The Ambassador’s charitable focus is on U.S. veterans. He explains: “We like to express our gratitude to service people. It is something that I started in 2001 – to have a reception for wounded soldiers from places like Iraq and Afghanistan. We invite them and their families to our garden for a barbeque. It’s just a small thing we can do for them.”
In the immediate future, the Katos will be enjoying the unprecedented “Japan! Culture + Hyperculture” two-week event at the Kennedy Center. The exhibition – which runs from Feb. 7 to Feb. 17 – includes a variety of Japanese art forms from plays, music, animae, and manga to a robotics display entitled “Robotopia Rising,” the last of which Amb. Kato finds particularly exciting.
“I’m intrigued by Japanese robotics,” he says, “three years ago at the lantern lighting ceremony for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, it was very cold day. Most of the presenters cut their speeches short. I, instead, had a robot from Sony speak for me.” He finishes with smile, “It was much more popular than if I would have spoken.”
What can’t a robot replace? Kato’s charm and history of strong relations under his watch.