President’s greeting,

Dear Members and Friends, Happy New Year!

Last year was a whirlwind of activity for JAA and its members. We ended 2018 by celebrating our 111th Anniversary at our Gala dinner at the Harvard Club where we honored Mrs. Chieko Inagaki for her dedicated support of JAA, especially through her generous gift for our annual Sakura Matsuri. We also honored Council Member Daniel Dromm for shepherding legislation to make January 30 the Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution a recognized observance in New York City. While we were sad to say farewell to Ambassador and Madame Takahashi, we were delighted to welcome our new Consul General, Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi.

Over the past decade, we have networked and collaborated with other not-for-profit community organizations. Last year we held several events with JACL, U.S.-Japan Council, NY Lions Club, JAJA, NY de Volunteer, JET Alumni Association and Hoshuko Alumni Association. We look forward to continuing those ties as well as working with other Asian American organizations.

JAA remains the center of the Japanese and Japanese American community. We are a 112-year-old grassroots community organization that supports the health and wellbeing of seniors, young families, young professionals, and new immigrants. We provide an opportunity to volunteer and serve, and through our organizational networks, personal contacts, and years of experience, we are a valuable resource for the entire community. We are currently involved in organizing our vast collection of archival materials as well as preserving oral stories through our Oral History Project.

We are excited to announce our first program of the year will be a discussion led by historian Daniel H. Inouye on Saturday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m. He will share his new book, "Distant Islands," regarding our Japanese pioneers who came to New York from 1876 to the 1930s. It’s about the courage and adventure of those who made the first steps from Japan to NYC, including the founders of JAA.

In the spring, we plan to join other organizations to tour the "Tale of Genji" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Help us plant another cherry tree on April 20 at our annual Sakura Matsuri at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. And please come to our annual Spring Health Fair and Spring Flea Market.

For the many activities we provide and support, people are surprised at our small staff. We rely heavily on our Executive Director, Michiyo Noda, and her assistant, Naomi Miyakita. We are so lucky to have them! When you see them, please remember to thank them for all their hard work. They, along with our volunteers and our board of directors, embody the JAA spirit!

We are pleased to welcome three new members to our board: Wendy Takahisa who is a born-and-raised New Yorker with Morgan Stanley; Dr. Maki Kano, longtime pediatrician and general internist; and Dr. Kimihiko Oishi, who is a pediatrician specializing in genetics.

We have a challenging year ahead of us – fundraising will be a top priority. We need funds to pay for our expanding programs to meet the needs and interests of our members, new and longtime. (And let’s not overlook our rent and utilities, which increase annually!) We welcome everyone’s support and fresh perspectives on ways to make JAA a sustainable organization for the next 100 years.

Please join us in any way you can. JAA is our community and our shared legacy. Together we can make it happen!

Susan J. Onuma

Fred Korematsu Day 2019

On December 19, 2017, the New York City Council passed legislation to designate January 30 as the Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in New York. On January 30, 2018 a ceremony to commemorate the landmark decision was held in front of City Hall during the day, followed by a discussion at NYU Cantor Film Center at night. On January 30 of this year, the New York Day of Remembrance Committee, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, and the New York County Lawyers Association – Asian Practice Committee are co-sponsoring an event entitled "Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice," a reenactment of Korematsu v. United States and a celebration of the activist’s 100th birthday.

Place: New York County Lawyers Association
Andrew Hamilton Hall, 14 Vesey Street, 6:30-9pm
The program is free but please register by Jan. 29 at:

JAA 111th Anniversary Gala Dinner

(back L to R)Ms. & Mr.Sano, Ms. Onuma, Ms.Matsumoto(front L to R)Amb. Yamanouchi, Ms. Brewer, Mr. Dromm

Ms. Inagaki and her family

Mr. Dromm (center)

