Yonsei Basketball Association
The Yonsei Basketball Association, founded by Frank Kiyomura in 1993 consists of specially selected young men and women active in Japanese-American Youth Basketball throughout Southern California. The vision of the Association is to provide our American youth with a glimpse of their rich heritage through immersion in the Japanese culture by staying with a local Japanese family and participating in their daily lives. Basketball is the medium through which we endeavor to bridge the gap.
Our program was founded with a goal of providing a cultural exchange program for Fourth Generation Japanese-American youth from Southern California. We want to provide an opportunity for all participants to experience their heritage and cultural roots. In addition, we hope to provide a goodwill exchange of ideas and cultures by living with local Japanese families.
The Yonsei Basketball Association is a non-profit corporation founded in 1993 by a group of Southern California Japanese Americans interested in establishing a cultural exchange program for middle school-aged youth of Japanese heritage. The Board of Directors consists of individuals from the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas who are actively involved in the Asian community and youth sports programs.
Yonsei Basketball is the vision of Frank Kiyomura, head of a local architectural group, who had a long history of active participation in Asian youth sports programs and Japanese cultural events and associations.
The objective of the Yonsei Basketball Association is to provide 13 and 14-year-old boys and girls, active in Southern California Asian basketball organizations, the opportunity to experience their heritage firsthand. In Japan, they participate in a goodwill exchange of ideas and cultures through homestay experiences, basketball games against their Japanese counterparts and visits to prominent cities.
Players and parents undergo a rigorous selection process. Program participants are selected for academic excellence, positive attitudes and sound basketball skills. Upon selection to the team, they participate in fundaising and cultural activities in preparation for their trip to Japan. Players are fortunate to be coached by high school-level varsity coaches who also travel with them to Japan.
As each succeeding generation of Americans of Japanese ancestry becomes further assimilated into the American culture, comprehension and appreciation of their cultural heritage diminishes. With a heightened awareness of their cultural heritage, Yonsei families participate in community service projects that help them assume positions of leadership within their respective Asian communities.
Participation in the Yonsei experience inspires an appreciation for the importance of family values, community participation and Japanese American heritage. We believe that this experience plays an important role in the development of the character in our youth. The Yonsei Basketball Association and this year's participants thank you for your ongoing support.