2019 Annual Meeting of the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago
• The Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago (JMAS) held its 2019 annual meeting on March 25 at the Japanese American Service Committee. Annual reports on finances, activities, developments and new regulations on plots and mausoleum in the Montrose Cemetery, community outreach, and future plans were presented.
• About 300 Japanese were living in Chicago in the 1930s
and faced problems when it came to burying the deceased. Many of the individuals,
such as those working in restaurants, died single, with no money and no
relatives. As of 1934, about 50 people had died over the past 15 years,
40 of whom had no relatives and were buried through donations made by
• With its slogan “Embracing our Legacy and Building our Future”, JMAS has actively served the community. JMAS President Gary Shimomura reported its activities in 2018. It hosted a memorial service at the Montrose Cemetery on Memorial Day, offered scholarships for young students, grant money for JA organizations, participated in the JA/Japanese picnic, Japan Festival, Day of Remembrance, Asian American Coalition of Chicago’s Lunar New Year Celebration, and helped Japan Bowl, an educational program for American Students. JMAS also held four seminars and served obento boxes for seniors who live on his/her own.
• All services JMAS offers are posted in its website,
http://jmaschicago.org, from its comprehensive history, Montrose Cemetery,
Mausoleum, and all the services.
• Urns that have been storage in the mausoleum will become
permanent storage as of June 1, 2019 due to changes in the Illinois law.
If a family of urns plan to remove them and bury them elsewhere, the family
have to remove them before June 1; otherwise, the family has to submit
official papers. There are 253 urns in the mausoleum, and JMAS recognized
29 families of urn owners and sent out a notice.
Prices of plot
• When 2018 fiscal year started, JMAS possessed 190 plots
in Oakhill Annex, and 112 plots were sold by the end of December, 2018
at the price of $350 per plot. The price was increased to $1,000 on January
1, 2019 due to a significant gap to the market price. For example, Montrose
Cemetery sells a plot at $1,800.
• Bryan Funai spoke about a community-outreach program
participating in the Project 120. It was designed to dedicate not only
inside of JA community but also the Chicago community as a whole.
• JMAS will host seminars on “Hospice and Palliative
Care”. Susan Uehara Rakstang explained that it would be very educational
to understand what hospice and palliative care including financial aspects
of the service.
• 2019 Board Members of Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago
• President, Gary Shimomura; Treasurer, Ruth Adaniya
Kane; Secretary, Ron Yoshino; Executive Director,
2019 annual meeting of the Japanese Mutual Aid of Society Chicago
The Montrose Cemetery
The mausoleum built in 1937 and has now more than 250 storages of urns.
2019 Board Members of the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago