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Yamaguchi Kenjinkai Kicks Off 2018

J.K. YAMAMOTO Rafu Shimpo

Top photo: Nanka Yamaguchi Kenjin Kai recognized members who are 80 and older, including one who is

100. Right: The 2018 officers are Richard Fukuhara, president; Florence Ochi, vice president; Aki Fukuhara-Vaughn,
secretary; Naomi Suenaka, treasurer. Left: Members drank a toast to the new year.

Nanka Yamaguchi Kenjinkai held its general meeting and Shinnen Enkai (New Year’s luncheon) on Feb.
25 at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.

Aki Fukuhara-Vaughn served as emcee and called for a silent tribute to members who have passed away
since the last meeting. Naomi Suenaka gave the treasurer’s report.

Following remarks by outgoing president Arturo Yoshimoto, the 2018 officers were introduced: Richard
Fukuhara, president; Florence Ochi, vice president (succeeding Millie Tani); Fukuhara-Vaughn and
Suenaka, continuing as secretary and treasurer.

Richard Fukuhara presented Yoshimoto with a plaque and praised him for his work on various events from
2015 to 2017, including the Yamaguchi Kenjinkai World Grand Meeting held in Los Angeles. Yoshimoto
was also involved in Fukuhara’s “An Afternoon of Peace” event at the Aratani Theatre.
Fukuhara, who previously served as president from 2012 to
2014, announced that the kenjinkai will hold its annual picnic in
June at George Elder Park in Monterey Park and will participate
in the Tanabata Festival in Little Tokyo in August.

William Christopher Ford, owner and chief instructor of Kaizen


Dojo in Torrance and a cast member of “The Karate Kid Part
III,” gave an Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate demonstration with
the assistance of two of his students, Kalia and Nevaeh. Ford,
who will celebrate 45 years of being a student of the martial arts
next year, is a kenjinkai member and the son of member Umeno
Ford, one of the afternoon’s senior honorees.

Past president Henry Yasuda (1997-1999) led the toast and past
president Rev. Kiyoshi Igawa of Konko Kyo (2000-2002), also a
senior honoree, gave the invocation.

Suenaka, who is also scholarship co-chair, announced that the


deadline for graduating high school seniors to apply is May 25.
She introduced 2010
recipient Ann Tani,
daughter of Millie and
Steven Tani, who is now a
graphic designer. There
was a video message from
2016 recipient Nicole
Oshima, granddaughter of
Henry and Helen Yasuda,
who is majoring in
communications and
Asian American studies at
UCLA and is a member of
the Nikkei Student Union.

Special recognition was


given to members who are
80 and older, including:
Ayako Fujita, Reijin
Fujita, Yasuko Katayama,
Kaiji Katsumoto, Toshiko Katsumoto, Yoshiko Kishimoto, Fujiko Matsubara, Masaki Matsubara, Yoshiko
Monji, Hideo Morikawa, Haruko Morikawa, Hisako Nagamine, Tomiko Nakata, Maurine Oban, Roy
Oban, Mitsuko Ono, Yae Tanaka, Mitsuko Yamamoto (who will soon be 101), Helen Yasuda and Henry
Yasuda. The gifts were created by Millie and Steven Tani.

Fukuhara gave a presentation on the history Nanka Yamaguchi Kenjinkai, which turns 113 this year, and
Fukuhara-Vaughn announced that members will attend the 2020 World Grand Meeting in Yamaguchi,
which will include participants from kenjinkai in the U.S., Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and China. She
introduced a new song for the occasion, “Yamaguchi Here We Come,” to tune of “California Here I
Come.”
The event closed with bingo, door prizes, and group singing of “Sukiyaki” (Ue o Muite Arukou).

For more information on the group, email Nanka.Yamaguchi.Kenjinkai@gmail.com or visit


http://yamaguchi-usa.org or “Yamaguchi Kenjinkai Los Angeles” on Facebook.