Community News

A Soyful Experience: The 11th Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival

An energetic crowd, an eclectic collection of vendors, a variety of entertainers and, most importantly, a rare sunny but not so windy day on the San Francisco Peace Plaza blessed the 11th Northern California Soy and Tofu Festival June 3 with a packed crowd of soy aficionados. The second Soy and Tofu Festival since the […]

Nikkei celebrate at ‘Queer O-bon’

 LOS ANGELES — On June 19, Okaeri, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ Nikkei, held their first “Queer O-bon” at the Terasaki Budokan in the city’s Little Tokyo. Colorful origami chains hung from the tall concrete walls as attendants munched on fresh inari and sipped cold milk tea and chewy boba. “‘Queer O-bon’ came out […]

Fifty+ years in the dance circle: Fumiye Nancy Shibata

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by BCA Wheel of Dharma. Fumiye Nancy Shibata studied with Mitsusa Bando, established the tradition of coordinating dances in the Buddhist Churches of America’s Southern District, and taught Bon Odori in Los Angeles and Orange County for approximately sixty years. Nisei couple Kango and Yoshiye Naito ran a […]

New minister finds parking spot in San Francisco

Although only a week into her new job, the Rev. Melissa Opel was busy acclimating to her position at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. As expected of any minister at a church, she manages the sermons and services expected of her, but what most people might not realize is everything else she has to […]

Artist collaborates with BART, nonprofit to create domestic violence prevention campaign art

Orchid Pusey, the Asian Women’s Shelter executive director, spoke about the “Let’s Talk About Us” campaign in Mandarin in a press conference at a Powell Street BART station in San Francisco in February. After the event to promote the domestic violence prevention campaign, an attendee thanked Pusey for her remarks and told her she was […]

Eastwind Books of Berkeley, a community hub, closes

BERKELEY, Calif. — Eastwind Books of Berkeley spent its last day as a brick and mortar bookstore, April 14, like any other day, with owner Harvey Dong laughing among regulars, students rifling through wooden bookshelves, and community members coming together to organize. For the past 27 years, Harvey and his wife Beatrice have been running […]

Fresno farmer reinterprets shame and disability through ‘Secret Harvests’

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — David Mas Masumoto called it a “parallel universe.” The Fresno, Calif.-based peach farmer and writer had thought he knew his world, but when his path converged with his thought-to-be dead aunt in 2010, he embarked on his deepest journey of reflection yet on history, shame and disability. Masumoto’s latest memoir, “Secret Harvest: […]

Hannah KC Mukai crowned 2023 Cherry Blossom queen

Though the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival moved its Queen Program out of Japantown to the Cowell Theater at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture April 8, the event maintained its focus on crowning the next queen and court who will represent Northern California’s Japanese American community for the next year. The […]

Japanese Institute of Sawtelle: Honoring its past with a vision toward the future

LOS ANGELES — Nearly 100 years ago, an Issei named Gisuke Sakamoto founded the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle, and began teaching the Japanese language to four students out of his house in West Los Angeles. This was in 1925, and today, Gisuke’s grandson, Randy Sakamoto, is keeping his grandfather’s flame alive by helping to raise […]

Chicago nonprofit offers senior and youth services

JASC (formerly known as Japanese American Service Committee) celebrated its 75th anniversary with an in-person gathering in May 2022. They postponed celebrating their actual anniversary in August 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chicago-based organization, which was established in 1946, has evolved more to fit the Japanese American community’s needs. “Early on, because the […]