About JACCC

Our Mission

The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center weaves Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture into the fabric of our communities.
JACCC remains firmly rooted in Little Tokyo, providing a vital place to build connections between people and cultures, locally and internationally. Through inclusive programs and authentic experiences, we continue our traditions and nurture the next generation of innovative artists, culture-bearers, and thinkers.

Our History

JACCC’s 2.2-acre campus features an outdoor sculpture and plaza designed by world-renowned artist and Los Angeles native, Isamu Noguchi.
The volcanic basalt sculpture is Noguchi’s only publicly-accessible sculpture in his hometown. Its title, “To the Issei,” refers to the Issei (first generation Japanese immigrants) who made great sacrifices to support their families and the Japanese American community.

Working closely with our founders, Noguchi understood that the Issei and Nisei (second generation) envisioned JACCC as a permanent home for Japanese and Japanese American art and culture to flourish in the United States. Thanks to the efforts and support of many, JACCC is now one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. We are located in Little Tokyo, the historic heart of Southern California’s Japanese American community, the second oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles, an inaugural California Cultural District, and one of just three remaining historic Japantowns in the United States.

Our campus opened to the public in 1980 and centers around the Noguchi sculpture and one-acre plaza. Flanking the plaza is the 880-seat Aratani Theatre and the JACCC Center Building, which houses the George J. Doizaki Gallery, the Japanese Cultural Room, conference and meeting rooms, office space for more than 20 nonprofit tenant organizations, the Toshizo Watanabe Exhibition Center, and the state-of-the-art Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center, which opens onto the award-winning James Irvine Japanese Garden. Throughout our campus, we host programs, performances, and exhibitions, as well as a myriad of community-produced events, projects, productions, and meetings.

It is our hope that the work of preserving Japanese and Japanese American traditions will bolster the spirits of subsequent generations of Japanese Americans, allowing them to connect to our ancestors and weave their identities into the urban fabric of contemporary Los Angeles, and into the world beyond.
Since first opening its doors in 1980, JACCC has evolved into one of the largest ethnic art and cultural centers in the United States.

Its owned-and-operated facilities include the Center Building (which houses: the George J. Doizaki Gallery, Japanese Cultural Room, conference and meeting rooms, office space for more than 20 nonprofit tenant organizations, and the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center & Toshizo Watanabe Exhibition Center), the 880-seat Aratani Theatre, JACCC Plaza designed by Isamu Noguchi, and the award-winning James Irvine Japanese Garden.

Located in Little Tokyo, the historic heart of the Japanese American community, JACCC was the dream of visionary Issei and Nisei (first and second-generation) Japanese American pioneers to create a permanent center for the community where arts and culture come alive and can flourish for future generations.

JACCC has its roots in the early 1970’s redevelopment of Little Tokyo, when a citizens advisory committee determined that one of its first priorities was to build a cultural and community center. With the support of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of Los Angeles and other lead funders, JACCC’s Center Building was opened in 1980. This was followed shortly thereafter by the opening of the Aratani Theatre and JACCC Plaza, respectively, in 1983.

Construction on JACCC’s facilities took place between 1978 and 1983 at a cost of approximately $15 million. The initial capital campaign to build JACCC was launched in 1976 and largely completed by 1983 with the participation of the Japanese American community, local governmental sources, U.S. foundations and corporations, and Japanese businesses, both in the U.S. and Japan. A final push to retire the remaining building debt of approximately $1 million was completed in 1989.

Team

Officers

Glenn Inanaga

Cherng Family Trust
Chair of the Board of Directors

Nancy Matsui

American Airlines (retired)
Vice-Chair, External

George Tanaka

Union Bank
Vice-Chair, Internal

Gary Kawaguchi

Upper Crust Enterprises
Interim Treasurer

Gerald Fukui

Fukui Mortuary, Inc.
Secretary

Craig Tomiyoshi

IW Group
Immediate Past Chair

Members

Bette Hiramatsu

Hiramatsu and Associates

Thomas Iino

Pacific Commerce Bank

Nikki Kodama

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Tim Manaka, Jr.

FIA Insurance Services, Inc.

Johnny Mori

Kinnara Taiko/Gagaku

Alan Nishio

California State University, Long Beach (retired)

Lauren Ohata

Health Management Associates

Dolly Oishi

Japan Airlines

Henry Ota, Esq.

Ota Law Office (retired)

Jan Perry

Selter Partnership, Inc.

Sandra Sakamoto, Esq.

LimNexus LLP

Susan Sasaki

Community Volunteer

Russel Tsuda

Boeing, Inc.

David Yamahata

Los Angeles Fire Department (retired)

Staff

Patricia M. Wyatt

President & CEO

Patricia M. Wyatt

President & CEO

Patricia M. Wyatt brings more than 30 years of executive management experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, across a multitude of industries. Most recently, Pat was the founder and CEO of MayaCo & Associates, Inc., a brand and media consultancy focused on social impact. Her work for nonprofit organizations includes The Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, and the Koret Israel Economic Development Fund (KIEDF), Tel Aviv. In addition, she served as President for WorkingNation and Innovation: Africa, and also held the post of Chief Development Officer, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she led a team of 550 individuals who together raised a record-setting $1B in one year.

