|Happy New Year!
I wish to extend my warmest greetings to all of you as we enter 2020—a year of great vision and positive change! With the upcoming Olympics in Japan and a Presidential election in the US, there are many challenges and adventures ahead!
For those of you who are new to JAA, we are a social service organization that is 113 years old. This past year, our community center on 45th Street gave more than 50 organizations and groups a place to gather, meet, network, and collaborate with each other. Our Spring Health Fair is coming up where more than 50 workshops and seminars will be conducted (mostly in Japanese) over a four-week period. We are also very excited to be a part of the first Japan Day Parade this year.
As a leanly staffed organization, we rely heavily on our volunteers and board members as well as collaborations with other community organizations.
While JAA is not a political organization, we cannot ignore the growing anti-immigrant/racist sentiment that has been spreading through this country over the last few years. We continue to support and celebrate the passing of Resolution 792 to make January 30, Fred Korematsu’s birthday, recognized as an observance in NYC to remind us all of the importance of Civil Liberties and the Constitution and not to have history repeat itself. This year, on January 30 there was a screening of the film A Bitter Legacy. On February 22, Day of Remembrance will be held at the Japanese American United Church. For those not familiar with Japanese American history, this is a great opportunity to learn about the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese during World War II and the impact it had on so many lives. We will also be starting a lecture series on topics related to Japanese American history at JAA.
This year JAA is again helping with the Census effort. There is a misconception that you need to be a citizen to answer the census, but it is for everyone who is present in the US during the Census period. Japanese in general do not become citizens because Japan does not allow dual citizenship, and as a result, we have a very low profile among politicians because Japanese do not vote. This is a main reason why we are underrepresented, thus it is especially important that we take this opportunity to be counted! Please join our kick-off reception on February 26 at JAA.
As we continue to assess and meet the needs of our community, we are so grateful to all of you for your strong support throughout the year. We hope you visit our community center and participate in some of our activities so that you can see firsthand what we do. Please visit our websites: www.jaany.org and www.agingjaa.org
We look forward to seeing you in 2020!
2020 JAA New Officers
At the General Election meeting on November 20th, officers and directors for the year 2020 were nominated and elected.
Our Officers for 2020
President: Susan Onuma
Vice Presidents: Yuzuru Anzai, Julie Azuma, Susan McCormac, 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: Susan McCormac
Assistant Secretary: Julie Azuma
Treasurer: David Hiromura
Assistant Treasurer: Masaki Shimomura
JAA Annual General Meeting & New Year Reception Annual General Meeting was held on January 29, 2020 (Wed.) at 6:30PM. New officers and director were introduced. A New Year reception followed the meeting.
JAA received two grants in 2019
(1) A Communities of Color Non-profit Stabilization Fund Allocation Award of Award of $34,000 to support capacity building efforts in the area of Strategy and Organizational Development
(2) A Grant of $10,000 from the Ms. Foundation for New York Japanese American Oral History Project
JAA 112nd Anniversary Gala Dinner
On December 6th, under the Harvard Club’s large and brilliant Christmas tree, JAA’s annual banquet welcomed 190 attendees, including Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Consul General of Japan in New York. Ms. Susan J. Onuma, President of JAA, gave the welcoming greetings. Ambassador Yamanouchi thanked JAA for its contribution to the Japanese and Japanese American community for 112 years and offered congratulations on continuing to strengthen solidarity.
The Grammy Award-nominated Young People’s Chorus and the New York Boys and Girls Choir performed. After the meal, the JAA Achievement Awards were given to Saori Kawano, President of Korin Japanese Trading Co., who established the Gohan Society to promote the spread of Japanese food culture in the United States, and Hiroko Onoyama, former Vice President of Sony America, who is involved in numerous charity activities. Singer Monday Michiru performed a jazz arrangement of “Ringo Oiwake” and entertained our guests.
Finally, JAA Vice President Julie Azuma gave acknowledgments and words of thanks in English, and Michiyo Noda, Executive director of JAA, made remarks in Japanese.
See below for a list of donors and donors.
60th JAA Year End Holiday Party/
JAA Grand Bazaar
Our Annual Grand Bazaar was held at JAA Hall on November 2nd with eager shoppers waiting at the door before 10 am! We raised more than $11,000. Thank you to all our volunteers, donors, and shoppers.
Fundraising for the Typhoon Victims
A fundraising event was held on November 9 (Sat.), jointly hosted by the JAA and NY Japanese-American Lions Club as part of support activities for people in Japan who were affected by Typhoon No. 19. The event included a surprise performance by Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi. Katsura Sunshine and Yanagiya Tozaburo performed Rakugo, and many other singers and performers active in NY participated in the event. There were also donations from organizations and companies such as ITO EN, JAJA (Japanese Americans and Japanese in America), Hariyama Ballet, Made in Japan Inc., and NY Event USA. Thank you very much. Proceeds of $ 9,000 will be sent to the affected area soon via JAA.
