History of VJAMM Committee

March 24, 2010 at Venice High School                                                                                                                      

20100324_1268 March 24, 2010 at VHS

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Suzanne Thompson, Venice Arts Council;  Fred Hoshiyama, Venice Culver Japanese American Citizens League;      Don Geagan, Free Venice Beachhead; Emily Winters, Venice Arts Council; Phyllis Hayashibara, Venice High School Social Studies teacher

Emily Winters of the Venice Arts Council requested the first meeting on March 24, 2010.  Emily had read in the June 2009 Free Venice Beachhead Venice High School students’ letters to then-Los Angeles City Councilmember  Bill Rosendahl, 11th District.  The letters urged Rosendahl to lend his support for a permanent marker on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln Boulevards, to commemorate the spot where some 1,000 persons of Japanese ancestry reported, with only what they could carry, for transport to what would become the War Relocation Authority camp at Manzanar.  The Beachhead identified Phyllis Hayashibara as the teacher of the students who wrote the letters to Rosendahl, and Emily contacted Phyllis for the first meeting of what would be called the Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker Committee.

 

April 20, 2010 at Venice High School                                                                                                                         

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Suzanne Thompson, VAC; Alice Stek, Venice Peace and Freedom Party; Phyllis Hayashibara, Venice HS teacher ;    Yosh Tomita, interned at Manzanar; Sam Shimoguchi, Japanese American Korean War Veterans; Arnold Maeda, interned at Manzanar, Friends of Manzanar; Fred Hoshiyama, Venice Culver JACL; Jim Smith, Free Venice Beachhead

Sam Shimoguchi of the Japanese American Korean War Veterans let the VJAMM Committee know that the cost of maintenance of the Memorial Marker must be considered.  It costs approximately $20,000.00 a year to maintain the National Japanese American Veterans Memorial Court at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo.  Maintenance includes electrical lighting in addition to keeping the black granite clean and the area free of debris.

 

June 15, 2010 at Venice Neighborhood Council meeting

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Scott Pine, Venice High School; Bill Rosendahl, LA City Council, 11th District; Yosh Tomita, Arnold Maeda, Emily Winters, and Phyllis Hayashibara of the VJAMM Committee

The VNC voted unanimously to support VJAMM’s efforts to erect a memorial marker on the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln, after presentations by Phyllis Hayashibara, Arnold Maeda, Scott Pine, Alice Stek, and Emily Winters.  On May 24, 2011, the VNC voted to increase funding for VJAMM’s Community Improvement Project from $500 to $1,300 after Community Officer Ira Koslov’s motion to increase VJAMM funding passed.

 

November 9, 2010 at Venice High School

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John Marumoto, from Terminal Island to Manzanar; Bill Sudo, interned at Amache, Colorado; Alice Stek, Venice Peace and Freedom Party; Linda MacKenzie, JA basketball mom; Jim Smith, Free Venice Beachhhead; Nikki Gilbert, Venice HS Alumni Association; Suzanne Thompson, VAC; Corey Watkins-Suzuki, VJCC Eagle Scout; Yuriko Uematsu Etue, artist; Arnold Maeda, Friends of Manzanar; Don Geagan, Free Venice Beachhead; Emily Winters, VAC; Phyllis Hayashibara, Venice HS teacher.

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Yuriko Uematsu Etue designed “9066” in commemoration of the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.  Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan,  Yuriko first learned of the JA internment when she visited the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. She has exhibited her model in Los Angeles and in Glendale, and has been looking for a locale to build the sculpture for the past eight years.  In “9066,” four silhouettes of two adults and two children stand, each carrying one suitcases or bag, on what looks like a wooden platform.

 

December 10 – 11, 2010 at Beyond Baroque

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Bruce Kaji, co-founder of Japanese American National Museum; Patricia Wakida, JANM curator; Phyllis Hayashibara, VJAMM; Doug Messerli, Sun and Moon Press publisher of “May Sky”

Nikki Gilbert designed the 4′ x 8′ VJAMM banner, and Beyond Baroque Technical Director Jim Fleck displayed the banner for the first time.  Friday, December 10, Reverend John Iwohara and Emily Kariya of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple read haiku in Japanese from “May Sky: There is Always Tomorrow,” with English translations read by poets Eliose Klein Healy, Richard Modiano, and Amy Uyematsu.   Internees at Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas composed the haiku, compiled by Violet de Cristoforo, and published by Doug Messerli of Sun and Moon Press.  Saturday, December 11, panelists discussed the Japanese American National Museum,  Japanese American internment haiku, Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker, and publication of “May Sky”: Bruce Kaji, Patricia Wakida, Phyllis Hayashibara, Doug Messerli.

