Theresa A. Kulczak, Executive Director
Theresa Kulczak has served at the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) since 1988 as one of its founding staff and as Executive Director since 1990. She has worked with the Japanese for 35 years and maintains a wide network of contacts in Indiana, the United States, and Japan.
Theresa lived in Japan for six years (1981-1987), for three years as an account executive with an Osaka advertising agency supervising the Middle East accounts for Sanyo Electric Trading Co., and for three years as an English instructor in Niigata Prefecture through the Catholic Church. She also helped establish the Far East Office of Converse, Inc., in Osaka. In 2009, she was appointed by Governor Tomikazu Fukuda of Tochigi Prefecture as an “Ambassador for Global Friendship.” She was selected as the only Midwest representative to Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's Roundtable in 2007, and in 2004, the Japanese Government awarded her the Commendation of the 150th Anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Relationship. She is the only non-Japanese director on the Board of the Indiana Japan Chamber. In 2012, she received The Sagamore of the Wabash award from Governor Mitch Daniels, one of Indiana's highest honors conferred by the governor to worthy citizens in recognition of their significant contributions to the state.
Theresa graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Public Relations. She speaks Japanese and has studied French and Polish. Theresa serves as the 2011 Skipper of the Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club and is a member of the Central Indiana Wilderness Club.
JASI is a not-for-profit cultural, educational, and business association offering the largest network of American and Japanese companies and communities in Indiana. The Society sponsors corporate training seminars, cultural programs, and social activities. The JASI office serves the region as an information clearinghouse and provides bilingual assistance to members.
Chiaki Tokiwa, Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator
Chiaki Tokiwa is serving as the Japan Outreach Initiative (JOI) Coordinator for a two-year cycle of the JOI program through the summer of 2016. JOI is funded nationally by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, with local support in part from Subaru of Indiana Automotive and the Japan-America Society of Indiana. Chiaki-san is responsible for promoting understanding about Japan, its culture, language, and customs in Indiana through outreach activities. She serves on the JASI staff and also supports our members and communities around the state.
Ms. Tokiwa looks forward to visiting schools, communities, and organizations to offer cultural outreach programs. Types of programming include:
- Activities for organizations and K-12 schools
- Japanese society & family life, history, pop culture, education system, government, & economy, etc., presentations to various age groups
- Traditional arts, crafts, toys, food, music, clothing, calligraphy, etc. demonstrations or facilitation
- Japanese language class assistance and greetings & useful phrases for travelers
Previously, while in Japan, Chiaki-san worked in the historic city of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, at an international hostel where many backpackers came to stay. At that time, she enjoyed cultural exchange with people from different countries. She also spent a term on the international Peace Boat, an experience which inspired her to learn more about people from around the world, as well as to spread an interest in Japanese culture. Her background is in education, and she also worked at a middle school as an English teacher in Nagano Prefecture, her native home.
Jeremiah Maxwell, Office Administrator
Having worked previously in the hospitatlity industry, Jeremiah brings a bright attitude and strong customer service experience and administrative skills to the Japan-America Society of Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis with degrees in English and Philosophy. A month-long stay in Japan in 2008 inspired Jeremiah to learn more about working with and living in other cultures. In his free time, he is an avid musician and writer.