Dr. Joseph Gashō Amato, Founder and Executive Director
      Dr. Amato received his Ph.D. in composition in 1998 from New York University with primary studies in Italian contemporary music. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Bunka-chō Japanese Government Artists Fellowship to pursue formal study of Japanese music history and Japanese traditional musical instruments at Seiha Hōgaku-kai. Since then, he continued studies receiving his teaching license (junshihan) and his professional name Gashō in 2003.
      Currently, he is founder and director of the International Center for Japanese Culture since its inception in 2011. Before ICJC, Dr. Amato founded the Yokohama International School Japanese music program in 2003 and served as its director until 2011.
      Pursuing his work on sharing Japanese traditional music and culture on the international level, in 2017 Dr. Amato founded and serves as President of Japanese Culture Promotion and Management an NPO dedicated to supporting Japanese traditional arts and culture. He is founder and coordinator of the Morikami Museum Japanese traditional music program located in Delray Beach, Florida, USA. In addition, he continues as director of the Seiha Hōgaku-kai International Summer School which he established in 2016.
      Teaching positions and special lecturer posts have been held at Robert Stockton College of NJ, Fukuoka International School, Heidelberg College, Seiha Hōgaku Gakuin and Yokohama National University.

Christopher Yohmei Blasdel, Japanese Performing Arts Advisor
      Christopher Yohmei Blasdel began the shakuhachi and studies of Japanese music in 1972 with Japan’s Living National Treasure Gorō Yamaguchi and continued with the master until his death in 1999. In 1982, Blasdel received his MFA in ethnomusicology from Tokyo University of the Arts and was honored with the professional name "Yohmei" from Yamaguchi in 1984—the first of only two non-Japanese accredited by Yamaguchi. Blasdel’s shakuhachi repertory is deeply rooted in the classic styles of sankyoku ensemble playing and the lofty solo honkyoku music, but he is also known for his precise performances of contemporary music and improvisational abilities.
      Presently, Blasdel performs around the world and has taught at such prestigious institutions as University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, International Christian University in Tokyo, Temple University (Japan), Earlham College (Indiana), Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand), Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas), University of Washington (Seattle), Charles University (Prague) and many others.

Suzanne Ross, Japanese Fine Arts Advisor
      Suzanne Ross is an award-winning Japanese urushi artist. Originally a fine artist, Suzanne moved from her native London to Tokyo in 1984 after she was first introduced to Japanese urushi at a Japanese Edo Period art exhibition. Like most traditional arts in Japan, women are not afforded the same privileges as men and it took five years to begin official training with several master teachers from Ishikawa prefecture. Studying traditional as well as modern urushi styles with several National Living Treasures, Suzanne established herself in Wajima where she remains today some 29 years later.
      Suzanne maintains an active career outside her studio presenting numerous workshops, lectures, TV/NHK radio programs and exhibitions both in Japan and abroad. Her most recent presentations include a lecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, workshops at The East-West Center in Hawaii, a lecture at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Society, London and a lecture/exhibit at Morikami Museum, Delray Beach, Florida.
      Leading the movement to revive this ancient traditional art and share it with the world, Suzanne’s artworks appeal to multi-generational audiences. Preserving traditional techniques Suzanne adds a personal and modern sensibility to her artworks with new materials including washi, lace, pearls and other precious stones.