Amb. Yamanouchi

Mr. Kigawa

On Friday, November 30, 2018, we celebrated the 111th anniversary of the Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. at the Harvard Club under a gorgeous, celling-high Christmas tree. We welcomed 180 guests, including the newly appointed Consul General of Japan in New York, Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm; and many corporate representatives as well as JAA members and friends. JAA President Susan Onuma and Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi gave greetings. We were proud to honor New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm and Mrs. Chieko Inagaki. Council Member Dromm successfully introduced Resolution 792, unanimously establishing January 30 as the Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution – the first recognition in NYC of a person of Asian descent. Mrs. Inagaki has generously supported JAA, particularly JAA’s Sakura Matsuri at Flushing Meadow Corona Parks since its inception, continuing the legacy of her late husband, Shigeru Inagaki, who served as JAA President from 1991 through 1996. Mr. Taka Kigawa, a critically acclaimed pianist, gave an enthralling performance for our guests. JAA Vice President Mr. Koji Sato served as the MC. Thank you to all who attended our 111th Anniversary Gala. You made it a special night to remember!
The list of supporters is below.

Election of Officers and Directors for 2019

At the General Election meeting on November 28, 2018, officers and directors for the year 2019 were nominated and elected.

Our Officers for 2019
President: Susan Onuma (6th term)
Vice Presidents: Yuzuru Anzai, Julie Azuma, Susan Hamaker, David Hiromura,
Shunichi Homma, Keiko Ishida, Riki Ito, Makoto Iwahara, Yuki Kaneshige, Tsuneko Mitsunaka,
Satoru Murase, Hiroko Onoyama, Joe Oshima, Suki Terada Ports, Kamal Ramani, Koji Sato, Katsuo Takeda
Secretary: Koji Sato
Assistant Secretary: Julie Azuma
Treasurer: Joe Oshima
Assistant Treasurer: Masaki Shimomura
Longtime board member Ms. Seiko Oshima resigned.

We really appreciate her many years of volunteer service to JAA.
New board members are Dr. Maki Kano-Lueckerath, Dr. Kimihiko Oishi and Ms. Wendy Takahisa.
Their bios will be in the next issue of JAA News.

Reports of JAA Relief Funds

JAA Japan Flood Relief Fund
We raised $14,838.92 as of December 31, 2018. We are currently selecting an appropriate organization.

JAA Hokkaido Earthquake Relief Fund

As of December 31, 2018, $6,939.30 was raised.
On December 21, representatives of the New York Weekend Japanese School, including Vice Principal Mr. Kazunari Sakaguchi, Mrs. Yoshimi Fukuda, and three students donated $3,833.30 to the JAA Hokkaido Relief Fund, which was raised at the Flea Market on November 10. Mr. Katsuo Takeda received the donation from them on behalf of Hokkaido Yukari no Kai and JAA. He will find an NPO organization in Hokkaido that has been helping victims and their families recover.

JAA Kumamoto Earthquake Relief Fund

JAA donated $3,000 to Nichibei Care, which supports the afflicted families of Minami Aso in the disaster area of the Kumamoto earthquake. From June 28th to 30th, 40 parents & children joined the social welfare program together with students at George Mason University in Virginia.

JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund
$5,000 was donated to the North East Association of Secondary Teachers of Japanese Ltd. (Chairman, Kazuo Tsuda), which supports the U.S.-Japan exchange program Kizuna. On March 14, 2019, we will have a presentation at JAA. An additional $4,000.00 was donated to the Japanese Children’s Society (Principal, Mr. Toru Okamoto) for the 2018 Summer Camp for Tohoku Students.

JAA Year-End Holiday Party
with Volunteers appreciation

A holiday party was held at JAA on Dec.19th. Buffet-style food was served to 80 people, most of whom are our members and volunteers. JAA Vice President Suki T. Ports gave a speech of appreciation to the JAA volunteers. The JAA Chorus provided the opening music and singer Shigemasa Nakano gave a wonderful performance. All guests enjoyed the music and food. JAA Vice President Tsuneko Mitsunaka closed this special event.

