Our mission is to help bring together our community and celebrate our culture.

In the mid-1980s, Asian-American community leaders formed the Asian Council. Their goals were to form community groups and to increase the visibility of the Asian-Americans in Lane County. The Oregon Asian Celebration was launched to facilitate this effort; the celebration was the first Pan-Asian festival in the nation. The Japanese-American community was involved on the council and began to host occasional potlucks in order to build its membership. The potlucks featured traditional Japanese as well as Japanese-American culture such as Boy’s Day, Tanabata, and Christmas.

On July 28, 1990, the Asian Council sponsored the community’s first Obon and Taiko Festival at Skinner’s Butte Park. Volunteers taught 6 dancers, generously given to the community by Matsukai of Salem, to brave members. Eugene Taiko played one piece — their entire repertoire! Volunteers built a yagura or central tower. Mayor Shinmura, then Mayor of Kakegawa City, Eugene’s sister city, attended the festival with 20 members. Per a request from a community member, Mayor Shinmura donated 250 “chochin” (paper lanterns).

In 1995, the Japanese-American community became the first organized community group, created by the Asian Council, when it obtained recognition from the Internal Revenue Service and the Oregon Corporation Commission as a 501 (c) (4) social membership organization known as the Japanese-American Association (JAA) of Lane County.

In 2008, recognizing that JAA stages the Obon and Taiko Festival as a gift to the community and members have performed cultural sharing in schools and events statewide, directors decided to pursue non-profit public benefit status from the IRS. In July 2009, the JAA application for recognition as a 501 (c) (3) Charitable Non-Profit Corporation was approved by the IRS. With receipt of this designation, monetary and other donations to JAA are tax-exempt. Also, in order to insure sustainability of the Japanese-American community, JAA will award scholarships to outstanding youth and future leaders of the community.

 

JAA provides activities that celebrate

  • Japanese traditions.
  • Seasonal Potlucks
  • O-bon and Taiko Festival
  • New Year’s Mochi Tsuki

JAA supports & participates in activities of organizations that promote Asian culture

  • Oregon Asian Celebration
  • Asian Kite Festival by the Asian Council
  • DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon

Our mission is to bring together our community.

  • Cooking & Craft Classes Provided
  • Movies Availalbe (English subtitles)
  • Hikes Scheduled
  • JAA Oral History Collection (Courtesy of OSU Multicultural Archives)

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