Her past corporate leadership experience includes President of the Licensing and Home Entertainment companies at Twentieth Century Fox and Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing at Mattel. Pat has served on numerous boards, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Machine Project, California/International Arts Foundation, Professional Advisory Panel of the School of Integrated Media at CalArts, Digital Advisory Network at Pearson Education, and she also serves as a Mentor for The Unreasonable Group.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: how much the community loves to help our seniors.

Mathew Estrada

Chief Financial Officer

Mathew Estrada

Chief Financial Officer

Mathew brings over 20 years of experience in organizational leadership with a strong orientation in operations and finance. He has had success leading operational initiatives focused on infrastructure design, process reengineering, automation, turnaround management, reorganization, and corporate culture building. Mathew has an impassioned focus on strategy, innovation, and fostering team cohesiveness to drive optimal results. He has an extensive background in process assessment/improvement across a wide range of industries, including: Manufacturing, Transportation, SaaS, Marketing, Business Services, Public Relations, Non-Profit.

Mathew places heavy emphasis on respecting and leveraging human capital potential through empowerment and accountability. He is always looking to motivate, mentor and lead talented professionals for their individual and the organization's long-term success.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: The James Irvine Japanese Garden!

Allyson Nakamoto

Director of Foundation Relations

Allyson Nakamoto

Director of Foundation Relations

A California native with roots in northern Okinawa and southern China, Allyson is passionate about finding resources that strengthen communities and elevate culture. Prior to joining JACCC, she worked at the Japanese American National Museum and Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Allyson graduated from Claremont McKenna College and also studied at the Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts. She now lives in Hawai‘i and each year eagerly awaits mango season.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the resilience of the community

Carolina Roque

Senior Associate, Institutional Advancement

Carolina Roque

Senior Associate, Institutional Advancement

Carolina Roque is the Senior Associate of Institutional Advancement at JACCC. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up with an appreciation of street art which evolved into an appreciation of architecture. She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a concentration in Chicanx Art from Bennington College, having written a book Chicanx Art: Social Theories and Cultural Identities as her thesis. She enjoys all things thriller/horror and has an interest in cardiothoracic surgery and design. She is trilingual in English, Spanish, and conversational Japanese.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the coffee shops! ☕

Hirokazu Kosaka

Master Artist in Resident

Hirokazu Kosaka

Master Artist in Resident

Hirokazu Kosaka is an ordained Shingon Buddhist priest, a master of the art of Japanese Kyudo (archery). After graduating from the Chouinard Art Institute in 1970, he continued to study the traditional and contemporary arts. He has received awards from the NEA, Rockefeller, New England foundation, Creative Capital, and USArtist Fellow. He has been actively advocating Japanese culture and art at the JACCC since 1983.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: talking trees and stones of JACCC

Jane Matsumoto

Director of Culinary Arts

Jane Matsumoto

Director of Culinary Arts

Jane Shohara Matsumoto is the Director of Culinary Arts. She has worked in the public sector for 25 years, primarily in public transportation implementing the TAP smart card, but her passion is in the culinary arts — the history, science, and preparation of many different types of cuisines, especially traditional Japanese foods, known as Washoku. When she is not working, she is buried in food blogs, cookbooks, or simply cooking in her kitchen. She is an avid traveler and also loves to hike.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: its legacy and the people who are committed to this community.

Rani de Leon

Director of Performing Arts

Rani de Leon

Director of Performing Arts

Rani de Leon has 20 years in events involving music, film, theater, and cultural arts. His passions in life are driven by the belief that arts & culture have a unique power in bringing people together for transformative and unifying experiences. This inspires him to find new ways to engage audiences and approach the convergence of performing arts and public/digital space. He hosts a monthly radio show for dublab called Tizita Radio, highlighting music of nostalgia.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: a sense of ‘urban serenity’ and space for quiet moments amidst the bustle of downtown

Scott Oshima

Director of Community Arts

Scott Oshima

Director of Community Arts

Scott Oshima is the Director of Community Arts. They are an artist, community activist, and yonsei/4th generation Chinese Japanese American. Scott received their BFA in Photography & Media from the California Institute of the Arts.

Pronouns: they/them/their

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: Scott loves working in Little Tokyo—a small town in a big city—and also loves Little Tokyo's pizza, ice cream, and singing Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” with co-workers!

