Living, laughing, and aging gracefully

Independence, respect, dignity, privacy, choice—five cornerstones of adulthood that are too often forgotten when the time comes to face the changes in lifestyle that are a natural part of aging. While many seniors maintain a degree of independence well into their later years, there comes a time when some level of support is needed—with the need generally increasing over time.

The Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society is a non-profit charitable organization, dedicated to providing supportive housing for Japanese seniors. The Society operates two residential facilities: Nikkei Home, a Supportive Housing and Assisted Living residence, and New Sakura-so, a housing complex for independent seniors aged 55 and over.

Our proud history

The Society began in September 1975 as the Japanese Canadian Society to establish housing for Japanese Canadians and Sakura-so, and merged in 2000 with the Japanese Canadian Health Care Society of BC which was created to build a care facility.  By merging these two organizations the new organization was renamed Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society (“Nikkei Seniors”)

The organization is a charitable non-profit group which is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected.  Nikkei Seniors has been dedicated to the care of seniors and adopted a vision for ‘Kenko de nagaiki’ which translated to a life with good health and vitality for all.  

Key Milestones
  • 1988

    • Joined the Nikkei Place site management committee.
  • 1998

    • Conducted a survey in the Japanese Canadian community to find out would seniors living in a supportive housing provide.
    • Opened New Sakura-so – a 34 unit seniors’ independent apartment in partnership with HomesBC.
  • 2001

    • Received conditional support to building a supportive housing project.
  • 2002

    • Opened Nikkei Home Assisted Living – a 59 unit assisted living home for seniors in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority and HomesBC.
  • 2010

    • A needs survey in the Japanese Canadian senior community.  Key findings – more education, programs to support caregivers and programs to support seniors independence.
  • 2013

    • Development of a dementia friendly day program for seniors and project funding to support 3 additional sites.
  • 2015

    • Donation received and renovation to 5 units to be retrofitted for a ceiling track.
  • 2016

    • Renaming of Nikkei Home to Robert Nimi Nikkei Home.
  • 2018

    • Open of 5 enhanced units at Robert Nimi Nikkei Home
    • Opening of the Kenko Wellness Lounge for programs and outreach.
    • Renovation to the Iwasaki Room at New Sakura-so.
    • Established a Restricted Endowment Fund.
  • 2019

    • Over 7 years, the Nikkei Place Charity Golf Tournament has raised over $350,000 to support Nikkei Seniors.

Our mission and vision

Our mission is to provide supportive and independent housing, and care for seniors in our community. We value Independence, Respect, Dignity, Privacy & Choice. These five cornerstones of adulthood are too often forgotten when the time comes to face the changes in lifestyle that are a natural part of aging.

• Living with a feeling of anshin (relief)
• Feeling happy, valued and respected
• Feeling supported and connected to
the community
• Enjoying life as much as possible
• Living safely and living at home

Our Board of Directors

Cathy Makihara has served the seniors of the Japanese Canadian community for 30 years. Since attending Simon Fraser University, she has dedicated her work to serving her community. Cathy has played an instrumental role in the development of Nikkei Place, a multipurpose complex in Burnaby, BC. As the former Executive Director of the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society, she helped to create one of the first publicly funded assisted living complex in 2002 and opened the Japanese Canadian community’s independent seniors housing; and operated programs and housing for seniors in need. In 2017, the Society was a driving force to develop Lively-Lively, a dementia-friendly day program that has expanded to several locations. Her introduction to the Japanese Canadian community began working as a field worker for the Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement where she developed a passion for working on community issues and needs.

Cathy Makihara

Hiroshi came to Canada alone in 1971 from Tokyo when he was 19 and studied Civil Engineering at UBC. Early in his career he worked as an engineer on design and construction but now has a successful career in commercial real estate. Remembering the Nikkei people who have helped him, he wants to give back to the community and to pass on to the next generation Nikkei history, values, wisdom, and spirit. He enjoys hiking and backpacking.

Hiroshi Yamamoto
Vice President

Yuki came from Japan to Vancouver to experience student life at UBC and decided to stay in this beautiful city. After graduating, she worked at a major accounting firm and attained CPA, CA designation. She started her own practice, SRTK Tam Kurozumi, with two other partners in 1993 and is still providing services to personal and corporate clients. She has been active as Japanese Women’s Business Association executive since its inception.

Yuki Kurozumi
Assistant Treasurer

A Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Medicine Program in Fraser Health, Marcia has been a registered nurse for over 40 years and in the last 20 years has been dedicated to geriatric medicine and geriatric psychiatry. She loves every moment of being in her profession, and as a director of NSHCHS, she is committed to providing the best care to Nikkei seniors. Marcia is also an adjunct faculty member with UBC, University of Victoria, SFU, and McMaster University.

Marcia Carr, RN, BN, MS, GNC(C), NCA

Brian is a highly experienced immigration lawyer with more than 30 years of experience. He works out of Davis LLP’s Vancouver office. He speaks Japanese and English and has worked in Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver. He has represented clients from more than 50 countries. Brian is a past national Executive Member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Immigration Section and a past Chairman of the CBA British Columbia Immigration Section. Brian is also President of the Nikkei Place Foundation.

Brian Tsuji

Asae was born in Japan and came to Vancouver at age 8. Having coached competitive swimming, her love of teaching took her into the field of Medicine. She has initially worked in rural BC as a locum and emergency physician, and then settled back in Vancouver where she now takes care of Japanese-speaking patients as a family doctor. She also helps those who are not her patients through Nikka Health Care Society that focuses on education and prevention.

Asae Tanaka, MSc, MD, CCFP

Ruth was educated at UBC and the University of Toronto where she received her Master of Social Work degree. She worked in the health care field for over 30 years as a social worker in manaRuth Coles received her BA at UBC and MSW at the University of Toronto. She worked in the as the Leader of Diversity Services for Providence Health Care. She has been a founder and builder of Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society since the early 1980’s. She served as Vice President for many years and as President from 2010 to 2022. She continues to serve as Past President and a Director on the Board. She has worked on the building of New Sakura-so and Robert Nimi Nikkei Home, supports the Outreach activities and is an advocate for culturally sensitive care for Japanese Canadian seniors. In November, 2022 she was the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for her contribution to “ enhancing the welfare for the Japanese Canadian community in Canada and promoting friendly relations between Japan and Canada”gement and leadership roles in Diversity Services. She advocates for caring and compassionate care, barrier free services and community building. Ruth has been active with the NSHCHS for over 35 years as Vice President and President since 2010.

Ruth Midori Coles, (nee Nakatani) BA, MSW, Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Rays (Japan)

Yuji has an established practice in Canadian immigration law as well as experience in the areas of corporate and commercial, employment, real estate, and wills and estates.

Yuji received his law degree from the University of Victoria in 2011. Following law school, he completed a Master of Laws degree in International Economic and Business Law at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. As a graduate law student, Yuji did an internship at the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the Netherlands.

Fluent in Japanese, Yuji taught English in Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. He studied Modern Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Victoria, earning a Master of Arts degree, and has an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Yuji is active in the local Japanese community, having served on the board of directors of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association, the Japan-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and Kiyukai Vancouver Japanese Business Association.


Yuji Matson