History of The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc.

The Japanese American Association of New York is excited to be serving our community since 1907. While the needs of the beneficiaries of our services change, our ever evolving services to meet those needs have also changed through the years. We remain true to our original mission to serve the Japanese American and Japanese Community.

Dr. Toyohiko Takami originally founded the Japanese American Association of New York in 1907 as the Japanese Mutual Aid Society (Nihonjin Kyosaikai). Dr. Takami was concerned about the need to bury Japanese who died in New York without family here and to have a place to hold a memorial service in their memory. He purchased a plot of land at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, and annual services have been held there ever since. 

In 1914, Dr. Takami, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, and other community leaders formed the Japanese Association of New York, Inc. (New York Nihonjinkai) to expand upon the original goals to serve the Japanese expatriate and immigrant community. It was disbanded during World War II. The New York Committee for Japan Relief (Nihon Kyuen New York Iinkai) was formed and worked with L.A.R.A. (Licensed Agency for Relief in Asia), established by the American Friends Society, to collect and send food and clothing to Japan in the aftermath of the war. They also helped Japanese Americans and Japanese relocate and settle in the greater New York area after they were released from concentration camps across the United States.

After the 1952 merger with the Japanese American Welfare Society (New York Kyosaikai), established by Naohiro Sasaki, the organization was renamed and is today The Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. (JAA). Currently, our community center is used by more than 50 organizations and groups and is used to serve home-cooked lunches to more than 100 seniors twice a month.

Our space in midtown Manhattan, to which we moved five years ago, includes a free lending library with multimedia materials in Japanese and English for all ages, from picture books for toddlers to books and magazines for adults. Our space also has multi-purpose rooms, which are used by the community for lectures, cultural demonstrations, and classes including those conducted by the Japanese Consulate to help newcomers with immigration and acculturation issues. Free consultations are also offered in the areas of tax, immigration, legal matters, and health insurance.

JAA continues to grow and serve the Japanese and Japanese American community. With your help and support, we look forward to facing and tackling the challenges ahead.


JAA Presidents (after WWII)

1946-51       Robert Homma
1951-61       Tokichi Matsuoka   
1962-63       Hiroshi Matsuo
1963-65       Kyuichi Sugihara
1965-67       Stanley Tsugio Okada
1967-69       Sokichi Sugimoto
1969-71       Hisatake Hatano
1971-73       Shig Kariya 
1973-78       George Yamaoka
1979-82       George G. Shimamoto
Jan-June 1983  Toshi Miyazaki

June 1983-86       Francis Y. Sogi
1987-88               Robert K. Emy
1989-90               Noboru Sato
1991-95               Shigeru Inagaki
1996-98               Jiro Murase
1999-01               Sadahei Kusumoto
2002-04               Toshio Kiso
2005-07               Susan J. Onuma
2008-13               Gary S. Moriwaki
2014-Pres            Susan J. Onuma