Our instructors bring energy and excellence to every class we offer. From crafts to karate, fitness to food workshops, our professionals are fundamental members of our organization, and enhance the Center experience.  

 

Mark Frey

Kabuki Theatre Appreciation Class

Mark Frey developed a passion for Kabuki theatre and Japanese performing arts while living and working in Japan on the JET Program. Since returning to the Bay Area, he has been an active member of the San Mateo Japanese American Community Center’s Kabuki Kai. In 2010, he founded JETAANC Kabuki Club and has led classes in our community ever since to foster a love of Japanese performing arts. Join Mark for a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of these treasures of Japanese culture in a casual and fun atmosphere.  

Craig Hamakawa

Karate (Shorin Ryu style)

Craig Hamakawa (7th degree black belt) has practiced karate for 37 years and has been teaching for the past 31 years. He attained Shodan in 1973 and has taught in Hilo, Honolulu, Oregon, San Bruno, Millbrae and San Francisco. He is an instructor of the International Karate League (IKL), which is a non-profit organization based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. The IKL instructors do not teach for profit and encourage the development of the character of their students. The school motto: "Through honesty and sincerity you are free."

Kaeko Inori

Senior Chair Aerobics

Kaeko was born and raised in Nagoya, Japan.  She became an independent fitness instructor in 1983 and taught a variety of classes such as aerobic dance, jazz dance, step exercise, weight training in water aerobics in both Japan and America.  She graduated from San Diego Christian College with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology-Sports Medicine in 1999.  She moved to the bay area in 2000 and started teaching our Senior Chair Aerobics class.

Ko Ishikawa

Shamisen and Koto
Performing Names: Shamisen - Hidekyoharu Fujimoto, Koto - Kazuma Ishikawa

Bio

Ko Ishikawa (performing shamisen as Hidekyoharu Fujimoto and koto as Kazuma Ishikawa) is a koto and shamisen instructor in the Bay Area. She has performed in the Bay Area, throughout California, and in Japan. Ishikawa sensei’s mission is to epitomize the Japanese spirit and Japanese culture through Japanese music here in the Bay Area and United States. She hopes by using the music of the Koto or the Shamisen, she can soothe the hearts of listeners.

Musical Training:

Koto: Grand Master (Dai-Shihan 大師範) Kazuma Ishikawa
Ishikawa sensei started practicing Koto in Japan with different Koto schools such as Miyagi Ryu (宮城流)and Todo Ryu 当道流)where she received 2 certificates. Later she studied Koto with the Ikuta-Ryu Chikushi School located in Fukuoka, Japan and became Grand Master (Dai-Shihan). She is currently the director of Ishikawa Kazuma Kai, and has been teaching and performing Koto in the Bay Area, throughout California, and Japan. She has been participating in the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival as a koto player since 1990.

Shamisen: Master (Shihan 師範) Hidekyouharu Fujimoto
Ishikawa sensei performs shamisen under the name Kyoharu Fujimoto, as she began her shamisen studies with Fujimoto Shamisen School located in Tokyo, Japan. She received Master (Shihan) and has been performing and teaching Shamisen since. She is the director of Fujimoto Hidekyouharu Kai through which she teaches shamisen for hauta, zokkyoku, kouta, minyo, and sangen for jiuta.

Suekichi Terakado

Watercolor Painting

Suekichi Terakado is an Illustration alumni award winner who graduated from the Academy of Art University, illustration department. He's worked in an art studio for several years specializing in watercolor and continued to practice art in several other styles afterwards. Suekichi continues to take on a variety of jobs and likes to draw in his free time.

Rochelle Lum

Washi Ningyo

Bio

Rochelle Paula Lum, a native San Franciscan graduated in Theatre Arts with emphasis in scenic design and puppetry. She has traveled and lived abroad in Japan studying their folk art culture and theatrical arts (ie Kabuki and Bunraku). She worked /studied traditional Bunraku and modern puppet construction at a puppet company in Japan.

It was during a Cherry Blossom Festival 20 years ago that she saw a Washi Ningyo Japanese Paper Doll demonstration by instructor Yurie Nakamura and decided to learn the art from her. This eventually lead to team teaching the art with her.

There is a uniqueness to the art of Japanese Paper Doll making. One could learn Japanese history and culture through the making of a single doll and at the same time see how the paper/dolls come alive through simple hand manipulations. There is a certain unexplainable beauty in this process.

In order to keep, preserve and share the Japanese Art of Washi Ningyo, it needs to be shown and taught. The support of JCCCNC in the heart of Japantown has allowed this to happen.

