PACOIMA — The San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima, will gather on Saturday, March 10, at 1 p.m. to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Rev. Paul Iwata, Pastor Ruy Mizuki, Ray Itaya, and Pastor Roland Hazama will jointly lead prayers to kick off the SFV JET (Japan Earthquake and Tsunami) Relief Fund anniversary campaign.

Together with Valley Japanese Community Center, Japanese Language Institute, SFV Athletics, SFV JACL, SFV Judo, SFV Meiji Club, and many volunteers, there will be food and entertainment until 4 p.m. Consul General Jun Niimi and Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes are guests. The L.A. County Fire Department is cosponsoring with Search and Rescue displays.

There will be two stages set up. Tamlyn Tomita will be mistress of ceremonies in the Dr. Sanbo Sakaguchi Hall. Nisei Week Princess Amber Piatt will pump up the junior crowd in the gym. Former Princess Erin Yokomizo will be at the donation booth.

SFV Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Holiness Church, Sunrise Foursquare Church, and Chatsworth West United Methodist congregations are hosting the bake sale. Earthquake preparedness will also be part of the program.

Chiba Restaurant owners Mitsuko and Shig Chiba will serve misoshiru with clams to close the event at the end of the day.

The San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center has to date raised $66,000 for the JET Relief Fund. Tadao Okui, Yonsei Basketball Association board member, coordinated the donation on behalf of the center.  Miyagi Prefecture Gov. Yoshihiro Murai thanked the center for its donation last year and asked for continued support. Fukushima Prefecture Gov. Yuhei Sato also wrote about the struggle for restoration and revival.

Survivors from the Chiba family, Koichi, Saichi, Hideka, and Yoko, will come all the way from Japan for the weekend to thank the center for its tremendous effort during the JET Relief fundraiser.

“The SFV JACC wants to tell the the children left orphaned by last year’s disasters that we care,” the center said in a statement. “The words from (the famous poem) ‘Ame ni mo makezu’ tug at our hearts. ‘Be not defeated by the rain.’ We ask the children to be strong but more importantly, the center is asking readers to respond by sending donations to the JET Relief Fund, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima, CA 91331.”

For more information, contact Nancy Oda at (818) 786-0914 or e-mail

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  1. Thank you for publishing this article in the Rafu Shimpo. Our “little” community center is trying to do whatever they can to help the orphans in Japan region hit by the diaster last year.