The Japanese American Association of New York, also known as “JAA” is celebrating its 110th year of providing services to our community in 2017-2018.

"While the beneficiaries of our services have changed over the years, our services have also evolved to meet those needs. Throughout, we remain true to our original mission to serve the Japanese American and Japanese Community."

Coming up JAA activities! Please join us!

Message from our President

Dear JAA members and friends,

I hope you are all managing to stay safe and healthy while we all hunker down to ride out this unprecedented health and economic crisis. As you may know, for the health and safety of our employees and members, our offices have been closed and are now required to remain closed for the foreseeable future until further notice. However, please know that we are here to help you: Our office number (212-840-6942) is being forwarded to our Executive Director, Mrs. Michiyo Noda. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

While we are going to go through some stressful hard times, we are a resilient group. Our Japanese and Japanese American community has survived numerous disasters and life disruptions in the past and have come out stronger, more resourceful, and more compassionate than before. Together, we will get through this! Please stay in contact by phone, e-mail, and social media with your family, friends, colleagues, and especially, your elderly neighbors. Once things settle down and we get used to a new "normal," we hope to have a network of volunteers who are willing and eager to run errands and make deliveries for those who are homebound. Please let us know if you require such help or know someone who does.

At times like this, we are reminded how important it is for our community to have access to public services, so please all remember to fill out the census when you receive it in the mail. And for high school senior students whose lives have also been upended, please know that we are accepting applications for our JAA Scholarship through May 4, 2020. While many of our activities and events had to be cancelled, we are busy planning activities to take place later in the year—we all need something to look forward to!

Thank you for all your support and caring. Please all be kind to each other during this difficult time, and please do not hesitate to let us know if you need anything or just want to chat!

Warmest wishes,

Susan J. Onuma, President

Remarks from JAA President Susan J. Onuma

Happy New Year!

I wish to extend my warmest greetings to all of you as we enter 2020—a year of great vision and positive change! With the upcoming Olympics in Japan and a Presidential election in the US, there are many challenges and adventures ahead!

For those of you who are new to JAA, we are a social service organization that is 113 years old. This past year, our community center on 45th Street gave more than 50 organizations and groups a place to gather, meet, network, and collaborate with each other. Our Spring Health Fair is coming up where more than 50 workshops and seminars will be conducted (mostly in Japanese) over a four-week period. We are also very excited to be a part of the first Japan Day Parade this year.

As a leanly staffed organization, we rely heavily on our volunteers and board members as well as collaborations with other community organizations.

While JAA is not a political organization, we cannot ignore the growing anti-immigrant/racist sentiment that has been spreading through this country over the last few years. We continue to support and celebrate the passing of Resolution 792 to make January 30, Fred Korematsu's birthday, recognized as an observance in NYC to remind us all of the importance of Civil Liberties and the Constitution and not to have history repeat itself. This year, on January 30 there was a screening of the film A Bitter Legacy. On February 22, Day of Remembrance will be held at the Japanese American United Church. For those not familiar with Japanese American history, this is a great opportunity to learn about the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese during World War II and the impact it had on so many lives. We will also be starting a lecture series on topics related to Japanese American history at JAA.

This year JAA is again helping with the Census effort. There is a misconception that you need to be a citizen to answer the census, but it is for everyone who is present in the US during the Census period. Japanese in general do not become citizens because Japan does not allow dual citizenship, and as a result, we have a very low profile among politicians because Japanese do not vote. This is a main reason why we are underrepresented, thus it is especially important that we take this opportunity to be counted! Please join our kick-off reception on February 26 at JAA.

As we continue to assess and meet the needs of our community, we are so grateful to all of you for your strong support throughout the year. We hope you visit our community center and participate in some of our activities so that you can see firsthand what we do. Please visit our websites: www.jaany.org and www.agingjaa.org.

Warmest wishes,

Susan J. Onuma, President

JAA Kyushu/Kumamoto/Oita Earthquake Relief Fund

JAA Kyushu Earthquake Relief

  • Kyushu Easrthquake Damage
  • April 18, 2016

Dear JAA members and friends,

Our hearts and prayers go out to those suffering from the latest series of earthquakes in Kyushu. For those wishing to donate funds, JAA is collecting donations – please indicate “Kyushu Earthquake Relief” in the memo line of your check or message/purpose section of any PayPal wire payment. We are a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Thank you for your generosity!

