York University with primary studies in Italian contemporary music. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Bunka-chō Japanese Government Artists Fellowship to pursue formal study of Japanese traditional music at Seiha Hōgaku-kai. He continued studies receiving his teaching license and his professional name Gashō in 2003. In addition to Japanese music, Dr. Amato has research interests in Ainu music and culture. In 2003, he was invited to the Hokkaido Ainu Culture Research Center for studies on the Ainu tonkori instrument.
Pursuing his work on sharing Japanese traditional music on the international level, most recently, Dr. Amato founded and serves as coordinator of the Morikami Museum Japanese traditional music program located in Delray Beach, Florida, USA. In addition, Dr. Amato continues his work as director of the Seiha Hōgaku-kai International Summer School which he established in 2016. He is editor for the first English language publications of the Japanese 13-string koto “The Japanese Koto: A Beginner’s Textbook” (2010) and “The Ainu Tonkori” (2013). Dr. Amato has held teaching positions and special lecturer posts at Robert Stockton College of NJ, Fukuoka International School, Heidelberg College, Katoh Gakuen, Seiha Hōgaku Gakuen and Yokohama National University.
Ms. Nana Obayashi
ICJC Grants Writer and Administrator
Ms. Obayashi holds a design degree from University of Tsukuba with further graduate studies in England at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. A native of Kanazawa, Ms. Obayashi has worked at DeBeers Diamond Jewelry, Tokyo and Nelly May, London. She currently divides her time working for both ICJC as the grants administrator and as the Visual Designer at LOOP CO., Ltd in Yokohama.
Ms. Jacqueline Pender
Ms. Pender is currently Elementary School Principal at Yokohama International School with previous posts in Germany, Kuwait, Austria, Philippines, and London. A polished and passionate photographer, Ms. Pender has an impressive photo collection from around the world. She lends her unique eye to the beauty of Japan as present in various images on the ICJC website.