Jodie Chiemi Ching
The Zentoku Foundation is on a mission and leading the charge is its president, Mark Nakakihara. “The organization’s mission to gather and write stories is urgent,” he said.
According to its website, “The Zentoku Foundation was created to help grow and strengthen the Japanese American community by developing a convenient, user friendly, meaningful path for each generation to connect with one another. We will bring you amazing stories, news and events that enlighten our lives and the world we live in today.”
The public can already access inspiring stories about Japanese Americans who stand on the shoulders of Issei ancestors. The foundation is also reaching out to our island state to include more stories about Hawai‘i.
In addition, the foundation has taken on an important project making the first ever documentary of the 150 years of Japanese American history.
The documentary film, entitled “Paper Chase – Japanese American History Through the Lens of Vernacular Newspapers” will chronicle the saga of the Nikkei community from early immigration at the dawn of the Meiji era to the present-day efforts to protect the historic Japantown. This story will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first immigrants to Hawai‘i in 1968 and the Wakamatsu tea and silk colonists to the mainland U.S. The trailer for “Paper Chase” can be viewed on the foundation’s website zentokufoundation.org.
Last year, Zentoku Foundation was awarded grants from the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s George and Sakaye Aratani CARE Award and from So-Phis, a non-profit social and philanthropic women’s organization based in Orange County, Calif.
The foundation continues to seek stories as well as funding to support an array of activities to promote and educate our great purpose and mission. If you have a story to submit, go to the “+ Connect” tab on the foundation’s website (zentokufoundation.org); and donations can be made by clicking on “Donate Today.”
Donations will help to pay for location funding for writers, video and audio equipment, awareness and campaigning, internships, youth and teen development programs, brand development, interactive educational gaming, support and assist older generations, research and more.