 

February 22, 2011 at Venice High School

20110222_4036 Feb 22, 2011 at VHS

Emily Winters, VAC; Brian Maeda, Manzanar Committee;  Suzanne Thompson, VAC;  Arnold Maeda, interned in Manzanar, Friends of Manzanar; Mae Kakehashi, interned in Manzanar; Phyllis Hayashibara, Venice HS teacher; Don Geagan, Free Venice Beachhead

The VJAMM Committee continued to meet monthly after school on Tuesdays in Room 133 of Cunningham Hall, where Phyllis Hayashibara taught   U. S. History and World History at Venice High School.

 

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Marc Salvatierra, Venice Historical Society

Marc Salvatierra conducted research in the microfiche files at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, and brought back many records of local newspapers in the Venice and Santa Monica area, reporting before, during, and after the April 1942 forced removal and incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry.

 

April 25, 2011 on the northeast corner of Venice and Lincoln

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, 11th District, emceed the symbolic “ground breaking” ceremony, and posed with VJAMM Committee members, former Manzanar internees, and students from Venice High School with their Japanese American internment haiku posters.

Councilmember Bill Rosendahl announced his pledge of $5,000 to the VJAMM Committee and presented a giant fascimile check to VJAMM Committee members.

June 11, 2011 at Venice High School Centennial Celebration

20110626_5173 June 25, 2011 at VHS

Jim Smith, Don Geagan, and Alice Stek of the Free Venice Beachhead, the Venice Peace and Freedom Party, and the VJAMM Committee

VJAMM Committee members, including Phyllis Hayashibara, Arnold Maeda, Suzanne Thompson, Yosh Tomita, and Emily Winters also staffed the VJAMM informational booth and distributed VJAMM flyers and postcards to visitors.

 

September 27, 2011 on the Northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln

20110927_5473 Sept 27, 2011 onsite

Arnold Maeda, Don Geagan, Mae Kakehashi, Alice Stek, Nikki Gilbert, Emily Winters, Brian Maeda

The VJAMM Committee meets at the future site of the Memorial Marker with a full-scale model of the proposed desk top design in cardboard.  Emily Winters and Kay Brown designed this marker and the cardboard model, a taller version of the shorter first design.

 

September 30, 2011 on the Northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln

photo(5) Sept 30,2011 with Grace and John Scherrer

Mae Kakehashi, Suzanne Thompson, Emily Winters, Grace Scherrer, Phyllis Hayashibara, John Scherrer

VJAMM Committee members arrange to meet the owners of the property adjacent to the proposed installation site, Grace Scherrer and her son, John Scherrer.  The Scherrer Trust leases the property to Steve Spunt, who operates the Beach Cities Carwash on their property.  Both the Scherrers  and Spunt made significant contributions for the VJAMM.  Grace Scherrer created art work for the silent auction at the VJAMM Fundraiser at Beyond Baroque, October 29, 2011.  The desk top model of the VJAMM, of concrete with bronze plaque, eventually gave way to the 9′ 6″ tall solid black granite obelisk design with the 3′ x 3′ base, with engraved lettering and a ceramic photograph, beginning with a vote of VJAMM Committee members at the VJAMM Committee meeting in February 2012.

 

October 29, 2011 at Beyond Baroque

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Emily Winters; Steve Clare, Executive Director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation; Suzanne Thompson

The VJAMM Benefit at Beyond Baroque screened Brian Maeda’s “Music Man of Manzanar,” about educator Lou Frizzell; John Esaki’s “Stand Up for Justice: the Ralph Lazo Story”; and Steven Okazaki’s “Days of Waiting,” about artist Estelle Ishigo.  The VIP Reception, silent auction of donated artwork, raffle of donated door prizes, and DVDs with donations, raised $10,001.00!  The VCHC will become the fiscal sponsor of the VJAMM Committee, allowing VJAMM to apply for grants available to non-profit community organizations.

 

March 24, 2012 in Joe Belli’s workshop

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Darren Noriyuki, Phyllis Hayashibara, Kay Brown, and Emily Winters

Joe Belli and Eric Schmid of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple built the steel frame for the VJAMM full-scale model in February, 2012.  Carpenter Joe cut the plywood to sheath the frame, and Phyllis and Emily helped screw the sheets into the metal in March, 2012.  Darren and Dustin Noriyuki sanded and primed the plywood; and Kay, Emily, and Phyllis helped paint the model black, also in March, 2012.  Jose of Fast Signs expertly adhered the lettering and images to the VJAMM model in April, 2012, just in time for the model’s “unveiling” at the April 25, 2012 Seventieth Anniversary of the start of the force removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

 

April 25, 2012 at the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln, and at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice

YoVenice7114232931_390d8b7fbb_b April 25, 2012

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Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, 11th District; VJAMM Committee members; forme Manzanar internees; Stephanie Romero of the office of State Assemblymember Betsy Butler, 53rd District; and Les Inafuku, Superintendent of Manzanar Historic Site

The VJAMM Committee commemorated the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the forced removal of persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast and into eight Department of Justice camps in Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas; or the ten War Relocation Authority camps in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming, of which Manzanar was the first to be completed, partially by Japanese American volunteers.  For the first time, the VJAMM full-scale model is “unveiled” to the public.

