Asian Pages’ own Dean Potter and his wife Masako, were presented with the Japan America Society of Minnesota’s prestigious 2010 Mondale Award on October 23rd at the Edina Country Club. In making the presentation former Vice President and Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale praised Dean and his wife Masako for over fifty years of building cultural bridges between Japan and Minnesota.
Their story started in Japan where Potter served with the U. S. Army and met Masako. Their courtship and eventual marriage required a special bill to be passed by the U. S. Congress to allow Masako to travel to Minnesota to marry Dean. Then Congressman Eugene McCarthy introduced the bill and Congress did, indeed, pass it.
“It was,” noted Mondale, “one of the smartest bills adopted by Congress.”
He went on to list the many ways Dean has worked to enhance cross-cultural relationships through the many stories he has written on Japanese and American activities for Asian Pages.
“You know what I mean,” Mondale quipped. “At every event you will find Dean with a notebook, a pen, and a camera, and the next thing you know you are quoted and pictured in Asian Pages.”
Potter has been a regular contributor to Asian Pages for over 12 years and specializes in Japanese American issues. For many years Potter worked for the U. S. Postal Service and is now retired. He has also written for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch, Highland Villager, Format Magazine, Family Times and The Best of Times. In addition, he wrote “stop smoking” public service spots for the American Cancer Society. On January 24th the Potters celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Mondale also cited Dean’s long term volunteer work with the St. Paul Nagasaki Sister City Organization and noted that Potter has served on the boards of JASMN and SPNSCC for decades.
Mondale also praised Masako for her untiring volunteer efforts as well and noted she has been a leader of the Mikuharu-kai Dancers, a classical Japanese and folk dance group that promotes Japanese culture through odori (dance). Upon presentation of the award, the Potters received an appreciative standing ovation from many of the 150 attendees.
The presentation was made at JASMN’s 13th Annual Mondale and Scholarship Award Dinner Gala that included a live and silent auction, musical entertainment and a keynote speech by Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines. The 2010 Mondale Scholarship winners were also announced. Recipients were Julie Clark of Carleton College and Laura Ullery of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
George Hisaeda, Consul General of Japan at Chicago opened the evening with praise for JASMN’s cross cultural efforts and praised Minnesota’s Governor Tim Pawlenty for his efforts in promoting Japan-Minnesota relations. He also made a plea for Japan and America to continue their efforts as responsible members of the international community. He also pointed out that Japan is a top producer of high speed rail systems and noted he is looking forward to the continued expansion of light rail in Minnesota and the opportunities it offers both countries.
For more information on the Japan America Society of Minnesota call 612-627-9357 or go to www.mn-japan.org.