Japanese cultural center in San Jose in danger of being closed
A San Jose nonprofit that has taught hundreds of families the arts and culture of Japan is in danger of closing. The center owes thousands of dollars in rent back because of the pandemic.
SAN JOSE, California – – A San Jose nonprofit that has taught hundreds of families the arts and culture of Japan is in danger of closing. The center owes thousands of dollars in rent back because of the pandemic. Many families said they would be sad to see it.
Before the pandemic, the Japanese Arts and Culture Center, or JACC, was busy in San Jose. It’s half a dojo teaching ancient martial arts training, the other half is a classroom with Japanese language and arts.
“We’re here to help parents with their children and to help people find out more about Japan,” said Eugene Chang of the Japan Arts and Culture Center.
While most martial arts facilities focus on competition, the center founded in 2010 is zen-like and geared towards self-improvement.
“The philosophy is to be able to train the body, mind and community,” said Chang.
It has helped people with attention deficit disorder. For 13-year-old Jacob Gechlik, diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, learning karate at the center helped him gain control without medication.
“It was more helpful than attending many therapy sessions,” said Gary Gechlik of Palo Alto.
“Finally the feeling that I can feel safe and comfortable in my own skin,” said Jacob Gechlik from Palo Alto.
Due to the pandemic, the center has been closed since March last year. The tuition fees covered rent and utilities. All instructors are volunteers.
The landlord works with them and has reduced the rent. However, the center must quickly obtain a return lease of at least $ 45,000.
“If we don’t do that, this dojo at this center must be closed,” said Chang.
It’s sad news for Ruke Shimuzu, an instructor who initially volunteered to stay close to her roots but now has other reasons.
“We see children and students come through every day and we are changing their lives,” said Sadi Ruke Shimizu from the Japanese Arts and Culture Center.
The center is inclusive and the instructors are diverse who said places like this have to stay open.
“Especially now there is a lot of hatred against Asians,” said Chang.
It is a positive way to address and educate societal concerns and fears.
“Keeping the center open is a way for everyone to come together and understand each other,” said Chang.
A gofundme had been set up at the weekend. More than $ 26,000 was raised, half of the $ 45,000 needed, proof of just how much the place is valued.
The center calls it encouraging, but has to raise all the money by next week.
Azenith Smith is a reporter at KTVU. Email Azenith at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.