Unification News for August 2003

LA: The 8th Nikkei Parents Day Festival

by Ted Miyagi

Japanese members and Japanese American community leaders has successfully organized the 8th annual Nikkei Parents Day Festival that was held on Sunday, July 27, 2003 at Japan America Theatre in downtown Los Angeles/Little Tokyo.

The event was to honor the parents of the year and to demonstrate the importance of the role of parents in rearing their children through speech contests and parents of the year award, and the family values were expressed through art contests/exhibit, and many family-value oriented entertainments. Japanese community and businesses donated to fund this program ($25,000 annual budget). Over 700 people attended the event.

Although Mayor of Los Angeles and General Council of Japan gives congratulatory messages every year, the Los Angeles City Council passed a special resolution this year to honor the Nikkei Parents of the Year. Every member of the city council signed the fancy certificates and tow sets of parents, Noboru & Tomiko Nakayama and Tsutomu & Kinuko Maehara, received one respectively.

This is amazing because the festival committee did not specifically request the council to pass such resolution. However, after profiles of the selected Parents of the Year were published in a local newspaper article, the council acted promptly to pass the resolution. This clearly shows that Nikkei Parents Day Festival is beginning to be recognized as an official program in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S.

Further, this event was officially introduced by MC as saying that the legislation of National Parents Day was initiated by both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans after they heard the speeches on Capital Hill by Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. During the reception marriage-rededication blessing was conducted according to the true family value.

Another characteristic of this year’s program is a big donation given by the past awardees of the Nikkei Parents of the Year. Mr. And Mrs. Nerio’ s remainders charity trust donated $25,000 to the Asian Parents Day Coalition, Inc., the event organizer/sponsor. Although Mr. & Mrs. Nerio already passed away, they left a Will indicating a big donation be given to our organization. They were impressed with the Nikkei Parents of the Year award and said the award was the best among their collection of awards.

Many community leaders are supporting this event as a couple. Monthly meetings are being held at the residence of Henry and Helen Yasuda. They also are past Nikkei Parents of the Year and dedicating to this National Parents Day movement as a committee chair. Mr. Yasuda also is a chairman of Obon Festival of Higashi Honganji, a Buddhist group and he is involved in many organizations such as Japanese American National Museum and Japanese hometown associations. Mrs. Ishihara, our chair of speech contest subcommittee, had her husband with cancer this year. But she dedicated to this program because it was so important for her to promote this true family value program. Needless to say, the commitment of Japanese church volunteers is a bastion of this movement.

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