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Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati





The Chairman of the Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati, Dr. Kinji Tanaka, 92, of Cincinnati, Ohio, passed peacefully on Saturday, September 5, 2020.  He is survived by his wife, Reiko and children, grandchildren and family (see link below).

Prior to his founding of the Center in 1981, he was a founding member and first principal of the Japanese Language School of Greater Cincinnati in 1975, and also a Special Consultant to the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce in matters related to Japan. As president of the Center, he promoted strong relations and connections between Japan and the United States and especially in the Greater Cincinnati region. This included consultancies with businesses and program offerings and activities with area organizations and universities.

Under Dr. Tanaka's leadership, the Center's focus has been on improving cultural understanding of diversity and in particular, through examples of individuals' achievements towards this goal in the region.  A notable contribution was the establishment of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA, with the help of colleagues to promote the study of the 19th century Cincinnati journalist and author in Japan at the turn of the century who bridged literature and culture.  Additional Greater Cincinnati notables highlighted by the Center under his leadership included Etsu Sugimoto (author of the "A Daughter of the Samurai"), Edwin Dun (known as the father of the dairy industry in Hokkaido), and Kitaro Shirayamadani (one of the first Japanese immigrants and accomplished artists of Rookwood Pottery).

Because of Dr. Tanaka's many achievements, he was awarded the Certificate of Commendation of the Consul General of Japan, in 2002; Japan's Foreign Minister's Commendation, in 2011; and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan in 2015. 

The Honorable Consul General Tsutomu Nakagawa, of the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, conveyed his "deepest condolences to the family, and to the Center and it's membership."  He asked to convey his respects, and to share that Dr. Tanaka's advice and counsel were and continue to be greatly valued.    

For the more comprehensive obituary, list of surviving family members and those who preceeded him, and family wishes and means to  share your sentiments, please refer to Obituary for Dr. Kinji Tanaka at Strawser Funeral Home 




Depictions of Hearn's era in Cincinnati
(For Sale)

Click to visit our gallery


Status of the Funding for the Lafcadio Hearn Commemorative Plaque

(To donate or pledge please see details in the right hand column on this page)

As of 2/20/21: $5,000 




Spring, 2020 edition

Spring, 2019 edition





Our mission: 

Improving cultural understanding by sharing
the life stories of special people in Greater
Cincinnati who have strengthened relations between Japan and the
United States


Our objectives:

Program offerings, tours, support services
and higher education advising


Our officers:

Kiyoshi Peter Tanaka, Chairman

Dr. Gary Eith, President;
  Biography of Gary Eith  

Hidenobu Paul Tanaka, Vice President

Ms. Reiko Tanaka, Treasurer

Board of Trustees

People we have highlighted
in the past: 

Lafcadio Hearn
Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto
Edwin Dun
Kitaro Shirayamadani



Thank you to
The Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati
and its sponsors



Hearn Commemorative Plaque project

Why a permanent commemoration of Hearn
 in Cincinnati?

There is no permanent commemoration of Lafcadio Hearn in the Cincinnati region.  A memorial plaque would be both a tourist attraction and an education tool for people to learn of Hearn and his work in the fields of journalism and literature.  The plaque will highlight the global nature of Hearn and his interests in other cultures, supporting diversity and improved cultural understanding.  It will also commemorate Hearnís time here in Cincinnati where he got his start, and his career accomplishments.  It could also serve as a starting point for a walking tour of the Hearn sites in Cincinnati.

We are launching a fund drive for the Lafcadio Hearn Cincinnati Memorial Plaque.  All donations will be tax deductible and applied to the development of the plaque and the installation.  The project will not start until all funds have been received to complete design, construction and installation. If, for any unforeseen reason, this project gets cancelled, all proceeds will be refunded.

We are also accepting pledges.  Donations and pledges can be reported in grant proposals and helps secure funding. We will be seeking grants and will be submitting proposals to area foundations and corporations.  If you are employed or retired from a company, please check with your HR office to determine if the company matches donations and if so, secure a matching form from their offices and send it with your donation.  Many companies do so, to meet their community service goals.

For information on how to pledge or donate, please click here

JRCGC is a nonprofit 501c3 organization...and we welcome your tax deductible donations!



© Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati