Suzume no Gakko

Suzume no Gakko was started in 1977 by three Japanese American women: Karlene Koketsu, Ann Saito, and Karen Akahoshi. Their mission was to proudly pass down their centuries-old culture to their children. The first session was held in the Summer of 1977 and has continued annually. Our locations have included San Jose Buddhist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church. Due to the pandemic, our all-parent volunteer Board of Directors opted to create a virtual session which will be continued this summer.

Incoming 1st through 6th graders explore different facets of the Japanese-American cultural experience, including Japanese language, Odori, music, and Japanese cooking. Each grade level takes field trips to the local Japanese stores and restaurants to learn more about their heritage.

After graduating from the program, students are invited to deepen their own knowledge of Japanese culture by participating in the Senpai (student intern) program. Here they share their knowledge with the younger students by assisting the Senseis in their classroom.

Registration begins in January for the summer session.

Our Nikkei Matsuri Connection
Suzume no Gakko is honored to have been participating in Nikkei Matsuri since the early 1980s. At our booth in the children’s section, our members share their knowledge of Japanese arts and culture by providing families with guidance and supplies to make traditional Japanese crafts. Some of the crafts include: Koi Fish Kites, Origami bookmarks, Daruma magnets, and Japanese Paper dolls.