Advisory Board


Bruce Brenn serves as Chairman of the Center for Japanese Studies Advisory Board. Bruce's career in international business spanned nearly 30 years including senior management positions with Citibank, Nike Japan, Continental Bank, and Smith New Court plc, working in Hong Kong, India, Taipei, and Tokyo before finally retiring back in the US. He currently serves as a board member the Japan-America Society of Oregon and the Portland Japanese Garden.  He is a member of the Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club, Tokyo American Club, and Multnomah Athletic Club. He holds a B.A. degree from University of Oregon and M.A. degrees in Japanese Studies and Economics from the University of Michigan.

Dean Alterman, a lifelong Portlander, is a principal at Alterman Law Group PC, where he practices real estate and business law.  He is a board member of the Japan-America Society of Oregon and of the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon, where he was the president from 2011 to 2013.  His past civic involvements include service as a trustee of The Catlin Gabel School, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, and Portland Civic Theatre, and three terms as chairman of the Multnomah County Planning Commission.  Dean is a graduate of Harvard University and Lewis & Clark Law School.


Robert Innes retired to the Portland area in 2007 after a Foreign Service career that included nine years in the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo.  A Portland native, he received a B.A. from Oregon State, an M.A. in Asian Studies from Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Japanese and Southeast Asian history from Michigan.  He attended Waseda University's International Division as an undergraduate, and did dissertation research at Tokyo University's Historiographical Institute.  In the Army, he completed basic and advanced Vietnamese language courses before going to Vietnam in 1971-72.





Tatsuo Ito was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, and is a graduate of Nagoya University with a degree in Physics. He currently serves as Executive Vice President of SEH America, which is part of the largest producer of semiconductor silicon in the world, Shin-Etsu Handotai (SEH), and an integral part of the ShinEtsu group in Japan. Prior to coming to the US for the second time in 2004, Tatsuo served as plant manager in SEH Malaysia and in two Japan plants overseeing start-up of new production. He now travels to Japan multiple times a year on business, but enjoys living abroad, which affords him the enriching experience of fully embracing a different culture. He believes in celebrating the cultural diversity and camaraderie between the US and Japan.
Lynn Katsumoto, raised in Portland, lived in Japan for 14 years, working in Osaka as a copywriter while residing in Kyoto. Upon returning to Portland, she and her husband launched Pacific Media, a Japanese translation company. Her interests in Japanese art and culture led her to graduate studies at PSU, and to the curatorial department at the Portland Art Museum. She is a co-author of Floating World Revisited and contributor to The Artist’s Touch, The Craftsman’s Hand, teaches part-time at PSU and serves as consultant to private collectors.


Irwin Lavenberg. Irwin Lavenberg’s affinity for Japan and things Japanese comes from his 26 years in research and engineering for the Sony Corporation where he participated in Sony’s early research and development efforts into High Definition television systems. During the latter part of his career with Sony, he served as Sony’s advisor to The Japan Society of Northern California. Retiring from Sony in 2003, he is the owner and curator of The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints and maintains the largest private non-commercial website for Japanese prints at He currently volunteers as a research assistant for Japanese prints at the Portland Art Museum. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and a proud participant in the Senior Adult Learning program at Portland State.

Leonard Lynn lived in Japan a total of about seven years, including stints as a Fulbright Fellow at Tokyo University and as Japanese Ministry of Education Visiting Professor at Hitotsubashi University. He is Professor Emeritus of International Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, where he was Chair of the Department of Marketing and Policy Studies for twelve years. He is a past president of the Association of Japanese Business Studies and served on the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation for eight years. He has written or co-written three books with a large Japanese content and several dozen research articles. In 2010 Leonard returned to Portland, where he was born and raised. He is currently involved in research projects funded by the National Bureau of Economic Research and Sloan foundation on the globalization of engineering.


 Jim Mockford is Senior Engineer Software Quality Assurance at Wacom Technology Corp in Portland OR. His work at Wacom since 1999 has involved coordination of product testing and certification programs in Asia and the USA. Jim received his B.A. in Asian Studies and Japanese from the University of Oregon Honors College and he worked as Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington in Seattle in the 1980s. Jim has taught pre-collegiate Japanese language in the USA and worked in education in Japan. He was chairman of Friends of MacDonald (1998-2008) a Japan-US historical and friendship organization honoring Oregonian Ranald MacDonald, first teacher of English in Japan.

