A nonprofit center in San Jose, California that dedicates itself to teaching Japanese arts and culture is facing the possibility of closure due to months of back rent amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is asking the community for help.
A helping hand:
The Japanese Art and Cultural Center
(JACC), located on Moorpark Avenue, is now asking for help to continue their effort in teaching students about martial arts, Japanese language and arts, according to KTVU
- The JACC was one of the many businesses forced to close down in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The center accumulated a lot of unpaid rent as it relied heavily on student fees to cover the cost.
- The landlord offered a 50% discount on the rent for the remainder of the year and a 50% cut from their unpaid amount, according to a GoFundMe campaign that was created to keep the center running.
- The center must pay $45,000 by early May, martial arts instructor Akihiro Omi explained in the post.
- The GoFundMe campaign has managed to surpass its goal of $45,000, raising over $46,000 as of this writing. All funds will go directly to keeping the center open, as staff and instructors are all volunteers.
More on the JACC: The center was founded in 2010 with the mission to “foster, develop and promote traditional Japanese arts and culture within the scope of the broader Asian culture,” Omi said.
- “The Zen training at the Center is geared towards personal, physical and psychological growth and development of each individual, empowering him/her to live a happier and fuller life,” JACC said in its mission statement.
- The JACC has used a “Zen-based approach” at the core of its program “to enhance individual integrity, build compassionate character, and foster profound awareness and self-actualization.”
- Although they offer martial arts lessons, the JACC does not participate in competitions as it focuses more on self-improvement.
- “The philosophy is to be able to train the body, train the mind and be able to serve the community,” Eugene Chang of the Japanese Art & Cultural Center told KTVU. One student, Jacob Gechlik, 13, reportedly found the approach to help with his oppositional defiant disorder without the use of medication.
- “We see kids and students come through every day and we change their lives,” said Ruke Shimizu who is among many at the center who feels it must remain open. Chang echoed the same sentiment adding, “Especially now there is a lot of hatred against Asians.”