Eijiro Machida, a first generation Japanese in America, dreamed of a bridge that would keep his children and their children connected to the culture and traditions of their ancestral birthplace. To build this bridge, he offered a gift of his land in 1936. This bridge became the ESGVJCC (East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, Inc.).
Today, the ESGVJCC bridges culture, family, and community; and stands as a vibrant Japanese American regional cultural and community organization that spans across the greater Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and Orange County. It is home to over 25 cultural, educational, artistic, recreational and social programs serving over 1,000 families.
Once an ethnic enclave, insulated from the surrounding community, the ESGVJCC now bridges outward and partners with the City of West Covina to host the annual City of West Covina Cherry Blossom Festival; the Sister City association of West Covina and Ohtawara, Japan; and the annual summer student exchange program between the two cities. It bridges with Japanese American organizations, civic officials, performing artists, campus clubs and educational institutions to collaborate on the design and delivery of innovative and essential programs and services for the community; such as the annual community Health Fair with California State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez.
The future of the ESGVJCC is reflected by the dynamic combination of the increasing diversity within the Japanese American community; the broad attraction to Japanese cultural traditions; and involvement in community based social services, artistic, recreational and educational programs. Accordingly, the ESGVJCC Board of Directors, in January 2012 implemented a 10 year strategic plan anticipating and adjusting for the challenges and opportunities of the emerging horizon.
But, as it was in the beginning, so it will be in the future. The emergent ESGVJCC will remain a bridge: now open to all – to experience, to celebrate and to be inspired by the beauty, the uniqueness and the joy of the Japanese American culture.