The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Friend of Seward - Tony Nakazawa

 

Tony Nakazawa

While talking to Sewardites about our Citizen of Year, The LOG found that many people who don't live in Seward make selfless contributions to Seward. Thus, this year we honor friends of Seward.

Tony Nakazawa has been instrumental in working with Seward officials and community leaders in bringing a renewed realization of the life and legend of Jujiro Wada, an early Alaskan pioneer of 1890s/early 1900s Alaska.

Nakazawa's interest in Seward began in the 1990s, when he a general partner in the Legends restaurant, gift shop and community meeting center. He served as the division director of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs under Gov. Wally Hickel and DCRA Commissioner Edgar Blatchford and directly influenced the future fortunes of Seward with initiatives such as the Alaska SeaLife Center, Rural Development Initiative Fund which sponsored startup loans to several local businesses and shoreside improvements to Seward waterfront.

After leaving DCRA Nakazawa returned to a faculty position with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension where he has been instrumental in working with local officials and community leaders in renewing interest in Jujiro Wada, who along with Seward pioneer Albert Lowell, blazed the trail of the future Alaska Railroad from Seward to Iditarod.

Nakazawa's efforts, through articles, lectures and presentations, has ignited statewide and international (particularly Japan) recognition of Seward's role in the story Wada.

Additionally, Nakazawa recognition of the important link of Seward as a gateway community to Alaska's Kenai Fjords, natural resources, both natural and mineral resources has led to recent tours by Taipai government officials to view Seward's' coal export facilities as well being instrumental in recent National Geographic Geotourism founder Jonathan Tourtello's visit to see first hand the potential "gateway" geotourism role of Seward's location and natural beauty.

Nakazawa is working with the Asian Alaska Cultural Center to host the Jujiro Wada Memorial Association (30 performers and up to 200 family and related family members) and a play based on the life and times of Jujiro Wada and the group's 2015 to visit the Anchorage Performing Arts Center with related performances during their 10-day visit and performances to travel to Seward and Fairbanks.

 

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