JAA Grand Bazaar

Our Annual Grand Bazaar was held at JAA hall on November 4th with eager shoppers waiting at the door before 10 am! We raised more than $12,000 including the profit from the after sale. Thank you to all our volunteers, donors, and shoppers.

Onigiri Action Accomplished!

Thank you to all the 50 volunteers, of all ages and many great organizations, who came to make about 170 onigiri for Table For Two’s #OnigiriAction on November 17th at JAA’s community hall. As a pre-Thanksgiving Day contribution to food insecurity and an ode to the beloved Japanese food staple, the irresistible riceball, each photo of our creations that we posted to social media secured 5 school meals for children in need.
Special thanks to Andy Shartzer of JETAANY for this idea and the hardy JAA volunteers who cooked up A TON of rice for our effort: Hiroko Shimizu, Hikaru Aono, Keiko Nakanishi, Kaoriko Kuge, and Fumiko Kasama. Also, much appreciation to JAA volunteers Akira Imai, Ezra Berkenwald, and Misako Kakiuchi.
Our organizations – JAA, JET Alumni Association of New York (JETAANY), the Japanese Consulate, Hoshuko Alumni Association, Mitsui & Co USA Inc, U.S.-Japan Council, The New York Japanese-American Lions Club, and NY de Volunteer – strongly believe in community action through volunteering to help others, so please stay tuned for future events!
By Yuki Kaneshige

Volunteer activities
in JAA calligraphy class

The JAA Calligraphy class visited 25 Japanese language students at Hunter College at the request of Ms. Akiyo Furukawa of the Japanese Culture Department on November 1st. They did a brush writing demonstration of Japanese characters, and students enjoyed calligraphy and a lively cultural exchange. The volunteers were Ayako Ishizuka, Kuniko Itakura, Rieko Uehara, Chikako Olsen, Machiko Sanada, Namie Suzuki, and Rie Hattori. Thank you very much! (reported by Rieko Uehara)

apanese Language Autumn Workshop

The autumn workshop of the Japanese Language Committee was held on Sunday, October. 21st with 31 participants. The theme was "Kanji Education: A Teaching Method that Enhances Learner Autonomy." In the morning, Ms. Tomoko Nakano, a teacher from Brooklyn Japanese School, explained the origins of Kanji to elementary and junior high school students and how to enjoy learning kanji. In the afternoon, Ms. Mayumi Nishida of Language House gave a lecture on the effective learning of kanji using visual & handwriting tools. It was a good opportunity to understand that Kanji learning is an important issue that is inevitable to learn at a high school, university, or social education. Many commented that the participants had a positive sense of engagement through this workshop. (Nobuko Kodama, Committee Chairperson)


Through generous funding from the Honjo Foundation, JAA is looking for qualified candidates for its 2019 JAA – HONJO Scholarships. Applications are open to students who will be enrolled in a full-time course of graduate study (excluding music, arts and medicine) at an accredited U.S. university in the Greater New York area in the 2019-2020 academic year. The students should be able to demonstrate an interest and ideally is already involved in furthering U.S. – Japan relations. Candidates don’t have to be JAA members or Japanese descendants. The deadline for applications is 2/25/2019 at noon.
Visit for the details.

Renewal of Membership for 2019

JAA membership renewal form was sent to you at the end of December. We are organizing information about our members for emergency purposes and to upgrade our services. Please complete the renewal form if you have had any changes and return the form with your membership fee to JAA. Emergency contact information is very important and necessary, especially for those living alone; please make sure to write your most recent information. Members’ information will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to outsiders except in an emergency.
We have been sending JAA News and information updates via e-mail. It’s much quicker and less costly than regular mail. Please join our e-mail network.

JAA Volunteers were invited again!

Mr. Shuho Bon Yagi, who runs 16 Japanese restaurants in the New York area and also serves as a director of JAA, invited JAA Keirokai, Mailing & Library volunteers to his Sakagura Restaurant and treated them to delicious Japanese Toshikoshi Soba noodles on December 26th. Thank you very much!

