We invite you to visit our newly created website to learn more about our school’s offerings and see for yourself how our children are enjoying and embracing learning about their beautiful Japanese culture.
How We Began…
Our Japanese language and culture school began in 1967 at the First United Methodist Church of Monterey Park, when there were many Japanese residents in Monterey Park. Back then, the Sage United Methodist Church was renting space at First United Methodist Church and over time, Sage church members took a strong interest in the Japanese School and eventually took over the support of the school from First Church. Sage United Methodist Church left Monterey Park and joined Granada Park in 1998, and a few years later they invited the Japanese School to join them. That is how we became the Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church Language School!
How We’ve Grown…
The Japanese School has had several directors in its 56-year history: Mrs. Sandeen, a member of First Church, was the first director; followed by Mr.Toji; Mr. Fujimoto; Mr. Tokeshi; Mr. Fujimoto again; and then Mrs. Tatsugawa, who began as a Japanese teacher in 1968 and went on to lead the school for more than 30 years as head of the school. Today, the school is run by Joyce Mitamura, the daughter-in-law of Mrs. Tatsugawa, who has taught at the school since 2014.
Our school is fortunate to have long, multi-generational ties with its community. We currently have three Fujimoto children attending our Japanese School: the great nieces and nephew of Mr. Fujimoto, the former head of school. Many Tatsugawas have also attended our school including former head Mrs. Tatsugawa’s two children, three nieces, and one granddaughter. Currently, three of her granddaughters and one great nephew attend the school.
How We’re Thriving Today!
Currently, we are proud to be the only K-12 Japanese language program in the area to offer taiko drumming among our cultural electives. About half of our students take taiko, while the others choose to either engage in origami and other traditional crafts and games, or watch dramas and movies in Japanese to enhance language and cultural comprehension. In addition, every student can make and eat their own creations in our bi-monthly cooking class. In the fall, we hold a sports festival, or undookai, where students compete in various athletic games in teams, a traditional event in Japanese schools to foster cooperation and teamwork. In January the school comes together to make and eat mochi to celebrate the new year, and in March we celebrate Girls Day by making and eating chirashizushi.
We invite you to visit our newly created website to learn more about our school’s offerings and see for yourself how our children are enjoying and embracing learning about their beautiful Japanese culture:
Classes start at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday on church campus.