Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy (KSCA) and the Japanese American Medical Association (JAMA) will hold the 39th Community Health Fair on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 12 noon at the St. Francis Xavier Church Japanese Catholic Center (Maryknoll), 222 S. Hewitt St., Los Angeles.

The annual Nikkei Health Fairs in Little Tokyo were conducted by the dedicated members of the Taisho Club for 38 years. Along with physicians, nurses, other health care providers and volunteers, they made the yearly event possible for as many as 800 participants. They held dance parties each year to raise funds for the fair so that individuals could benefit from free medical consultations offered by numerous specialists who were assigned to booths on the Maryknoll campus.

For a minimal fee, participants were able to get a blood test and have the results explained to them two weeks later in Japanese or in English. Over the years, the fair became a valuable tradition of the community. Particularly for Nikkei seniors who found it difficult to travel to the doctor’s office, this was an opportunity to ask all the questions they had always wanted to ask of the experts. Translation was provided for the monolingual Japanese attendees. 

Past events had specialists in internal medicine, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, urology, general surgery, podiatry, gastroenterology, orthopedics, rheumatism, chiropractic/massage, psychiatry, dentistry, acupuncture and others.

Toshiko Sugiyama coordinated the fair for many years and is an expert when it comes to all the details involved in operating an event with nearly 100 volunteer doctors, nurses, students and members of the Japanese American community. The number of attendees varied anywhere from 500 to 800 each year, and some had come as far away as San Diego.

She states that the Taisho Club disbanded recently because of aging members but that there is a need to carry on the tradition since getting medical care in America for Nikkei has been difficult enough with language and cultural differences. She still keeps photos to show long lines of people waiting to receive consultations and to have their blood drawn.

KSCA and JAMA are excited to hold the 39th Health Fair this year, with hopes of continuing the tradition into the future. They look forward to seeing new faces as well as familiar faces and welcome all to attend.

Reservations are not necessary; however, if you opt for the blood test, it is requested that there be no food intake after dinner the night before.

Notices will be sent out to the community with further details, such as which specialties will be present at this year’s event, the cost of the blood test, and the procedure to follow once you arrive at the fair. 

For inquiries in Japanese and in English, contact John Kanai at (626) 278-3653, Toshiko Sugiyama at (626) 572-7461, or Masano Seo at (626) 675-6436.

Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy: www.koreishasca.org

Japanese American Medical Association: www.jamasocal.org

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