Japanese American Help for the Aging (JAHFA) was a non-profit organization and standing committee of the Japanese American Association (JAA) that provided health, educational, informational, language, and social services to the elderly Japanese community in New York City.
In 1972, representatives from seven Japanese American organizations joined together to form the Ad Hoc Committee of Concerned Asians, which aimed to investigate the needs of the underserved elderly Japanese population in the area. The organizations included Asian Americans for Action, Japanese American Association of New York, Inc., Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese American United Church, New York Buddhist Church, Niko Niko Club, and United Asian Communities Center, Inc. In June 1972, the Committee sent questionnaires to people of Japanese descent over the age of fifty to assess their social service needs. While other organizations, including the Welfare Committee of the Japanese American Association of New York and the Committee of Social Concerns of the Japanese American United Church, were providing similar services at the time, their outreach was limited to their membership.
The Committee was renamed the Japanese American Help for the Aging (JAHFA) soon after its founding and was formally incorporated on November 16, 1973. JAHFA’s stated mission was to provide “the elderly and other needy persons supportive social services such as translation services; referral information concerning professional, institutional, and government help; planned social and recreational activities; transportation and shopping assistance; and assistance locating suitable housing.” JAHFA also assisted in home and nursing home visits, telephone reassurance, and financial management. The seven founding board members were Aiko Abe, Ronald N. Inouye, William Kochiyama, Fujio Saito, Sumiko Terada, Kentaro Yasuda, and George K. Yuzawa, who served as the Chairman of the Board and Director of JAHFA for a number of years.
In order to develop more effective programming, JAHFA completed additional survey needs assessments among the elderly Japanese community in the 1970s, for which they received funding from National Institute of Mental Health, the Asian American Mental Health Research Center, and the New York Community Trust.
JAHFA merged with the Japanese American Association in 1981, but remained a separate committee, maintaining independent records and finances. The organization remained active through the early 1990s.
Ad Hoc Committee of Concerned Asians for New York Questionnaire Request, June 1972; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
JAHFA: Articles of Incorporation, November 16, 1973; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
JAHFA: Mission Statement; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
Japanese American Help for the Aging: Landmarks, June, 2 1980; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Japanese American Help for the Aging. Minutes of Ad-hoc Committee Meeting, February 2, 1984; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives and Japanese American Help for the Aging.
Grant Proposals, October 28, 1981; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Letter and Questionnaire from Ronald Inouye to Vivian F. Bucknam (New York State Board of Social Welfare), August 9, 1974; Tamiment 442; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.
The Japanese American Help for the Aging (JAHFA) Records total 2 linear feet and document the organization’s campaigns, fundraising efforts, programming, and publicity coverage. One linear foot covers 1976-1982 and contains testimonies from Japanese American elders during a public hearing at the New York City Department for the Aging (May 11, 1977), JAHFA newsletter drafts (1978-1981), and grant applications (1979-1981). The second linear foot contains records from 1993-1994, which include JAA’s notes on and correspondence with the Isabella House, information on senior housing, and a proposal for the New York Japan Festival.