In December of 1987 a delegation of dignitaries from the New Bedford /Fairhaven area journeyed to Tosashimizu, the home town of Manjiro, and signed a “Sister City” agreement.  This led to the incorporation of the “Fairhaven/New Bedford-Tosashimizu Sister City Committee, Inc.”.  Since that time there has been an on-going exchange of political leaders, Little Leaguers, students, quilters, artists…etc.

In 2008 the Committee was designated to operate the museum which was created when the amazing fund-raising efforts led by Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara resulted in the purchase and renovation of Captain William Whitfield’s home at 11 Cherry Street, Fairhaven, Mass. With a new, international mandate for services, the Committee voted to change its name to one more in keeping with its new mission.  Thus, did the organization acquire the name,


(as of January 2023)


  • Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, (Honorary President- in memorium)
  • Mr. Junji Kitadai, Manjiro Historian, Tokyo, Japan – Emeritus
  • Mr. Shinsuke J. Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan
  • Mr. Setsuo Omori, Consul General in Boston
  • Mr. Robert Whitfield, 5th generation descendant
  • Ms. Kyo Nakahama, 5th generation descendant
  • Mr. Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford
  • Mr. Robert Espindola, Fairhaven Selectperson
  • Mrs. Stasia Powers, Fairhaven Selectperson
  • Mr. Keith Silvia, Fairhaven Selectperson
  • Mr. Mitsunobu Hijiya, Mayor of Tosashimizu


  • President & CEO, Gerald P. Rooney, recipient of Order of the Rising Sun,  Gold & ​Silver Rays – ECM
  • Vice-President, Michael Silvia, community leader – ECM
  • Treasurer, Dr. Brian Bowcock, community leader – ECM
  • Secretary, Ms. Debra Almeida, Ed. D. – ECM
  • Cultural Advisor, Ayako Rooney, founding member – ECM
  • Ms. Kristine Audette, bookkeeper, volunteer – ECM
  • Ms. Teresa Berard, – ECM
  • Ms. Joan Doyon, WMFH tour guide
  • Ms. Aline Duval, retired nurse, tour guide
  • Ms. Joni Gaudiello, teacher, Bristol Community college
  • Mr. Enrique Goytizolo, antique dealer, WMFH Curator
  • Mr. Peter Grilli, President & CEO, Japan Society of Boston (RET)
  • Ms. Gail Isaksen, Fairhaven businesswoman, community volunteer
  • Mr. Andrew Langhauser, retired businessman, tour guide
  • Ms. Carolyn Longworth, Director, Millicent Library, ret. founding member
  • Prof. Shigeru Miyagawa, Head of Foreign Language Dept., MIT
  • Ms. Cheryl Moniz, businesswoman, community volunteer
  • Ms. Debbie Morris, Whitfield home owner
  • Mr. Arthur Motta II, Dir. of Marketing, New Bedford School System
  • Mr. Charles Murphy, administrator – ECM
  • Dr. Matthew C. Perry, 4th generation descendant
  • Ms. Jill Simmons, past member, Mattapoisett Harbor Master, NBPD-RET – ECM
  • Mr. Robert Whitfield, 5th generation descendant – ECM



  • Mr. Tsutomu Karino, Procedural & Organizational advisor, New York
  • Ms. Louise Tapper, retired teacher
  • Mr. Kenzo Kiikuni, Chairman, Brd. of Sasakawa Mem. Medical Foundation
  • Mr. Mikio Kumagai, Sec. Gen., St. Luke’s Int. Hospital Foundation
  • Ms. Carolyn Wingate, retired teacher, musician
  • Ms. Barbara Owen, past Treasurer
  • Mr. Yoshio Okawara, former Ambassador
  • Mr. William Do Carmo, Community Advocate, Businessman
  • Ms. Ger Tysk, author, mariner, musician