History of Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Committee

Walla Walla-Sasayama Sister City Committee is a non-profit organization with membership by affiliation.  Our mission is to promote peace, freindship, international understanding and goodwill between Walla Walla, Washington, USA and Sasayama, Hyogo, JAPAN. The City of Walla Walla, Washington, USA entered into a sister city relationship with the City of Sasayama,Hyogo Japan on Aug 23, 1972.

On April 26, Walla Walla City Council was introduced to the concept of having a sister city by letter from the Washington State Department of Commerce and Economic Development.  A resolution was introduced and voted for approval by the full council on Aug 23, 1972.

Betweeen April and August of 1972 the city council also approved a motion that a street within the city be named “Sasayama Drive”.  The street selected is located as the entrance street into Pioneer Park off of Alder Street.

Initially the Walla Walla Sister City Affiliation Committee consisted of members of the city council.  Within two years citizens of the community were brought into the fold.

Early history of the Walla Walla Sister City Affiliation Committee is not well documents.  Most of the records are from city council minutes and scrapbooks maintained over the years by the committee.

The first visit from Sasayama to Walla Walla occured in the fall of 1973.  There is no record who the individual(s) were.  In response to that visit, Walla Walla planned to reciprocate int he fall of 1974.  Before that happened though, the Mayor of Sasayama and his son made a second visit to Walla Walla in July 1974.  Mayor Schioichi Fujii of Sasayama, with his son Keiichi came to Walla Walla to introduce the idea of a one year high school student exchange program.  It would be two years before an exchange began.

To reciprocate a visit to Sasayama the Sister City Committee formulated plans to visit Sasayama in the fall of 1974.  The city council adopted a resolution declaring a tour of Sasayama, Japan by citizens of Walla Walla and surrounding area on Oct 16, 1974, to be the official visit to Walla Walla’s Sister City, Sasayama, Japan.

This scheduled group tour was cancelled in September, but a delegation of City representatives was still slated to make a visit to Sasayama.  After much discussion and possible heated discussion there was no “official” visit conducted by city council or Sister City Committee members.  Instead a freelance photo journalist from Tacoma, along with his wife, Herb  and Bev Williams, were authorized by the Sister City Committee to represent Walla Walla at the annual fall harvest festival in Sasayama. (to be continued)

In 1974 the Sister City Committee