Mission Statement: 

“The Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC) is established to unify those involved in creating, maintaining, and promoting Japanese culture in Tucson and Southern Arizona. The SAJCC shall be an organization for Japanese American families and individuals, Japanese Nationals and their families, people and organizations promoting Japanese language, history, arts, and cultural activities, and anyone interested in Japanese culture. The SAJCC is meant to be inclusive. “

SAJCC Council members are: Sharon Arceneaux, Crystal Akazawa, Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, Clint Cooper,  Karen Falkenstrom, Miyako McKay, K Negley, Miki Pimienta, Dr. Josh Schlachet, James Tokishi, Dr. Min & Evelyn Yanagihashi. (Founding members are Crystal, Carolyn, Min & Evelyn).

Founder/1st Director of SAJCC was Ross Iwamoto (2012 to 2016). 2nd Director was Wayne Tanaka (March to June, 2016). 3rd Director wasYuki Ibuki (2016 to 2023).

New  SAJCC Co-directors are Sharon Arceneaux and Miki Pimienta, elected April 2024. 

SAJCC has successfully sponsored  Japanese New Year’s Mochitsuki (mochi pounding) celebrations in January 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. The first Tucson Mochitsuki was held at Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson, the second at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory (home of Odaiko Sonora), the third, fourth, fifth Tucson Japanese Festivals (new name) at Pima Community College (PCC)  Downtown campus.  The January  2019 and 2020 Tucson Japanese Festivals were held  at Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

UPDATE:  2021, 2022 and 2023 Tucson Japanese Festivals were not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 2023 date in January also conflicted with Chinese New Year. 

2024 Tucson Japanese Festival’s date moved from January to March 23, 2024 by SAJCC Council, again was held at Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

In Feb. 2019 the SAJCC Council voted to award $1000 (total) in scholarships to two financially needy UA college students enrolled in “Arizona in Kyoto: Japanese Food & Traditional Culture” study abroad program in Japan for summer of 2019.  (This is on a trial basis, may not be ongoing.) Chair of the selection committee is Carolyn Classen, with committee members Distinguished UA Prof. Albrecht Classen (her husband, Director of UA Medieval Europe study abroad program) and retired UA East Asian Prof. Min Yanagihashi. SAJCC Council voted to award a 2nd year of $1000 scholarships on Feb. 12, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020, 2021 and 2022 UA Arizona in Kyoto programs were cancelled for the summer.   SAJCC will be providing these 2 scholarships again for “Arizona in Kyoto: Experience Japanese Culture” (new name) study abroad program for 2023 and 2024.  

Webmaster is Jonathan Holtrop, and Editor Carolyn Classen is posting the articles and calendar listings, and sends out info on the listserve (time permitting). Co-Treasurers are Clint Cooper and Miyako McKay.   Secretary is K Negley who takes the meeting minutes & handles correspondence. Carolyn is also the Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Past Council members were Yuko Konishi, Dr. Yosei Sugawara, Ross Iwamoto, Wayne Tanaka, Heather Nagami, Yukari Katayama Fujimoto, Patricia Deridder, Denise Uyehara, Yuki Ibuki, Ginger Sugimoto, M Fumie Craig.

Contact us easily via the Contact Us page, or write to K at communications@southernazjapan.org. Find us at SAJCC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/southernazjapan/

SAJCC members started organizing this coalition in 2012, and formally set up this website in Nov. 2012.