Members of Nakayoshi, one of the sponsoring organizations.
Members of Nakayoshi, one of the sponsoring organizations.

BERKELEY — An all-day Bay Area Nikkei Youth Conference, with a theme of “Reconnect-Network-Identify,” will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Berkeley Methodist United Church, 1710 Carleton St.

The conference, designed for those aged 17 to 30, is free and includes lunch.

“The overall goal of the conference is to bring together Nikkei youth from across the Bay Area to network, discuss Japanese American issues, and define what it means to be Nikkei,” said Berkeley JACL Co-President Jeff Yamashita.

The conference will include a networking and professional development workshop, JACL-geared workshops, and a series of concurrent “Identity/Reconnect” workshops such as:

• “Nikkei Youth Identities: Thinking Past the Generational” led by Maya Kochiyama, a graduate of UC Berkeley, and Michael Murata, a doctoral student at UC Irvine. The workshop will explore the different ways Nikkei youth choose to identify themselves and how the Japanese American community can move beyond the generational model.

• “Media Representations Within the Asian American Community” led by Ryan Hata, a master’s student at San Francisco State University. This workshop will address stereotypical representations of Asian Americans and examine how mainstream media images can be challenged by Asian Americans, as filmmakers or cultural producers, by deconstructing and reconstructing what it means to be an Asian American male or female.

• “Japanese American Values” led by Matthew Hamasaki, a graduate student at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.

• “Nikkei Community Internship” led by Lauren Morimoto and Erika Tamura of the San Francisco-based Japanese Community Youth Council.

“The conference is designed for an open dialogue between Nikkei youth who are committed to the future of the Nikkei community in the Bay Area while building a supportive network that fosters their leadership, professional, and critical-thinking skills,” Yamashita said. “This conference is not about finding answers, it is about beginning the discussions and developing relationships within the community.”

The conference is sponsored by State Farm, Southwest Airlines, the Berkeley JACL, the JACL Legacy Grant Fund, the JACL Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific District, the JACL National Youth Student Council, Nakayoshi Young Professionals, and the Nichi Bei Foundation.

Attendees who are JACL members will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Transportation will be provided from the Ashby BART Station.

For more information, visit, or contact Jeff Yamashita at or Beth Uno at

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