Thirty years ago, the Kanagawa International Foundation came into being with the laudable aim of promoting Japan's cultural and artistic aspects to its region's audience. KIF set up the Minami Circle, which three decades later is still working in the interests of international friendship.

"A former Minami Circle president said that the circle provided the means for all the members to learn about different cultures and values. Another Japanese president said she had learned more about the culture of Japan through the circle's foreign members than she had ever known before," says Sakiko Kamata, newly elected president. "The warm friendships among the members continue even after foreign members return to their home countries."

Kamata spent her early years in Osaka. Initially, she wanted to be a flight attendant. "Even in those days I had some specific ideas about cultural exchanges with people of other countries," she said. She was accepted by Japan Airlines.