J-Sei is a multi-generational and multi-cultural organization with its roots in Nikkei values and culture. We are proud of our history of providing care and assistance to older adults, senior assisted living, and in conjunction with our new strategic plan and agency rebranding, including our name change, we have expanded our services and programs to include families and younger generations.

It is not the first time in our history that we have evolved and adopted a new name. In 1971, East Bay Japanese for Action (EBJA) began with outings and social events for the Issei generation. EBJA established bilingual Case Management services and a Nutrition Program serving Japanese lunches. Following a merger between EBJA and East Bay Issei Housing in 1986, the combined entity was named Japanese American Services of the East Bay (JASEB). We leveraged our resources and with our supporting partner organizations we were able to provide culturally sensitive senior housing options for seniors and a Senior Center offering classes and other activities.

And now J-Sei is a community care and cultural organization that brings families and generations together to nurture and pass on Nikkei values and traditions that remain at the core of our services. Our pursuit of the expanded mission will be guided by our community values of dignity, trust, independence, social connection, open communication, and respect for our elders. Our commitment to serving seniors is unwavering, but we are broadening our impact by serving our multi-generational and multi-ethnic community.


Benji Choi
Interim Volunteer & Kitchen Assistant
(510) 654-4000 x16

I graduated with a bachelor's in anthropology from UC Berkeley and went on to earn a master's in accounting from Cal State Fullerton. As a soon-to-be CPA, I normally work as a financial auditor. I'm currently taking a short break from public accounting to spend some time focusing on personal R&R. Aside from work, my interests include watching stand-up comedy, trying new foods and restaurants, karaoke, and occasionally skydiving.

Mary Hart, MA, NHA
J-Sei Home Administrator
(510) 732-6658

Mary has a Master's degree in Gerontology, Long-Term Care Administration, from San Francisco State University. She has 20 years experience as an administrator. In addition to a license for Assisted Living, she also hold one as a Skilled Nursing Administrator. She loves working with older people, and working at J-Sei Home has given her a chance to learn more about another culture. She is a rabid Warriors fan and rides mopeds for fun.

Franklin Hom
Van Driver, Mon & Th
(510) 654-4000, x14

Frank attended UC Berkeley in the ice age and graduated with a degree in Economics. He worked in the financial industry for many years. He traded options on the trading floor for 25 years, then worked on a compliance officer for another 10 years. Frank hopes that in the end of his “ride”, he can finally do something he has always wanted to do: help people.

Glen Iwaoka
Van Driver, Tu & Wed
(510) 654-4000, x17

Miyuki Iwata, LCSW
Bilingual Case Manager
(510) 654-4000, x11

Miyuki holds a Masters in Social Work with a focus on gerontology from San Jose State University and a certificate of California Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She brings with her much social work experience in hospice and skilled nursing facilities. She is interested in working with older adults as she can learn many things through their views and experience. She recognizes the importance of language in providing appropriate services to monolingual seniors and she wanted to use her Japanese language skills to help.

Tara Kawata
Senior Services Manager
(510) 654-4000, x15

Tiffany Nguyen
Operations Manager
(510) 654-4000, x17

Tiffany Nguyen most recently worked for a large senior independent-living apartment, where she was responsible for facility operations and hosted activities and events for the older adult residents. She has a wonderful background in property mangament and tax-credit housing. On her days off, she enjoys spending time with her two precious little girls and shopping. Her forcus in life is to have good health and to be happy.

Suzanne Otani
Bookkeeper/ Admin Assistant
(510) 654-4000, x10

Suzanne has spent most of her career in retail from sales to management to buying/planning to merchandise information which led her to technology. After leaving retail, she spent several years in product management for software and service providers writing functional documentation and testing what was developed by the software engineers. Detail oriented and a problem solver, she enjoys using her skills at J-Sei to help makes things work smoothly. What she finds most rewarding about being at J-Sei is seeing how people are benefiting from our services.

Jill Shiraki
Education Coordinator
(510) 654-4000, x19

Karen Waters
Program Coordinator
(510) 654-4000, x13

Karen coordinates the Caregiver Registry and Friendly Visitor/Caller programs. As a part-time bi-lingual staff person with extensive human resources experience, Karen assists families in finding the best matches for in-home care workers and volunteer visitors. “J-Sei gives me the opportunity to get to meet and get involved with the Japanese Community in The East Bay. I look forward to immersing myself in the many ways that J-Sei supports and helps the Senior community and their families.”

Diane Wong, MSW
Executive Director
(510) 654-4000, x18

Diane received her BA and MSW from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare where she focused on the fields of gerontology and agency management and planning. “I believe in the families we serve, the effective mix of programs and the staff, volunteers and board members.” Her enjoyment comes from knowing that J-Sei makes a positive impact on people in the community.

Board of Directors

The J-Sei Board of Directors reflects the broad spectrum of East Bay Nikkei families that are served.  Board members possess a wide-range of expertise and leadership to further the mission of the agency.

  • Russell Doi, Reverse Mortgage Consultant
  • Kei Matsuda, Retired Economist
  • Aki Nakao, Special Assistant to Alameda County Administrator
  • Lisa Oyama, Attorney
  • Arlene Swinderman, Samuel Merritt University Director of the Ethnic Health Institute
  • Wayne Takata, Retired Engineer
  • Kevin Toyama, Editorial Professional
  • Kay Yatabe, Retired Physician
  • Cole Yoshida, Retired IBM
  • Ned Isokawa, Board President, Attorney
  • Dennis Kaneshiro, Certified Public Accountant, Timpson Garcia, LLC
  • Matt Morizono, Board Vice President, Lieutenant in the Berkeley Police Department
  • Jane Tanamachi, Project Manager

Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is composed of representatives designated by each of J-Sei's twenty-one member organizations.

  • Alameda JACL - Nancy Tajima
  • Berkeley Buddhist Church - Yukiko Otake
  • Berkeley Higashi Honganji Church - Rev. Ken Yamada
  • Berkeley JACL - Neal Ouye
  • Berkeley Methodist United Church - Rev. Dr. Naomi Southard
  • Berkeley Nikkei Senior Center - Kayo Fisher
  • Buddhist Church of Oakland - Jon Takagaki
  • Buddhist Temple of Alameda - Yumi Yasuda
  • Buena Vista United Methodist Church - Jo Takata
  • Contra Costa JACL - Esther Takeuchi
  • Diablo Japanese American Club - Arlene Kikkawa-Nielsen
  • East Bay Free Methodist Church - Rena Kumai
  • Eden Township JACL - John Yamada
  • Eden Township Japanese Community Center - Ed Oda
  • Fremont JACL - Alan Mikuni
  • Lake Park United Methodist Church - Rev. John Oda
  • Sakura Kai Senior Center - Setsuko Doi
  • San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church
  • Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church - Ken Suyama
  • Sycamore Congregational Church - Jane Tanamachi
  • Tri-Valley JACL - Keith Yoshizuka
  • Walnut Creek Japanese Christian Church - Christopher Doi


J-Sei is actively seeking additional qualified individuals for its caregiver registry. Those interested in providing homecare to older adults can be a part of our caregiver directory. J-Sei will help connect those looking for jobs providing homecare with families wanting to employ help within their home. Caregivers are not employees of J-Sei. Contact our Case Managers for further information and for a caregiver directory application.

If you are interested in learning more about internship opportunities with J-Sei, please contact Diane at diane@j-sei.org