The purpose of Japan America Society Women’s Association (JASWA) is to encourage friendship, cordial exchange and cultural understanding between the women of Japan and America. In the winter of 1979, Jane (Whitney) Harris, Kikue Atkins and a few other women founded JASWA. Jane was a local philanthropist who was recognized for her many years of distinguished service by President Ronald Reagan. The group held their first official meeting at Westwood County Club. For the first two years the programs were held in conjunction with Webster University’s Japan Festival.
JASWA now consists of about 60 women of diverse backgrounds and has a board and special committees. The organization provides educational programs for its members. Currently, events are held on a monthly basis. Two annual events that have become popular are the Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Aged Day) and the Bonenkai (end of the year celebration). A one time fund raising held each year during the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden provides monies for the organization’s programs, cultural programs, and charitable activities.