A family trust established by Hatsuro “Hats” and Amey Aizawa donated $200,000 to the San Francisco Japantown Foundation.
Hats was a founding board member of the SF Japantown Foundation. He and Amey were among the original major donors that helped establish the organization more than ten years ago. Hats passed away in 2013 and Amey in 2017.
“The Aizawas served for many years as leaders, volunteers, and philanthropists in the Japantown and the Japanese American communities,” said Donald K. Tamaki, board president of the SF Japantown Foundation. “We’re grateful that the Aizawas were founding donors to our foundation, and appreciative that Hats was a founding board member. Their generosity and love for Japantown will always be remembered and celebrated.”
Donate to the San Francisco Japantown Foundation today in honor of the Aizawas and the incredible legacy they left to Japantown and the Japanese American community.
Amey and Hats – Community Leaders, Philanthropists
Amey was born and raised in Delano (now Visalia), California, the oldest of four children. She lived in the Central Valley until she and her family were forcibly removed and incarcerated at the Fresno Detention Center and then at the Jerome, Arkansas, Concentration Camp during World War II.
She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Tulsa and moved back to California with Hats in the late 1940s. Although Amey had a license to teach in the California school system, she chose to help her husband start and maintain his successful graphic design business in San Francisco for many decades.
Hats was born in San Francisco’s Japantown on Post Street between Laguna and Buchanan Streets and lived there until he and his family were forcibly removed and incarcerated at the Tanforan Detention Center and then later at the Topaz Concentration Camp.
Before the incarceration, Hats was attending Lowell High School. He completed his formal education upon his return to San Francisco after the war, earning a B.A. in Fine Arts at UC Berkeley.
Hats was one of the first Japanese Americans to open a successful graphic design business, Aizawa and Furuta, which operated for more than 45 years.
He served as one of the founding members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California as well as being appointed as the first Japanese American to serve for several terms as a Commissioner and then as Trustee for the Asian Art Museum from 1988 to 2008. Hats served 25 years on the Japan Society of Northern California Board of Directors and was a member of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Committee.
In recognition of Hats Aizawa’s many contributions, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco presented him with the Foreign Minister’s Commendation in 2008. In 2011, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco conferred on Hats the Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, one of the Japanese government’s highest honors.
About the Japantown Foundation
The San Francisco Japantown Foundation’s mission is to support cultural, community and educational activities for San Francisco Japantown. Its vision is to preserve and honor Japantown’s history by fostering and providing funding for activities that reflect the Japanese American heritage, and to engage Japanese of all generations and all experiences.
The Foundation was formed in December 2006 through generous endowments by the Aizawas, Kintetsu Enterprises of America, Jack Hirose, Union Bank, and Minami Tamaki LLP. The foundation also raises funds from its annual Osechi Ryori New Year’s Celebration Fundraiser and receives donations through a philanthropic partnership with Hotel Kabuki and the hotel’s You Can Make a Difference program, which asks guests to donate when they stay at the property.
Since 2007, the Foundation has provided more than $700,000 in funding to the community.