History

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.


Staff

DIANE WONG, MSW
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
diane@j-sei.org


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.

MIYUKI IWATA, LCSW
BILINGUAL CASE MANAGER
miyuki@j-sei.org


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.

CINZIA BARTOLOMEO
PART-TIME CASE MANAGER
cinzia@j-sei.org


Cinzia has been working in social services for the past 10 years supporting seniors and adults with disabilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her passion for humanity has accompanied her throughout her life. Italian born and raised, she worked in India helping women and children in need as well as Tibetan refugees. Cinzia comes to J-Sei bringing her international background and deep curiosity to assist the Japanese community of the East Bay.

VICKIE KAWAKAMI
SENIOR CENTER SITE COORDINATOR
vickie@j-sei.org


I have enjoyed working with our active elders via the J-Sei Senior Center for over 20 years. While aging is a mystery in that you never know exactly what lies ahead, your family history, your love of life, and staying active both socially and physically tend to assist in your having a kinder, gentler aging experience!

SUZANNE OTANI
BOOK KEEPER & ADMIN ASSISTANT
suzanne@j-sei.org


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.

RYAN TAKEMIYA (left) & GEORGE KONO (right)
VAN PROGRAM DRIVER
ryan@j-sei.org & george@j-sei.org


Ryan Takemiya comes to us with extensive experience driving multi-passenger vans. Ryan drove a multi-passenger van during college and enjoys writing and planning events. George Kono who was a J-Sei volunteer home delivery meal driver, also drove huge semi-trucks for many years. Ryan and George provide a cheery hello and a wonderful trip out for their riders.

KAREN CHIBA WATERS
PROGRAM COORDINATOR
karen@j-sei.org


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.”


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
  • Joan Fujii, Retired Human Resources Executive
  • 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
  • Jane Yamashiro, Sociologist
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
  • 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
  • Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church - Ken Suyama
  • Sycamore Congregational Church - Jane Tanamachi
  • Tri-Valley JACL - Keith Yoshizuka
  • Walnut Creek Japanese Christian Church - Christopher Doi

Employment

CAREGIVER DIRECTORY
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.

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