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JCCCNC to Present Okamoto Award at ‘Tabemasho 2017’

Co-emcee John Sasaki, honoree Misako Sack, co-emcee Jan Yanehiro

SAN FRANCISCO — The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) will host its annual fundraising event, “Tabemasho 2017: Celebrating the Taste of Osaka,” on Saturday, Sept. 16 at its facility, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco Japantown.

The dinner program will be emceed by John Sasaki, former KTVU reporter and anchor, and Jan Yanehiro, director of the School of MultiMedia Communications at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The Okamoto Community Leadership Award will be presented to Misako Maki Sack, executive director of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association.

Sasaki is the communications director for the Oakland Unified School District. He is a Bay Area native Shin-Nisei who did a lot of growing up in Japantown and earned his B.A. in psychology from San Diego State University. Sasaki is remembered as a longtime reporter and anchor at KTVU in Oakland, where he worked for 20 years.

He is currently keeping busy as head coach for the girls’ lacrosse team at Alhambra High School — a familiar sport for him as he was on the 1986 Western Collegiate Lacrosse League Championship team and 1987 Western States Lacrosse Tournament champions at Whittier College. Sasaki was on the board of the Special Olympics of Northern California and member of the Education/Schools Advisory Commission for the City of Pleasant Hill.

Yanehiro is best known for co-hosting “Evening Magazine,” a nightly program in San Francisco that ran for 15 years on KPIX TV/CBS5 and is often cited as the show that launched entertainment and reality programming. She traveled the world in search of exotic places and fascinating celebrities. She has bungee jumped, skydived with the Army’s Golden Knights and climbed a frozen waterfall in Colorado. She has also hosted six documentaries on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Yanehiro has won multiple awards, including an Emmy, the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award and the Girl Scout’s Woman of Distinction. She is board chair of The Representation Project and serves on the boards of Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation and The Bank of Marin.

The Okamoto Community Leadership Award is presented to an individual who exhibits the modest and scholarly leadership spirit exemplified by the late Takeo Okamoto. The recipient must have demonstrated concern for the Japanese American community as well as the community at large. The prize is a total of $1,000 – $500 to the award recipient and $500 to a nonprofit organization(s) of the recipient’s choice.

What gave Okamoto the ability to lead was not expressed through the volume of his voice or boastful demeanor, but rather transmitted through the quality of his character. Sack, this year’s recipient, who has the same qualities. She has been involved with community organizations for almost 20 years and has taken on leadership roles in all of them in a quiet yet effective manner.

Sack is an international business specialist in the Business Department of the Morrison & Foerster LLP’s San Francisco office, working primarily in the general corporate area, with an emphasis on incorporation, ongoing corporate record keeping, qualification, dissolution, and mergers and acquisitions for corporate finance projects and financial transactions.

She is very active in promoting U.S.-Japan relations through various activities, serving as executive director (since 2000) and a board member of San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association (SFOSCA), the first sister-city relationship for San Francisco, and as a board member of JCCCNC, where she regularly handles visa petitions for entertainers that the center brings from Japan for its annual New Year’s celebration. She is also an active member of Japan Society of San Francisco.

Sack served as executive director of the Kanrin Maru 150th Anniversary Committee, which planned and executed numerous events in 2010 for the year-long celebration of the first ship sent from Japan to the U.S. In addition, for 12 years until 2014, she served as chair of San Francisco Mitakai, a local alumni club for Keio University graduates, encouraging 100+ members to get involved in local Japanese American community activities.

“I was pleased to hear that Misako Sack was selected to receive the Okamoto Community Leadership Award as she has given decades of tireless work for the SFOSCA as its executive director,” said Allen Okamoto, JCCCNC board member and co-chair of SFOSCA. “Her volunteer work with the association has truly improved the relations between the two great cities of the Pacific Rim, San Francisco and Osaka. Misako is a rare person who is able to bring together people from different cultures, communities and countries through her leadership and compassion.”

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the San Francisco-Osaka sister-city relationship, the longest such relationship between the U.S. and Japan, the program will also highlight three guest chefs from Osaka along with 12 local restaurants and community chefs, who will line the perimeter of the Nisei Community Hall serving their popular dishes; a silent and live auction; and a sweepstakes drawing.

Individual guest tickets with reserved seating are $175 each or a community sponsorship for $1,750 for a table of 10. Registration and silent auction open at 3 p.m. and doors and vendors will open at 4 p.m. RSVP deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 6. For more information, visit, email or call (415) 567-5505.

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