JAA received a letter from a high school student from the Philadelphia Japanese Language School in late November. A check for $ 256.35 was enclosed with a beautiful handwritten calligraphic letter that said, “We thought we could do something for the Japanese victims of the typhoon and came up with a fundraiser in the school.” Thank you very much to the students at the school.
Pianist and Nagano Prefecture native Taka Kigawa performed at a charity concert at JAA Hall on November 24. Co-sponsored by the Shinshu Yukari no Kai and JAA, the concert raised money for the area, which was affected by Typhoon No. 19. A total of $ 5,000 was donated to Nagano Prefecture through the JAA. Thank you very much for your support.
JAA Volunteer Activities
Starting at 4:00 pm on November 7th, when autumn has deepened and daytime has become shorter, the JAA Calligraphy Class had its 4th workshop at Hunter College on 68th Street and Lexington Avenue. 25 students of Professor Akiyo Furukawa, who are learning Japanese, were divided into 5 groups under five instructors. We had prepared “future,” “peace,” “moonlight” and other examples in Japanese Calligraphy. The students chose the words they wanted to write, or they practiced and wrote their favorite words under the guidance of the instructor. After they finished, we put their brush writing on a wall, and all of us joined together in a circle and learned the meaning and reason of the words and letters they had chosen. We were impressed with the serious gaze and enthusiastic practice of those students. Some students have said they would like to practice in a JAA calligraphy classes. From JAA Calligraphy Class, Yuri Ishizuka, Keiko Uehara, Ayako Ishizuka, Mieko Asada, and Chiyomi Koike participated.
(Yuri Ishizuka, JAA Calligraphy Class)
JAA’s “Tsuru Reception” at Food Bank of New York City honored Gregory M. Bruce, the artist who created a 500 paper crane-installation above Food Bank’s dining area. Both a senior client and food security advocate for Food Bank, Mr. Bruce used some of the traditional Tsuru our volunteers had made for The Food Bank for March 11th, adding more of his own modern origami creations. Named “Soaring Souls,” Mr. Bruce’s cross-cultural artwork offers inspiration to the hundreds of people in need who are served at Food Bank daily, while embodying the ties between the Japan-related and Food Bank communities. It also memorializes those lost to national tragedies on March 11th, and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, dates on which JAA and other community members volunteer each year. Thank you to Gregory for making a breathtaking exhibition of Tsuru and to Suki Terada Ports for having first thought of giving origami cranes to clients at Food Bank 6 years ago when we began volunteering there, which set this all in motion. Mrs. Noda received a Tsuru cake for her birthday on this day and shared with Suki for her birthday the following day.
We look forward to volunteering at Food Bank For New York City again soon.
What’s better than making onigiri? Making them for others! On November 17th, at JAA’s annual, cross-cultural Thanksgiving event, 200 gifts of onigiri (riceballs) were made by volunteers in the Japan-related community to benefit children and seniors alike. For each post on social media, five school meals will be given to children in need in the U.S. and/or East Africa as part of the #onigiriaction campaign by the Japanese nonprofit, Table For Two. Half of our stylish onigiri were then donated to seniors in Isabella House. This collaborative volunteer effort was led by JET Alumni Association of NY, JAA, and the Consulate General Japan in New York and joined by members of HAA (the Hoshuko Alumni Association), NY Japanese –American Lions Club, JAJA (Japanese Americans and Japanese in America), Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, JETRO USA and JMSA (Japanese Medica Society of America)
We thank all the 60 volunteers who participated, but six people made an incredible contribution of woman-power to make this event possible! Thank you to JAA’s Hiroko Shimizu, Fumiko Kasama, Hikaru Aono, Keiko Nakanishi, Rie Hattori, and Motoe Yakiyama for cooking 20lbs of rice, which generously donated by JETAANY.
Japanese Language Fall Workshop
On October 26, the Japanese Language Education Workshop was held with the theme of “Grammar-based Curriculum: Reconsidering Genki.” It was a great success with about 40 participants. In the morning, Dr. Yoko Sakurai of Hunter College announced that he would teach students grammar based on the idea of a can-do statement and introduce students to natural utterances. In the afternoon, Dr. Kazuo Tsuda of the United Nations International School lectured about a new approach to Japanese language education in the future, in which learners would learn grammar and convey their thoughts and concepts. Participants were those interested in Japanese language education, in addition to teachers, and their deep interest in the theme was felt.
