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 have been a part of Nikkei Matsuri as an artisan since 2015 and I'm happy to be volunteering with Nikkei Matsuri for a second festival season! Getting to spend time with friends, family, and community at Nikkei Matsuri makes it one of my favorite times of the year!

Doug Ray

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation President & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I am the current President of the Nikkei Matsuri Foundation. My first involvement with the festival was over a decade ago as President of the Japantown Lions when we first participated at the Food Court. I joined the Board of Directors in 2018 as Festival Administrative Chair, then spent 2019 trying to learn as much as possible from President Warren Hayashi. I became President in 2020 just in time to learn we had to cancel the festival because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. For the 2022 Festival, I also became the Artisan Coordinator which has been very rewarding.

June Yasuhara

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Board Member & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I was asked to take photos of Nikkei Matsuri in 2010 and have been shooting the festival ever since. In 2016, I joined as PR and Marketing representative and am currently a Nikkei Matsuri Board member. In 2021, I had to take a year off, but am excited to be back for the 2022 year to experience all the new additions to the festival as well as catching up with the participants of the past years. I’m so proud to be a part of keeping the festival alive for the future generations.

Larry Handa

Nikkei Matsuri Foundation Member At-Large & Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

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

Nhat Nguyen

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member & Webmaster

Hello world. Just trying to get you out of your house and have fun.

Tyler Onishi

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member & Social Media Team Member

I am one of this year's Nikkei Matsuri Social Media committee members. San Jose Japantown and events like Nikkei Matsuri have always been a big part of my life, so I wanted to help give back and spread awareness of all the great new stuff that's going on at this year's festival.

Emily Nakajima

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member & Social Media Team Member

I am helping with Nikkei Matsuri's social media this year. I have been coming to these festivals since I was young and love supporting local businesses and catching up with friends in the community! I'm excited to help share more about Japanese American culture through Nikkei Matsuri.

My Nguyen

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

My Nguyen Co-Owner of Headliners, Japantown Shukai Carshow and JBA Board Member.

Tamiko Rast

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

I was honored to provide advice and assistance for the Nikkei Matsuri Festival based on requests from our business community. As our district has grown and changed, so too will the festival in keeping with the traditions it has long celebrated.

Rina and Jordan Trigg

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

Rina and Jordan met nearly 15 years ago bartending at Jack’s in Japantown. Over the years their friendship turned into a partnership in business and marriage. They now live as a family in Japantown with their two kids and run their businesses. Dipsomania operates their various locations and events, Jack’s, 7 Bamboo, Jtown Pizza and the Beerwalks based on the commitment to community, comfort and, of course, cocktails.

Pam Yoshida

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee Member

In 1991, I chaired a food booth for Nisei Ski Club. I later joined the Nikkei Matsuri board as Publicity and PR Chairperson from 1999-2017. During that time, I organized several special anniversary events for Nikkei Matsuri such as "Living Treasures" (a luncheon for local Nikkei centenarians) and the Hiroshima Concert (Campbell Heritage Theater) and hosted the Okayama delegation at Nikkei Matsuri in 2017. I also coordinated the entertainment for the Outdoor Stage. After leaving the Nikkei Matsuri board, I coordinated the kimekomi doll exhibit. Presently, I am assisting with the Cultural Exhibits as a committee member.

Naomi Takata Shepherd

Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee 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. I’m excited to be a part of the Nikkei Matsuri Planning Committee as my way of giving back to the community!