Our team

Helene Jarmol Uchida

Little America Book Store Founder

Back in the l980s, when Helene noticed that the English section of Japanese bookstores was limited to only books and tape cassettes, she stuffed her suitcases with English puzzles and games for her young son on return from her vacations in New York.

She was pleased to discover that her English students had a strong interest in playing with his English puzzles and games after her son outgrew them. This triggered her realization that there was a black hole in terms of English materials for Japanese children. In her quest to help other teachers and students gain access to English resources, she asked the managers of Fukuoka’s Kinokuniya and Maruzen if they would purchase English games and materials if she imported them from the United States.

The answer was affirmative. She placed her orders, established Japan’s first English mail order company, printed Little America’s first catalog and started connecting with teachers nation wide. When teachers asked for items she could not find abroad, she created Little America Originals, which to this day remain Little America’s best sellers.

Helene’s comment:
I firmly believe Japanese need to experience English more than they need to study it. It is our pleasure to help make English come alive with stimulating English materials, which Japanese so deserve. I would personally like to thank all the teachers for their passion for teaching English and loyalty to Little America.

Sohei Uchida

Little America Book Store Executive Director

Sohei Uchida was a Fukuoka assemblyman for 12 years and spent two years as chairman of education for Fukuoka Prefecture. He speaks fluent English and worked and lived abroad in Athens, Greece, as a judo teacher. He raised his son bilingually and believes Japan should move away from the entrance exam system and focus more on communicative English.

Sohei’ comment:
All the English materials (both original and imported) from Little America Mail Order Service have been tested out and have won the seal of approval by Little America School's dedicated students and teachers. Thus, it is with confidence and pride that we strongly recommend our products to English educators nationwide. We firmly believe that good teaching and good materials are the two essential pillars for successful English education.

You can depend on Little America.