End of the Year Letter

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photo by William Lee

December 14, 2015

Dear Nichi Bei Foundation Member and/or Donor,

On behalf of the Nichi Bei Foundation, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season. This year, the Nichi Bei Foundation made our history and experience more important and relevant to everyone. Whether living near or far from a Japantown, you can open up the Nichi Bei Weekly and immediately feel connected to the community and your cultural heritage.

There are many causes that you can contribute to, so we are honored and humbled that many have chosen to support the Nichi Bei Foundation, an organization that truly serves the entire community. We were born in uncertain times and still face serious funding challenges. This is why your contribution to the Nichi Bei Foundation is an investment in the entire community, as we continue to help publicize community events and to shed light on important community issues.

Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by your support as we rebuilt out of the ashes of the historic Nichi Bei Shimbun / Nichi Bei Times legacy. Creating an unprecedented nonprofit newspaper was by no means easy, but comments such as we helped to “save the community” has not only inspired us, but also reminded us of our responsibility to document our community’s history for generations to come.

Recently the Library of Congress in Washington, DC asked us to send copies of our publication from its inception for their archives. We’ve also been contacted by a microfilm company, which plans to create and deposit microfilmed copies of the Nichi Bei Weekly at various institutions across the country. Both events emphasize our role, as one community nonprofit director said, as “validating our experience.” Dr. Art Hansen’s comment at the top of this page further underscores the importance of our work.

We are extremely proud of our efforts to reconnect the community to our forgotten legacy at the former Angel Island Immigration Station. Through our collaboration with organizations such as the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, National Japanese American Historical Society, California Parks Service, California Genealogical Society, San Francisco Japanese American Citizens League and San Francisco State University Asian American Studies Department, the Nichi Bei Foundation has led more than 1,000 people from throughout the country and even from Japan in presenting the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage the past two years.

This past October, my 15-year-old nephew Kota attended the pilgrimage. He flew up from Torrance, Calif. with my older sister — who like the rest of my siblings has been a staunch supporter of the Nichi Bei Foundation. In the introduction to his award-winning essay in the recent Go For Broke National Education Center contest, Kota mentioned the role of the Nichi Bei Foundation in inspiring him to get involved with the community and its history. We’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with the younger generation so they understand how important it is that we succeed.

The Nichi Bei Foundation is comprised of only the equivalent of four full-time staff. We need to continue to build capacity by expanding staff to address immediate needs such as membership management and development, marketing and general administration. We’ve now added several new board members with critical expertise in fundraising, finances and education that help to re-engergize our fundraising efforts.

We have been extremely fortunate to have support of our mission with generous grants from The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and the San Francisco Japantown Foundation. The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, in particular, has helped to rescue the Nichi Bei Foundation on several occasions when our need was critical, and we are eternally grateful to them.

We are also proud of such groundbreaking publications such as:
• Our Japanese American Community Resource Guide;
• Our Japanese Culture and Cherry Blossom Festivals Guide;
• Our Obon and Summer Festivals Guide;
• Our San Francisco Japantown Map and Directory.

We recently launched a Digital Edition to deliver the Nichi Bei around the globe in a timely manner, and continue to present meaningful educational programs. Our Films of Remembrance brought more than 600 people to watch films related to the Japanese American concentration camp experience this past February, and the Nichi Bei Foundation led the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage to reconnect to our legacy at the former Immigration Station while making family history research more relevant to our community.

Our signature fundraiser, the Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival, brought more than 20,000 to San Francisco’s Japantown this past June, continuing to serve as a vehicle for community-building and leadership development. This coming year, we will recast the Festival to make it a more manageable and effective fundraiser.

And, this past September, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the late Kayo Hatta’s groundbreaking film on the struggles of Japanese immigrant women, “Picture Bride,” which included a special appearance by iconic Japanese American actress Tamlyn Tomita and co-screenwriter Mari Hatta, as well as a special video message from Japanese actress Youki Kudoh. Julie Yumi Hatta and Megumi Hatta were on hand to represent the Hatta family. It was a deeply meaningful tribute to the cast and crew of a powerful film, the first theatrically-released feature film written, directed and produced by Asian American women.

On behalf of the board and staff of the Nichi Bei Foundation, I urge you to join our effort to keep our community connected, informed and empowered by donating to our cause. Your contribution will ensure the Nichi Bei Foundation will continue to provide a powerful voice through the Nichi Bei Weekly as well as continue innovative ways to educate the public about the Japanese American legacy.

Thanks again for your support and patience throughout the year. You can rely on my undying commitment, and the hard work and dedication of our staff and board of directors.

We are always open to ideas on how to build resources, and in various collaborations, especially fundraisers. Our future rests with you. It is crucial that we are successful in our mission of keeping the community connected, informed and empowered.


Kenji G. Taguma
President, Nichi Bei Foundation

Help support nonprofit community media
and educational programs…

Make a tax-deductible contribution today!

Use your credit card or PayPal account and make a one-time donation today!