Sansei Vietnam veterans who are turning 80 this year.

The Buddhahead Breakfast Club membership is composed of Japanese Americans and other veterans. Over 50 veterans gather at the King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant in Torrance on the first Monday of the month.

The gathering recently held a birthday celebration for those who were over 80 years of age. The honorees were called up and were dressed in chan chanko, which is a traditional birthday hat and vest worn in Japan.

The 80-year-olds honored were T. Ito Masai, Roy Hashimoto, Tosh Yoshida, Makoto Nakayama, Lugo Balsz, Richard Hattori, Ron Tochioka, Steve Taketomo, Tak Aoki, James Ota, Art Noritake, Ken Hayashi, Herb Tasaka, Shunji Hosozawa, and Kiyo Fukumoto.

All the members raised their voices cheerfully, singing “Happy Birthday.”Group and individual pictures were taken by George Wada and photographs will be made available to the honorees during the next meeting. Documentary videographers Don Bannai and Robert Horsting were busy capturing the festivities.

The King’s bakery staff cut their special Rainbow Cake”into slices to be eaten or taken home. It was an opportunity to thank the veterans for their service to our country and to celebrate their longevity.

A Keiro grant received by the Japanese American Centenarian Spirit, a nonprofit, helped recognize seniors who served in the armed forces.

The BBC veterans will proudly join others in marching in the Nisei Week Parade on Aug. 13 in Little Tokyo.

The Buddhahead Breakfast Club was founded by Vietnam veteran Chris Segawa over 18 years ago so that Sansei-era vets could gather and share their continued friendships with old and new friends.

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  1. Correction: The BBC is a private breakfast club and we meet
    on the first Friday not Monday of every month.