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.
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: how much the community loves to help our seniors.
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: The James Irvine Japanese Garden!
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the resilience of the community
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the coffee shops! ☕
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: talking trees and stones of JACCC
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: its legacy and the people who are committed to this community.
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: a sense of ‘urban serenity’ and space for quiet moments amidst the bustle of downtown
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.
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!
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the beautiful colors, smells, and tastes!
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 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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the matcha latte at Tea Master.
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: senior residents practicing shodō.
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
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: old people/young people/new people
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: community spirit with young leadership!
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the interesting history hidden behind the small stores.
Eric Hawthorne is the Operations Supervisor at the JACCC. He has an Associate Degree in Electrical Construction and Maintenance.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the friendly community.
Pedro Gutierrez is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He has been working for the JACCC for 7 years.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the restaurants.
Aric Nakamoto is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He was been working for the JACCC for 28 years.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the friendly community.
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.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: the community LOVE.
Maria Rodriguez is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. She has been working for the JACCC for 21 years.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: all the friendly people.
Francisco Soc Sut is an Operations Assistant at the JACCC. He has been working for the JACCC for 5 years.
Favorite thing about Little Tokyo: working for the JACCC.