The Nisei Week Foundation is pleased to recognize Day-Lee Foods and Nishiyamato Academy of California with the Frances K. Hashimoto Community Service Award.
This award recognizes these organizations for their outstanding contributions to the Southern California Japanese American community. The annual Awards Dinner will be held on Monday, Aug. 21, starting at 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 120 S. Los Angeles St. Individual tickets are $95 and tables of 10 are $950.
Also recognized at the Awards Dinner will be this year’s grand marshal, Rose Matsui Ochi, attorney and community activist, and parade marshal, Corey Nakatani, horse racing jockey; and two Inspiration Award recipients, Auntie Marian Chun and Brandon Ito, both of whom will be recognized for going above and beyond to volunteer their time and/or service to the community.
Day-Lee Foods, Inc.
Established in March 1977, Day-Lee Foods, Inc. operates several different divisions, including a restaurant distributor business, an export business and a processed foods business. Day-Lee Foods’ mission is to bring the “Joy of Eating” to the world. The company produces frozen foods under the Day-Lee Pride and Crazy Cuizine brands, which are sold in club stores, Asian food stores, and grocery stores throughout the U.S.
Day-Lee Foods sponsors the World Gyoza Eating Championship every year during Nisei Week. This year’s event will be held Saturday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. at JACCC Plaza, 244 S. San Pedro St. Last year’s champion, Matt Stonie, will defend his title against gyoza-eating record-holder Joey Chestnut.
Nishiyamato Academy of California
Established in 1993 in Palos Verdes, Nishiyamato Academy of California (NAC) moved to its present campus in Lomita in 2000. It is part of the Nishiyamato family of schools based in Nara and founded by former Japanese Diet member Ryotaro Tanose, which includes Nishiyamato Gakuen High School, Nishiyamato Gakuen Middle School, Hakuho College, and Yamato University.
As with all of the Nishiyamato schools, NAC’s growth and reputation have been built by providing excellence in traditional core education infused and supplemented with innovative coursework to develop global citizens who can excel in the shrinking and increasingly competitive world of the 21st century.
As a testament to its excellence, in 1996, three years after opening its doors, NAC was formally awarded an “accredited” designation by the Ministry of Education of Japan and is the only Japanese school on the West Coast with this designation.
NAC offers two tracks for families to choose from: Heijitsuko for students who attend preschool through 9th grade Monday through Friday, with an enrollment of approximately 180 students; and Hoshuko for pre-K through 9th grade students who attend Saturday only, with an enrollment of approximately 700 students. Heijitsuko is held at the Lomita campus, while Hoshuko is offered in Lomita, Palos Verdes, and Irvine. In 2012, NAC also opened a preschool in San Jose.
Natsuko Tanose, managing director, came to the U.S. in 1995 with a clear vision for NAC’s future, and has been instrumental in its growth to what it is today. Under her leadership, Nishiyamato’s innovative global curriculum expanded beyond the classroom, adding programming designed to bridge Los Angeles’ diverse cultures and expand the circles and world views of the Nishiyamato families.
She also initiated a robust cultural exchange program with American schools, including El Marino Elementary (a Japanese immersion program in Culver City) and Campbell Hall (a private K-12 independent in Studio City). NAC further fosters its global citizenship and cultural awareness curriculum through creating and managing a variety of homestay programs hosting students from its family of schools in Japan from 10 days up to nine months.
Tanose has also implemented a dynamic community service component at NAC. Families participate in community service opportunities, including Tohoku tsunami and Kumamoto earthquake relief, Heal the Bay, year-end food bank drive, Keiro senior center visits, and partnering with other public, private and nonprofit organizations.
On April 5, 2017, Nishiyamato broke ground on its new Nishiyamato Innovation and Culture Center (NICC), renewing its commitment to the community and vision for the future. The NICC, opening this fall, will advance Nishiyamato’s academic capabilities for its students as well as broaden its community collaboration capabilities. The decision to undertake this expansion is in large part a response to requests by families, nonprofit organizations, and the community at large.
Tanose and the entire Nishiyamato family look forward to the new facility being a valuable resource for its students, a cornerstone for working together with the community, and space for continuing and expanding its work on cultural understanding and making a positive impact in our ever-shrinking world.