(Nobuko Kodama, JAA Japanese Language Committee Chairperson)
A Community Conversation
On November 8, an opinion exchange meeting was held at the Meeting Room of the Japanese Consulate General in NY. The opinions and questions were exchanged between family members with autism and other developmental disabilities and experts such as Autism Speaks, JAA, JASSI, and JAMSNET officials. This was a valuable occasion where Japanese and Japanese American communities learned from each other and set the foundation for further collaboration.
This meaningful meeting was made possible by Ms. Julie Azuma, Vice President of JAA.
Renewal of Membership for 2020
The JAA membership renewal form was sent 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.
Visit www.jaany.org for the details.
The deadline for applications is 2/10/2020 at noon.
★Ms. Suki Terada Ports, Vice President of JAA, will receive the Smith College Medal on February 20, 2020. Smith College, Suki’s alma mater, gives this annual award to alumnae who exemplify the true purpose of a liberal arts education. Suki is being recognized for her activism and work with AIDS education and prevention, including the establishment of APICHA and Iris House.
★JAA Honorary President Gary Moriwaki (The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette) and JAA Director Mr. Shuji Bon Yagi (The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays) were selected by the Japanese government as recipients of the autumn awards of Reiwa. Their contribution to the Japanese-affiliated activities such as the welfare, improvement of educational and culture, and friendship between Japan and the United States was highly praised. On January 24, 2020 the award reception for Mr. Moriwaki was held at the ambassador’s residence.
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, and Library volunteers to his restaurant Sakagura and treated them to delicious Japanese Toshikoshi Soba noodles on December 30th. The first gathering was held in February 2013, and this is the seventh annual event. The guests were Susan Onuma JAA President, Michiyo Noda JAA Executive Director and a total of 22 volunteers (12 Keirokai volunteers, 7 mailing volunteers, 3 library volunteers). All the participants had a very good time. Before the meal, Mr. Yagi said, “I want you to eat this delicious New Year’s Soba again and stay healthy next year. Please enjoy and live longer.”
Thank you very much!
We wish to thank the following companies, organizations and Individuals for their generous support of the JAA.
JAA held monthly Senior Luncheon /Keirokai in 2019 on October 10th & 24th, November 14th, and December 12 with performances of Rakugo by Master Tosaburo Yanagiya, a play reading of Amaterasu-Za, and Iwaki Band’s songs.
Year End Special Keiro-Kai
The annual “Toshikoshi/Osechi” Keiro-kai was held on December 12. Volunteers served the special meals that they cooked over three days. JAA Hall was full of liveliness with more than 120 participants and volunteers. We also delivered lunch to 30 people. It was a fun day full of food and entertainment, including a birthday party for seniors who were born in December, Christmas songs and nostalgic songs by the Iwaki band, and a play reading by the theater company Amaterasu Za (organized by Ako). Once again, Sunrise Mart generously donated 200 $50 Christmas Gift Cards. Sunrise Mart’s Erina Yoshida and Takuya Yoshida presented the cards to JAA President Susan J. Onuma, telling all of the senior recipients, “Please enjoy Christmas and New Year shopping with this card at any of our four Sunrise Marts. This gift will continue next year!” JAA gave 50 cards to JASSI.
2020 is the year of the census. The Census Office has explained the Census is not connected to the IRS or the Immigration Office. Please participate this year’s Census.
● Mr. Raymond Taylor passed away on September 18. He was 88 years old. His company Taylor & Taylor, has helped many Japanese companies get insurance since 1954 when he insured Saito Restaurant. Mr. Taylor made many donations to JAA for many years. We offer our sincere condolences to his family.
Shuji Bon Yagi (71)
Japanese Food Culture to New York
Born in Ibaraki Prefecture, Mr. Yagi lost his father at the age of four and was raised by his mother.
He traveled to the United States in 1968, worked as a vegetable wholesaler in New York, and after many careers, opened Hasaki Restaurant in the East Village in 1984. He has worked to spread Japanese food culture and currently operates 16 Japanese restaurants as the chairman of TIC Restaurant Group. He is called the “Japanese Ambassador of the East Village.” At the same time, Mr. Yagi has made significant contributions to the local community as a director of JAA and a director of The Gohan Society.
In 2017, Bon received an award from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for spreading Japanese food culture in NY and the US and encouraging the importing of Japanese food to the U.S.A. In 2019, He received “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” from the Japanese Government for the 2019 Autumn Award on December 17, 2019 in Tokyo.
Mr. Yagi lives by Miyamoto Musashi’s words, “I do not regret,” which is the inscription on his heart. Even at the age of 71, his innovative, ahead-of-the-times ideas and the ability to realize them have not declined.
|Japanese American Association of New York
49 West 45th Street, 11th Floor New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 840-6942, 6899 / Fax: (212) 840-0616 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /