A participant in last year's cemetery clean-up.
A participant in last year’s cemetery clean-up.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California is organizing a youth, family and community Clean-Up Day at the Japanese Cemetery in Colma.

“Often times we find ourselves too busy in our daily lives to honor our past and remember those who have passed on,” event organizers said. “The Japanese Cemetery in Colma is a unique cultural treasure that deserves our attention, our respect, OUR TIME. The place represents our history, our loved ones, friends and family. For many of us, it is the place where our grandparents, great grandparents, parents, family and friends are laid to rest. For all of us, the loved ones that rest there represent our history.”

The clean-up will take place Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cemetery is located at 1300 Hillside Blvd. in Colma.

The JCCCNC will supply garbage bags, tools, cleaning supplies, watering buckets, drinking water, rags, bento and flowers (bring your own gloves).

Visit the JCCCNC website at www.jcccnc.org or call (415) 567-5505 for more information and to RSVP. RSVPs are required by May 12 as a light lunch will be provided.

Located in a quiet town on the San Francisco Peninsula, about 20 minutes from the city by car, the three-acre cemetery is the final resting place for more than 5,000 people, and a tower commemorating three crewmen from the famous ship Kanrin-Maru is there as well.

In 1901, the Japanese Benevolent Society of California was established with a grant from the Meiji Emperor to provide “for the relief of sick, disabled or destitute persons of the Japanese race” in California and to provide “a suitable burial ground for deceased Japanese.”

The society performed its historic mandate over the years, assisting those in need and acquiring land in Colma for a cemetery. It also served as a unifying force in the Japanese American community by bringing together the Buddhist, Shinto and Christian religious organizations, and by participating in local historical, cultural, and memorial events that honor the Japanese heritage in the U.S.

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