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October 23, 2014

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Japan society blends business, friendship

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Keith Shimada / Special to the Home News

Gary Mamiya, Japan America Society of Nevada member and Summerlin resident, poses for a portrait at City National Bank in Las Vegas.

As a member of the banking industry, Gary Mamiya is always looking to establish new business connections.

By joining the Japan America Society of Nevada, or JASN, the Summerlin resident found a way to network and also grow closer to his cultural roots.

"I was born in Hawaii and raised in California, so I didn't have a lot of contact with Japanese people," said Mamiya, who is vice president of City National Bank's branch at 6085 W. Twain Ave. "I used to joke with people that I didn't see another Asian until I went to junior high in Los Angeles."

JASN, which was founded in 1995, now boasts 18 corporate members and 80 individual members from all over the Las Vegas Valley.

The goal of group is to enhance the understanding of Japanese culture, said JASN President Kathleen Blakely.

"We want people in Nevada to know about Japan and people in Japan to know about Nevada," Blakely said.

Summerlin resident Sherry Hashimoto, who works in risk and regulatory compliance for Young Electric Sign Co., joined JASN in 2000.

"Being fourth-generation Japanese, I didn't really know the cultural end of my roots," said Hashimoto, who resides in The Arbors. "This is a really diverse group. You have Japanese nationals who want to connect with others, as well as non-Japanese members who are looking to establish business connections."

The cost to join JASN varies. For individuals it is $50 per year or $75 per year for families.

Corporate memberships start at $250 annually and go as high as $2,500.

JASN holds meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at different locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

While he is a member of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada Development Authority, Mamiya said he enjoys the more intimate feel of JASN.

"You can just sit at a table, exchange cards and really get to know everyone," Mamiya said. "It's not a huge meeting with 500 people."

For more information about JASN visit www.jasnlasvegas.org.

Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].

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