On Saturday, March 17, the Board of Directors of Nikkei Senior Gardens will honor one of its founders, Harold Muraoka, by dedicating the Japanese Gardens at Nikkei Senior Gardens in his honor. The festivities will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Toji and Hitomi Hashimoto cared for Toji’s parents until his mother was placed in a skilled nursing facility. The conditions in the facility were so appalling that the Hashimotos were determined to bring a change for the future. They dreamed of building an assisted living community that treated people with dignity and respect during the later years of their lives.
In 1997 the Hashimoto family presented the idea of building an assisted living community on the property that their family owned in Arleta, which was a nursery on 3.5 acres, to the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center’s Board of Directors. SFVJACC board members Muraoka and Harry Nakada had already been in discussions regarding the need to build an assisted living community in the area and quickly became avid supporters of the project.
The Hashimotos offered to sell their land at a fraction of its market value. This site would become what is today Nikkei Senior Gardens. This founding group, working together as a team, would continue to work on the project for years to fulfill their common dream.
In July 1999, the team, armed with preliminary sketches from architect Toyo Okamoto, presented the idea to the boards of SFVJACC and Nikkei Village Housing. They won approval and Nikkei Senior Gardens was off and running. Today, their dream is complete and Nikkei Senior Gardens houses 100 residents and supplies assisted living services to anyone who desires a warm, inviting place to live.
Nikkei Senior Gardens is located at 9221 Arleta Ave., Arleta. For more information, call (818) 899-1000 or visit http://nikkeiseniorgardens.com/.
From the time that Harold Muraoka and Harry Nakada had their ‘dream’ of providing for an aging nikkei population, I applaud them for their ‘bulldog’ tenacity to move forward despite several obstacles, funding being one of their largest obstacles. Unlike what I faced at Mission College where I survived on federal grants, Harold and Harry could not qualify for federal grants as I did, but needed considerable funding for venue, plans and construction. So, I applaud the generosity of Toji and Hitomi Hashimoto to make their property available. Having visited the property several times, it is a beautiful facility that gives dignity to those living there. Thanks to Toji and Hitomi who tirelessly contribute.
Today, what the Nikkei have in the Valley is a home for my many Nikkei friends from Sawtelle (WLA). Thanks for this achievement of having a place to care for my friends.
Personally, I recognize the toil and effort that Harold and May along with Harry put forth to realize a ‘dream’. So, dedicating a portion of the Home to Harold, I believe, is well deserved.