About

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,  M. Fumie Craig,  Karen Falkenstrom, Yuki Ibuki, Miyako McKay, K Negley, Miki Pimienta, Ginger Sugimoto,  Dr. Min & Evelyn Yanagihashi. (Founding members are Crystal, Carolyn, M., Yuki, Min & Evelyn).

Founder/1st Director of SAJCC was Ross Iwamoto (2012 to 2016). 2nd Director was Wayne Tanaka (March to June, 2016). 3rd Director is Yuki Ibuki, who started in July, 2016 as Interim, and became Director in May, 2017.

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 (new location).

UPDATE:  2021 and 2022 Tucson Japanese Festivals will not be held in January 2021 or 2022 due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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 UA Arizona in Kyoto program was cancelled for the summer. 2021 Arizona in Kyoto program likely to cancel as well due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Webmaster is Jonathan Holtrop, and Editor Carolyn Classen is posting the articles and calendar listings, and sends out info on the listserve (time permitting). SAJCC logo was designed by Crystal Akazawa, who is also creating the posters and flyers. Treasurer is Clint Cooper.  Secretary is K Negley who takes the meeting minutes & handles correspondence. Carolyn is also the Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Consultants are Yuko Konishi, Dr. Yosei Sugawara, Wayne Tanaka, Heather Nagami (former Council members, now out of town). Other past Council members: Yukari Katayama,  Ross Iwamoto, Patricia Deridder, Denise Uyehara.

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.