Susan Onuma Signature

Susan J. Onuma, President

Please consider helping in the following way:

  1. Fundraiser for JAA Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund
  2. Please indicate "Kyushu Earthquake Relief" in message/purpose section of any PayPal wire payment
  3. Make a Check Donation: Payable to Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. noting “Kyushu Earthquake Relief “on the check. (Please mail to: Japanese American Association of New York, 49 West 45th Street, 11th Floor New York, NY 10036)

Please call/email to JAA for more information: JAA:212-840-6942 / info@jaany.org

JAA Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund

Ako Six months after the earthquakes in areas of Kumamoto and Oita, the amount of the JAA Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund has now reached $85,000. A concert titled "Ako and Takarazuka OG and Friends" was held on September 8th, and proceeds of $3,000 were added to the Fund. To select the appropriate recipients, JAA is contacting NPO organizations in Kumamoto and Oita where some people still live away from their damaged homes and fear continued earthquakes.

Fundraiser on May 15, 2016

  • Image from 2016 Fundraiser
  • Image from 2016 Fundraiser

  • Image from 2016 Fundraiser
  • Image from 2016 Fundraiser

On May 15, 2016, JAA co-sponsored a fundraising event with various kenjinkais of Kyushu who have come together as the Kyushu Kai (Chair Mr. Yoroku Adachi, Chairman and CEO of CANON U.S.A.) We had two sessions of programs, 12pm and 4pm with over 100 participants at each program which featured music and traditional food from Kyushu. We are so grateful to Ms. Mina Kondo who led a great team of hard working volunteers from Kyushu no kai and to the following artists who donated their time and wonderful talent to this event: AK, singer, Gohei Nishikawa, pianist, Manami Hattori, Soprano, Migiwa Miyajima, Jazz pianist and Marina Iwao, pianist. We also thank the many donors of silent auction and raffle items including top prizes of airline tickets from Delta and ANA. Due to everyone’s passion and hard work, the event was a huge success - over $40,000 was raised from compassionate supporters including corporations and individuals. So far, $60,000 has been raised for our Kyushu Earthquake Relief Fund.
We will continue to accept donations through the summer.

Our focus will be on the current and long term needs of those affected and to support sustainable programs for the future. 100% of donations raised by JAA will be used for these purposes.


JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund

Japan Disaster Relief Efforts—How to Help :

While several weeks have passed since the tragic earthquake and tsunami hit Northeastern Japan, aftershocks and nuclear fallout from the Fukushima power plant continue to exert emotional and physical strain on the victims, rescue workers and nation as a whole. Their need for financial support during this rehabilitation and rebuilding process is as urgent as ever.

Please consider helping in the following way:

Donate Now: 100% of the proceeds will go to Japan Disaster Relief Click here to donate online.
  • Make a Check Donation: Payable to Japanese American Association of New York, Inc. (Mail to: Japanese American Association of New York, 49 West 45th Street, 11th Floor New York, NY 10036)
  • Call/email for more information: 212-840-6942 or info@jaany.org

JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund

As we end 2013 and approach the third anniversary of the March 11 triple disaster that occurred in Tohoku and is still affecting residents of that region as well as all of Japan, we want to acknowledge the help and goodwill of so many of our partners, both in the US and Japan. The Japan Society, Japan center for international Exchange, JMSA and Americares have been particularly helpful as are our partners working on the ground, including Peace Boat, Church World Services and the Kizuna Foundation. Our work continues. One of our projects for the summer of 2014 will be the Bobby Valentine All Star tour. Together, he and JAA will bring a team of 15 year olds from the northeastern US to play ball with teams from Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures. We anticipate a wonderful and fulfilling visit that we hope will uplift the spirits of our friends and family in Tohoku. As we have stated time and again, we want our Tohoku family to know that they are not forgotten. Have a safe and peaceful 2014.

Gary S. Moriwaki
President 2013

JAPAN Disaster Relief Fund

JAA donated $50,000 to The Tono Magokoro Net, which is a Tono City disaster relief volunteer network established by mainly Tono citizens in an effort to support the Iwate Prefecture Seaboard disaster area (Otsuchi, Kamaishi, Ofunato and Rikuzen Takata) hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Also JAA donated $5,000 to NECT and $4,000 to the Japanese Children Society (New York Ikuei Gakunen) to create cultural exchange programs for Japanese students in Tohoku.

Bobby Valentine with Young Baseball Players visited Tohoku, JAPAN.

From August 1st to 10th , JAA in partnership with the Kizuna Foundation, sponsored 14 young baseball players on a goodwill trip to the Tohoku region of Japan. Bobby Valentine, former MLB player and manager, as well as manager of the Japan Series Champions Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005, traveled with the team to Ofunato, a small town in Iwate Prefecture. There, along with his staff and parent volunteers, he conducted a baseball clinic and tournaments. Bobby noted that the mission of the visit is to let those in Tohoku who suffered as a result of the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 know that they are not forgotten. The visit culminated on August 9 at Kobo Stadium, home of the Rakuten Eagles, where the players met the Eagles players and coaches and toured the stadium. Mr. Masa Tanaka, Deputy President of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Delta Air Lines representatives and Mr. Gary Moriwaki, JAA Honorary President were in attendance.

