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Serving The Elderly, Preserving Culture

By Janice Tashiro, development chairwoman, Japanese Women’s Society Foundation

The Japanese Women’s Society Foundation (JWSF) was founded in 1954 through the initiative of Mrs. Haruko Tsumura, wife of the Japanese consul general. Since then, each Japanese consul general’s wife has been an honorary member. Although from diverse backgrounds, our 250 JWSF members share an interest in Japanese culture, participate in community service and host educational workshops.


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Janice Tashiro

In 1956, JWSF dreamed of building and maintaining a care home for elderly women. After 24 years of fundraising, members raised $360,000 but needed more. Their dream was realized when Kuakini Hospital invited JWSF to join in partnership with its new Progressive Health Care Center. In 1980, the second floor of Hale Pulama Mau (House of Cherishing Care) was dedicated to JWSF.

JWSF remains actively involved at the care center. Every first Sunday of the month, JWSF members volunteer to bring entertainment and refreshments and interact with the residents.

Each year, $5,000 scholarships have been awarded to senior gerontology majors. The scholarship encourages students to continue their dedication to the care of the aged. It was most rewarding to overhear the training physician at a doctor’s office say that a JWSF scholarship gave her the opportunity to realize her dreams.

Our book sale of Kokoro, Cherished Japanese Traditions in Hawaii enabled JWSF to establish a $35,000 JWSF Endowed Kokoro Scholarship Fund in the Japanese-American Studies program at the University of Hawaii.

Fundraising is critical to support JWSF’s activities. To date, fundraising efforts have contributed nearly $950,000 to Kuakini Care Home.

This year is our first attempt to host a JWSF Spring Affaire event. We plan to have a country store (baked goods, preserves, vintage items), farmers market (fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants), a snack bar, presale items, children’s entertainment and vendors (focused on Mother’s Day gifts). We invite the public to join us from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, for our JWSF Spring Affaire at Kaimuki High School cafeteria.

For more information, visit jwsf.org, or write to P.O. Box 3233, Honolulu, HI, 96801.

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