ECOPOCA (Ecopocalypse)

May 28th, 2019

June 15, 2019
5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Mission Cultural Center


ECOPOCA (Ecopocalypse) エコポカ is an art exhibition-event creating an intersection of two alternate realities- an advanced eco-future vs a nuclear apocalypse. The event takes place on June 15th from 5-9:30PM at the Mission Cultural Center, SF. ECOPOCA is short for Ecopocalypse and can be translated into Japanese as Eco=Ecological Poca=Blunder. The visual art, dance performance, eco-fashion, and panel discussion addresses our global ecological crisis, and traumas including the ongoing Fukushima nuclear issue. This event seeks to create a space for creative expression, alliance, cross-pollination of ideas, and healing to transmute these environmental traumas. We encourage artists and attendees alike to share their diverse backgrounds of eco-wisdom which will help us co-create our eco-future.

This showcase exhibition, produced by Nina Bazan-Sakamoto, features 22 artists of varied talents and backgrounds. Attendees will encounter visual and installation art, eco-fashion art, culinary and herbal art, dancers, musicians, and speakers. Participants originate from the local Bay Area to abroad including Japan.

The exhibition starts with an immersive experience of the space- a “ku-kan” of two very possible realities that we stand at the crux of today. This will then transition into the multi-media storytelling dance performance infused with projection art, augmented reality, and eco-fashion from a designer in Japan – the performance will take the audience through the journey of life on earth from birth to destruction and revival. After the dance, we will transition into a panel discussion involving key speakers sharing their experiences as environmental activists, and how they envision an eco-future. During the exhibit, one can enjoy Guam-Japanese fusion cuisine, and healthy herbal drinks.

ECOPOCA takes part in the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Centers’ (APICC) 22nd annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF), theme COLLECTIVE// MEMORIES – programming in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and is supported by San Francisco Arts Commission and SF Grants for the Arts.

Participating Artists Include:

Maya Fuji, Nina Bazan-Sakamoto, Fumika Okino, Yukiko Nagakura, Sasha Hippard, Tak Kogatch, Kana Koa Weaver, Marlo Zhang, Poliw.At, Missiah (Radhika Lynnette), Diamund White, Marissa Bergmann, Ayana Dance Arts, Original Man Group, Unity Lewis, Annakai Hayakawa, Krisha, Wiz Amulets, Mamasan’s Bistro, Plantric Love, Tomoko Momiyama and Eryn Kimura


ECOPOCA (Ecopocalypse) エコポカ is a part of the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Centers’ United States of Asia America Festival 2019 COLLECTIVE//MEMORIES

Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 at CAAM Fest 37

May 2nd, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 4:40 p.m.
Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Membership Benefit: Group Ticket Pricing

Limited tickets are available for Center members at our special group rate of $10.00.  Please call us at (415) 567-5505 to order your tickets.  Due to the timing of the screening, tickets must be picked up at the Center office (1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco).


About ALTERNATIVE FACTS: The Lies of Executive Order 9066

Filmmaker Jon Osaki traces the fraught racist history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans and untangles the intergenerational trauma of the decades-long redress movement. ALTERNATIVE FACTS: THE LIES OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 offers damning proof that the signing of Executive Order 9066 was the result of political pressure and fabricated evidence of espionage by Japanese Americans. Interviews with the family members of prominent political officials and unsung heroes of redress like Aiko Herzig Yoshinaga illuminate the racism, xenophobia and backhanded political maneuvering led to the forcible internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans.

Bookended by fiery youth testimony, particularly that of Mika Osaki, we bear witness to the rage that often remains unexpressed by previous generations. With nods to the present-day ban on travel to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, Jon Osaki makes a compelling case for solidarity and engagement in this deeply personal and political film. It won an Impact Docs Award and the Best Documentary award at the Political Edge Film Festival.

Preceded by Minidoka by Megumi Nishikura.

About CAAM Fest and CAAM:

CAAMFest, formerly the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF), celebrates the world’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian film, food, and music programs. Annually presenting over 120 works in the Bay Area, CAAMFest presents its 37th year from May 9-19, 2019. For more information, please visit

CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. CAAM does this by funding, producing, distributing, and exhibiting works in film, television, and digital media. For more information on CAAM, please visit


California Washoku Pop Up Meal Curated By Oji Restaurant To Benefit San Francisco Japantown Community Center

March 9th, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Haruka Roudebush, Programs Manager,
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California
1840 Sutter Street – San Francisco, CA  94115
(415) 567.5505 –

California Washoku Pop Up Meal Curated By Oji Restaurant To Benefit San Francisco Japantown Community Center

SAN FRANCISCO (March 7, 2019) – The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (the Center) in Japantown will host a special California Washoku cuisine pop up meal by chefs David Yoshimura and Casey Kusaka of Oji Restaurant on Sunday, March 31, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The pop up meal event by Oji is part of a series of pop up meals leading up to their official restaurant opening and features a tasting menu consisting of seven Washoku courses.

