2018 Berkeley JACL Pioneer Award Recipient Lee “Cubby” Nakamura

Lee Nakamura, a native son of Berkeley who is better known by those close to him as “Cubby”, is the Berkeley Chapter’s recipient of its 2018 Pioneer Award. The Chapter is proud to recognize Cubby for his long time service to the East Bay community and to the JACL. Cubby is the co owner of the Tokyo Fish Market, 1220 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. Tokyo Fish is an East Bay institution with a large number of loyal customers who shop there for fresh sushi grade fish, rice, soy sauce, and many other Japanese food staples.

Born and raised in the Berkeley area, Cubby participated in many sports programs as a youth and enjoyed his time with the Berkeley Bears local basketball and baseball teams. He graduated from Berkeley High School and SF City College where he earned his degree in Culinary Arts.

Cubby’s culinary interests began at the early age of 14 where he was a dishwasher at Toraya Restaurant in Albany. He became a manager at the Toraya. He moved on to co-manage the seafood department at Berkeley Bowl Market for over 8 years. He was also the co-owner of Osumo Restaurant in Oakland. In 1988 Cubby joined forces with his current business partner, Larry Fujita, at Tokyo Fish Market. Established in 1963 by his partner’s parents, Isamu and Tazuye Fujita, Tokyo Fish is a fixture in the East Bay and is a popular place to shop for both Asian and nonAsian customers who enjoy Japanese food. Cubby’s specialty is in the buying and stocking of seafood where the store merchandises more than 100 kinds of fish including bluefin tuna from Japan, farmed salmon from Scotland, and halibut. The store also stocks a wide variety of Asian condiments, noodles, rice, Japanese snacks and candies, sake, bento boxes, and sushi.

From the time he started working, Cubby has had a passion to work with youth. He functions as a mentor to the youth and supports the local community. Indeed, many local organizations have benefited from Cubby’s generous contributions and support of local community activities. Cubby is married to Cathy, and they have two sons, Andrew and Ryan, both of whom have played team sports and work in the family business.

CJACLC Awarded a $1,000 Berkeley JACL Grant

The Berkley JACL chapter recently approved and funded a grant in the sum of $1,000 to the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (“CJACLC”) from the Chapter’s Endowment Fund.

The Berkeley Endowment Fund is administered by the Board of Directors to support community-oriented projects or programs that further the aims of the JACL.

With these objectives, the Chapter funded this grant to CJACLC to further its internship program aimed at developing leadership in young Nikkei students.

Berkeley JACL Response to Charlottesville

The Berkeley JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) deplores the actions of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville. Their message of hate and racial prejudice has no place in today’s discourse and we, as an organization, will not stay silent and allow this message to go unchallenged. We also denounce the president’s statements on Tuesday, August 15, which suggest moral equivalency between the white supremacist protestors and the counter protestors. We join all those who support America’s steadfast values of justice, equality, and democracy.

With the upcoming protests in San Francisco’s Crissy Field and at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, we hope these demonstrations will be peaceful and there will be no more tragic loss of life. Our thoughts go out to the family of Heather Heyer and all the victims of the terrible attack that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend. We must all unite to condemn this senseless tragedy and stand up for our community and our values.

Berkeley JACL Attends JACL’s National 2017 Convention

This year, Berkeley JACL sent 5 members to the national convention in Washington, D.C.  Attending this year are the Berkeley chapter co-presidents Jim Duff and Beth Uno, civil rights chair Tiffany Ikeda, and youth delegate Amelia Huster.

Photo of Berkeley JACL members in our chapter t-shirts
From left to right: Val Yasukochi, Amelia Huster, Tiffany Ikeda, Jim Duff, Beth Uno


photo of Berkeley JACL members at the Smithsonian Museum of National History
From left to right: Tiffany Ikeda, Jim Duff, Amelia Huster, Val Yasukochi, Beth Uno

Baseball, Bento, and Bombs Bursting in the Air: A’s vs. Orioles

The 14th Annual Berkeley JACL Baseball and Bento event will take place on Saturday August 12, 2017 at 6pm, when the Oakland A’s play the Baltimore Orioles!

In addition to plaza infield seats, a delicious bento dinner and a bottle of water, there will be a fireworks show!  All this for only $42!

We only reserved 75 tickets for this popular event. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 15, 2017.

Berkeley JACL Celebrates Unsung Hero Ron Tanaka

On April 22, 2017, the Berkeley Chapter celebrated Ron Tanaka as our chapter unsung hero at the JACL NCWNP District Awards Banquet and Celebration in Danville.  Ron Tanaka is the chair and driving force behind Berkeley JACL’s robust scholarship program, which this year awarded 12 scholarships for incoming college freshmen.

Thank you Ron for your contribution!

Read more about the Gala here

Endowment Fund Grant Applications

The Berkeley JACL is currently seeking and accepting Endowment Fund Grant applications. The purpose of the Endowment Fund is to support Japanese American community-oriented projects or programs that further the aims or purposes of the Chapter.