Congratulations !
The Yagi family has a new member: Sakura Yagi gave birth to a baby girl, Tsuru, on January 2, 2019.


★Mr. Joe Kasuga received the Centenarian Award (award for 100-year-old seniors).

On December 28, Director of Consular Division of Japanese Consulate in New York Consul Hayato Ishizuka and Consul Satoshi Toyama visited the Kasugas’ home and presented the Centenarian Award and commemorative Silver Cup from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mrs. Yoshiko Kasuga (age 92) and their two children were also present at the ceremony. Mr. Kasuga was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1918, and lived in Ina, Nagano, where his parents were born, from a pre-war childhood to elementary school. When he was a sixth grader, he returned to San Francisco and worked as a houseboy and attended school. He became good at cleaning by following the example of the German lady who was the wife of the house. During the war, he spent nearly two years at the Poston Camp in Arizona. He moved to Minnesota after the war and attended a dental technician’s school while working for an American family. After he received certification, he moved to NY where his brother and sister were and worked as a dental technician at NYU in Manhattan until the age of 79.

JAA Vice President Julie Azuma and Ms. Fumi Matsuki Raith, Japanese American Counseling Center Director, received achievement awards at the 6th Hamilton-Madison House Japanese Mental Health Clinic Six Benefit Dinner, which was held on October 9.

★At the 80th anniversary gala of the NY Buddhist Church on October 20, a letter of appreciation was awarded to the JAA Director Shuho Bon Yagi for his longtime support of the New York Buddhist Church.


We wish to thank the following companies, organizations and Individuals for their generous support of the JAA.

  • $20,000 from the Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation
  • $3,010.00 from tips of free haircuts for 254 seniors by Ms. Michi Tahara, Mr. Shige Kosuda, Mr. Toshitsugu Kubota, Mr. Nori Sasaki, Ms. Yasuko Tsuda and Ms. Mio Okano.

    JAA 111th Anniversary Gala Dinner
    We wish to thank the following companies, organizations and individuals for their generous support of the JAA Anniversary Gala Dinner.

  • $15,000 and above
    ○Chieko Inagaki

  • $10,000 and above
    ○ITO EN (North America) INC. ○Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
    ○Orient Corporation of America

  • $7,500 and above
    ○Shimomura & Co., CPAs ○Gary S. Moriwaki / Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

  • $5,000 and above
    ○JCC Fund at Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc.
    ○Japanese Medical Society of America Inc.
    ○Susan J. Onuma/Ingram Yuzek Gainen & Bertolotti, LLP
    ○Hiroko Onoyama and Ken Sugawara

  • $1,000 and above
    ○Jackie and Julius Alexander ○Different Roads to Learning ○Susan Hamaker
    ○Hamilton-Madison House ○Kumiko Hasegawa ○Hitachi America, Ltd.
    ○Isabella Foundation ○Shizuko Kato ○Kiso & Tanaka, LLP
    ○Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America, Inc. ○Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. ○MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
    ○Satoru Murase ○Nobuko Cobi Narita ○New York Buddhist Church
    ○Masaki and Erika Noda ○NRS Logistics ○NTT America, Inc.
    ○Joe Oshima ○Pat Yuzawa-Rubin ○Takashi Sato
    ○Nozomi Terao and Joshua Levine ○T.I.C. Restaurant Group ○Tokio Marine America

  • to $999.00
    ○Eiko Aono ○Kazuhisa Enokida ○Gorgeous Entertainment ○Sachiko Hirayama
    ○David Hiromura ○George Hirose ○Reiko-Seo Hsia ○IACE Travel ○Gail Inaba
    ○Keiko Ishida ○Taeco Ishida ○Nobuhisa Ishizuka○Mary T. Ito ○Riki Ito
    ○Marc Iyeki ○David Janes ○Japan Airlines ○Japanese American Social Services, Inc.
    ○JETRO New York ○Taka Juba ○Nobuko Kodama○Chizuko Korn ○Patricia J. Kozu
    ○Toshiko Matsukawa ○Kiyo A. Matsumoto ○Toyokazu Matsumoto ○Kiku Matsuo
    ○Tsuneko Mitsunaka ○Michio Muroi ○Fumi Matsuki Raith ○Motoatsu and Nobuko Sakurai
    ○Yoko Sasaki ○Mizue Sawano ○Lance B. Stuart ○Wendy Takahisa ○Katsuo Takeda
    ○Grant Ujifusa ○Tomoko Yazawa ○Zennoh America Corp.

