One of the beautiful untold stories about the collaboration between the Japanese and Chinese American communities is the creation of Kin On Health Care System, the first Chinese nursing home built in the country 25 years ago.
Uwajimaya’s chairman, Tomio Moriguchi, one of the founders of the Japanese American Keiro Nursing Home, recalls how friends gathered together and talked about how to enhance the Asian community.
Considered a good deal in those days, the Chinese community agreed to lease the old Keiro facility for 10 years for $500,000. It was the beginning of collaboration between the two communities.
The inexperienced Chinese community learned first-hand from the Japanese community how to start and operate a nursing home and avoid costly mistakes.
Sam Wan, Kin On’s executive director, had to go through training at Keiro for three months before Kin On opened.
Jeff Hattori, Nikkei Concerns’ chief, said it’s the opposite these days. “We have much to learn from Sam in home care.” Kin On started home care for the elderly a decade ago, and Nikkei is thinking about having similar programs.
The teacher can always learn from his student. Innovative results are due to our ability to switch back and forth between the roles of mentor and mentee. Collaboration is the key to success for community projects. ♦