Many who came to see or learn, are from different walks of life and places. They may live close or travel from afar. But all who cross this path will leave with a smile knowing they experienced something very special.

Darlene (Dar) Masamori

Line Dancing

Darlene Masamori started line dancing in 2010 and has never looked back.  In 2012, Dar as she likes to be called, started co-teaching a soul line dance class in San Francisco, CA, discovering her dedicated passion for the art. A part of the founding group of "Soul Inspired Line Dancers," Dar brings the spirit of step wherever she goes, from the five different soul line dance classes she teaches, the national workshops she attends and participates in, and now to our very own JCCCNC, carrying on the soul line dancing legacy of her mentor, and the Center's former instructor, Al Kitashima. 

Ruriko Miura

Chorale May/ Ensemble Shiki

Ruriko Miura received a B.A. and M.A in Music Education at Tokyo Gakugei University. Afterward, she taught music at a private Catholic girls’ school in Tokyo for many years. In 2000, she relocated to San Francisco. Fifteen years later, she is delighted to be involved with three local choirs Ensemble Shiki, Chorale May and San Francisco Forest Choir.

 

Ikebana at JCCCNC

Chizuko Nakamura

Ikebana

Chizuko Nakamura has taught Ikebana (flower arrangement) in the United States for over 30 years. She first learned Ikebana from her mother in Japan. After moving to the U.S. she learned the  Ikenobo style, which is the oldest school of Ikebana and the most well known in Northern California, from Tada Sensei. In addition, Nakamura Sensei took flower arrangement classes at the City College of San Francisco.  She recently started her Ikebana class at the JCCCNC several years ago. She loves flowers and goes to the flower market twice a week to get beautiful, fresh flowers for her class. She enjoys teaching Ikebana and hopes that more people become interested in Japanese culture through Ikebana.

Don Sadler

Ukulele

Bio

My interest in ʻukulele, Hawaiian music and culture began in the 90ʻs with visits to the islands. I began playing ʻukulele in 2002 and later discovered the ʻukulele classes at JCCCNC where I studied ʻukulele and Hawaiian music for over ten years. During that time I performed with the class at community events and festivals in the Bay Area and Hawaii and filled in as a substitute teacher when needed.

In January of 2013, I accepted the position as instructor for the ʻukulele program. Since then I have enjoyed teaching beginning and advanced ʻukulele classes at the Center and leading the class in performances throughout the Bay Area. I also enjoy teaching my “Ukulele 101” workshops for students just beginning their ʻukulele experience.

While Hawaiian music has remained my passion, I enjoy exploring other styles of music with the ʻukulele, sharing what I have learned with others and continuing to learn and grow as a musician myself. These are the things that keep me energized and committed to teaching ʻukulele at JCCCNC. 

Melody Takata

Taiko

Melody Takata has been playing taiko for 27 years. She honed her "Matsuri-Daiko" skills through rigorous training of Tokyo's renowned Sukeroku Taiko, with whom she studied and performed.

Rich Tokeshi

Beyond Basics Drawing

Rich was born and raised in Chicago right after WWII. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois and was one of the original artists who established the Japantown Art and Media (JAM) Workshop in 1977. At JAM, Rich learned the art of “Silkscreening,” now called “Screenprinting.” Since the late 70’s, Rich has designed, produced, and helped other artists produce hundreds of screenprinted posters and other forms of prints for community groups. Rich has also taught many classes in screenprinting.

Yurie Nakamura

Washi Ningyo

Yurie Nakamura learned the art of Washi Ningyo in Japan and she received her teaching certificate in Kyoto. She has been teaching for over 25 years at the JCCCNC and when she first came to the United States, she taught Washi Ningyo out of her home. Nakamura loves Washi Ningyo, she loves seeing people’s creativity and personality come out through their dolls. As she becomes more familiar with her students, she can pick out their dolls just based on their personality.

Katie Furukawa of Old River Design Co.

Sewing Workshop

Katie Furukawa (she/her) is a quilter, designer, and educator based out of San Francisco. An alumni of the Nikkei Community Internship program, she has remained active in various Japantown community activities since then. In 2022, Katie began her own handmade home goods business, Old River Design Co. You can see her work at www.oldriverdesign.co

 

Rei Den graduated from China Medical University in 1983 and worked as a pediatrician until moving to Japan in 1991 and in 2007 she received a Ph.D. at Osaka University. Rei taught Tai Chi for 17 years at  at Kinki Rehabilitation College in Japan from 2006 to 2023. Rei’s practice of Tai Chi is aligned with her approach to teaching the benefits of both Western and Eastern medicine.