As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your support this year, and every year since we began this journey 13 years ago at the Keiro Retirement Home in Los Angeles.
Our mission then, as it remains today, has been to honor and to show our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to our Issei and Nisei generations for the suffering and sacrifices they have made so that we, the younger generations, could live a better life in America.
In 2015 and beyond, our mission will remain the same but our focus will be changing. As the Nisei generation passes the torch to the Sansei, Yonsei, Gosei and Hapa our shows will focus on educating these younger generations so they can understand their family and community history, learn about who they are and where they come from.
Moving forward, I wanted to give you a preview of the four areas we will be focusing on to carry out our mission:
Our “Momotaro Stories and Book Songs” program is our way of passing on the classic Japanese children’s stories that were brought over by the Issei and told to us by the Nisei. Geared for young families with children, we have found that this show has a universal appeal for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. Therefore, our goal is to expand our performances outside of our community so we can share the Japanese culture with a broader American audience. The “book songs” in the show also encourage reading and children’s literacy.
For the Sansei, Yonsei and Hapa, specific shows we do will be geared more from their point of view. Our role in these shows is to help “fill in the blanks” left by the silence of their parents and grandparents. A new play currently in development starts with a Sansei brother and sister facing the overwhelming task of cleaning out the family garage after their parents have passed. Through the spirit voices of their mom and dad, they will learn why their parents insisted on saving dozens of tofu containers, kamaboko boards and paper bags (among many other things.)
Due to health reasons, many older Nisei are not able to attend our programs anymore, but we will continue to serve them by performing at places where they are such as retirement, assisted living and nursing homes. And for those still able to attend our shows, we’ll continue to produce works that they will enjoy. One such show is our upcoming tribute to the legendary Misora Hibari, where we will tell her story and sing some her most famous and popular songs.
With the overwhelming success and response to our 2014 Goodwill Tour and “Playground of Hope” fundraising campaign, our plan is to continue our efforts to support the people of Tohoku and Hiroshima. As Japanese Americans, we have realized the importance for us to connect to our roots and our focus on Japan is part of this effort. We also know that the Issei and Nisei have a long history of supporting the Japanese people during times of great need, and our efforts there are a continuation of this tradition. And since many of us have roots and family in Hiroshima, we will also continue to promote peace so that what happened to our families in America and Japan during WWII will not be repeated ever again.¯
How You Can Help
As we move into the future, our mission will be to share the stories of our Issei and Nisei with the younger generations and with the larger American and Japanese societies. We do indeed walk on the shoulders of giants, and we have made it our mission to share their stories so that future generations can gain strength and inspiration from the Issei and Nisei who have come before them. But for us to keep these stories alive, we need your help. Your tax deductible donation of any amount will allow us to keep our history and the legacy of our pioneers alive today and for generations to come. Our brand new Pay Pal account has been set up on our website for your convenience. Please consider a gift today, “for the sake of the children” of our future.
I thank you once again for your support. Please know it is truly appreciated. Best wishes for a joyous and healthy Holiday Season and a
Happy New Year.
Co-Founder, Executive Producer
P.S. To make a donation, please go to "Support Us" on this website.