The Japan-America Society of Indiana is planning to establish a Japan Center and Gardens in the state. Governor Mike Pence made the announcement over the weekend during a trade mission to the Asian nation. He says the project will house JASI offices and promote the history of Indiana's bond with Japan. JASI is considering sites for the development and is accepting proposals.

September 9, 2013

News Release

TOKYO – Governor Mike Pence and First Lady Karen Pence are highlighting the work of artists and designers with Indiana ties throughout the governor's first jobs mission through Japan by practicing the East Asian ritual of gift-giving.

“Sharing a little piece of our Hoosier home has been a special part of this trade mission,” said Pence. “When company executives unwrap these creations with Indiana ties, they ask questions about the stories behind the gifts, accompanied with inquiries about living and working in our state. By partaking in this unique ritual, we're helping to tell the story of Indiana.”

Governor Pence is presenting company executives and government officials with a framed architectural rendering of Indiana's Statehouse drawn by architect David Barrett McTyre.

With more than 30 years of experience for leading corporate and high-end residential architecture firms in Boston, Chicago and Indianapolis, McTyre formerly worked as an architect at Indianapolis-based CSO Architects. He drew the original illustration of the statehouse on yellow tracing paper to give the best transparent layering effects for color.

First Lady Karen Pence is presenting company and school officials with Fort Wayne-designed Vera Bradley totes and Kokomo Opalescent Glass cardinals, Indiana's state bird. She is also giving Japanese third grade students participating in the art exchange coal mining hard hats from The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Gift-giving is important in Asian business protocol, and emphasis is placed on this ritual. The exchange usually occurs near the end of the trip. Neckties or scarves in the state colors and cuff links also are given to other officials who attend the meetings. Other gifts include a watercolor of the Statehouse painted by First Lady Karen Pence and a scale model of the 2013 Dallara IndyCar with A State That Works detailing.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) purchased the gifts using private contributions from the IEDC Foundation. No state funds are used to pay for the state’s overseas jobs missions.

Source: Indiana Economic Development Corp., Office of the Indiana Governor

News Release

TOKYO – Governor Mike Pence began his first trade mission to Japan today by traveling to Tochigi Prefecture, Indiana's sister-state, where he met with Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda and commemorated the 14-year sister-state relationship.

While in Tochigi, Pence announced that the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) will establish a Japan Center and Gardens in the state of Indiana. The project is expected to serve as a cultural gateway to Japan, providing the Hoosier State with a culturally appropriate venue for events and meetings relating to Japan, gardens and nature. With an authentic Japanese architectural design, the new facility will house JASI offices and serve as a community center, offering cultural events, art exhibitions and public affairs, educational and corporate programming.

“The Japan Center and Gardens will symbolize the friendship between Indiana and Japan that has been cultivated, thrived and bloomed,” said Pence. “Upon its completion, I look forward to welcoming Hoosiers and visitors alike to this beautiful venue and promoting the history, tradition and strength of Indiana’s bond with Japan.”

The center, which will be located in a natural, park-like setting, will showcase formal gardens, trails, water features and wooded areas with the goal of promoting an understanding of nature and the environment through the Japanese aesthetic. JASI is actively considering possible sites and welcomes proposals.

“While the project is still in its early stages, the center promises to showcase the substantial commitment of Hoosiers to attract, welcome and partner with Japanese visitors in Indiana, and to enhance the cultural and economic cooperation between the state and Japan,” said Theresa Kulczak, executive director of JASI. “As both a learning center and quiet retreat, this will be one more shining beacon of Indiana's vibrant, long-standing relationship with Japan.”

Pence made the announcement during a luncheon meeting with Tochigi city officials hosted by Fukuda at the Tochigi Prefectural Hall.

Additional photos may be found later at this link:

About JASI

The Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) is a 501c3 not-for-profit cultural and educational organization whose mission is to serve as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the people of Indiana and Japan through the promotion of cultural understanding and economic partnerships. Established in 1988, JASI it offers the largest network of Japanese and American members in Indiana. On an ongoing basis it sponsors cultural, educational, and corporate programming and serves as an information center. For more information, visit

Source: Japan-America Society of Indiana, Indiana Economic Development Corp.

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