ALHAMBRA — Haruo Takehana began his second term as president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California by invoking a moment of silence in memory of 11 Asian Americans killed by a gunman in Monterey Park, a community just 2.28 miles from Alhambra, where JCCSC held its annual installation of officers and awards luncheon on Jan. 29.
Takehana then called upon his new board members to be mindful of the global issues facing the world, the City of Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, and JCCSC as the Chamber moves forward into the new year. Bringing greetings at the event was Kazue Kitagaito, the first female to serve as president of the Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai, representing all prefectural associations in Southern California.
David Ikegami, Little Tokyo Business Association president, proposed a toast in recognition of the new officers, and Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige administered the oath of office to the JCCSC officers.
In his address to those gathered, Consul General of Japan Kenko Sone pledged to carry on his predecessor’s initiative to foster understanding between Japan and the Black community. He thanked Nikkei Spirit Award recipient Rev. Mark Nakagawa for the key role he played as advisor in bringing the Black clergy to participate in an exchange of ideas.
Nakagawa thanked those who allowed him to become involved in the Japanese American community. The former pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church currently serves as West District superintendent of the UMC California-Pacific Conference, overseeing approximately 80 churches.
Nakagawa, who was born and raised in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw area, has served as a member of the Nisei Week Foundation board, the committee to establish the Terasaki Budokan, and Koreisha Senior Care and Advocacy.
The Community Organization Recognition Award went to the Torrance Sister City Association and was accepted by president Donna Dunlap. This year, TSCA celebrates its 50th anniversary as sister city to Kashiwa in Chiba Prefectue. Highlights of that affiliation have included exchange programs for students and teachers.
Each year, TSCA sends eight high school students to Kashiwa for a three-week homestay and in the fall sponsors an adult delegation to Japan. TSCA also sends two educators to teach English in a Kashiwa public high school for up to three years and conducts cultural programs in Torrance throughout the year.
“These exchange programs are at the very foundation of our work,” said Dunlap.
Additionally, TSCA organizes an annual two-day South Bay cultural event, Bunka-Sai Festival, and plants trees in both cities.
Honorary President: Consul General Kenko Sone
President: Haru Takehana
Executive Vice President: Grace Shiba
Senior Vice Presidents: Trudy Nodohara, Yuriko Shikai
Vice Presidents: Paul Abe, Akiko Agishi, Junzo Arai, Thornton Dickerson, Akira Fujimoto, David Kudo, Toby Mallen, Happy Mizutani, Masatoshi Ohata
Secretary: Yuriko Shikai
Treasurer: Tomoko Omura
Auditor: Paul Abe
Advisors: Carl Kawata, Kitty Sankey, Jeff Yamazaki
Board of Directors
Paul Abe, Akiko Agishi, Junzo Arai, Thornton Dickerson, Akira Fujimoto, Yoshiharu Hamano, Gelorge Kanazawa, David Kudo, Toby Mallen, Howear Miyoshi, Happy Mizutani, Trudy Nodohara, Tomoko Omura, Kitty Sankey, Akihiro “Ark” Sano, Grace Shiba, Yuriko Shikai, Haru Takehana, Shoko Ueno, Jeff Yamazaki
Board of Governors
Angela DeGroot, Chogi Higa, Michael Komai, Shigeo Nagayama, Tak Nishi
Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo