Given that a majority of Diamond Bar High School’s student population identifies as Asian American, junior Kyle Shiroma and senior Joshua Shiroishi decided to start a club that accentuates one of Asia’s popular cultures.
“It started in chemistry class, where we found out that we were both Japanese Americans,” Shiroishi said. “Soon after, we realized how interested we were in our own Japanese heritage, and decided to start a club for everyone.”
Shiroma and Shiroishi, the co-presidents of the Japanese Cultural Society, started the club in late January to educate students about Japanese history and culture, from the geography of the country to its iconic foods such as mochi and sushi.
Due to COVID-19, the club was relatively new when school was shut down in March. This severely limited their time to promote and attract potential members. The inconvenience however, hasn’t stopped the club and its eighteen members from making the best of the situation.
“Although it has been difficult for all of us, this hasn’t stopped the JCS,” Shiorishi said via Instagram.“I think our members are getting closer because this summer, we have been expanding and improving our social media platforms to our members to get announcements and be able to participate in the club’s activities.”
The Japanese Cultural Society has continued their monthly meetings this year, through virtual means.
“Communication has been more difficult since we are now at home all the time,” Shiroishi said. “But this is our chance to explore new ways to spread the news of who the Japanese Cultural Society is. We are planning to have a meeting this month through Google Meet.”
Despite the unprecedented cancellation of the club’s volunteer opportunities and activities, the duo said they are still hoping to serve the community remotely.
“We unfortunately could not execute and do the volunteer activities we planned due to the event being planned right when the pandemic hit,” Shiroma said. “However, we are planning to write and send messages and artwork displaying kindness, love and encouragement to senior citizens of a Japanese retirement home in L.A.”
Through this difficult time, the club’s leadership remains positive and strives to make the most of the unprecedented flow of events.
“We are just adapting to the situation, and making the best of it,” says Shiroma. “The circumstances have proven to be difficult, but we are still doing our best and making it work.”