Japanese American Community Services


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JACS
231 E. Third Street, G-104
Los Angeles, CA 90013

jacsfund@yahoo.com


© jacsfund.org 2011-12


This website is hosted by JA*Net - Japanese American Network www.janet.org

last updated: 10/24/11

History - About Shonien

Shonien, the Japanese Children's home, evolved from the social work begun in 1912 by Rokuichi Kusumoto, executive secretary of the Rafu Jindokai, or Japanese Humane Society of Los Angeles.

Little Tokyo community leaders established the society to provide counseling and referral services to young girls fleeing unsuccessful picture bride marriages or seeking refuge from houses of prostitution. Soon after, Mr. Kusumoto recognized the need for a Japanese children's home and day nursery in Los Angeles to help Japanese immigrants care for their children. The first Shonien home was opened in 1914 with Mr. Kusumoto as director.

By 1920, the Shonien had moved into a newly built facility in the Silverlake area that was funded entirely by donations from the Issei. But World War II changed the Shonien and all of the Nikkei community when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of Japanese Americans. The children of Shonien were sent to camp at Manzanar.

Mr. Kusumoto was sent to a federal prison in Missoula, Montana. He returned to Japan, never to see the Shonien staff and children again. Harry and Lillian Matsumoto and Mr. Kusumoto's daughter, Grace, continued the work of the Shonien's founder.

After the war, the Shonien changed to reflect the new leadership of the Nisei and the different needs of the Nikkei community. The institutional care of children was no longer needed. The emphasis instead was on providing family and community social services, under the direction of Mike Suzuki. Toward that end, Shonien became the Japanese American Community Services of Southern California Inc.

The Shonien home was sold and proceeds placed in a trust fund. Since then, JACS has provided funds to a broad range of community and social services groups serving the Nikkei and Asian Pacific American communities.

From Shonien to JACS - A Timeline

1912: Shonien, the Japanese Children's home, evolves from the social work by Rokuichi Kusumoto, executive secretary of the Rafu Jindokai, or Japanese Humane Society of Los Angeles.

1914: Little Tokyo community leaders establish the society to provide counseling and referral services to young girls fleeing unsuccessful picture bride marriages or seeking refuge from houses of prostitution. Mr. Kusumoto recognizes the need for a Japanese children's home and day nursery in Los Angeles to help Japanese immigrants care for their children. The Shonien Orphanage opens with Mr. Kusumoto as director.

1920: The Shonien moves into a newly built facility in the Silverlake area that is funded entirely by donations from the Issei.

1940’s: During World War II, the children of Shonien are incarcerated at Manzanar. Mr. Kusumoto is sent to a federal prison in Missoula, Montana.  He later returns to Japan, never to see the Shonien staff and children again. Harry and Lillian Matsumoto and Mr. Kusumoto's daughter, Grace, continue the work of Shonien's founder.

1961: Under Mike Suzuki’s direction, the Shonien re-directs its focus to provide family and community social services, becoming the Japanese American Community Services of Southern California, Inc.  The Shonien home is sold and proceeds placed in a trust fund.

1969: JACS funds the JACS-Asian Involvement (JACS-AI) office and its “Serve the People” community outreach programs.

1980: JACS provides seed funding for the Little Tokyo Service Center.

2004: JACS has supported over 40 emerging community organizations and projects to date. Kickoff for 100 year anniversary fundraising campaign.

2007:  JACS establishes the Cecilia Nakamura Arts Fund after receiving a $295,000 donation from the Cecilia Nakamura Trust. 

2011:  JACS celebrates its 50th anniversary.

2002-2011:  JACS General Fund and Cecilia Nakamura Arts Fund distributes $180,000 to organizations and projects through its grants programs.  

2012:  Shonien celebrates its 100th anniversary.