National conference to discuss ‘The State of Japanese America: 2011’


LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (CJACLC) are convening a one-day conference entitled “The State of Japanese America: 2011” on Saturday, July 9 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Hollywood. This conference is open to the community.

“The State of Japanese America: 2011” conference will bring together prominent voices from across the nation to discuss issues and future challenges confronting the Japanese American community. Workshops that feature noted experts will address various themes:

Future of Japanese American Art and Culture — Presenters: Chris Aihara, executive director, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center; Tracy Kato-Kiriyama, spoken word artist; filmmaker Tad Nakamura; and San Jose Taiko Creative Director Roy Hirabayashi.

Role of Japanese Americans in U.S.-Japan Relations — Presenters: Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Junichi Ihara; Tracey Doi, group vice president and chief financial officer, Toyota Motor Sales, USA; Kaz Maniwa, chair, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California and board member of US-Japan Council; and Bryan Takeda, Western director, US-Japan Council.

Effective Strategies to Raise Funds for Your Nonprofit Organization — Presenters: Tim Otani, vice president and senior community relations officer, Union Bank; Peter Namkung, vice president and senior wealth advisor at Union Bank; and Gayle Yamada, director of development, Little Tokyo Service Center.

Developing a New Paradigm of Leadership Development for the Japanese American Community — Facilitators: Jon Osaki, executive director, Japanese Community Youth Council; and Craig Ishii, Kizuna — Uniting the Nikkei Community.

Civil Rights — Presenters: Floyd Mori, national executive director, JACL; Karen Narasaki, president, Asian American Justice Center; Alex Fukui, board member, Asian Pacific Islanders for Equality; and George Wu, executive director, Organization of Chinese Americans.

Serving Nikkei Seniors — Presenters: Sophie Horiuchi-Forrester, executive director, Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service, San Jose; Steve Nakajo, executive director, Kimochi Inc., San Francisco; Amy Phillips, director of senior services, Little Tokyo Service Center, Los Angeles; Frances Chikahisa, social worker, Japanese American Service Committee; and Tazuko Shibusawa, associate professor of social work, New York University.

Preserving and Sharing the Japanese American Experience — Presenters: Akemi Kikumura Yano, president and CEO, Japanese American National Museum; Lane Hirabayashi, professor and chair, Asian American Studies Center, UCLA; Allyson Nakamoto, Education Unit, Japanese American National Museum; and Thomas Fujita-Rony, assistant professor, Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton.

Community Preservation and Development — Presenters: Donna Graves, cultural planner and project director, Preserving California’s Japantowns; Beth Takekawa, executive director, Wing Luke Museum, Seattle; Sharon Lowe, environmental justice attorney, Asian Pacific Islander Preserve American Neighborhoods; and Lisa Hasegawa, executive director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific Community Development.

Sustaining and Preserving Japantowns — Presenters: Jill Shiraki, Preserving California’s Japantowns; Lynn Voorheis, The Harada House, Riverside; Larry Oda, Monterey JACL Hall; and Barbara Takei, Tule Lake Stockade and Walnut Grove’s Japantown.


Opening Plenary Session

The Opening Plenary Session of the conference will be highlighted by a presentation of the most current census and demographic information on Japanese Americans prepared by Melany De La Cruz, who heads the Asian Pacific Islander Community Development Data Center at UCLA.

Responses regarding the future implications of the changing nature of the Japanese American community will be made by a panel of three community leaders: Karen Narasaki, president of the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, D.C.; Paul Osaki, executive director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California; and Craig Ishii, former regional director for the JACL and member of Kizuna, a new organization involving young Nikkei in the community.

For more information, contact Alan Nishio at

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