  • Silent Auction Donors
    ○Benjamin Restaurant Group ○Besso ○Different Roads to Learning ○Harbor Links Golf Course
    ○Japanese American National Museum ○Hatsuhana Sushi Restaurant ○Japan Airlines
    ○Korin Japanese Trading Co. ○Takeshi Matsunaga○Michiyo Noda-gelato pique
    ○Hiroko Onoyama○Sakura Shoji○Joshua Schlachet○Suki Terada Ports○Satomi Kawakita Jewelry
    ○Masaki Shimomura ○STYLISM, Ltd.○T.I.C. Restaurant Group○Tokyo Yakult Swallows
    ○Vine Connections / Monica Samuels○Anonymous

    2018 JAA Corporate Supporters:
    ○All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. ○Canon U.S.A., Inc. ○Delta Air Lines, Inc.
    ○Eisai USA Foundation, Inc. ○IACE Travel ○Ikebana International NY Chapter
    ○Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti, LLP ○ITO EN (North America), Inc.
    ○Japan Airlines ○Kawasaki Heavy Industries (U.S.A.), Inc. ○Mayer Brown LLP
    ○Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas) ○Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America, Inc.
    ○Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation ○MUFG Union Bank (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group)
    ○NHK Cosmomedia America, Inc. ○NRS Logistics Inc. ○NTT America, Inc.
    ○Orient Corporation of America ○ORIX USA Corporation ○Pasona NA, Inc. ○Relo Redac, Inc.
    ○Sanyo Corporation of America ○Shimomura & Co., ○Sony Corporation of America
    ○Sojiz Corporation of America ○Sumitomo Corp. of America Foundation ○T.I.C. Restaurant Group
    ○Tokio Marine Management, Inc.
    ○Topcon Medical Systems, Inc. ○Toyota Motor
    ○Windels Mark Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

  • Social Service

    October 11th, Keirokai#1
    Menu was beef on rice, green vegetables and ice cream. The rakugo of Sanyutei Ryuraku, who was visiting the United States from Japan, made all attendants smile. Seniors also enjoyed singing with Iwaki band.
    October 25th, Keirokai #2
    Rice with mushrooms, egg soup, kinpira and milk jelly were served. Seniors enjoyed popular and some nostalgic Japanese songs which were performed by Iwaki band.

    Happy birthday for October

    The rakugo of Sanyutei Ryuraku

    November 15th, Keirokai
    Chicken teriyaki, salad, soup and ice cream were served. Iwaki band’s music was dedicated to the former band member Mr. Koji Ichida, who was passed away on June 25th. The memorial for him was held from 2PM, when the snow began to dance. Koji’s wife, Mrs. Seiko Oshima, his three children and grandchildren, and 80 JAA members and acquaintances gathered together to talk about their memories and say goodbye. We wish you rest for your soul.

    Happy birthday for November

    December 15th, Year-End Keirokai
    170 Osechi lunch boxes were prepared by our volunteers, who worked for four days. Iwaki Band played Christmas songs and popular music from the US and Japan. Guests also enjoyed the December birthday party and the performance of "Amaterasu Za." It was a day to enjoy festive meals and entertainment. Thank you very much!
    Mr. Takuya Yoshida sent us 200 gift coupons of $50 from Sunrise Mart and invited all seniors to the grand opening of the new Japan Village in Brooklyn in March. 50 of the gift coupons were given to JASSI.

    Happy birthday for December

    Ms. Aono

    Amaterasu Za

    Memorial Gathering for late Mr. Koji Ichida