Since its inception, the JCCCNC has remained committed to the preservation and promotion of Japanese American cultural and historical heritage. The following page defines cultural heritage and describes its importance.


  • Culture is a group’s values, traditions, art, etc.
  • Heritage is a group’s history of their values, traditions, achievements, etc.
  • Cultural heritage is the expressive lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation

Cultural heritage is both tangible and intangible. Tangible elements include: art, memorabilia and artifacts, clothing, food, physical spaces, products, agriculture, landscapes, buildings, and photographs. Intangible elements of cultural heritage include: customs and traditions, values and beliefs, language, achievements, history, religion, activities, and skills.

Cultural heritage can only be successfully preserved if individuals value and subsequently transmit culture to the next generation. Cultural heritage is important because it is a core element of an individual’s identity. Additionally, it increases feelings of belonging and access to groups or communities; it preserves history and culture; and it is a direct connection to the past and an individual’s ancestors. When individuals enjoy, understand, value, and care about their cultural heritage, it can be passed on to other generations, allowing for its future observance and practice.

The Nikkei Photo Contest was born from the idea that cultural heritage requires sharing. Through the contest, the JCCCNC hopes to further its mission of preserving and promoting Japanese American cultural heritage.

The “Heritage Cycle,” originally created by Simon Thurley and developed by, represents the cycle of cultural heritage. The ”Heritage Cycle” outlines an integral piece of cultural heritage. It drives the point that heritage must be understood, valued, cared for, and enjoyed in order to be shared. The JCCCNC hopes to encourage individuals to explore their cultural heritage so that they may better understand, value, care, and enjoy it.