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Living Our Culture: Connections to Community

• The Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) held its signature fund raising event “Living Our Culture” on June 2 at the Floating World Gallery in Chicago. The event was intended to honor and promote living the values that JASC was founded on while celebrating and preserving the Japanese American (JA) Legacy.

• The participants enjoyed chattering with old friends and new acquaintances while they were munching on plenty of sushi and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The silent auction attracted their eyes looking for artworks, jewelries, vacations, sports memorabilia, antiques, collectibles, and more. They were also entertained by Tatsu Aoki and his friends’ Japanese flavored music. Besides, raffle drawings thrilled them to win $1,500 cash.

• The event title “Living Our Culture” means to create a new living culture by taking the gift of knowledge and traditions learned from previous JA generations while paying respect to the spirit of JA heritage. Each year the artists, performers, activists, and community members share their life’s work to exemplify JAs’ theme of creating a “living culture.

• Michael Takada, President of JASC, said that in its 70th year of service, the members of the organization were drawn to the concept of “kizuna”, which meant bond, tie, or connection. Their kizuna have been built upon providing social service and building community for a wide range of Chicagoans. JASC brings together the many different facets of JA community; sharing food culture, traditional music and performing arts, sports, and art to all who want to learn; and providing a lasting record for students, educators, and historians of an important part of the American experience.

• JASC’s Legacy Center exhibited copies of old community photos and gave them out to the visitors when they were requested. A copy from just after WWII said, “A range of new businesses would soon emerge throughout the Chicago landscape and cater not only to the Japanese American community, but the general populace at large. The Rainbow Food Market on 218 W. North Avenue was run by George Takaki, and represented this new postwar prosperity.”
• The Legacy Center’s collections are available by appointment free of charge. Contact 773-275-0097, ext. 222 or e-mail:

Michael Takada, CEO of JASC, speaks to the Audience.