Japanese Americans Come Together Amid Disaster

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Playing taiko drums and enjoying Japanese food, the Japanese American Citizens League held its annual dinner. The dinner raises money for scholarships for Japanese students, but this year takes on additional importance in light of the disaster in Japan.

"The community has come together as one over there in Sendai they're supportive and helping one another in Japan," Mimi Fujii-Strickler of the league said. She said now it is time for people in the U.S. to come together for relief efforts too.

Kayoko Wantanabe displayed origami and was collecting donations for relief.
The UNR student from Sendai, Japan could not reach her family after the magnitude nine earthquake.

"Phone call is not really working our home line is not really working so I had like two or three days missing my family," she said.

Fortunately her family is unhurt. They live away from the coast. But she said she is very concerned for those still missing and farmers who now face the loss of their livelihood.

For more than sixty years the Japanese American Citizens League has had a chapter in Reno. Bud Fujii of the league said the Japanese population and culture has grown here.

"It got separated by race and after the war was over, it kind of went right back to where it was before," he said.

"I want to thank everyone in this community for lots of support for the Japanese people," Rieko Shimbo, who instructs the taiko drum performers, said.

She said there is enormous hope for the Japanese people now struggling to recover.

"There is a hope, we'll get together and we'll get through this difficult time," she said.

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