If you have any questions or want to know more about any of the programs or services JASC offers, please feel free to contact any of our staff as listed below.
Social Services: 773-275-7212
Chief Executive Officer: Michael Takada
Mike brings a unique combination of private sector and nonprofit experience to lead both the day-to-day operations and long-range planning for JASC. With over 30 years of experience in the financial sector, Mike oversees all strategic planning, project management, financial management, and organizational leadership at JASC, translating JASC’s Mission into active services and programs. Mike’s volunteer experience includes serving as past President and Board Member of JASC, anti-racism and diversity facilitator with the Anti-Defamation League and the Unitarian Universalist Association, past President and Board Trustee at the Unitarian Church of Evanston and Evanston’s Kids Can Dance program. Mike received a BA from Boston University and a MBA from DePaul University. He helped raise three beautiful daughters in Rogers Park and now calls the Uptown neighborhood home.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 230; email: email@example.com
Program & Special Events Manager: Joan Ambo
Joan joined the staff in August 2018 and does planning and coordinating Programs and Special Events at JASC. Joan has been an active volunteer in the community for many years, and has a teaching background in Montessori. A Chicago native, she grew up in Uptown and currently resides in the Rogers Park neighborhood. Joan is a graduate of UIC and the Inter-University Center in Yokohama, Japan.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 228; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cultural & Community Affairs Coordinator: Kay Kawaguchi
Kay has worked in many areas at JASC since 1999, most recently coordinating Cultural & Community Affairs, managing classes, workshops and seminars. A native Japanese speaker, she also assists with translation services, home support programs and Adult Day Care Services for Japanese-speaking clients. Prior to JASC, Kay worked at the Chicago Shimpo newspaper and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce at Chicago.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 226; email: email@example.com
Coordinator – Tampopo Kai: Naomi Negi
Naomi has been delighting children and their parents at JASC’s Tampopo Kai program for over 25 years. Besides spending time creating engaging lesson plans and updating seasonal displays for the classroom, she keeps busy as a cultural artist visiting schools, libraries and museums running workshops and demonstrations of Japanese cultural arts.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 226; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Japanese Language Specialist: Keiko Takenaka
Keiko is the Japanese language specialist at JASC through the GEN-J (Grassroots Exchange Network Japan) Program, organized by Japan Foundation in collaboration with Laurasian Institution. Keiko currently lives in Ravenswood, and her assignment runs through September, 2020. She is responsible for promoting Japanese language education in the greater Chicagoland area, providing assistance to local school districts and community organizations. Keiko grew up in Kumamoto, Japan, and her passion besides teaching is playing guitar and singing.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 237; email: email@example.com
Development and Legacy Center Director: Ryan Masaaki Yokota, PhD
Ryan joined the JASC in July 2015 and is responsible for development and grant-writing, as well as the daily operations of the Legacy Center Archives and Library. He manages the Legacy Center Archives and Library, assists researchers with research requests, and develops public history programs and exhibits to promote the history of Japanese Americans in Chicago. He received his Ph.D in East Asian-Japanese History at the University of Chicago and his M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA and also received his B.A. at UCLA, double majoring in English and History.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 222; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Archivist: Merle A. Branner, MS, MLIS
Merle joined JASC in October 2018. She will assist in preparing archival materials for use, will assist researchers with retrieving materials from JASC’s database and collections, and will help develop exhibits to promote the history of Japanese Americans in Chicago. Merle has a diverse background with a B.F.A. in Photography from the Art Center College of Design, a teaching certificate from Loyola Marymount University, an M.S. degree in Educational Computing from Pepperdine University, and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Dominican University.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 248; email: email@example.com
Oral History Project Coordinator: Anna Takada
Anna joined the JASC staff as the Oral History Project Coordinator in 2018. This position is a continuation of the oral history project that was a part of the Then They Came For Me exhibit at the Alphawood Gallery where Anna worked as the Outreach Coordinator and Exhibitions Assistant. The Oral History Project is a joint venture with the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society. Anna received a B.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis from New York University.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 229; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digitization Coordinator: Kioto Aoki
Kioto is part of the Bridging Voices Project team and has been at JASC since 2018. She is responsible for cataloguing and preparing the 16mm film collection and other audio/video media archives for digitization to help facilitate online public accessibility of JASC’s archives. Kioto is a visual artist and musician, specializing in the analogue image and image-making process. She received her BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Database Coordinator: Ryan Toguri
Ryan joined JASC in 2011 and is responsible for maintaining JASC’s databases and addressing any technical issues that arise with the office computers. Ryan also coordinates and designs the JASC eblast and Community Calendar newsletters. Ryan graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Music.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 221; email: email@example.com
Receptionist: Yuki Scroggins
Yuki has been JASC’s receptionist since 2007. The first person you see walking in the door, Yuki is responsible for the “meet & greet” as well as other administrative duties. Bilingual in English and Japanese, Yuki also assists in translating documents for the JASC Legacy Center.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 221; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Day Care Services
Manager: Melba Ristow, RN
Melba plans and supervises the Adult Day Care Services to meet the needs of our senior guests. With over 20 years of service at JASC, her team conducts meaningful activities and care allowing seniors to remain independent longer. Prior to JASC, Melba worked in several hospital settings, including Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial. Melba earned her nursing degree in the Philippines.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 239; email: email@example.com
Day Care Nurse: Nanytes Blanca, RN
Nanytes (Tess) has worked as a nurse in JASC Adult Day Care program since 1996, assessing, planning and directing the total nursing care of clients, working with families, caregivers and other medical professionals. Tess previously worked in skilled nursing facilities and home health settings and earned her degree in the Philippines.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 240; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity Planner: Katren Mesa Chiong, CNA
Katren has been working in Adult Day Services since 2007, creating, planning and overseeing therapeutic games and activities for JASC clients that meet their social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs. Katren is a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 240
Social Work Services
Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Mio Nomura
Mio joined the staff of JASC in April 2017 and is working with the Out of the House program as well as with counseling clients. She earned her Master’s of Social Work from Loyola University and has been a Chicago resident for over 15 years. Mio was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan, and is bilingual in Japanese and English. Contact her for more information about JASC’s counseling services.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 225; email: email@example.com
Home Support Services
Manager: Sodarlene Khee
Sodarlene joined JASC as a homemaker in January 2016 was quickly promoted to manager in June. She came to JASC after several years working in a doctor’s office and with an undergraduate degree from Royal University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Reach out to Sodarlene if you or someone you know could use some extra help around the house.
