Attention will be focused this Saturday, June 12, on the hundreds of family members, volunteers, elected officials, and other supporters who came together to save the Japanese American community’s most vulnerable population — its seniors — when the Sakura Gardens ICF Family Council and Save Our Seniors present Kansha Obon.

The community event will be held at Rissho Kosei-Kai Buddhist Church, 2707 E. First St. in Boyle Heights, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. to recognize those who dedicated themselves to the six-year-long struggle to preserve the intermediate care facility.

When it was founded in 1961, Keiro Senior Care was at the forefront of providing quality healthcare in a culturally sensitive environment. Had events unfolded differently, Keiro Senior Health Care, whose Board of directors announced the sale of their facilities to Pacifica Companies in 2015, today might be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding.

Instead, the focus is on Pacifica’s plan to move ahead with plans to convert the Sakura ICF site in Boyle Heights into market-rate apartments and reportedly in late May gave residents 60 days’ notice to move.

Saturday’s Kansha Obon will feature a presentation ceremony to honor Sakura ICF Family Council, family doctors, staff, and supporters from Boyle Heights; a special performance by East L.A. Taiko; and traditional Obon dancing introduced by Rev. Ray Fukumoto and led by Elaine Fukumoto. Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors and will includes participatory social dancing, known as Bon odori.

Chef Akira Hirose of Azay Restaurant offers his Flavors of Obon bento box lunch (pre-order only). The bento will be available for pick-up at the event, cash only. Orders must be reserved by June 8 at 5 p.m. by email to

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