Edward Moreno

At 94, Ed Moreno has accumulated nearly seventy years of service in media- broadcast, newsprint, and magazines. Ed has received a number of accolades for his work, as writer, editor and translator. His torrid love affair with Japanese culture began in 1951 and it seems it will never cool off. He is currently writing a column on Japanese-Nikkei cultural and historical topics for the “Newsette,” the monthly organ of the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, in West Covina, CA. Before its demise, The East magazine (Tokyo) published some of his original works.  He also writes for “Transactions, the Journal of the prestigious Asiatic Society of Japan”

Updated May 2015

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Tango no Sekku - Part 1

In 1948, during the McArthur shogunate and Tatsu Katayama’s premiership, the Japanese government determined to officially declare May 5th as Kodomo no Hi, or Children’s Day. The government’s intention was to celebrate a special day for children, and to honor their parents. However, since the way to hell is always paved with good political intentions, that decision triggered a big racket from boys, girls, and their parents. Accustomed to celebrating May 5th exclusively as their day, boys felt cheated out. In turn, the demoiselles were indignant and wondered, “How come March 3rd wasn’t ...

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The Founders II: Yosh Sogioka Part 2

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1964 was a crucial year for the ESGVJCC. At the center of West Covina’s “road to progress,” and right smack on the actual path for the Walnut Creek Parkway, the Center’s property was the ideal candidate for an “eminent domain” takeover. The Center yielded, closed that chapter of its life, and went after its current site at 1203 Puente Avenue. The Sogioka counted among the top supporters of the Capital Campaign to acquire the property.

Six years later, in 1970, Yosh’s father died.

Son Norman became a medical doctor in 1973, and later a ...

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The Founders II: Yosh Sogioka - Part 1

I can’t remember having been formally introduced to him; but shortly after we met, we were talking as if we had been long time buddies. Yoshimaro Sogioka, “Yosh” was the friendliest and most generous person I’ve ever met.

Yosh was one of the original founders of the San Gabriel Valley Japanese American Association, later the ESGVJCC. According to his autobiography, he was born in 1916, in Baldwin Park, the chonan- first male child of Sekimatsu and Shiye Sogioka, who immigrated to the United States in 1912. How the Sogioka beat the proscriptions of the infamous Gentlemen’s Agreement ...

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The Man Who Raised Green Dragons

Right at the center of Chugoku lays the prefecture of Hiroshima, one of the most fascinating, mountainous regions of Japan. The many rivers that cross it have created bountiful plains near the coast. The lovely breezes of the Seto Inland Sea, sheltered within Honshu and Shikoku tame the summer, and help Chugoku enjoy a gentle climate. The locale is home to several important towns; but the village of Umaki goes almost unnoticed. Now small, it was much more so in 1904, when Japan suddenly surged as an international power…and when Saichi Yamashita made it to life. Part of the ...

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The East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center - The Founders

Till you start talking to them, personally, you’ll never know for sure, what brought to life the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center we so much enjoy. “Them,” of course, is The Founders. Many are already gone, and you kick yourself for not having caught them on tape or video before. Those still around are, to me, our “National Living Treasures,” Kim Hatakeyama among them. At 87, two of his most outstanding characteristics are his infinite patience, and his undying smile.

His parent’s marriage (Kisaburo- from Niigata to Yasuji- from a Yamanashi family) was a traditional “shashin ...

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