Phone: 773-275-0097 ext 223; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors
JASC is directed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, lending their specific professional and community expertise to all aspects of the organization.
John R. Sasaki
John is Managing Director with The Claro Group, a financial and management consulting firm where he heads the Government Contract Consulting Practice, leading a team of 18 professionals that assist Fortune 500 companies that perform business with the Federal government. John is a CPA and began his career in Arthur Andersen’s Audit practice, eventually being appointed Partner in charge of the Government Contract Consulting Practice for Andersen’s Western Region. John’s non-profit experience includes serving as Board member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Evans Scholarship program, and Board member of JASC since 2005. John is a graduate of Marquette University and lives in Northbrook with his wife Elaine, daughter Nicole and twins Robert and Matthew.
Vice President & Treasurer
Yasuko is an Audit partner in the Japanese practice of KPMG’s Chicago office. She joined the Chicago office KPMG in 1990, and became a partner in 2000. She currently focuses on serving Japanese-owned companies.
Glenn is an Executive Vice President and Global Practice Leader for DHR International, one of the nation’s largest executive search firms. Glenn’s diverse management experience includes roles at Leo Burnett USA, President of a regional restaurant chain and member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bulls. Glenn has been a member of the JASC Board of Directors for over two decades and serves as our Santa Claus at the annual Holiday Delight and is a graduate of Michigan State University. Glenn lives in Wilmette with his wife, Patti, and has two grown children.
Bob is the Managing Principal of the Ronin Group, a marketing consulting firm. With over 30 years of experience, Bob has held management positions at some of the world’s largest marketing communications organizations including Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather. Recognized as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Asian American marketing, he is the author of Many Cultures, One Market: A Guide to Understanding the Asian Pacific American Market, and is a sought-after lecturer on the subject. Bob has served as a Founder, Officer, Director or Member of over a dozen non-profits in the Asian American arena and is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bob lives in Wilmette with his wife, Mary, and has a grown daughter.
Marion Friebus-Flaman, PhD
Marion is Director of Language Acquisition Services for Naperville Community Unit School District 203. In this role, she oversees the Bilingual/ESL program, the Dual Language program and World and Classical Languages program from pre-kindergarten through high school. Prior to this, she was Principal of Thomas Dooley Elementary School for five years, where she directed all instructional programs and professional staff development at the nation’s only Japanese-English Dual Language Program in a public school. She also lends her expertise in this field by teaching graduate courses in Multicultural Education at Northern Illinois University. Marion is a Council Member of the US-Japan Council and has served on the Illinois English Language Learner Assessment Advisory Committee and the Illinois Governor’s Task Force on Growth Models. Dr. Friebus-Flaman has earned degrees from Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University and Capella University. Marion lives in Hoffman Estates with her son, Ben.
Sayaka Machizawa, PsyD
Dr. Sayaka Machizawa works as Associate Director of the Community Partnerships at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she coordinates and oversees community engaged scholarship activities. As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, she specializes in neuropsychological and fitness-for-duty evaluations as well as psychotherapy. She is actively involved in leadership roles in American Psychological Association (APA). She currently serves as Secretary of APA Division 52 International Psychology and Membership Officer for APA Division 17 Counseling Psychology International Section. She is a graduate of Cornell College and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and lives in Logan Square with her cat, Peter.
Andres has practiced law for the City of Chicago Law Department for over 20 years, specializing in constitutional litigation in federal and state courts. Prior to that he was an associate with a large firm in New York City. He has degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan Law School. He lives in Rogers Park with his wife, Rachel.
Kim is a partner at the law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. and is a member of the medical malpractice and birth trauma defense teams. Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois and US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Kim has served on the Cook County Judicial Evaluation Committee for the Alliance of Bar Associations through her involvement with the Illinois Bar Association and the Asian American Bar Association. Kim is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Northern Illinois University College of Law and lives in Chicago.