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  • Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) Volunteer Opportunities


Put your interests and skills to work with volunteer activities we know you will enjoy! We try to match interests, abilities and skills with Cultural Center needs. Our volunteers help in areas such as event support, collections and curation, guided tours, office work, gallery/gift shop, and any area of special skills where you feel your support is best situated.

There are many interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities available at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i. The following are brief descriptions of each volunteer area.

Data Entry Assistant
Detail orientated individuals with computer skills in Microsoft Word and Excel maintain and update data records for the Cultural Center main office and Resource Center to ensure accurate information. Training will be provided.

Digitizing Assistant
Digitization of old records and tapes to CD and DVD formats are the main responsibility of the digitizing assistant. They also assist with scanning original photos into the computer for easy access.

Discovery Box Assistant/Presenter
Discovery Box volunteers present interactive, hands-on lessons to a K-12 audience. Each discovery box is related to a JCCH Gallery exhibit and includes themes on festivals, food, games, immigrations/plantation life and more. Training will be provided.

Gallery Docent/Tour Guide
Docents/tour guides interact with the public as exhibit interpreters as they guide visitors through the Cultural Center's permanent exhibit hall. Tours are conducted in both the English and Japanese language. Audiences include school groups, adults and special interest groups. Docents will receive training and will also shadow other docents to increase knowledge of our Historical Gallery and the Japanese culture in Hawai‘i.

Retail Sales/Cashier
Volunteers assist the Cultural Center Gift Shop in sales, pricing, and cashiering. Other duties may include light dusting and inventory tracking. Great customer service is a must!

Ikebana Arranger
Trained and skilled arrangers display beautiful works of art in the Cultural Center lobby area on a rotating schedule. Arrangers are also asked to assist with various events when flower arrangements or demonstrations are needed.

Membership Assistant
Membership assistants work directly with the Membership Manager on membership related duties such as mailing out renewal notices, membership cards and filing to name a few. Clerical experience preferred.

Photos and video capture day-to-day functions and special events at the Cultural Center. Volunteers may need to provide their own cameras to take pictures and video equipment of Cultural Center related events. Experience preferred.

Office Assistant
Volunteers provide general and clerical support to the Cultural Center staff. Duties include data entry, filing, typing, mailing and other general clerical work.

Oral History Assistant/Transcriber
Oral history volunteers are responsible for interviewing, taping and transcribing oral histories. Volunteers should possess the skills of using recording equipment, Microsoft Word, good social skills and have the ability to carry out an interview.

Outreach Volunteer
Outgoing and enthusiastic volunteers go out into the community to promote the Cultural Center at functions that we co-sponsor or participate in. Duties include transporting items to and from the event site, answering questions about the Cultural Center, signing up new members and assisting with make-n-take activities for children.

Publicity Crew
Outgoing and social individuals make up our publicity crew. These volunteers help distribute flyers to neighboring business and to the general community about Cultural Center's events and programs. They also are called upon to assist with events and programs as outreach and special events volunteers.

Dependable and personable receptionists answer the phone and transfer calls, assist in greeting and directing office visitors and performing miscellaneous clerical duties.

Resource Center Aide
Our Resource Center volunteers perform basic library duties. Overall duties include providing reference services to the public. Volunteers in the Resource Center must be attentive to detail with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Computer skills, bilingual ability and library backgrounds are helpful.

Special Events/Projects
Events at the Cultural Center occur throughout the year. Special Events volunteers are on an on-call basis to assist with our special events, cultural projects and programs. Duties include set up and break down, staffing of information booths, assisting in areas such as food, keiki make-n-take crafts, games, traffic control, and others.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH), a non-profit organization, strives to share the history, heritage and culture of the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i. Located at 2454 South Beretania Street in Mō‘ili‘ili, the Cultural Center features a Community and Historical Gallery, Resource Center, Kenshikan martial arts dōjō, Seikōan Japanese teahouse and Gift Shop. The Cultural Center presents various programs, festivals and exhibitions throughout the year.

Honoring our heritage. Embracing our diversity. Sharing our future.

We aspire to co-create a society where a deeper knowledge of one's heritage and a profound understanding of oneself will enable enlightened connections among all people.

Mission Statement
To be a vibrant resource, strengthening our diverse community by educating present and future generations in the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i. We do this through relevant programming, meaningful community service and innovative partnerships that enhance the understanding and celebration of our heritage, culture and love of the land. To guide us in this work we draw from the values found in our Japanese American traditions and the spirit of Aloha.

