30 Years of Legacy: The Nikkei Student Union at UCLA


The Nikkei Student at UCLA celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, hosting a commemorative banquet on Saturday January 21, 2012.

Founded in 1981, the Nikkei Student Union (NSU) at UCLA has grown to have a membership of over 200 students. This year NSU celebrates 30 years since its founding and will also feature its 26th Annual Cultural Night in February.


  • 1981 – NSU is founded
    • The Nikkei Student Union is founded by Ken Minami, Albert Saisho, and Kenji Saisho.

  • 1980s – NSU fights with NCRR
    • NSU fights with the National Coaltion for Redress and Reparations (Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR)) to demand an apology and monetary reparations for the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during WWII

  • Feb 1986 – Week of Remembrance is held
    • NSU holds its inaugural week of Remembrance (weeklong series of speakers, forums, and exhibits). Evolves into NSU’s annual Cultural Night (CN)

  • 1986-1989 – Nakanishi’s Fight for Tenure
    • NSU plays an integral part to gain tenure for former Asian American Studies Center director Don Nakanishi

  • 1990 – Kyodo Taiko formed
    • NSU members organize Kyodo Taiko, the first collegiate taiko group

  • 1992 – Community recognition for NSU’s contributions/active involvement
    • Southern California Japanese American Historical Society honors NSU for its efforts to educate students on JA issues. The City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and the California State Legislature Assembly award NSU for outstanding service

  • 1995 – SoCal INC is formed
    • The Intercollegiate Nikkei Council is formed in efforts to establish a network among SoCall Nikkei college groups

  • 1996 – First Chinese American president of NSU
    • April Cheng becomes the first Chinese American president of NSU

  • 1997 – NSU Modern is formed
    • NSU Modern, a hip-hop and jazz dance group, is formed to provide members with an artistic outlet for expression

  • 2000 – First Fall Festival
    • NSU and Kyodo Taiko hold the first Fall Festival

  • 2000 – LTSC Recreation Center Project
    • NSU begins working with LTSC and other community groups to build a recreation center in Little Tokyo (2008 a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and LTSC is approved, 2009 the recreation center project renamed Budokan)

  • 2000 – NSU staff member Evan Okamura is elected USAC External Vice President
  • 2002 – NSU becomes a part of the Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC)
  • 2002 – Yuji Ichioka Basketball Tournament
    • NSU renames its annual basketball tournament to “The Yuji Ichioka Memorial Basketball Tournament” in honor of the renowned historian, activist, and professor Yuji Ichioka

  • 2003 – “Where is the Love”
    • NSU staff member Jonathan Shintaku organizes the first annual “Where is the Love” (raising awareness about hate crimes)

  • 2007 – Chibi-K Internship is started
    • Chibi-K was suspended in 2006 due to dwindling participation and lack of outreach

  • 2009 – NSU initiates Project Hashi
    • A grass roots student initiated volunteer program to connect college students with the Nikkei community through participation in Little Tokyo community-based organizations

  • 2011 NSU is awarded for its generous contributions to the Japanese Relief Fund by the Red Cross
  • 2012 NSU celebrates its 30th Anniversary with a Banquet at Ackerman Grand Ballroom
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    NSUatUCLA — Atualizado em Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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