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Tsunami: Japanese American groups to hold memorial and fundraiser

March 16, 2011 |  3:53 pm

Southern California's sprawling Japanese American community will come together Thursday in Little Tokyo to raise funds and offer prayers of healing and hope for victims of Japan's massive earthquake, tsunami and fast-moving nuclear crisis. 

“Seeing the devastation so far away can leave people with a sense of helplessness, but Thursday's memorial will provide an opportunity for the community to come together and reflect on the suffering of countless individuals and our interconnectedness,” said Chris Aihara, executive director of the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.

Aihara said many Japanese American organizations have been flooded with calls from people wanting to help Japan in some way. The event will feature information about how to donate through three community groups, an interfaith service with Christian prayers and Buddhist chanting and a musical performance by June Kuramoto of the jazz group Hiroshima. Several elected officials are also scheduled to attend.

More than 20 Asian American organizations and businesses are co-sponsoring the event, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the community center plaza at 244 S. San Pedro St. in downtown Los Angeles.

 "As Japanese Americans we do feel a great connection to Japan, and as a community we wanted to show our concern," Aihara said. 


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-- Teresa Watanabe