Janet Okubo was GLA president from 1998 through 2020. She was her own recording secretary writing the minutes for the nearly monthly executive board meetings. Janet assumed the responsibilities of treasurer from 2014 through 2020. GLA appreciates Janet’s gracious leadership for many years and assuming the duties of three positions.

Janet moved to Hampshire, Illinois end of summer 2021 to be with her family.

All the best of health and happiness to Janet in the next chapter of her life.

Attendees of party sitting from left: Joyce Okazaki, Mitchell Matsumura, Kei Sakita, Janet Okubo, Mary Yamabe, Noh Yamabe, Emy Sakamoto, Mas Oshiro, Layne Sakamoto, Kanji Sahara
Standing: Grace Masuda, Junko Ikeda, Louise Sakamoto, A. Okada, M. Kadogawa, Erica Harris, Nancy Takayama

J.K. YAMAMOTO Rafu Shimpo

“Never Give Up! Minoru Yasui and the Fight for Justice” was screened on February 23, 2020 at Faith United Methodist Church in Torrance. Director Holly Yasui (center), Minoru Yasui’s daughter, is pictured with two fellow filmmakers who worked on her documentary, Cory Shiozaki (“The Manzanar Fishing Club”) and Janice Tanaka (“Rebel with a Cause”). The event was co-sponsored by Faith UMC’s Social Action Committee and Greater L.A. JACL. The film was also shown on Feb. 22 at the Japanese American National Museum.

During World War II, Minoru Yasui (1916-1986) initiated a legal test case by deliberately violating military orders that lead to the incarceration of persons of Japanese ancestry in U.S. concentration camps. He spent nine months in solitary confinement awaiting his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against him. His case was reopened in the 1980s. For more information, visit www.minoruyasuifilm.org.


The JACL redress panel consisted of (from left) John Tateishi, Ron Wakabayashi, Frank Sato, Floyd Shimomura and Ron Ikejiri. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

A panel of former JACL officials, co-sponsored by the Greater L.A. JACL and the Social Action Committee of Faith United Methodist Church, was held at Faith UMC in Torrance on March 10, 2019.

The panelists discussed JACL’s national legislative effort in 1970s through the 1980s to seek redress for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.


At the JACL National Convention, Philadelphia, awards luncheon, July 19, 2018, JACL President Gary Mayeda presented the 2017-2018 JACLer of the Biennium award to Kanji Sahara, GLA Vice President – Legislation. JACLer of the Biennium award is presented to a JACLer who has contributed the most to the strength and growth of the JACL during the immediate past biennium.

Erin Sato, U.S. Secret Service special agent, was the speaker at the Greater L.A. JACL’s monthly program on May 6, 2018 at the Merit Park Recreation Hall in Gardena. She showed a USSS film and answered questions. Sato, who was Miss Tomodachi on the 1998 Nisei Week Court, applied to the Secret Service in 2001 after seeing a similar film. One of her assignments was to guard Malia and Sasha Obama, which she did for 2½ years. She is now in the Los Angeles Field Office as a back-up supervisor in the Protection Squad. Pictured from right: Louise Sakamoto, GLA programs chair; M. Kadogawa, GLA board member; Erin Sato; Chris Maier, Secret Service special agent and Sato’s husband; Janet Okubo and Kurt Ikeda, GLA co-presidents.

In a March 2015 GLA program, Steve Nagano showed his eight-minute documentary Six Weddings and a Dress, a story of Chiyomi Ogawa’s wedding dress, which was worn by six women who were incarcerated at Manzanar during World War II and upon their release relocated to Pasadena to marry and bring up their families.