The menu of Oji’s California Washoku pop up meal reflects the culinary program envisioned for the future restaurant, offering a fine dining experience with Japanese Washoku cuisine as the focal point. The word Washoku in Japanese translates to “harmony of food” and is sometimes characterized as the “home cooking” of Japan. Washoku cuisine is steeped in fundamental principles that emphasize particular aspects of the food, including its color, taste, methods of preparation, senses invoked, and finally, respect for the food itself. The restaurant’s focus on Washoku style is an homage to the owners’ Japanese American heritage, with the added intent of creating a modern, Californian interpretation to the cuisine.  Oji hopes to appeal to the adaptive tastes of Bay Area diners with a tasting menu crafted to incorporate the best ingredients from their network of high-end local farms, fish purveyors and ranches. The restaurant’s beverage program will also include a meticulously curated list of iconic wines and sake to both complement and enhance the California Washoku experience. Chef and certified sommelier David Yoshimura explains, “The end goal is to open the first tasting menu Japanese restaurant not focused on sushi.”

Both Oji’s owners, Chef David Yoshimura and General Manager Casey Kusaka, bring to the table not only passion and talent, but the honed expertise and sensibilities that only hours in the kitchens of Michelin-rated restaurants can provide.

David is originally from Houston, Texas, where he inherited his passion for food from his mother. Upon completing training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, David staged abroad at notable restaurants including Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo and Asador Etxebarri in Spain. After returning to New York City, he worked at wd~50 until the restaurant’s closure, then followed up by joining the team at Californios in San Francisco, helping them obtain their first Michelin star within six months. David is currently Chef de Cuisine at the now two Michelin star-rated Californios.

Casey was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where family gatherings centered around food drove his early passion for food and beverage. Casey also studied at the Culinary Institute of America, then worked his way up the ranks in the kitchens of celebrity chef David Chang at Momofuku Noodle Bar, then transitioned to the service side of the industry at the one Michelin-starred Lincoln Ristorante. Casey later returned to the Momofuku food group as captain of their two-Michelin star location Momofuku Ko. After fulfilling his need for restaurant experience in New York City, Casey moved to San Francisco, where he currently works with David at Californios as the General Manager. Casey’s hope with the opening of Oji is to provide “something that truly speaks to my personal experience and to be able to share it with my guests.”

While Oji Restaurant’s Washoku cuisine pays respects to David and Casey’s roots, their decision to collaborate with the Center in San Francisco Japantown to host their pop up demonstrates their commitment to support the local community and spaces dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of Japanese and Japanese American culture. Since relocating to San Francisco, David and Casey have both also regularly volunteered their time at the Center through Kimochi Inc. senior service organization’s weekday meal program for seniors. Proceeds from ticket sales will be generously donated by Oji directly to the Center to support its ongoing programs and activities serving San Francisco’s Japantown community and beyond.

Tickets for the seven-course California Washoku pop up meal are $65 for Center members and $80 for the general public, and can be purchased in person at the Center or online at: Seating is limited to the first 40 individuals. For more information on Oji, please visit:


About the Center

Envisioned by the Japanese American community, the Center will be an everlasting foundation of our Japanese American ancestry, cultural heritage, histories and traditions. The Center strives to meet the evolving needs of the Japanese American community through programs, affordable services and facility usage. The Center is a non-profit community center based in San Francisco Japantown.

Japantown Peace Plaza Vision Plan – Community Meeting #2

October 11th, 2018

United for Compassion 2 – Thursday, August 9 at 7pm, Japantown Peace Plaza

August 8th, 2018

WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Japantown Peace Plaza, Post at Buchanan streets
“United For Compassion 2” is a Japantown community gathering to address family separations at the border and the Muslim ban, racial / religious scapegoating, among other issues.
Featuring: Multicultural & youth speakers / performances, a Wall of Compassion, Resources
Partial list of speakers include:
– California state Assemblymember Phil Ting
– Donald K. Tamaki, Korematsu coram nobis attorney / campaign
– Karen Korematsu
– Zahra Billoo, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
– Hiroshi Kashiwagi, former Tule Lake Segregation Center incarceree
– Satsuki Ina, former Tule Lake Segregation Center incarceree
– Amy Sueyoshi, San Francisco State University interim dean of Ethnic Studies and past Pride Parade Grand Marshal
– Rev. Jeanelle Ablola, Japanese American Religious Federation / Pine United Methodist Church

Performance by the Buffet Crew — Francis Wong (saxophone) and Yukiya Jerry Waki (spoken word)


