History & Mission

History & Mission

JASSI was the brainchild of the late Midori Shimanouchi Lederer, a former publicist, who was nearly of retirement age herself when she became aware of gaps in social services for Japanese senior citizens, largely owing to language and cultural barriers.

Together with a young community-minded attorney, Cyril Nishimoto, and a 70 years old Nisei, Kimi Shimizu (who had lived in New York since before WWII), along with the wives of Japanese businessman, she formed Japanese American Social Services, Inc. in 1981.

Although starting with only a dining room table, a single telephone line, and just one typewriter, JASSI soon received requests from many other individuals, including restaurant workers, students, office workers and their families, permanent citizens and seniors, seeking information and direct services for a broad range of needs (including legal and immigration issues and family problems). As its work became known, JASSI received grants and corporate and individual donations, which in time enabled the organization to provide services on a no-fee basis.

Whether you are a newcomer to New York, a long-term resident, or a short-term visitor, you may encounter unforeseen problems arising from cultural differences, the language barrier, or a lack of familiarity with procedures. JASSI’s bilingual staff members and cadre of volunteers stand ready to offer culturally sensitive assistance and support.

The mission of JASSI is to improve the quality of life for people living in the New York metropolitan area by providing quality social services at the local community level. JASSI provides services in both Japanese and English to people who face problems resulting from language barriers, cultural differences, and/or differences in service systems, and JASSI provides these services regardless of age, income, gender, race, ethnicity, or immigration status. All services are provided without any charge.