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JASC scrapbook collection

Identifier: 1999.012

Scope and Contents

Collection contains five scrapbooks (1948-1966) that chronicle the early days of the Chicago Resettlers Committee and its metamorphosis into the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC). Clippings, in Japanese and English, document organizational and personnel changes, the explosive growth of the Japanese American community in Chicago, noteworthy achievements, biographical profiles, obituaries, cultural and social events.


  • 1948-1966

Biographical / Historical

Japanese Americans, who were residents of Chicago before World War II, along with the United States War Relocation Authority (WRA), established the Chicago Resettlers Committee (CRC) in 1946. The CRC assisted the WRA with the resettlement of approximately 20,000 Japanese American evacuees from the West Coast to Chicago. Originally, the CRC based its operations from 734 N. LaSalle Street. As early as 1942, many other social service organizations in Chicago sought to help Japanese Americans reestablish themselves after internment. Among these groups were the American Friends Services Committee, the Chicago Church Federation, Hull House, the Immigrants' Protective League, the Japanese American Citizens League, Olivet Institute, the Women's International League, the YMCA, and the YWCA. The Welfare Council of Chicago coordinated these groups and helped to fund the CRC.

The CRC helped resettle new Japanese American residents in Chicago including university and college students, professionals, veterans, and families. Its activities included referring people to needed services such as banks, insurance and real estate agents, attorneys, dentists, and doctors; supplying them with practical information about stores, restaurants, and hospitals; finding employment and housing; helping them fight discrimination; helping them locate an appropriate Christian or Buddhist church; coordinating recreational activities; and providing personal contacts. Among the former internees, the CRC thought that the young, single adults and the older Issei bachelors needed the most help with resettlement. In August 1946, the CRC’s purpose was four-fold:

•to encourage and help resettlers in becoming useful members of the Chicago community through social, economic, and cultural activities.

•to mobilize Americans of Japanese ancestry toward the strengthening of forces of democracy and the participating in efforts and plans to establish and maintain peace.

•to join forces with all Americans regardless of race, creed, or color to promote social and economic progress and to eliminate discrimination.

•to assist in the resettlement of people of Japanese ancestry.

In 1947 the CRC moved to 1110 N. LaSalle Street into space provided by the Catholic Youth Organization. Eventually in 1951 the CRC purchased the building. In October 1954 the CRC changed its name to the Japanese American Service Committee (JASC), reflecting the changing emphasis from resettlement to social services and community programs.

By the late 1950s, the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago, a financial supporter of the JASC and coordinator for social services in Chicago, encouraged the JASC to study of their mission. The JASC needed to reassess its mission because its original mission to help former internees relocate to Chicago no longer applied. In the late 1950s the JASC turned away from multi-generational activities to focus on the elderly Issei population. The agency decided to increase efforts to reach isolated groups of aging Japanese Americans throughout Chicago. After the initial postwar period of resettlement, the JASC focused on coordinating social services to the elderly such as English language classes, employment doing piece work (called the Sheltered Workshop begun in 1960), home visitations, and healthcare programs. In addition, the JASC began coordinating community-wide programs and cultural events such as arts and music programs, lectures, festivals, and special celebrations. Eventually the JASC expanded their activities to include other social services such as individual and family counseling, a nutrition program, meals on wheels, adult daycare, and household care and general assistance for the elderly. During the 1960s the JASC was located at 3257 N. Sheffield Avenue and in 1969 the JASC moved into its present facility at 4427 N. Clark Street.