Verne Naito is a vice president in Naito Corporation, a family owned and managed business.  He oversees property management, real estate investments, financial management, and new business development.  In its 92-year history, the company has been an importer, distributor, retailer, and real estate developer.  Mr. Naito’s father’s family immigrated to America in 1917.  His mother’s family immigrated in 1906 and farmed in the Los Angeles area until WWII.  Mr. Naito has held board and advisory board positions in numerous nonprofit and business organizations including: the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce; the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Oregon; the University of Portland, Center for Entrepreneurship; the Japanese American Citizens League Portland Chapter; and the Portland Japanese Garden Society.   Mr. Naito received his BA from Pomona College and MBA from Harvard Business School.

Lisa Okada has been an educator for nearly 40 years, much of that time in Japan and/or in the field of Japan and intercultural education. She taught at the American School in Tokyo, Japan before moving to the Washington, D.C. area. For several years, she served as associate director of the National Intercultural Education Institute at the University of Maryland, while also working with the Mid-Atlantic Region Japan-in-the-Schools program. She served as president of the Washington-Tokyo Women's Club, taught within the Fairfax County Public School System in Virginia, and volunteered at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African Arts. Lisa has a degree in anthropology from Miami University (Ohio), a MAT in history/education from Duquesne University and a Graduate Certificate in Coastal Studies from the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Lisa speaks Japanese, as do her two children -- Michael who is a student at PSU and Annie, a student at the University of Oregon.
 Pat Phelan was born in Portland, Oregon. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology of Education at Stanford University.  Subsequently, she held faculty positions in the Medical Anthropology Program at the University of California, San Francisco as well as Stanford University.  In 1992 Pat joined the faculty as a Professor at the University of Washington where she designed an academic concentration on at-risk youth.  In 1996 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and was one of six invited senior teaching and research scholars from the US to Australia.  After retiring from the University of Washington in 2001, Pat started her own consulting firm in Portland providing educational and therapeutic assistance to families with struggling youth.  She retired from Educational Connections in January 2018.  Throughout her career Pat has traveled and continued her interest in East and Southeast Asia, and recently engaged in more in-depth study with CJS Director, Dr. Ken Ruoff.

Gabe Rosen is an owner of Biwa, a Japanese restaurant in southeast Portland specializing in izakaya-style dining. He has worked in the restaurant and hospitality industry for 20 years as a chef, butcher and restaurateur in Iowa, Oregon and California. He holds a Certificate of Culinary Arts from Western Culinary Institute and a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from Portland State University, where he conducted much of his research for Biwa while studying under Pat Wetzel and Ken Ruoff, and in Japan as a Monbukagakusho scholar at Hokkaido University.


Douglas J. Smith is responsible for international business development at the Port of Portland, the region’s driver of economic opportunity in transportation and logistics.  Prior to joining the Port, Doug spent 20 years in the engineering and construction industry leading site selection and construction management projects and serving in Executive Management as co-founder of an entrepreneurial firm focused on providing full-service support to Foreign Direct Investors (FDI) in the advanced materials, chemicals, food processing and renewable energy sectors.In addition to serving on the CJS advisory board, Doug also currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the Northwest China Council and is the immediate past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Japan-America Society of Oregon and Southwest Washington (JASO). He has lived, worked and/or studied in both Europe and Asia.  He is a graduate of Cornell University with a concentration in International Economics.



Herb Yamamoto is a nisei entrepreneur, whose parents immigrated to San Francisco in 1957.  After attending University of California, Berkeley (Mechanical Engineering, B.S. & M.S.), Herb worked in Japan for ten years as part of a Toyota Motors & General Motors joint venture initiative.  Today, Herb has entrepreneurial passions, and is involved in start-up companies, while serving as CEO of BIM Connection, his design firm that services the manufacturing and building industries.  In addition to the CJS Board, Herb is Vice Chair for OAME (Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs) and an Advisory Board member for Linn-Benton Community College.  His community works have included starting volunteer teams in Japan and the US to minister to underprivileged children.  Herb, and his wife, Yayoi, a native Japanese from Tokyo, have enjoyed residing in Portland for 20+ years.  Most of all, he values his faith in Christ and his family.


Honorary Board Members
Tim and Martha McGinnis
Isao Iwashita 
Lynn Moyers
Ambassador Tadashi Nagai

Ex-Officio Members - PSU
Ken Ruoff,  Director, Professor of History
Larry Kominz, Professor of Japanese
Hiro Ito,  Professor of Economics
Suwako Watanabe, Professor of Japanese
Masami Nishishiba, Professor of Public Administration
Jon Holt, Professor of Japanese
Wynn Kiyama, Assistant Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Karen Curtin, Professor of Japanese