Bridging to the Past...
The emergence of this school has brought support and encouragement from different segments of the community. Because of popular
appeal, it exists to perpetuate the cultural roots that are basic to the self-esteem of everyone. For the aging Issei (first generation) in the
community, it is an indication that their descendants value their heritage. For the Nisei, Sansei and Yonsei (second, third, and fourth
generation), that heritage is a part of the roots that stated in Japan centuries ago and was transplanted to America by the Issei. The charter
parents were united in sharing their goals in an exciting organizational effort. Each new family contributed to the on-going enthusiasm and
innovation of the program. The task of Jan Ken Po Gakko is to build a bridge from the past to the present for understanding, interpreting, and
sharing our rich cultural heritage with our children.
Jan Ken Po Gakko...
is a parent cooperative program that educates children and their
families about Japanese-American culture through exploration in
language, music, arts and cooking.
|“Only two things which people give children have intrinsic
value,” says an unknown philosopher, “roots and wings”.
The name, Jan Ken Po Gakko was adopted from a Japanese
children’s game, it is an Americanized version of Jan Ken Pon (paper-
scissors-stone). The name ifiustates the emphasis the parents
wanted to place about learning Japanese culture within an
atmosphere of fun. Mrs. Fumiko Nishio, a Kibei (American born and
educated in Japan) added a symbolic interpretation to the name
when told about the school. She commented, “Maa, rippa na namae
desu ne”, (My, such a grand name). What forethought of the young
parents in selecting such a name. Jan Ken Pon is played by at least
two persons and is symbolic of our two countries, Japan and
America, and the bridging of our two cultures.
Jan Ken Po Gakko Annual
Arts and Craft Fair
was a huge success!
Thank you for your
support. We hope to see
you next year!
Message from Mary Tsukamoto...
“Upon retiring in 1977. I was asked to be Director of Gakko. How could I say no. This encounter became a profound influence
upon my life. It was a crowning experience that clearly defined the path I would walk for the remainder of my days.
Japanese magazines, assessed my collection of Japanese dolls, organized charts and pictures, and put together a huge
collection of realia and visual materials. This collection is now part of the Japanese American Archival Collection at California
State University, Sacramento.
I was so impressed with the young parents who brought their clear vision, special skills and intelligence into this pioneering
program of cultural heritage. They organized, adapted, innovated arid creatively forged ahead, sparkling with dynamic purpose
to make a great idea become a reality for their children.
The parents and children challenged me to provide a balanced picture of the internment experience. One day, while I was
telling the children about their wonderful, hard-working grandparents and internment experience, the children said, ‘You are
lying! I can’t believe you. How could our grandparents be so nice and the government put them away unless they were spies or
I was shocked and deeply shaken as I realized that my silence, anger and outrage, which were kept private for 30 years, was
wrong. I had no right to go to my grave with this silent, unanswered question. The challenge was clear, to speak out about the
experience and issues of internment and to become involved in advocating and educating the public for the passage of
Thus I personally found my own roots, through Jan Ken Po Gakko.”