• Japanese American Religious Federation • Japanese Community Youth Council • San Francisco JACL • Nichi Bei Foundation • Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California • National Japanese American Historical Society • API Legal Outreach • Tule Lake Committee • Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project • Campaign For Justice: Redress Now For Japanese Latin Americans! • Nakayoshi Young Professionals • Asian Improv aRts • Nikkei Resisters • Japantown Task Force, Inc. • Coram Nobis Legal Teams • campaign • Minami Tamaki LLP • Nihonmachi Street Fair • J-Sei • Sansei Legacy Project • Kimochi, Inc. (partial list)

Sponsored by:

• Japanese Community Youth Council • San Francisco chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League • Nichi Bei Foundation • Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California • Tule Lake Committee • Japantown Task Force, Inc. • Sansei Legacy Project


United For Compassion Consortium Statement

The United For Compassion Consortium and the San Francisco Japantown community stands in solidarity with those now being targeted nationwide by the rhetoric of hatred and racial and religious scapegoating.
Since before the 2016 elections, there had been a rise in incidences of hate throughout the country, which appear to be emboldened by the misogynistic, xenophobic and racist rhetoric of the Trump campaign. By the time the Japantown community held the first United For Compassion vigil against post-election hate two weeks after the elections on Nov. 22, 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center had documented more than 700 incidents since the elections alone, including physical assaults and racist vandalism.
Since that time, an anti-Muslim travel ban has been upheld by the Supreme Court using the same flawed logic which legalized the incarceration of Japanese Americans in 1944. Our worst fears have also been realized with the recent Executive Order which authorized the indefinite imprisonment of migrant families in detention centers across the country.
One site being considered as a potential detention facility for unaccompanied minors is adjacent to the former Rohwer concentration camp in southeast Arkansas, where the United States government incarcerated 8,000 Japanese Americans between 1942 and 1945.
According to a CNN report, some 430 parents from separated families were likely deported without their kids. Once they are located, the logistics of coordinating reunions could take months. There are currently 711 immigrant children from separated families who remain in custody.
As a community that knows all too well the effects of wartime hysteria, racial prejudice and the failure of political leadership, the Japanese American community responds, using our own experience as a stark reminder of the effects of the deprivation of civil liberties.
Seventy-seven years ago the FBI began arresting our Buddhist priests, Japanese Language School teachers and community leaders. Within two months the U.S. government began the mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast. This human tragedy and violation of constitutional rights is not what a Trump advisor stated as a “precedent” for a present-day “Muslim registry.” It was a grave injustice and grave mistake, for which the nation apologized.
As a community, Japanese Americans cannot be silent while groups are targeted and demonized in the same way that we once were. Now more than ever, our community must speak out for targeted communities.
In a show of unity, the Japanese American and Japantown community is taking a clear and unequivocal stand against hate, while addressing the fear that has shrouded our communities. We stand in solidarity for equality, equity, and freedom. We stand for the human spirit. We stand here United for Compassion.

CAAMFest 2018

May 3rd, 2018

The Center Co-Presents:

An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy

Dianne Fukami, USA, 2018, 60 mins

Join us for the World Premiere of Dianne Fukami’s newest documentary, which celebrates the rich life and career of Norman Y. Mineta, one of the most well-respected and influential Japanese American community leaders of our times. This powerful and inspirational portrait explores Mineta — from Japanese American incarceration as a child during World War II to being mayor of San Jose and serving as cabinet secretary under two presidents.


The Registry
SUN MAY 13 | AMC KABUKI 8 | 2:40 PM

Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone, USA, 2018, 57 mins

For the Japanese Americans who served in World War II, public acknowledgment of the vital roles they played has been long delayed. THE REGISTRY, a CAAM-funded film, chronicles the efforts of aging veterans to document the crucial work they performed as translators in the Pacific theater and the focal point that military service played in their identities. THE REGISTRY will be one of the last times that those who served in WWII will be able to connect with each other, as well as one of the last times we will directly hear the voices of those who served.

Closing Night Performance: Aunt Lily’s Flower Book by Brenda Wong Aoki

Acclaimed storyteller and Bay Area activist Brenda Wong Aoki presents AUNT LILY’S FLOWER BOOK: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LEGALIZED RACISM. A live performance set to music by Emmy Award-winning composer Mark Izu and koto master Shoko Hikage, Wong Aoki embodies multiple characters to take the audience through a tale of family secrets and resilience from the perspective of Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans. Combining both sides of the Wong Aoki and Izu family histories — from a grandfather who built the railroad to a father who served in and survived the 442nd during World War II — AUNT LILY’S FLOWER BOOK highlights the impact of residual trauma and the role that the arts play in healing.

March 11 Remembrance: Let’s Keep the Flowers Blooming

April 15th, 2014

flowers bloom imageOn March 11, 2014, we gathered to the remember the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and shared this video. Guest were asked to write a note of hope and friendship to the thousands in Northern Japan who are still working to rebuild their lives and communities. Click on the image to see the video that was shared at the event.