About Nikkei
Matsuri Foundation

The Nikkei Matsuri Foundation is a registered nonprofit public benefit charity organized under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Founded in 1978, our mission is “To perpetuate the Japanese American experiences, cultural customs, and traditions.”

We do this in part by hosting the annual Nikkei Matsuri Festival in San Jose Japantown, providing a forum for sharing cultural exhibits and performances as well as opportunities for many community-based charities to raise funds through cultural food-based sales in the ever-popular Food Court.

Additionally, through our partnership with the City of San Jose and the Friends of the Japanese Friendship Garden, we are the official Adopt-a-Park sponsors of the Japanese Friendship Garden located on Senter Road in San Jose.

Warren Hayashi

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Advisor

During the City of San Jose’s Bi-Centennial Celebration, Wesley United Methodist Church was involved with a Food Booth, and thus was the beginning of my association with Nikkei Matsuri for the past four decades. In the first year of Nikkei Matsuri, Wesley continued with a “Tempura” food booth and this led to my helping on the committee.

Jimi Yamaichi, the first president of Nikkei Matsuri decided to step down as the leader and asked me if I would continue in his place in 1987 for the Tenth Annual Nikkei Matsuri. Following my association, I have witnessed the community growth, change and always promoting the Mission Statement of Nikkei Matsuri. I proudly resigned my position in 2020 and agreed to continue as an advisor.

Norman Tanaka

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Advisor

I’ve been involved with Nikkei Matsuri food booths since the beginning--first with a participating group. The third year of the festival, I became the chair of general arrangements responsible for construction and deconstruction of all the food booths for many, many years. Then I started to work with the Environmental Health Department when the county started requiring temporary health permits. On December 31, 2020, I resigned from the board.

Doug Ray

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation President

Lesly Yamatake

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Vice President & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I am currently the Vice President of Nikkei Matsuri Foundation. However, I’m more active with the Construction/Deconstruction committee for the festival. (My favorite part of the festival…driving the forklift!). I grew up attending this festival, chairing a food booth in high school, and ~25 years later, striving to keep it going for my kids to enjoy as well.

Diane Fujioka

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Treasurer & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I am the current Nikkei Matsuri Foundation treasurer. I first became involved through the San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association as the food group organization in 2014. I became NM treasurer in 2017 following former treasurer, Kathy Linderman. I love this festival because it celebrates the Japanese American community and showcases our rich culture for everyone to enjoy!

Neal Kodama

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Secretary & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I am the current Secretary of Nikkei Matsuri Foundation and the Chair of Construction/Deconstruction for the festival. I have been involved in Nikkei Matsuri for many years from my involvement in the San Jose Buddhist Judo Club. Seeing the community and all the different organizations come together to put on one of the most fascinating cultural festivals in the Bay Area is what keeps me excited.

Moschel Kadokura

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Board Member & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I have been involved with Nikkei Matsuri since my college days as a performer and food booth participant. Recently I joined the committee following in the footsteps of Norman Tanaka as a liaison with the Santa Clara’s Health Department. I work closely with non-profit organizations in the food booth area to present Japanese American food to festival attendees.

Jeff Yoshioka

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Board Member

I have been involved with Nikkei Matsuri since the very beginning. I started as a volunteer and have worked with many groups to help organize, contact, and lead. I am currently on the Nikkei Matsuri Board and the Entertainment & Cultural Exhibitor chair. I am also the Chapter representative of Silicon Valley JACL. These are just a few ways I am able to give back to the community while working alongside some of the most dedicated people I know and raising money for my chapter.

Larry Handa

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Member At-Large

I have been involved with Nikkei Matsuri for several years as a chair of one of the food booths and assisting the Entertainment & Cultural Exhibitor chair. I have attended numerous Nikkei Matsuri festivals since I was a child and enjoyed participating in the Yu-Ai Kai Nihonmachi Walk/Run.

Corey Loza

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member & Social Media and PR Team Member

I am helping with social media for this year’s virtual Nikkei Matsuri. I grew up going to and volunteering at this festival and I hope to continue that so that others can enjoy our wonderful Japanese American culture!

Naomi Takata Shepherd

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member & Social Media and PR Team Member

I am an artist and small business owner with a passion for creating work that focuses on intersectional and inclusive themes. Since 2015, I’ve been an artisan at Nikkei Matsuri–it means a lot to me to be a part of the community through all of the San Jose Japantown events that my business “pops up” at. This year, I’m excited to be a part of the Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee as my way of giving back to the community!

Juri Nakamura

Nikkei Matsuri Social Media and PR Team Member

I am a senior year advertising student at SJSU. It has been a great honor to help promote this year’s SJ Nikkei Matsuri. As an international student from Japan, I have never been more thrilled than anything about supporting celebrating Japanese culture in San Jose. I hope you will enjoy feeling the ‘Matsuri’ spirit through the screen this year!

Mallory Wakida

Nikkei Matsuri Social Media and PR Team Member

I am assisting with Nikkei Matsuri's social media and PR this year! I am very excited to work with Bay Area news outlets, and spread the word about this amazing festival.