After its first thirty years, the JASC began to shift from coordinating programs and services with other organizations to taking a leadership role in projects. In the late 1970s, the JASC continued to focus on the Japanese American elderly in Chicago by undertaking a major project. It built Heiwa Terrace, a residence for Chicago's aging Issei and Nisei populations. Heiwa Terrace, a 200-unit resident apartment building at 920 W. Lawrence Avenue, opened in 1980. Upon completion, a separate corporation took over management of Heiwa Terrace with the JASC providing social services for the residents. Besides Heiwa Terrace, the JASC also established the Keiro Extended Care Center, a 180-bed skilled nursing care facility at 3919 W. Foster Avenue, for Chicago's Issei and Nisei population. In 1993, the JASC sold the Keiro Extended Care Center to a private provider because of the heavy financial burden of operating a nursing care facility.

Today the JASC runs many programs aimed at continuing to help the aging Issei and Nisei populations in Chicago. It also facilitates community activities for Japanese Americans and others in the Chicago area. These programs include the JASC's Casework and Counseling Services, Home Support Services, Adult Day Services, Golden Diners, the Legacy Center (a community archive and library), and other cultural and community events. Activities include biannual cultural festivals, health screenings, free flu shots, educational workshops, senior drivers’ education classes, children’s classes, scholarships and internships, and many cultural classes.

The JASC facilities also serve as a meeting place for many community groups such as the Tampopo-kai (Japanese pre-school program), Chicago Nisei Post, New Horizons (a senior singles group), the Nisei Minyo dance group, the Nisei Cooperative Investment Club, Na Kupuna Ukulele Club of Chicago, Stir Friday Night! (an Asian American comedy troupe), the Tohkon Judo Academy, and the Northside Friends (Quakers). The JASC is a partner with other organizations in many programs including the Day of Remembrance annual event (observing the anniversary of the U.S. Presidential order that interned Japanese Americans during World War II), the annual Japanese American community picnic, youth basketball clinics, and periodic inter-generational dialog meetings. Now the JASC extends its services not only to Chicago's Japanese American population, but also other Asian American groups and elderly people. According to a recent annual report (1999-2000), the JASC's mission is:

To enhance the quality of life of the Japanese American community by providing social services; by opening up access to human services in the larger community through communication, collaboration, and coordination with appropriate agencies and organizations; and by increasing public understanding of minorities and their needs and contributions to the larger society.

Currently, the JASC wants to return to its role as facilitator of programs and events, rather than its role as primary organizer and promoter of these activities. In addition, the JASC hopes to expand their mission so that it not only serves Isseis (first generation Japanese Americans) and Niseis (second generation), but also can become relevant for Sanseis (third generation) and Yonseis (fourth generation) in metropolitan Chicago.

Revised 09/01


For more detailed information about the history of the JASC, see also Record Group 1: Board of Directors; Record Group 3: Executive Director; Record Group 5: Development and Public Relations; Record Group 8: Social Services; and Record Group 9: Publications at the JASC.

Minutes of the Advisory Committee for Evacuees, 28 October 1942, box 145, folder 4, Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago Records, Archives and Manuscripts, Chicago Historical Society Research Center.

Reference Guide for Chicago Resettlers and Information Services List, [February 1946], box 145, folder 3, Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago Records, Archives and Manuscripts, Chicago Historical Society Research Center.

Corky Kawasaki and others, Chicago Resettlement - 1947: A Report, 18 December 1946, Chicago Resettlers Committee Records, Chicago Historical Society Research Center.

Letter from the Board of Directors to Potential Funders, Box 3, Folder 4-JASC Major Fundraising, part III, 1978-79, RG3-Executive Director Records, Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center.

Janet P. Murray, JASC Interim Report of the 1960 Study, 10 August 1960, Japanese American Service Committee Records, Chicago Historical Society Research Center.

Japanese American Service Committee, 1999-2000 Annual Report (Chicago: Japanese American Service Committee, 2000)

Calvin Manshio and Sharon Harada, conversation with author, Chicago, 21 March 1997.

Source: Japanese American Service Committee


5 boxes

Language of Materials




Stacks 2, 5C

JASC scrapbook collection
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the JASC Legacy Center Repository

4427 N Clark St.
Chicago IL 60640 United States
1 (773) 275-0097