Remembering the Legacy of Terminal Islanders

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Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi poses near a photo of her friends Hisayo Matsumoto and Shizuko Ruby Kobayashi at the Terminal Islander Memorial Monument.

By RYOKO OHNISHI, Rafu Staff Writer

The Terminal Islanders’ 42nd New Year’s Party was held Jan. 20 at the Elks Lodge on top of San Pedro Hill, and more than 200 attendees enjoyed the ocean view where their hometown, the Terminal Island fishing community, used to be located before World War II.

Reiko Takahashi performs at the party held at the Elks’ Lodge.

George Yoshinaga, Rafu Shimpo columnist, and his wife Susie were invited to the gathering for the first time. 2011 Nisei Week Queen Erika Olsen and a Tokyo-born singer, Reiko Takahashi, entertained the audience with English and Japanese songs.

The party lasted almost five hours and included door prizes, gift baskets, and a raffle giveaway.

Under the leadership of Min Tonai, the group has been actively reaching out to local communities to preserve the legacy of this pre-war Japanese fishing community.

Tonai showed the official 2013 calendar of the Port of Los Angeles. A photograph of the Terminal Island Memorial Monument was included for the month of January.

Among the attendees was Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi, 92, who traveled from Dallas to attend the luncheon. She visited the memorial monument on Terminal Island on Sunday with her daughter, Diana Asako Parr, her grandson, Jeremy, and her great-grandson, Micah.

“This is my second visit to the monument and the party. My first time was 10 years ago when the statue was built. At the party, I was able to see my old friends, Hisayo Matsumoto and Shizuko Ruby Kobayashi, whom I used to work with at the cannery, and they are here in the picture,” Kikuko said, smiling as she pointed to a photo of her friends that is part of the monument.

Terminal Islanders President Min Tonai.

According to Ken Nakagawa, treasurer, the Terminal Islander-affiliated Long Beach Japanese Community Center will be receiving a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the Earl Burns Miller Foundation for establishing a historical library.

In addition, a newly launched Long Beach-based non-profit organization is offering a free classic Japanese movie screening every Tuesday night starting from Jan. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. The screening will be held at the Bungalow Art Center, 727 Pine Ave., Long Beach, sponsored by the Cultural Alliance Long Beach (CALB), a newly started non-profit.

Anime films will be also screened on Tuesdays, from 5 to 7 p.m., and everybody can dress up as the characters, according to Karen Reside, a CALB board member.

At the party, copies of the documentary “Furusato: The Lost Village of Terminal Island” (2006, 45 minutes), re-released with Japanese subtitles, was being sold by the producer, David Metzler, and his wife, Chimin. The film will be screened in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, on March 31 and in Kyoto on April 2.

Over 200 attendees gathered on Jan. 20 in San Pedro for the 42nd annual Terminal Islanders New Year’s Party.

Rafu Shimpo photos by RYOKO OHNISHI

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