In 1987, fortune smiled upon Shawnee when Tokyo Denki Kagaku Kogyo, or TDK came to Shawnee. This event caused our late Mayor Pierre F. Taron, Jr. to seek to establish a Sister Cities relationship with Nikaho, Japan; the location of one of the early TDK factories and birthplace of TDK’s first president, Mr. Saito Kenzo.
In March 1990, dignitaries from Nikaho, Japan made their first visit to Shawnee. The delegation consisted of Mayor Norio Tomoe, Mr. Shunji Miura, Speaker of the Nikaho City Assembly, and Mr. Masahiko Suda, Nikaho City Planner.
In October, 1990, Shawnee officials reciprocated and visited Nikaho, Japan for the formal signing of the sister cities agreement. Mayor Pierre F. Taron, Jr. headed the delegation and was accompanied by Vice Mayor Mike Little, City Commissioner Dick Miller, and Sister Cities Chairman Clay Willis.
Since the official visit in March 1990 through October 1997, Nikaho, Japan has sent 10 delegations to Shawnee.
There have been 8 delegation visits from Shawnee, Oklahoma to Nikaho, Japan from October 1990 through July 1997.
Over the last several years, the sister cities program has grown and matured. Today, both Shawnee and Nikaho send large numbers of students, as well as adults, every year to visit each other. Shawnee and Nikaho have discovered that these visits allow our citizens to have the opportunity to truly learn about their counterparts in their sister city. One of the main highlights of the trip is the Kanto Festival-festival of the lanterns.
Every summer a group of about 10 students and five adults travel to Nikaho to renew our ties, exchange gifts, and spend time together learning about their culture. During the visit to Nikaho, the students and adults stay with host families in order to experience the life in Japan.
Every fall the Nikaho delegation consisting of 12 students and five adults visit Shawnee. During their stay, the delegates are exposed to as many aspects of Shawnee, Oklahoma culture. The delegation experience horseback riding, picnic at the Shawnee Lake, museums, tours of our local businesses, attend activities such as football games, visit the local schools, and do plenty of shopping.
TDK was founded in Nikaho on the northwest coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, in 1935. The first TDK plant was built in Nikaho in 1943. Five of TDK’s manufacturing plants are now in Nikaho. The headquarters for TDK are in Tokyo, and the United States corporate offices in TDK are in New York. TDK also has plants in Germany, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Korea, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan and China.
The TDK Corporation, worldwide, employes over 25,000 employees per data of 1993. In the United States there are nine locations which include: Shawnee, Atlanta area, Los Angeles, and El Paso.
TDK manufactures many products – audio tapes, video tapes, floppy disks and other recording media. TDK products are used in television, VCRs, video cameras, radio cassette recorders, CD players, computers, communication equipment, facsimile transceivers, photocopiers and a wide range of other items.
TDK joined Allen Bradley in April, 1987. In April, 1992, TDK Corporation bought Allen Bradley’s interest in the plant known as Allen Bradley/TDK and changed the name to TDK Ferrites Corporation.
In 1994, TDK expanded and built an additional 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The plant locally manufactures ferrite magnets used primarily in small electronic motors, for the automobile industry, ferrite cores used in color televisions and filter devices for cellular telephones.
Sister Cities International
Founded in 1956, Sister Cities International is the world’s premier volunteer citizen diplomacy network creating and strengthening partnerships between 1,200 U.S. and 2,000 international cities in 123 countries. Sister Cities International is a nonprofit organization, and is governed by a 36 member Board of Directors.
The goals of Sister Cities International (SCI) are:
- To develop partnerships between U.S. towns, cities, counties and states and similar jurisdictions of other nations;
- To create opportunities for all people to experience and explore other cultures through long-term partnerships;
- To create an atmosphere in which economic development and trade can be explored, implemented and strengthened;
- To open a dialogue and address issues ranging from the cultural to the technical, from the municipal to the medical, from the environmental to the educational and beyond;
- To stimulate environments through which partnerships can creatively learn, work, and solve problems together; and
- To collaborate with other organizations, both in the United States and in other countries, that have similar visions and goals.
A Brief Background
SCI sponsors workshops, conferences, training and professional programs and publishes a wide variety of information to educate and support the sister city movement.
A key to the success of sister cities is the public-private partnerships between locally-elected officials and volunteers. It is this partnership that allows the entire community to support and participate in the programs.
Affiliations between cities throughout the world began after World War II. The U.S. program was launched when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the people-to-people concept in 1956. His idea was to involve people and community organizations in personal diplomacy. Out of this grew Sister Cities International, which has assisted more than 1,200 U.S. cities, representing more than 125 million Americans, linked with 2,000 foreign cities in 123 nations.
The Sister Cities Program allows the individual and the community to participate on local, national and international levels to make an impact on an ever-changing world. Exchanges range from education to culture, medicine to municipal training, business and trade to sports. SCI acts to support grassroots, volunteer organizations to:
- Develop new affiliations
- Establish community-based organizations,
- Create exchange projects,
- Involve youth and young adults, and
- Involve business and local elected officials.