Keiro Founder Speaks Out Against Sale

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Frank Omatsu tells Ad Hoc Committee, "I'm not in favor of this sale at all."

Keiro ad hoc Omatsu

Frank Omatsu, right, a founder of Keiro Senior HealthCare, listens on Tuesday night during a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro. He later voiced his opposition to the proposed sale of Keiro’s four facilities. (Photos by MIA NAKAJI MONNIER)

By MIA NAKAJI MONNIER
Rafu Staff Writer

The Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro held its second public meeting on Tuesday. In the audience was Frank Omatsu, the only one of Keiro’s eight cofounders still alive. Omatsu voiced his disagreement with Keiro’s decision to sell its facilities. “I didn’t okay it,” he said. He recalled his mother’s hope of what Keiro would represent: a place where Japanese seniors “suterareta kimochi ga nai,” or “don’t feel like they are being thrown away.”

Jonathan Kaji read an email from Fred Tokio Wada, Jr., the son of another Keiro founder, who is also opposed to the sale.

During the Q&A session, Morisaku Morishita, representing the Southern California Gardners’ Federation, spoke about his organization’s 35 years volunteering in Keiro’s grounds. They volunteer for two reasons, he said: to make sure their senpai spend their last years in a nice place, and to make sure that place is still around when they themselves retire. “It doesn’t have to be a fancy,” he said in Japanese. “It just has to be somewhere with a warm Nikkei atmosphere.”

A crowd listens to speakers during the meeting held Tuesday at Centenary United Methodist Church.

A crowd listens to speakers during the meeting held Tuesday at Centenary United Methodist Church.

The committee distributed red strips of fabric, which Kaji explained were meant to be worn as hachimaki at Keiro’s community meeting tonight. “Keiro thinks that our community is a quiet, passive, docile one that doesn’t give a damn,” he said. “I think they have seriously underestimated this community.”

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