Members of New York’s Japanese and Japanese American community came together to celebrate Japanese Heritage Night at Citi Field on Friday, June 15, as the New York Mets hosted the Cincinnati Reds in Flushing, Queens.
While the Citi Field grounds crew dragged the infield, the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York performed in the pregame ceremony that also included taiko drumming from the New York Suwa Taiko Association.
Five New York-based Japanese organizations received the New York Mets Spirit Award, presented to them for their contributions to recovery efforts in Northeastern Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. A representative of each organization received certificates on the field before the game and posed for pictures with special guest Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Consul General of Japan in New York.
Here are the recipients:
- Japanese American Association of New York
- Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc.
- Japanese Medical Society of America
- New York Japanese American Lions Club
- Japan Society
Japanese Heritage Night at Citi Field was more than just an evening of baseball and camaraderie; it was also a fundraiser. Twenty percent of tickets sold specifically for Japanese Heritage Night went to the TOMODACHI Initiative of the U.S.-Japan Council. Through the efforts of the Japanese and Japanese American community in collaboration with the New York Mets, Japanese Heritage Night raised more than two thousand dollars for TOMODACHI, a public-private partnership supporting Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake through the strengthening of cultural and economic ties with long-term goals of deepening the friendship between the United States and Japan.