Derek Takeda

Director of the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center & Campus Facilities

Derek Takeda

Director of the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center & Campus Facilities

Sophia LaPaglia

Director of the Aratani Theatre & Campus Property Manager

Sophia LaPaglia

Director of the Aratani Theatre & Campus Property Manager

Sophia hails from the Green Mountain State, where she studied Theatre, Film, and Music on a full scholarship at the University of Vermont.  She went on to study Musical Theatre at Circle in the Square on Broadway in NY, and has since then worked in over 300 theaters in New York, Vermont, San Francisco, Austin, Portland, and Los Angeles.  Sophia is a theater lover, maker, and enthusiast who is happy to call the Aratani home.  She looks forward to having you at the theater and helping to make all event and performance dreams into reality.  

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the beautiful colors, smells, and tastes! 

EJ Orlando

Production Manager

EJ Orlando

Production Manager

Edward J. Orlando is a concert and live event professional. He has worked with live entertainment and presentations for over 20 years. His early experience includes a long tenure at The House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista as a full time Production Coordinator in addition to filling multiple roles encompassing audio, lights, video, and stage management. A love of music brought him to work with concerts and over the course of his career, has worked among many of the most loved musicians in the world in a variety of locations and roles. Edward came to work with the JACCC in 2009 and continues to be dedicated to serving the artists and community of Little Tokyo.

Pronouns: I, Me, Mine

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the kind people and the breeze.

Kenji Liu

Program Manager, Cultural & Visual Arts

Kenji Liu

Program Manager, Cultural & Visual Arts

Kenji Liu is a Mellon Community Curatorial Fellow at JACCC. He has worked in community arts, non-profits, marketing, and higher education for over 20 years and wears multiple hats as a book designer, university lecturer, and writer. He has presented his creative work in the US, Mexico, and Japan, and received numerous artist residencies, fellowships, and grants. Entiende español y japonés and he holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the matcha latte at Tea Master.

Alma Guzman

Program Manager, Sustainable Little Tokyo

Alma Guzman

Program Manager, Sustainable Little Tokyo

Alma is the Sustainable Little Tokyo Program Manager at JACCC. As a cultural worker, she's committed to providing support to artists, arts organizations and residents through public programming opportunities that are rooted in community building and healing. She loves bookstores, libraries, competitive cooking shows, and summer in Los Angeles.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: senior residents practicing shodō.

Amy Honjiyo

Sustainable Little Tokyo Cycle of Food Coordinator

Amy Honjiyo

Sustainable Little Tokyo Cycle of Food Coordinator

day jobs pushing pencils then tapping keyboards// homeschooled a kodomo and learned the best lessons start from the heart// retired and recycled as a bokashi composting advocate in little tokyo

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: old people/young people/new people

Chester Ikei

Senior Advisor

Chester Ikei

Senior Advisor

Muneyuki Chester Ikei, Senior Advisor, is a seasoned multi-national Hospitality Executive with 23+ years of experience as a general manager and advisor, having worked at Hotel New Otani, Hokuriku Gakuen Culinary College, and for the City of Nagaoka. He has dedicated time to engaging with local organizations to promote Japanese culture, such as Japan Business Association, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Japan America Society, Little Tokyo Business Association, and Little Tokyo Community Council.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: community spirit with young leadership!

Julie Zhu

Mellon Community Curatorial Fellow

Julie Zhu

Mellon Community Curatorial Fellow

Julie Zhu is Mellon Community Curatorial Fellow at JACCC. Influenced by family, she has received professional training in painting and calligraphy since childhood. Having lived in three different countries - China, Japan and the United States, she has been exposed to a wide variety of cultures, this diversity reflects her unlimited possibilities and personality. She graduated from the China Academy of Art, majoring in Archaeology and Museology, and received a Master of Fine Arts in Art History.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the interesting history hidden behind the small stores.

Eric Hawthorne

Operations Supervisor

Eric Hawthorne

Operations Supervisor

Eric Hawthorne is the Operations Supervisor at the JACCC. He has an Associate Degree in Electrical Construction and Maintenance.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the friendly community.

Pedro Gutierrez

Operations Assistant

Pedro Gutierrez

Operations Assistant

Pedro Gutierrez is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He has been working for the JACCC for 7 years.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the restaurants.

Aric Nakamoto

Operations Assistant

Aric Nakamoto

Operations Assistant

Aric Nakamoto is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He was been working for the JACCC for 28 years.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the friendly community.

George Royal

Operations Assistant

George Royal

Operations Assistant

George Royal is an Operations Assistant at JACCC. Since working for JACCC, he has learned so much about Japanese and Japanese American history and his learnings have made him proud to be part of the community. He also loves the food and thinks Little Tokyo has some of the best in the L.A. area. 

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the community LOVE.

Maria Magdalena Rodriguez

Operations Assistant

Maria Magdalena Rodriguez

Operations Assistant

Maria Rodriguez is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. She has been working for the JACCC for 21 years.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the friendly people.

Francisco Soc Sut

Operations Assistant

Francisco Soc Sut

Operations Assistant

Francisco Soc Sut is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He has been working for the JACCC for 5 years.

Pronouns: he/him/his

Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: working for the JACCC.

Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
244 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-2725 | info@jaccc.org
copyright © 2022
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