By MIA NAKAJI MONNIER and NAO NAKANISHI, Rafu Staff Writers
A Keiro Retirement Home resident and board member, Hayahiko Takase, 85, announced his opposition to Keiro Senior HealthCare’s sale of its facilities.
Takase is one of the 28 members of Keiro’s three boards of directors, and he is one of the few Shin-Issei.
Takase came to the United States as an architect with Kajima Corporation in 1964. During his time in Little Tokyo, first with Kajima and then with his own firm, Takase Associates, he designed the Kajima Building, Higashi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, the New Otani Hotel, the Miyako Hotel, and more. His designs continue to leave their mark on the Japanese American community.
When Takase joined the Keiro Retirement Home board in 2000, he did it because he believed in Keiro’s mission. In the past 15 years, he has had input on many important issues facing Keiro, including several building additions and renovations. His wife, Sumiko, 78, spent her career as an interior designer for Kajima Corporation, and she contributed to Keiro as well.
Last August, the Takases moved from Woodland Hills to the Keiro Retirement Home after five years on the waiting list. Their children and grandchildren, who live in New Jersey, were relieved to know that their parents had found a safe place to spend the rest of their lives.
However, when the couple moved into the retirement home, Sumiko did not know that Keiro had already begun making plans to sell its facilities. Her husband was on the board and participated in all board meetings, but because of his age, he has begun having problems with memory. He said that although the sale was discussed at board meetings, he doesn’t remember hearing detailed information.
“I wasn’t in favor of the sale, but I thought there was nothing I could do about it,” he said. “Now I am against it. If this decision is being made based on the belief that Sansei and Yonsei don’t need a place like Keiro, that seems like an irresponsible decision. Without Keiro, what other choice do Nikkei people have?”
Although Takase can’t clearly remember everything that was discussed about the sale at board meetings, what he said, or how he voted, he is certain of his feelings now. He said that is why he decided to come forward and speak to the media.
“This is his way of taking action,” said his wife.
Sumiko also feels that Keiro needs to reconsider its decision to sell. She sympathizes with the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro and has added her name to their petition.
The Ad Hoc Committee will hold its next open meeting on Monday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo.