DMV area Tsuru for Solidarity Fold-In on 3/7!


Join us for a DMV area Tsuru for Solidarity Fold-In this upcoming Saturday, March 7 from 7-9pm at Tawes Fine Arts Building on the University of Maryland Campus. The event–which will include a presentation by Tsuru for Solidarity‘s co-chair Satsuki Ina, group conversations regarding additional support that DMV groups can tackle, and folding origami cranes (“tsuru”)–is to help build momentum toward the  “National Pilgrimage to Close the Camps,” taking place in Washington, D.C., from June 5 to 7. The June pilgrimage will feature a march, rally, taiko drumming, and the presentation of 125,000 tsuru that represent the 125,000 Japanese Americans affected by the camps. A unique feature of the pilgrimage will be cross-community, intergenerational “Healing Circles for Change” to promote solidarity and healing through sharing of stories about incarceration and detention.

RSVP at: 

If you can’t make it to the fold-in event, but would like to support efforts by donating tsuru**, you can ship tsuru to:

Japanese American Citizens League, 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at should you have any questions!

**Don’t know how to fold tsuru? Check out this folding guide and video tutorial demonstrating how to string tsuru together into strands that will be presented during the June pilgrimage.

You’re invited to JACL DC Chapter’s 73rd Installation Luncheon!

We hope that you will be able to join us on Saturday, Feb. 22 at noon for our Chapter’s 73rd annual Installation Luncheon! Our keynote speaker this year is Shirley Ann Higuchi, Chair of the Heart Mountain Foundation, who will provide reflections on her upcoming book: Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration.

We will be holding our luncheon at Meiwah Restaurant once again. Seats are $30 per person, which includes tax and gratuity. Please RSVP to by Feb. 20.

Join us at our Mochitsuki!

We hope that you will be able to join us for our Mochitsuki on Saturday, Dec. 14, as we have a full schedule of entertainment and activities–from the chance to purchase delightful handcrafted gifts by the Crafty Ladies to music by the JBE band to our traditional mochi pounding demonstration. And, of course, it’s a time to catch up with your DC Chapter friends, and hopefully make some new ones!

Please register and place orders by Friday, Dec. 6 at:

Questions? Email


  • Delicious Japanese bentos (from local favorite, Tako Grill). Each bento order includes a bowl of homemade ozoni, dessert, and hot and cold drinks. Bento Options: Chicken Teriyaki, Salmon Teriyaki, and Vegetarian.
  • Pre-order Prices ~ Members: $20 & Non-Members: $23
  • Walk-in Price: $25
    • ** Bentos often sellout and there will be a very limited number of extra bentos. Pre-ordering is strongly encouraged**

Fresh Mochi (from a Japanese confectioner): Two Types for Sale

  • Komochi (plain white mochi) and Daifuku (mochi with anko/sweet bean inside)
  • Pre-order Prices ~ Komochi ~ Members: $5 per 1/2 pound bag & Non-Members: $7 per 1/2 pound bag; Daifuku ~ Members: $8 per 1/2 pound bag & Non-Members: $10 per 1/2 pound bag
  • Walk-in Prices for both Members and Non-Members: Komochi ~ $7 per 1/2 pound bag; Daifuku ~ $10 per 1/2 pound bag

Crafty Ladies

  • The talented Crafty Ladies group will once again be selling their unique handcrafted gifts. Be ready to do some holiday shopping!
  • Friendly Reminder: Purchases are either by cash or check!

JBE Band Performance

  • We are delighted the JBE Band will be performing at our Mochitsuki again this year!
  • JBE Band members are talented musicians who work at the Embassy of Japan and Japanese corporations who are members of the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC.


  • It is not a Mochitsuki without the famous Raffle! Support the DC Chapter while winning the chance at fabulous items.

Meet our Board: Matthew Weisbly

Welcome Matthew Weisbly, JACL National’s new Daniel K. Inouye Fellow, to the JACL DC board! Coming from Phoenix, Arizona, via Los Angeles, Matthew recently completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California with a degree in history. His senior thesis explored numerical data and oral histories of Nisei soldiers with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. A long-time JACL member, he also served as a Youth Representative for the Arizona Chapter and the inaugural Ted T. Namba fellow for the PSW district. Following his fellowship, he wants to return to school to get his PhD in history.

Meet Our Board: Gabi Ogata


Two of JACL DC Chapter’s youth board members–Gabi Ogata, left; Christie Mori, right

Hello, DC Chapter! Thank you for checking in on the website!

My name is Gabi Ogata, and I am honored to be the new youth co-chair this year. Like my good friend Christie, I am Brazilian-Japanese-American, and while I haven’t been a member for as long as her, I have been volunteering for JACL for the past two years.

I was born in D.C., but being raised in Brazil by a Japanese family didn’t make moving here comfortable. I didn’t consider myself American and felt closer to my Japanese heritage than anything else. After a couple of years at Keisho and meeting Christie, I was introduced to JACL and the DC Chapter’s annual cultural events. At first, I felt disconnected and out of place—I could only relate to the Japanese side of the community. I had learned of, but not experienced or had family members who had experienced, the past difficulties Japanese Americans in the U.S. faced, and I thought I couldn’t truly be a part of this group.

However, over the years, I have come to terms with my background and my identity, and this group has been a big part of that. JACL and members of the DC Chapter have accepted me with open arms and have wordlessly taught me about unity, open mindedness, respect, community, and, as cliche as it sounds, love.

I can only hope to be able to give back to the community that has helped me so much and made me feel so accepted. I’m very excited to be working with the DC Chapter, and I will do my best to move it forward and help it improve!

Smithsonian Day of Remembrance- Feb. 19

In observance of the Day of Remembrance, which marks President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1942 signing of Executive Order 9066 and subsequent incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans, the museum will host a free live performance by the award-winning composer Kishi Bashi and a guest lecture by renowned scholar Duncan Ryuken Williams.

Following the screening and lecture, a panel discussion and Q&A with Kishi Bashi and Duncan Ryuken Williams, joined by Museum experts Noriko Sanefuji, Museum Specialist, and Peter Manseau, Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History, will explore memory, faith and music in Japanese American incarceration camps.

Join us for our 2019 Board Installation Luncheon!

We hope that you can join us for our 73rd JACL-DC Chapter Installation Luncheon on Saturday, Jan. 26, from noon to 2 p.m. The luncheon will take place at Meiwah Restaurant and feature keynote speaker Jeff Moy, JACL’s new National Board President. We are looking forward to hearing from Jeff on his vision, priorities, and agenda for the upcoming year. Please send your RSVP to Scott Tanaka at

Date: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019

Time: noon-2 p.m.

Location: Meiwah Restaurant

Address: 4457 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase, MD

Cost: $30 per person (includes tax and gratuity, please bring cash or a check to the luncheon)

Meet Our Board: Scott Tanaka


I moved to DC from Los Angeles,  just two weeks after finishing grad school at the University of Southern California (USC) for a six month position at AARP.  At USC I studied social work and focused on mental health and gerontology. My close relationship with my grandparents grew my passion and desire to serve our older adult population and they are a big motivation for me to do this work. My passion and my grad school studies aligned well with AARP. AARP seeks to empower people to live how they live as they age. This mission aligns well with what I am called to do as a professional social worker.

Prior to attending grad school I worked for a small accounting business in Torrance, CA, where I grew up. I worked for a relative and learned valuable skills that I still utilize even with my work at AARP. As a Yonsei, a fourth generation Japanese American, the accounting career path made sense. However, after almost five years of working in accounting, I finally made the decision to pursue geriatric social work. Fast forward two years, I am now at AARP and very much feel like I am where I am supposed to be. Shortly after starting at AARP, my colleague, Ron Mori connected me with the JACL-DC chapter. I was not involved in JACL back home, but Ron invited me out to JACL events and encouraged me to get involved. My very first volunteer experience was the JACL National Convention! I knew that there was no looking back after that!

I have gotten a lot more involved with JACL since moving out to DC, and am excited to join the JACL-DC chapter board this year. I look forward to getting to know other chapter members living in the DC Metro area.  I also hope to utilize my background in social work and gerontology to do some programming around caregiving and aging in 2018 for our chapter.  I now reside in Silver Spring, Maryland and am hoping to transition to a more long-term position at AARP. Plus now that I am on the board, I can’t leave just yet!

Meet Our Board: Alice Lin

The JACL-DC chapter is happy to continue our blog series, Meet Our Board. As a way to introduce you to our 2018 board members, this series will feature posts from members throughout the year.  Be sure to keep checking back for future posts from these individuals who are here to serve the DC chapter. 

Hello DC Chapter! I’m Alice Lin and I serve as Secretary of the JACL-DC chapter board. Growing up in San Jose, I learned about some Japanese and Japanese American culture, but I only truly learned of JACL when I first came to DC to as a college intern. When I had the opportunity to help organize the legislative advocacy day on immigration reform for the 2013 Convention, I was moved by both the stories and the level of engagement of the JACL members I spoke with.

I was later fortunate to become a Mike M. Masaoka Fellow working for my Congressman Mike Honda. As a Fellow working on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues for Rep. Honda, I learned much more about the JA experience and JA issues. As a second-generation Taiwanese American, I believe AAPI communities have a great deal to learn from the JA community’s long and continuing dedication to civil rights.

I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received from many in this chapter and am excited to contribute to this vibrant community.

Happy New Year!

To kick off 2018, the JACL DC Chapter is hosting its annual Installation Luncheon Saturday, Jan. 27 from noon to 2pm at Meiwah Restaurant in Chevy Chase.

Join us to hear from keynote speaker JACL National Executive Director David Inoue as he shares his vision, priorities, and agenda for JACL, as well as catch up with your DC Chapter family!

Details:                                                                                                                                                  Saturday, Jan. 27                                                                                                                                    Noon-2pm                                                                                                                                              Meiwah Restaurant                                                                                                                                4457 Willard Ave.,                                                                                                                                  Chevy Chase, MD                                                                                                                                      $30 per person (please bring cash or a check to pay for the luncheon)                                          RSVP: Scott Tanaka,