Happy New Year. The curtain of 2021 has opened, and I sincerely hope that this year will be wonderful for all of us.
Since its establishment as the Japanese Association of Los Angeles in 1905, and reorganization as a Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California 1953, we have maintained the tradition of promoting small and medium-sized Japanese American businesses in Southern California, embracing Japanese culture, supporting Japanese language education, and fostering the next generation of the Nikkei society.
We started the New Year Celebration in Little Tokyo 23 years ago for the purpose of promoting more small business. It began as a small event with few members and sponsors but in the following years, the LAPD, LAFD and many other sponsors have come to help and support. The New Year’s Day celebration event “Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo,” which presents traditional Japanese New Year’s culture, draws more than 10,000 spectators every year.
By accepting students from Japan’s Ashinaga Ikueikai and dispatching “Rainbow students” from the United States to the Ashinaga Ikueikai program, we provide mutual support to the orphans of both Japan and the United States. In addition, the Japan American Scholarship Fund operated by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Foundation has awarded scholarships to Japanese children who achieved excellence and are going on to a university. In collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan, we hold a celebration of honors for these recipients.
This year, we will collaborate with the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, the Japan Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber of Commerce of each region of Japan to create an organization to help local companies advance into the United States.
To expand business opportunities and acquire new members, we are planning a wide range of business networking and seminars in which we ask for your continued engagement and support.
On behalf of the Japan Chamber of Commerce of Southern California, I wish you all the best of fortune, luck, and happiness.