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Rob Williams finds Japanese culture in Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

If you watch the show, you probably know I have a lot of connections to Japan.  I'm half Japanese and spent most of my school years in Japan. 

However, the tri-state has many connections as well.  I found that out at Japan America Society.  

There are 33 chapters nationwide and there's on in Cincinnati. 

Asami Ono has been interning at the society from Japan for nearly two years now. 

"I got a grant from the Japanese Foundation for two years to introduce Japanese culture in this area.  So I visit schools and libraries," she says.

The Japan America Society's main mission is building friendships between the U.S. and Japan. 

It has been in Cincinnati for 25 years. 

However our area's connection to Japan goes way back, more than 100 years. 

It was Nellie Taft who was instrumental in bringing Japanese cherry blossom trees to our Washington D.C. 

Carla Romanelli is the executive director of the Japan America Society's chapter in Greater Cincinnati.  "She had a mission of beautifying the tidal basin in Washington D.C, and did so with a wonderful beautiful gift of over 3,000 cherry trees that were presented to her by the mayor of Adachi." 

Romanelli also adds that Rookwood Pottery has a connection to Japan too.  "The founder of Rookwood Pottery saw the design of Japanese porcelain at a convention.  I think it was the worlds fair in Philadelphia and she saw Japanese porcelain there and decided to design Rookwood pottery on some what of that design."  

Rookwood's owner actually brought in Japanese artist Kitaro Shirayamadani who worked at the pottery from 1887 until he died in 1948. 

He is actually buried at Spring Grove Cemetery.  Kwaidan, one of Japan's most famous horror movie is based on a book by Lafcadio Hearn.  His connection to Cincinnati? 

He was a journalist for the Cincinnati Enquirer before settling down in Japan in 1890.

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