The VJAMM Committee held what would become its first annual fundraiser at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice.  Suzanne Thompson approached proprietor Esther Chaing, who agreed to donate 100% of the bento profits at lunch and 10% of the dinner sales to the VJAMM Committee.   Artwork curated by the Venice Arts Council would be displayed at Hama Sushi for sale, and a portion of the proceeds would also be donated to the VJAMM Committee.     Sold 92 pre-ordered bento at lunch!

 

April 28, 2012 at the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage

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Cheryl Sawyer, Phyllis Hayashibara, Arnold Maeda, Mae Kakehashi,  Alice Stek, and Emily Winters met Brian Maeda at the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage.

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“Monument to Console the Dead” built in 1943 by Manzanar incarcees, inspired the VJAMM obelisk.

 

August 13, 2012 at 72nd Annual Nisei Week Foundation Dinner at Double Tree Hilton in Little Tokyo

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VJAMM Committee members (back) Arnold Maeda, Mae Kakehashi, Aya Masada, Phyllis Hayashibara, Nikki Gilbert, Brian Maeda, Suzanne Thompson, Emily Winters, (front) Alice Stek, and Kay Brown share the dinner table with Name and Name,  as invited guests of Mae, sister of Mary Nomura, Songbird of Manzanar and 2012 Nisei Week Parade Marshal.

 

April 25, 2013 at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice

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LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, 11th District, with Scott Pine, Santa Monica College; Aya Masada and June Fujioka, VEnice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, Nikki Gilbert, VJAMM Committee

Bill presented Hama Sushi Restaurant proprietor with Los Angeles City Certificates of Appreciation, and VJAMM Committee member Phyllis Hayashibara with a half dozen eggs from Bill’s backyard chickens.  Sold 189 pre-ordered bento at lunch!

 

May 26, 2013 at the Venice Japanese Community Center

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Mae Kakehashi with 90th Birthday Resolution from the City of Los Angeles

Mae Kakehashi celebrated her 90th birthday with scores of friends and relatives at the VJCC.  At the request of the VJAMM Committee, Marc Antonio Grant, Special Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, 11th District, presented Mae with this Los Angeles City Resolution.

 

September 7, 2013 Constitution Day Conference for Educators at Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley

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Kathy Masaoka and Suzy Katsuda of Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress; Brian Maeda and Phyllis Hayashibara of the VJAMM Committee

NCRR presented “Stand Up for Justice: the Ralph Lazo Story,” an interactive lesson with complete teacher’s guide and DVD for 53 workshop participants.  Teachers also received one of the following DVDs, courtesy of the educational outreach component of the VJAMM grant from the National Park Service Japanese American Internment Sites grant program: John Korty’s “Farewell to Manzanar,” based on Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston’s memoir; Brian Maeda’s “Music Man of Manzanar,” about drama and music teacher Lou Frizzell;  or Steven Okazaki’s “Days of Waiting,” about artist Estelle Ishigo in Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

 

September 29, 2013 VJAMM at Abbott Kinney Festival

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VJAMM displays new posters and distributes new  flyers and postcards to visitors to the booth VJAMM shares with the Venice Arts Council and Beyond Baroque.   Free Venice Beachhead and Venice Peace and Freedom Party also made room in their booths for VJAMM materials.

 

March 2, 2014 at Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple

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Arnold Maeda, interned at Manzanar; Bill Nishimura, interned at Tule Lake Segregation Center; Hank Iwamoto, self-exiled to Colorado and Oklahoma; Brian Maeda, born in Manzanar

The VJAMM Committee co-hosted with the Buddhist Education Committee of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, the fourth and final session of the 2014 Film Festival, with the theme of “exile.”  Films screened included “Of Civil Rights and Wrong: the Fred Korematsu Story,” Brian Maeda’s “Music Man of Manzanar,” about music and drama teacher Lou Frizzell; and the trailer for Brian Maeda’s work in progress, “We Said NO NO,” about the Tule Lake Segregation Center.  Panelists shared their wartime experiences with “exile” and incarceration.

