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JANM Gala’s Theme: ‘Connecting Communities & Generations Through Sports’

Tickets for the Japanese American National Museum’s 2014 Gala Dinner, Silent Auction and After Party at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City on Saturday, April 12, are still available, as are tickets for the event’s accompanying Lexus Opportunity Drawing for a 2015 Lexus RC F.

Wat Misaka

Wat Misaka

The dinner’s theme, “Evolving Pastimes: Connecting Communities & Generations Through Sports,” will celebrate athletes and sports personalities who not only made an impact at the highest levels of competition but helped forge enduring bonds, from the Nisei who sought normalcy playing football, baseball and basketball during the dark days of World War II to the phenomenal growth of Japanese American sports leagues after the war.

Norman Mineta, whose distinguished public service career included five years as U.S. secretary of transportation, will serve as a presenter at the event, elaborating on the theme’s meaning and significance. He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation.

Wataru “Wat” Misaka and Jamie Hagiya will be recognized for their contributions to basketball. Misaka played for the University of Utah in the 1940s. He was subsequently drafted by the New York Knickerbockers in 1947, becoming the first person of color to be drafted in the NBA (the same year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball).

Jamie Hagiya

Jamie Hagiya

Hagiya started playing basketball in the Double Dribble League at the age of four and was a standout at South High School in Torrance. She received a full athletic scholarship to USC, where she was a two-time team captain, posted the top assist/turnover ratio in the Pac-10 as a junior, and was fourth all-time in career assists and second all-time in career three-pointers.

Scott Fujita, former linebacker for the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints, will share his story in support of the gala’s Bid for Education, which subsidizes bus transportation for student visits to the museum. Fujita played for UC Berkeley and was originally drafted into the NFL by the Kansas City Chiefs. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns. As the adopted son of Rod and Helen Fujita, he grew up celebrating Japanese customs and has always considered himself half Japanese.

Scott Fujita

Scott Fujita

The museum’s Corporate Partnership Award will be presented to Toyota Motor Sales USA. Inc. in appreciation of more than 20 years of unwavering support to the institution.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a silent auction and seafood reception co-hosted by American Fish & Seafood Co. and Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. The dinner and program will start at 7 p.m., with Frank Buckley, co-anchor of the KTLA Morning News, serving as master of ceremonies. Following dinner, the After Party will be held in the hotel’s X-Bar. Also sponsored by Toyota, the After Party is organized by the museum’s Young Professionals Network. Admission is free.

All proceeds from the museum’s single largest annual fundraiser provide much-needed funds for ongoing educational programming, outreach, and operational needs. Major sponsors for the 2014 dinner are:

Signature Sponsors — Dr. Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki, Union Bank/Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

Presenting Sponsors — Aratani Foundation, Nitto Tire USA Inc., Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

Diamond Sponsors — American Airlines, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Guy and Audrey Watanabe

Emerald Sponsor — Wells Fargo

Individual tickets are $250 (Bronze), $350 (Silver), $500 (Gold) and $1,000 (Platinum). For more information and to purchase tickets for the event and/or the Lexus Opportunity Drawing, visit http://janm.org/dinner2014, email galadinner@janm.org, or call (213) 625-0414.

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