Mr. Moriwaki said "In 1934, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other future Hall of Famers made a goodwill trip to Japan and actually played in Sendai. Now, 80 years later, we continue in the same tradition-baseball is what connects us across generations and national borders." The program has received the very generous support of Delta Air Lines, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the Rakuten Eagles, MLB, the Greenwich Village Little League, Lexco Wealth Management, and Mr. Kazuyuki Tokiwa.

Update from Earthquake and Tsunami Ravaged Areas in Japan
by Eiich Kuwana

My travels recently took me to Fukushima where I spent time with two non-profit organizations (NPOs); CWS Japan and Shalom, supported by the Japanese American Association of NY (JAA), with the generosity of the JAA members and supporters. Both organizations carved out time to explain the current situation facing residents; in particular, children in Fukushima. The children are considered to be at higher risk to radiation damage than adults. We visited a day-care center for children aged six months to kindergarten, only 40 miles away from Fukushima nuclear plants. (the classroom in the photo depicts two and three year olds). Shalom's office monitors the area to record radioactive "hot" spots.

In the day-care center yard, there is the satellite looking machine which shows "0.136" (0.136 micro Sieverts of radiation per hour). In Japan, a reading of less than 0.230 qualifies as being "acceptable", assuming that the "average" person spends only 8 hours a day outside.

Moreover, "hot spots" exist in many pockets within Fukushima. We found numerous areas that registered greater than 0.650 micro Sieverts, which is substantially higher than the acceptable limit of 0.230. A distressing aspect of these readings is the fact that there is a kindergarten and a road used for those local children to commute to their schools along the path.

What cannot be disputed is that living with such concerns on a daily basis affects the mental state of the inhabitants of the area. Therefore, we applaud and support the efforts of Shalom, which has, as one of its core missions, to bring children away for weekends at a time from radiation affected areas to cleaner regions of Japan so that these children can play outdoors without fear of being exposed to radiation. The photo of children wading in a local brook is unimaginable in Fukushima, and this was made possible due to Shalom sponsoring a trip for these children to a different prefecture (state) in Japan. Even just for a weekend, kids need to be kids.

Your generous donations have made it possible for Fukushima children to enjoy moments of peace and relaxation, and JAA and I thank you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Three Years After

On February 22, 2014, along with Satoshi Kitahama of the Kizuna Foundation, I made a trip to visit several towns in Iwate prefecture. Over the past three years we have worked very closely with the Foundation on several projects in and around the town of Ofunato, which suffered greatly during the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Being a community based organization, JAA sought to find local partners with whom it could establish a long lasting and productive partnership. With the guidance of Kitahama san, we were able to help local fishermen and fishing cooperatives get back on their feet. The photos you see here show how JAA's funding helped the cooperative raise the pier, which had sunk by one meter after the earthquake. Now it has been restored to its original height, and you can see that the fishing boats are back and that there is renewed activity in the port. The other photos show what a beautiful region it is; forest covered mountains coming down to the blue ocean, with its abundant life that sustains local businesses. We are honored to have been a part of this project, which is one of the bright spots in the Tohoku region.

We continue our work in the region. In early August, we will bring a team of young baseball players from the US to play with their counterparts in Tohoku. The team will be led and managed by Bobby Valentine, who has been a tremendous partner of JAA. Our plans again center around Ofunato. Close to 80 players from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are expected to participate. We have connected with local baseball groups, sponsors, and fans. By coincidence, a team from San Diego will also be in Ofunato, and we are coordinating our efforts with them. If you'd like to assist in this project by contributing funds or your time and energy, kindly let us know.

I attended The TOGETHER FOR 3.11, the Third Anniversary Memorial for Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami Victims on March 9, 2014 with Ambassador Sumio Kusaka and Amb. Motoatsu Sakurai, president of Japan Society.

(Reported by Mr. Gary Moriwaki, Honorary President)

Present "Hina no Tsurushikazari" to Sandy Hook Elementary School

(l to r) Dr. Abbey, Dr. Gejda, Dr. Reed, Mr. Aoyagi, Ms. Noda and Mr. Kato

On December 19, Consul Mr. Yoshikatsu Aoyagi, JAA director Mr. Shuji Kato and JAA executive director Mrs. Michiyo Noda visited Newtown Public Schools District office (Sandy Hook Elementary School is one of school of this district) in CT and handed to district officers, Dr. David E. Abbey, Dr. Linda A. Gejda and Dr. John R. Reed "Hina no Tsurushikazari" mobile-like hanging dolls and toys made by the 155 adult students at the Kikkomazagi School (founder Mr. & Mrs. Masatoshi Sasaki) in Miyagi Prefecture.

The district officers gave us a warm welcome and appreciated this surprise gift from Japan.

