Red Sox Announce Global Electronics Giant Funai as Presenting Sponsor of new Japanese-American Youth Baseball Exchange.
Japanese youth visit Boston this summer and Boston youth to visit Japan in 2009.
Boston - The Boston Red Sox today announced today that global electronic giant Funai Electric Company is the Presenting Sponsor of a new Japanese and American Youth Baseball Exchange Program that will allow youngsters from Japan and the United States to visit one another’s homelands and learn lessons of life and culture through baseball.
Through the Funai, a dozen Japanese youngsters, age 12 to 14 years old, will travel with their coaches and chaperons to Boston for 10 days this summer. Young residents of Greater Boston will travel to Japan as part of the cultural exchange in the summer of 2009.
"Funai is honored to help cultivate this cultural exchange between youngsters in Japan and the United States through baseball, a game that is beloved in both nations, said Mr. Tetsuro Funai, Executive Chairman and Founder of Funai Electric Company. “I am convinced that youngsters participating in this event will create a lifetime of fabulous memories during this cultural and educational exchange.
" As Presenting Sponsor of the new youth exchange, Funai is underwriting some of the cost of the program through a charitable donation to Red Sox Foundation, which is organizing the exchange with the Japan Society of Boston.
“Funai is a widely respected global company and all of us at the Red Sox are honored to join them in creating this new philanthropic partnership, “said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “Since the arrival of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima; interest in Japan among our fans has grown exponentially. Now due to Funai’s generous charitable donation, we are excited to offer what we expect will be a life transforming experience for children in Boston and Japan as they explore each other's cultures through their shared love of baseball.”
Considered a national sport in both the US and Japan, baseball in recent years has provided a uniquely effective cultural bridge between the two countries. The addition of Matsuzaka and Okajima, two Japanese pitchers now on the World Champion Boston Red Sox team, raised interest in Japan among New Englanders virtually overnight. Likewise, the presence of these two superstars on one American team underscores the interest Japanese youth have in America and in New England in particular.
The Japanese boys who will participate were selected from applicants in Kyoto, Boston's official "sister city", and Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo. The Japanese youngsters will be in Boston from July 25th through August 3, 2008.
The Japanese youth will be treated to special clinics by baseball coaches from the Boston Red Sox, Harvard University, Boston College and Northeastern University. The Japanese youngsters will participate in baseball games with American children and enjoy a variety of local attractions from the Freedom Trail to a New England clam bake. The Japanese exchange students will be honored at a special pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park before the Red Sox play the Oakland Athletics on Friday August 1st. The youngsters will stay to enjoy the game afterwards courtesy of Funai and the Boston Red Sox.
“This exchange is homerun for all of us," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “We look forward to celebrating the historic ties between Boston and Japan and to thanking Funai for their generous support of the exchange program at Fenway Park on August 1st.”
"While you are in Boston, you will be cultural ambassadors,” said Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa. “I hope this experience will inspire you to become the bridge between two countries, strengthening personal, cultural and business relationships either as global citizen or as major league baseball players. I am sure that the program will be one of the most wonderful experiences of your life. Enjoy your time in Boston!”
The Japanese- American Youth Baseball Exchange is a charitable and collaborative outreach by The Japan Society and the Red Sox Foundation. In Addition to Funai’s charitable support, oversight also has been provided by the city governments of Boston, Kyoto and Chiba, the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan led by former NY Mets manager Bobby Valentine, and - in the widest sense - families and children in both countries.
"This is a great day for the cities of Kyoto and Boston and especially for the Chiba Lotte Marines organization. I'm especially pleased that these youngsters are going to Boston as representatives of the Marines Baseball Academy. They truly represent the ideals that we promote: that it's important to strive to be as good as you can be at baseball, but it's even more important that it always remain a fun and totally positive experience."
The exchange program will also include a similar chaperoned trip by Boston area youth to Japan in the summer of 2009.
About The Red Sox Foundation
The Red Sox Foundation is the official 501c3 team charity of the Boston Red Sox. The Foundation's primary focus is serving the health, education, recreation, and social service needs of children and families in need across New England. Created by Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, President/CEO Larry Lucchino and their partners in 2002, the Red Sox Foundation has quickly become one of the largest team charities in Major League Baseball. For more information, visit www.redsoxfoundation.org or contact Red Sox Foundation Executive Director Meg Vaillancourt at 617 226 6614 or email@example.com.
About the Japan Society of Boston
The Japan Society of Boston was founded in 1904, and is the first and oldest of more than forty Japan-America societies currently active in the U.S. A non-profit organization, the Japan Society's mission is to promote cultural and economic tie between Japanese and American citizens. For more information visit www.us-japan.org/boston or contact Rico Mochizuki, Executive Director of the Society at 617-451-0726 or firstname.lastname@example.org