The Chapter goals encompass and embrace upholding human and civil rights of Japanese Americans and all other people, promoting understanding, respect, and appreciation of all cultures, and include strengthening community ties and fostering coalitions with other groups with similar interest as the Chapter.

Applications should be submitted by April 15, 2017. Grants up to $2,000 may be awarded

Berkeley JACL Honors 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Berkeley JACL paid tribute to its scholarship recipients and Pioneer Award honorees at a luncheon on April 30. Pictured are (seated, from left) Junko Taniguchi, Courtney Tamaki, Kelsey Hirota, Rachel Hirota, Martha Castro and Kyra Kawamoto and (standing, from left) Carolyn Adams, Reiko Nabeta, Jonathan Shindo, Mia Li, Cailyn Sakurai, Toshio Steimetz, Amelia Huster, Hope Fa-Kaji, George Kono, Al Satake and Ranko Yamada.

Courtesy of the Pacific Citizen May 5-18, 2017 Issue

The Berkeley JACL chapter awarded scholarships to 12 high school seniors and presented Pioneer Awards to Al Satake and Ranko Yamada during its April 30 awards luncheon held at Richmond Country Club in Richmond, Calif.

The chapter awarded scholarships to 12 high school seniors based upon their academic achievements, community involvement, school activities, work history, JACL involvement, written essay, letter of recommendation and group interview.

This year’s scholarship recipients are:

Martha Castro (College Prep High School) will attend Pomona College and major in molecular biology. She is also the recipient of the Dan/Kathleen Date Memorial Scholarship.

Hope Fa-Kaji (Berkeley High School) will attend Rice University and major in mechanical engineering.

Kelsey Hirota (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, San Diego, as a computer science major.

Rachel Hirota (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Davis, as an animal sciences major. She is also the recipient of the Carolyn Adams Family Scholarship.

Amelia Huster (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, as an undeclared major.

Kyra Kawamoto (Albany High School) will attend the University of Hawaii as a marine biology major.

Mia Li (College Park High School) will attend Seattle University and major in international business.

Akira Roueche (Berkeley High School) will attend California State University, Fullerton, and major in kinesiology.

Cailyn Sakurai (El Cerrito High School) will attend Chapman University as a biological science major.

Toshio Steimetz (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, as an undeclared major.

Courtney Tamaki (Albany High School) will attend the University of California, Berkeley, as a genetic/genomic development major. She is also the recipient of the Terry Yamashita Memorial Scholarship.

Junko Taniguchi (Lowell High School) will attend Smith College as an undeclared major. She is also the recipient of the Bea Kono Memorial Scholarship.

Also during the awards luncheon, the chapter honored Al Satake and Ranko Yamada with its Pioneer Award, which recognizes those with the vision, compassion and energy to lay a foundation for building the Japanese American community into the active and vibrant one we share today, as well as linking past leaders with our future leaders.

In addition, the chapter recognized longtime major sponsors Union Bank (Dimitry Bokman), Wells Fargo Bank (Vance Oishi/Jonathan Shindo) and memorial scholarship donors from the Beatrice Kono family (George Kono), the Terry Yamashita family (Reiko Nabeta), the Dan/Kathleen Date family (Gail Yamamoto) and the Carolyn Adams Family.

Members of this year’s scholarship committee were Mark Fujikawa, Tiffany Ikeda, Lindsey Kuwahara, Vera Kawamura, Neal Ouye, Al Satake, Sharron Sue and Chair Ron Tanaka.

Berkeley Post-Election Statement

In the wake of a divisive election season, many members of the community are filled with fear and apprehension of the uncertain times ahead.  The rhetoric of this past election has empowered certain individuals to act in accordance with their racist, homophobic, and Islamophobic beliefs. Since the November election, police and advocacy groups reported an increase in violent attacks based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. The Berkeley JACL will not stand idly by or remain silent while members of our community are targeted as victims of violence based on the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their gender identity, or who they love.  We will not allow these types of racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic, sentiments to be normalized and refuse to accept policies or political rhetoric promoting an agenda of hate and exclusion.

The mission of the Berkeley JACL includes upholding the human and civil rights of all people by strengthening community ties, fostering coalitions, and promoting understanding, respect and appreciation of the rich diversity and contributions of all cultures.  As a chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest Asian-American civil rights organization, the Berkeley JACL stands in a unique position to speak out for the rights of others.  The Japanese American experience is one stained by bigotry and fear when over 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly imprisoned in government-operated concentration camps during World War II solely because of their Japanese ancestry.  In present times, this same bigotry and fear has found a new target in the Muslim American community.  While the target has shifted, we recognize the same sentiments calling for the derogation and segregation of those seen by a wider American audience as the other—groups such as Muslim Americans, immigrants, and the LGBTQ communities.

The Berkeley JACL stands in solidarity with all groups seeking to build a stronger, more inclusive America built on the belief that diversity of experience is what makes America truly great.