The seeds of thought and planning which had since developed into the solid concrete of Phase I and the working committees of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i were sown over two generations ago. Minds and hearts of Issei and Nisei (first and second generations) forebearers set themselves to the tasks of survival, later to national heroism, and later still to the responsibility of restoring the concept of cultural pride in themselves and their community. Emotions generated by the Kanyaku Imin (125 Years of Japanese In Hawai‘i) celebration in February of 1985 spurred the devotion of major Japanese groups in the community to initially conceptualize the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i.

In 1986, The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC) initiated the Japan-Hawaii Cultural Center project, "The Dream," for the purpose of bringing together related organizations in Hawai‘i to work in a common effort to preserve the legacy and history of the pioneers who came to Hawaii from Japan, and whose sacrifices and contributions made it possible for the younger generations to become integral members of American society. It was planned to be a legacy where future members of our community could look back and be fully conscious of their roots. The Center would also foster relations by promoting harmony and mutual understanding between Japan, Hawai‘i, and the United States.

The Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce was willing to accept the enormous responsibility of immortalizing and cultivating the legacy of the Japanese in Hawai‘i by making a commitment to plant and nourish the seedling. Many community organizations supported the creation of a Japanese cultural center, as indicated by a survey to assess the need and expectations for a center.

Courses of action plans were implemented to create Ad Hoc Committees composed of the various Japan related organizations, and to organize a fund-raising organization to raise funds from the community within the State of Hawai‘i as well as in Japan. Committees set in motion to carefully plan, develop, and research in establishing the Cultural Center. The inception of some committees were: Steering, Planning, Public Relations, Historical Research Program, Program, Membership and Property Management. A schedule of "Milestone" tasks for these committees were implemented to prepare for the tremendous work that lay ahead in the formation of the Cultural Center.

On May, 28, 1987, the birth of a new direction and a new step toward the dreams of our forefathers emerged as the Cultural Center was incorporated under the laws of the State of Hawai‘i as a non-profit corporation to develop, own, maintain, and operate a Japanese cultural center in Hawai‘i. As an independent entity, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i would play a most crucial role in perpetuating the cultural heritage we inherited from our Issei forefathers into the lifestyles and values of our children's children.

Revamped, Revved and Ready... the Cultural Center Boards and staff moves forward with great aspirations
The Board of Directors consists of 15 community leaders from O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i counties who lead the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i by establishing policies and strategic direction. Each Director either chairs and /or is a member of the Executive Committee, Governance Committee, Membership Development Committee, Fundraising Committee, Facilities & Operations Committee, and Budget & Finance Committee. The Board members are elected by the membership as a whole.

The Board of Governors currently has forty (40) members who advise and make recommendations to the Board of Directors, and oversee the implementation of programs and activities of the Cultural Center. The Board of Governors also assist and maintain the fiscal well-being of the Center by supporting its fundraising activities. The Board of Governors are appointed by the Board of Directors.

The staff of nine full-time and two part-time employees is led by the President & Executive Director who administers the day-to-day operations of the Cultural Center.

The Board of Directors, Board of Governors and the staff, and volunteers work in unison to carry out the many exciting plans at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. When put together these individuals, though all unique in their background, create a dynamic, capable and passionate group who are dedicated to the Cultural Center's mission of sharing the history, heritage and culture of the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i.

Community & Historical Gallery and Gift Shop: Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Resource Center: Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (or by appointment from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.)
Administrative Office: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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  • Membership - Join the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i as a member today!
  • Education - Our Educational packages combine Historical Gallery tours and Discovery Box interactive sessions
  • Gallery - The JCCH features a unique mixture of historical displays, contemporary art exhibitions and annual sales in its Community Gallery

  • Gift Shop - Find unique Japanese antiques and collectibles, including kimono, Japanese dolls, tea sets and woodblock prints.
  • Giving - The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i depends on donations from the community to support our mission of sharing the history, heritage and culture of the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i.
  • Volunteers - volunteers to achieve its mission of educating the public of the ever-changing Japanese American experience in Hawai‘i.
  • Resources - The Resource Center seeks to serve the community by providing public access to a repository of resources about the evolving Japanese American experience in Hawai'i
  • Facilities - Professionally designed to evoke the Japanese influence on modern Hawai‘i, the JCCH serves as a gathering place, offering educational programs, services and cultural events to the community-at-large.

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