Foundation Announces Recipients of 2007 Grants

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation today announced the recipients of its 2007 grants at a presentation event at Union Bank of California Japantown branch’s hospitality room.

The foundation’s 2007 competitive grants totaled $25,000 and were divided among 10 organizations in varying amounts of $5,000 or less.  The foundation also approved $15,000 in special grants, made possible by an additional donation from Jack Hirose, to three Japantown organizations.

Organizations receiving grants include:

Bay Area Day of Remembrance Consortium: $3,000 awarded for general support of the 2008 Bay Area Day of Remembrance Commemoration, Feb. 16-19, at JCCCNC. The grant will be used to increase the Consortium’s organizing capacity. (

Gen Taiko: $1,500 awarded to support the Shochikubai Project, which includes the development and performance of a work for five odori dancers, a three-member kumi daiko (drumming) ensemble, shamisen player and minyo singer. The work will be presented in May 2008 at JCCCNC. (

Hokka Nichi Bei Kai: $1,000 to support the creation and maintenance of a Bunka Hall of Fame, to memorialize Northern Californians who were important to the culture of Japan as practiced in America. The Bunka Hall of Fame will be housed in the Nichi Bei Kai building in San Francisco and will consist of portraits of the honorees with their achievements recorded in the Book of the Bunka Hall of Fame. (

Japanese American National Library: $3,000 to support the indexing of publications important to the Japanese American community into a database. The library’s goal is to index 4,000 of the existing 25,000 publications in their collection. (

Japanese Benevolent Society of California: $1,500 to support the organization’s efforts to honor ministers who have served the Japanese American community and to express appreciation to the volunteers who maintain the Japanese cemetery in Colma, Calif., at the Day of Peace banquet held in Nov. 2007.

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California: $5,000 to support the Center’s Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day) Festival and School Visit Program. As part of JCCCNC’s goal of preserving and cultivating Japanese American culture, the Center hosts a Children’s Day School Visit program, in which elementary school students from the city of San Francisco are introduced to the customs and practices of this Japanese national holiday. (

Japantown Merchants Association (for Cherry Blossom Festival): $5,000 to support the Association’s activities related to the 2008 Cherry Blossom Festival, taking place April 12-13 and 19-20. (

National Japanese American Historical Society: $5,000 to support the organization’s Japantown Youth Heritage Walking Tour program, which trains youth in cultural and historical interpretation, communication skills and analysis of past and present issues impacting Japantown. (

The foundation’s special grants of $5,000 each were awarded to Kimochi, Inc., Nihonmachi Little Friends and Pine Methodist Church.

This was the foundation’s initial disbursement of awards since being founded in December 2006. The grants were provided to nonprofit groups with cultural, community and educational activities that the Foundation determined best promote and support San Francisco’s Japantown.

The foundation was formed through generous initial endowments by Kintetsu Enterprises of America, Jack Hirose, Hats and Amey Aizawa, and Minami Tamaki LLP, which is also doing the foundation’s pro bono legal work.

The organization is dedicated to preserving and honoring Japantown’s history, to welcoming and serving its residents, visitors, businesses, congregations and community organizations, and to supporting the growth and development of the community. In particular, the foundation supports activities that reflect the Japanese American experience, and activities that engage Japanese of all generations and all experiences in America.

The foundation’s board is comprised of: Donald K. Tamaki, board president and partner with Minami Tamaki LLP; Hats Aizawa; Richard Hashimoto, Japantown Merchants Association; Jack Hirose; Keith Kamisugi; Eiji Miwa; Sandy Mori, Japantown Task Force, Inc.; Allen Okamoto, Sakura Matsuri, Inc.; and Hiroshi Tomita, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California. Deputy Consul General Kazuyoshi Yamaguchi of the Consulate General of Japan serves as an advisory member.

The foundation continues to build on an initial total endowment of approximately $650,000.

The foundation welcomes additional grants and donations. Donations to the Foundation can be made online on this site or made payable to “San Francisco Japantown Foundation” and addressed to San Francisco Japantown Foundation, c/o Minami Tamaki LLP, 360 Post Street, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108.

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