 

April 23, 2014 at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice

by Len Nguyen - Brian, Emily, Phyllis, Len, Arnold

Brian Maeda, Emily Winters, Phyllis Hayashibara, Len Nguyen, Arnold Maeda

Len Nguyen, Senior Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, 11th District, presented the VJAMM Committee with Bonin’s pledge of $5,000.  VJAMM hosted the 3rd annual fundraiser at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice, and sold 204 pre-ordered bento at lunch!

 

May 20, 2014 at Palms Court

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Len Nguyen, Senior Field Deputy for LACity Councilmember Mike Bonin’s 11th District Office; Brian Maeda, Mae Kakehashi, Yosh Tomita, Emily Winters, Nikki Gilbert, California State Senator Ted Lieu, 28th District; Alice Stek, Phyllis Hayashibara, Suzanne Thompson, Arnold Maeda

California State Senator Ted Lieu, 28th District, presented his $5,000.00 donation check to the VJAMM Committee at the May 20, 2015 VJAMM Committee meeting at Palms Court.  Lieu’s Senior Field Deputy, Melissa Ramoso, had represented and spoken for Lieu at the VJAMM Fundraiser at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice on April 23, 2014. Ramoso telephoned the very next day with news of Lieu’s donation to the VJAMM Committee, and made arrangements for an historic photo opportunity, with all VJAMM Committee members in attendance.

 

August 21, 2014 at the Cultural Affairs Commission meeting at the Department of Cultural Affairs

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Phyllis Hayashibara, Suzanne Thompson, Emily Winters, and Len Nguyen

The Cultural Affairs Commission granted both conceptual and final approval for the VJAMM after presentations by Phyllis, Suzanne, and Emily.  David Williams of Williams Monument Company in Arvin, California, drove to Los Angeles with the requested sample of black granite with white engraving for this meeting.  Len also brought copies of 11th District Councilmember Mike Bonin’s letter of support of the VJAMM.

 

September 28, 2014 at the Abbott Kinney Festival

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Suzanne Thompson, Emily Winters, John Mooney of the Venice Arts Council

VJAMM banner, poster, flyers, and postcards share the booth of the Venice Arts Council and Beyond Baroque.

 

March 25, 2015 at the Los Angeles City Board of Public Works meeting

VJAMM monument 4 sides

VJAMM Committee members Phyllis Hayashibara (who presented this poster of the four sides of the VJAMM), Arnold Maeda, and Emily Winters; Len Nguyen, Senior Field Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, 11th District; and Paul Racs, Director of the Office of Community Beautification, spoke on behalf of the VJAMM.  The LA City Board of Public Works approved the the recommendation of the OCB :to grant the VJAMM Committee revocable permission to encroach within the public right-of-way to install a black granite memorial obelisk at the northwest corner of Venice Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard in Council District 11.”

 

March 29, 2015 at the northeast corner of Sawtelle and Olympic

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VJAMM Committee members help sponsor reception at the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle after the installation of the Sawtelle Japantown sign on the northeast corner of Sawtelle and Olympic.

 

April 23, 2015 at Hama Sushi Restaurant in Venice

DSCN6651 Patty Nagano, Brian Maeda, Kay Brown, Steve Nagano, Bill Rosendahl

Patty Nagano, Brian Maeda, Kay Brown, Steve Nagano, Bill Rosendahl

Fourth Annual VJAMM Fundraiser at Hama Sushi included in the program Steve Nagano’s short, “Six Weddings and A Dress,” about Chiyomi Ogawa’s Manzanar wedding dress worn by five other brides after the war; and Brian Maeda’s trailer for “We Said NO NO,” about the Tule Lake Segregation Center incarcerees.  Sold 228 pre-ordered bento at lunch!

 

May 30, 2015 at the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Gateway (MANGo) Opening Celebration in Santa Monica

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Emily Winters, Alice Stek, Arnold Maeda, Mr. Sloan

VJAMM Committee members, including Phyllis Hayashibara, staffed the table of VJAMM flyers and postcards.  Arnold Maeda, James “MAC” McPherson, and Paulina Sahagan spoke to the audience of growing up in their ethnically diverse Santa Monica neighborhoods.  Dolores Sloan, who organized the speakers for the Opening Celebration, celebrated her birthday on this day, and all sang her a “Happy Birthday,” accompanied by the Santa Monica Symphony Brass Quintet.

 

June 23, 2015 at the Terasaki Nibei Foundation on Wilshire in West Los Angeles

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Emily Winters, Phyllis Hayashibara, Alice Stek, Suzanne Thompson

VJAMM Committee members added to the standing-room-only crowd in the Terasaki Nibei Foundation auditorium for Brian Maeda’s presentation of his website for his latest film production, “We Said NO NO.”