Japanese Community

Organization: Japan America Society of Iowa

Mission: The Japan America Society of Iowa (JASI) is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that seeks to establish mutual understanding between Japanese and American communities in Iowa. JASI provides opportunities to its members and the public to participate in social, cultural, and educational activities.

Goals:

• To promote Japanese culture and language through fun, intellectual, and meaningful events and meetings

• To support Japanese community members and the local population that is interested in Japan

• To establish solid relationships with other diverse organizations in our community

• To nurture the stable relationship between Japan and the U.S. at both a personal and official level

History: The Japan America Society of Iowa was founded in December 1989 with the purpose of promoting Japanese culture through the art of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). As membership grew and interests became more diverse, JASI was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and expanded its programs. JASI now provides many opportunities to the public and its members to learn and share their interests in Japanese culture through community events, presentations, activities, and workshops in many locations.

Activities:

• General Meetings/ Workshops

•Monthly general meetings are open to the public are held at various locations around the Des Moines metro area. All meetings provide cultural and fun activities such as sushi workshops and Japanese traditional holiday parties.

• Tea House Project o A committee was formed in 2010 to restore a traditional Japanese tea house. The original tea house was donated by Yamamoto family, who lived in Des Moines and before being placed in the internment camp during the WWII. With countless hours of volunteer work, the tea house restoration project is near its completion, and will soon be a valuable cultural asset to the central Iowa community

•Taiko (Japanese Drumming) Club o The JASI Taiko Club, call Soten Taiko, was formed in 2011. The group performs at local events, and gives taiko workshops to the public. The club practices every Sunday morning in Des Moines. New members are always welcome.

• Language School o Founded in spring of 2012, the Japanese language and culture school for children meets every Saturday morning. For pre-school children, the Hiyoko Club is provided once a month. • Kimono Club o JASI members who are interested in Japanese traditional wardrobe (kimono) get together to share their interests on a regular basis. They often give fashion shows and workshops to the public.

• JASI Annual Events o JASI hosts several exciting events such as Anime demo ii and Tanabata (star gazing festival) every year. JASI members also participate in local events such as CelebrAsian, and work closely with other organizations such as the Iowa Sister States Yamanashi committee.

• Outreach Programs o Various programs such as taiko workshops and Japanese cultural presentations/workshops are provided by volunteers of JASI members to the community year around. JASI is also planning a special celebration in September of 2014 to commemorate its 25th anniversary.

Contact:

Hiromi Umeda, JASI President

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 12039, Des Moines, IA 50312

JASI Website: www.japaniowa.org

E-mail: info@japaniowa.org