ARLETA — The families that made the 100-resident Nikkei Senior Gardens’ 2009 opening a reality will be honored at the assisted living facility in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 1:30 p.m.

According to Irene Sumida, president of the board of Nikkei Senior Gardens, “This is a milestone for Nikkei Senior Gardens and for our founding community members. We are grateful to the families for their support and patience. Nikkei Senior Gardens’ success is a shared accomplishment and we can all feel proud.”

In 1997, San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center (SFVJACC) leaders Harold Muraoka and Harry Nakada saw a need for an assisted care facility to serve the aging Japanese American community in the San Fernando Valley and rallied others to their cause. SFVJACC board member Toji Hashimoto sold a 3.5-acre parcel of his family’s nursery to the SFVJACC as a location for the facility.

Planning went smoothly until 2001, when funding for undeveloped land was difficult to secure and the project seemed doomed. In response, the San Fernando Japanese American community pooled its resources, with 115 families extending personal loans.

Nikkei Senior Gardens Executive Director Michael Motoyasu said, “Nikkei Senior Gardens’ residents, future residents, and their families and friends will always be grateful to Harold Muraoka, Harry Nakada, Toji Hashimoto, and the 115 founding families being honored on Saturday.”

Today, Nikkei Senior Gardens enjoys near capacity occupancy by 100 residents who enjoy the beautiful central Japanese garden, a choice of daily Japanese or American menus, Japanese-inspired décor, 24-hour care staff, laundry and housekeeping services, physical fitness classes, and numerous other services and amenities. Nikkei Senior Gardens is a non-profit organization.

Nikkei Senior Gardens is located at 9221 Arleta Ave., Arleta. For more information, visit

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