1942-1945: World War II Japanese Relocation Centers
During World War II, Japanese Americans were collected and removed from the west coast and interred in concentraion camps called relocation camps for three years during 1942-1945. Upon returning to the valley, they lived in trailer parks and tar paper houses located in a part of Burbank now called Sun Valley. The Pioneers raised $150,000 during this difficult period rebuilding their lives. Also, farmers donated their entire treasury to the project as it was clear that we needed to build a Community Center.
December 12, 1959: Official Dedication of SFVJACC
On December 12, 1959, the official dedication of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center took place upon completion of construction.
March 11, 2011: JET Yard Sale
On March 11, 2011, the young adults of the Center responded to the devastation by the Japan Earthquake Tsunami with a HUGE yard sale.
They inspired the rest of us to raise $110,000 for the hardest hit areas of northeast Japan and the orphans that were left behind.
2012: Nikkei Village Sold
Nikkei Village is a beautiful housing project on Laurel Canyon Blvd. where the elderly members and local community found a home near the Center. The Nikkei Village Board of Directors faithfully steered it for twenty eight years, It was sold in December 2012 to repay loans for the newer Nikkei Senior Gardens. The memory support unit at NSG is named in its honor.
May 5, 1959: Construction of SFVJACC
On May 5, 1959, work was started to build what is now the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center and was dedicated on December 12, 1959. The vision of a gathering place became a reality with the hard work of the Issei and Nisei, first and second generation. The Memorial Hall is now affectionately called the gym. Later in 1966, the Japanese Language institute dedicated eight classrooms.
2009: Nikkei Senior Gardens
In 2009, our newest project, Nikkei Senior Gardens, an assisted living facility, opened after a long struggle and is now vital with a robust waiting list.
January 27, 2012: Dr. Sanbo Sakaguchi Hall
On January 27, 2012, we named the Nikkei Pioneer Building hall the Dr. Sanbo Sakaguchi Hall to recognize a lifetime member that represents leadership and compassion through his service to the community as a healer by day and volunteering after hours helping SFV Judo Dojo and Bishop Alemany High School football. Dr. Sakaguchi's world was balanced with music, sport fishing, and more.
1997 - 2013 & Present:
In 1997, the Nikkei Pioneer Hall (a donation from Lockheed Martin) is now the "home away from home" for the seniors during the day, then bustles with activities at night with Zumba, ballroom dancing, Yoga, and Odori as well as parties, fundraisers, and New Year parties. The gym is utilized all day from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM by the SF Athletics, Ping Pong Club, and Ukelele groups. The annual Kohaku Judo Tournament is a tradition that is held each February.
The mission of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center is... To preserve the Japanese culture, and To promote the Japanese American experience through education, events, and activities for our community.