"100 Years of Community Service"


 

A Historical Overview of
the Japanese American Association of New York, Inc.

 

We are excited to celebrate our "100 Years of Community Service" this year. While the beneficiaries of JAA's services have evolved over the years and the organization has gone through numerous changes, it remains true to its original mission - to be a not for profit organization serving the Japanese and Japanese American community.

 

Originally established as the Japanese Mutual Aid Society (Nihonjin Kyosaikai) by Dr. Toyohiko Takami in 1907, the organization bought space in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in 1912 to provide a place to bury Japanese - Memorial Day Services continue to be held there each year. In 1914, Dr. Jokichi Takamine, Dr. Takami and other community leaders formed the Japanese Association of New York (New York Nihonjinkai) to take over and expand upon the goals of the Nihonjin Kyosaikai. While discontinued during World War II, after World War II the organization was reconstituted, During this time we collected and sent food and clothing to Japan through L.A.R.A. (Licensed Agency for Relief in Asia) which was established by the American Friends Service Committee. In 1950, as conditions improved in Japan, the organization's activities turned towards local needs, including those of Japanese Americans re-settling into the New York area after leaving the internment camps and newly arrived Japanese immigrants who came to the US for business, education or family reasons. In 1952 after merging with another group called the Japanese American Welfare Society (New York Kyousaikai established by Naohiro Sasaki), the organization was named the Japanese American Association of New York or "JAA".

 

Throughout its history, JAA has provided social welfare services to the Japanese and Japanese American community, through its network of dedicated volunteers. In 1994, with the construction of its new quarters on the eleventh floor of 15 West 44th Street, JAA has been able to expand its community activities, which among other things include free consultations on legal and health-medical matters, Keirokai (luncheon for over 100 seniors and lunch delivery to bed ridden seniors), Apple Kids Group activities for families with young children, classes on a variety of subjects and transmission of information for new comers and the general community. JAA also maintains archives of Japanese history in the New York area and provides over $40,000 of scholarship awards for graduating high school seniors and those in the music field. Recently, JAA organized the Committee on Aging Issues with the Consulate General of Japan in New York and other concerned organizations in the New York area for the purpose of researching and dealing with the increasing demands of the Japanese and Japanese American aging population.

 

Through these activities JAA hopes to continue to grow and serve the Japanese and Japanese American community as we face a new century of challenges.