Tak Nishi received the Commendation of the Consul General on Feb. 7 for his efforts to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States, in support of the Consulate General of Japan’s mission.
Consul General Jun Niimi made the presentation at a ceremony held at his official residence in Los Angeles.
Nishi has been a long-time active member of many Japanese American community organizations, including the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle, Nanka Kagoshima Kenjinkai, Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai and Los Angeles Kayo Club, among others.
He currently serves on the board of the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle, Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California and Japanese Community Pioneer Center as well as the president of the Hokubei Hyakudokai. Nishi’s enthusiastic involvement in his various activities has contributed greatly to the spread of Japanese culture and continues to support the Japanese American community.
Nishi was born on April 3, 1936 in Los Angeles. At the age of five, he moved to his parents’ hometown in Kagoshima Prefecture, where he stayed until his second year of college. Due to the passing of his father early in life, Nishi decided to leave college and move back to Los Angeles, with the help of his cousin who was a resident, and began his career as a gardener to support his family, all while continuing his studies to learn English. After a brief period in the U.S. Army, Nishi has continued his gardening career, which he still does to this day.
After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1961, Nishi joined the Kotobuki Kai in addition to launching his entertainment career, which has continued for more than 50 years. He started out as an emcee with the immensely popular Fuji Accordion Band. The source of his energetic performances is derived from his gratitude towards the Japanese American community, which supported his family in Japan with supplies after World War II. Coupled with the support from his wife, Keiko, and his family, Nishi continues to entertain the Japanese American community with his lively stage performances.
Photos by JUN NAGATA/Rafu Shimpo