JAMsj E-News
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
January 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 1
In This Issue
JAMsj Visionaries Gala
Dr. Gary Okihiro: Recovering Our Buried Past
JAMsj Construction Affected by State Budget Squeeze
Gala Keynote Speaker: Ko Nishimura
Volunteer Opportunities
Community Calendar
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
JAMsj Home Page
JAMsj Youth Page

Read about progress on the new JAMsj building and make comments on our blog

New on the JAMsj website
View Video Clips:


Photo: Gary Okihiro Interview

Dr. Gary Okihiro, a JAMsj founder, discusses the necessity of documenting the "intersections" between the Japanese American community and other communities. Click here to view the interview clip.
JAMsj Visionaries Gala: Honoring the Legacy

Photo: Murasaki Ensemble
Koto artist, Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, and members of the Murasaki Ensemble, will perform at the JAMsj Visionaries Gala

JAMsj Visionaries Gala:
Honoring the Legacy

6:00 pm, Saturday, February 7, 2009
Holiday Inn, San Jose
Event info and registration: Event website

On February 7, 2009, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj) will honor Jimi Yamaichi, Ken Iwagaki, Gary Okihiro, and the late Eiichi Sakauye -- visionaries who never gave up pursuing their dreams of building and expanding a museum that told the many stories of  triumph and tribulation within Santa Clara Valley's Japanese American community. Click on the event website link above for more information on the event.

This event will have some very unique items that will be auctioned off at this event:
  • A framed, autographed Brandi Chastain black sports bra and photograph. Local soccer hero, Brandi Chastain, kicked the winning goal at the 1999 World Cup and started an undergarment fashion craze.
  • Two 50 yard line tickets to a  SF 49er football game and tailgate party. The Uenaka's tailgate group was nominated by the 49ers for the "Best Tailgate Award". Donated by Paul and Norma Uenaka.
  • JAMsj "Behind The Scenes" Museum Curator Tour and Luncheon
  • Historic Japantown "Director's Tour" and Luncheon
  • Santa Clara University Soccer Camp.
  • JAMsj Hold'em Poker Tournament.
  • Collectible and cellar-worthy wines. Donated by Denise Kawahara Imahara.
  • Celebrity chefs, SakaBozzo, will cook and entertain you in your own home (8 guests).
A partial list of the auction items can be seen here. More details will follow.
A Salute to a JAMsj Visionary:  Dr. Gary Okihiro
Photo: Gary Okihiro

Dr. Gary Okihiro
Recovering Our Buried Past

By Will Kaku

Dr. Gary Okihiro

It all started with a conversation.
In the spring of 1983, Dr. Gary Okihiro, then the director of the Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Santa Clara, presented a paper on Japanese losses in California agriculture during World War II at a conference in Salt Lake City.  It just so happened that Okihiro's traveling companion to that conference was Eiichi Edward Sakauye, a San Jose farmer, local historian, and future founder of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose  (read the December '08 article on Eiichi Edward Sakauye here).

Sakauye and Okihiro spent several hours discussing Okihiro's paper, Sakauye's life experiences, and those of Japanese Americans farmers in Santa Clara Valley. Inspired by that conversation with Sakauye, Okihiro launched into a regional study of Japanese farmers in Santa Clara Valley, which eventually led to the seminal book "Japanese Legacy: Farming and Community Life in California's Santa Clara Valley." This book was the inspiration for the formation of JAMsj. 

Photo: Japanese Legacy Book

Japanese Legacy: Farming and Community Life in California's Santa Clara Valley was a groundbreaking study on the history of the Japanese farming community in the Santa Clara Valley from 1895 when the first agricultural laborers arrived, to 1945 when the first groups of Japanese Americans returned to the valley from wartime detention camps.

"Japanese Legacy was an idea that arose out of my own commitment to the Asian American community," Okihiro recalls. "The movement for ethnic studies during the late 1960's involved the idea of relevance. That is, education needed to be relevant to the lives of the people immediately around the university."    Read rest of article and view interview clips...

JAMsj Construction Affected by State Budget Squeeze
Photo: Museum Rendition


As you may know, the capital expansion project for JAMsj's new museum relies heavily on a $1M grant from the California Cultural and Historic Endowment (CCHE) program. The state budget crisis has forced a temporary suspension of bond sales, the pool of funds supporting CCHE. As a result, the state ordered a freeze on reimbursements for our construction costs
This action has severely impacted JAMsj's construction timeline. We have been notified that after bond sales resume, the freeze will be lifted.  Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when the freeze might be lifted. After careful analysis by representatives of the JAMsj board, Applegate Johnston Construction Co. executives and architects, a painful decision to temporarily halt construction was made.  For security measures, doors and windows will be installed to seal the building.
Please know that keeping you informed is a priority during this challenging time. We are committed to keeping you informed via special announcements, newsletters, eNews, and our web site. We are also maintaining close contact with CCHE (e.g, attending their board meetings and public hearings). As soon as funds from the State start flowing again, construction will resume. It is during such trying times that our spirit of "team" will get us through. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Gala Keynote Speaker: Ko Nishimura
Photo: Ko Nishimura
Ko Nishimura:
An Inspiration to All

By Doug Watanabe
Ko Nishimura, the former chairman, president and CEO of Solectron, will be giving the keynote address at the February 7th, JAMsj Visionaries Gala.

Former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built."
At a time when the headlines are filled with stories of executives whose enormous success turned into greed and corruption, Ko Nishimura personifies the opposite-class and character.
Nishimura was born in Los Angeles on August 31, 1938. He grew up in Pasadena, California, where his grandfather and father ran Fuji Nursery. 
In 1942, at the onset of World War II, Nishimura and his family were sent to an internment camp in Manzanar, California. Three years later, they returned to Pasadena. Having no place to go, they ended up living in the house of a close family friend. Read rest of article...

Volunteer Opportunities

VolunteersAs we get ready for our grand opening early next year, we will need many more volunteers to help with various activities. Help is desired in many different areas such as docenting, office and gift shop administration, IT, grant writing, exhibit and event preparation, videography, and facility maintenance, among other duties. Click here for more information on our exciting opportunities.

Museum Interior Display Construction: Are you handy with tools? We are currently looking for skilled volunteers who can help us build displays and exhibits for the new JAMsj.

Become a part of the JAMsj family as we enter this exciting period! Contact Reiko Itamura at ireiko@comcast.net or the JAMsj office at 408-294-3138.
Community Calendar
JAMsj Logo

Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)
535 North Fifth Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: 408-294-3138
Email: mail@jamsj.org