When victims of the terrible tsunami and earthquake that hit Miyagi Prefecture in 2011 heard of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Dec. 2012, they wanted to send something beautiful to bring smiles to the children and to show their appreciation of USA's support of Tsunami & Earthquake in 2011.

This project was started with an e-mail from Dr. Ayako Ishimaru who donated $30,000.00 to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund Report from President Gary S. Moriwaki

Tadashi Yamamoto, President of Peace Boat, visited JAA at our Board Meeting on October 2, 2013.

Peace Boat is one of the volunteer organizations that JAA has partnered with in the aftermath of the March 11 triple disasters. We first met Yamamoto San (everyone calls him "Jr" since his dad also worked for Peace Boat) in May of 2011 in Ishinomaki. Accompanying me on the trip was fellow board member Riki Ito and member Yoko Makino. At that time the devastation was very much in evidence as it was barely two months after the earthquake and tsunami destroyed a large part of Ishinomaki and caused a tremendous loss of life and property. Jr, his staff and so many volunteers were dedicated to serving hot meals, cleaning debris and giving emotional support to the survivors. They graciously took time to show and explain to us their activities. We were so impressed and so began our collaboration, which continues to this day.

At our board meeting Jr. gave us details on the Ima Koko Project that JAA has agreed to support. Eiichiro Kuwana have personally participated in this endeavor with his sons, HS students Kiyomasa & Hiroyuki. It involves embedding young volunteers with fishermen and seaweed processors to provide human resources that will enable traditional businesses to get back on their feet, generate income for their employees and themselves and thereby help rejuvenate the local economy. Many local people have taken lucrative construction jobs in the area, leading to a shortage of staff available to work with the more traditional businesses. Please see Kiyomasa's report of Ima Koko Project at www.jaany.org

We look forward to reports from Jr. on this and other projects in the future.

Mr. Moriwaki and Mrs. Gail A. Grimmett

The presentation of the donation of $15,000 from Delta Air Lines to JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund was held on Monday, November 11, 2013 at JAA Hall. Mrs. Gail A. Grimmett, Delta's Senior Vice President – New York, and Mr. Gary S. Moriwaki joined this presentation.

Delta's donation will go to support Tohoku to help young people in the radiation-affected Fukushima area, to rebuild devastated fishing ports and to support mental health networking in the area. This $15,000 donation is a continuation of Delta's continuing Japan disaster relief efforts. Previously, Delta donated US$1 million in cash and in-kind support for disaster relief efforts. Additionally, Delta matched 5 million SkyMiles donations from customers to benefit World Vision Japan. Delta's Japan-based employees in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity International organized volunteer events in Tohoku to support rebuilding efforts in the community. Finally, Delta is a proud sponsor of TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership born out of support for Japan's recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, that invests in the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as entrepreneurship and leadership programs.

Presentation to Mr. Hideki Matsui From JAA Japan Disaster Relief Fund

Mr. Matsui with Mr. Ramani, Mr. Kuwana,
Mr. Moriwaki, Mr. Kato & Mr. Takeda

In honor of Hideki Matsui’s retirement from the New York Yankees, the Japanese American Association of New York was pleased to present a check in the amount of $50,000 to CWS/Shalom in his name. Hideki helped JAA select Shalom because Shalom’s mission to help young people in the radiation affected Fukushima area resonated strongly with his own passion to help children. Presentation was held on Monday, September 9, 2013 at JAA Hall.

Shalom provides children in Fukushima with the opportunity to play and study in non-radiation-contaminated areas to reduce their internal accumulation of radiation. Children represent a particularly vulnerable group. Shalom’s programming will enable the children to survive their hardship, share their experiences with others and relieve their stress.

Hideki’s and JAA’s support will allow Shalom to continue its work and at the same time, advocate to the Japanese Government the need for long term government funding. Speaking from CWS’ Asian headquarters, CWS and Shalom want to convey to Hideki how excited the children are to find out that their programs are supported by him.

We are providing information on a new project called Genki Notes. This joint project organized by the U.S.-Japan Council, Emerson College and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership aims to bring a moment of happiness to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We are asking schools across America to write "Genki Notes," which are fun, colorful and creative letters to Japan. We would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along this opportunity to the educators in your network. Help bring Genki Notes into an elementary, middle or high school near you by downloading the informational flyer and step-by-step instructions. Please visit www.USJapanCouncil.org.
Genki Notes

JAA's moves to New Home

Our new office and community center opened on Monday, October 6, 2014!
Address: 49 West 45th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10036
(bet: 5th Ave. & 6th Ave.) Book Off is on the ground floor and JACK’s is next door.
Telephone numbers and internet address remain the same.
We look forward to everyone's support as we fundraise to make it possible to continue to serve the Japanese and Japanese American community of New York.