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DOWNEY : Cultural Group Sings the Praises of Sinatra

September 01, 1994|MARY GUTHRIE

Torrance businessman Sam Fuji wants to bring Japanese culture to America, and he thinks Frank Sinatra--or at least the crooner's songs that are karaoke favorites--can help.

The electronics executive is one of the founders of Nikkei International Assn., a nonprofit group that plans to use the culture and traditions of Japan, such as karaoke, to promote cultural understanding. The group will hold its organizational meeting Sept. 25 at Sambi of Tokyo restaurant in Downey.

In karaoke contests, at least one verse of a contestant's song must be in Japanese.

"With 'My Way,' they sing the first part in Japanese and the second in English or Spanish," Fuji said. "A lot of American people start learning Japanese that way. . . . That's what we are aiming for."

The group plans a national karaoke contest but also will provide a business network, educate people about Japanese culture and raise money for charity.

Fuji stresses that people of all races and cultures are welcome to participate.

"To understand each other through culture is the biggest goal for us," Fuji said. "We always welcome other people to join us too."

Information: (310) 787-9111.

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