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History of the NCJSC

(This is a collection of notes on the founding and history of the NCJSC. If you have additions or corrections, please contact us.)

1920's to 1950's In the 1920's a group of (mainly) Japanese Americans gathered in San Francisco, California to study martial arts. This study included the use and history of the Japanese Sword. Some time later, members of this group formed a sword study group called the Northern California Sword Club (NCSC). John Yumoto and Albert Yamanaka, among many others, were involved in this early group.
November 1955 The first meeting of what was to become the JSSUS and, eventually, the Northern California Japanese Sword Club, under John Masayuki Yumoto's leadership, was held on November 6, 1955 in John's home. This group included many non Japanese-speaking sword enthusiasts, as well as members of the NCSC.
Late 1950's The JSSUS came into being as a response to the need for information about Japanese swords in English.

At the end of WWII many GI's, returning from the Pacific, brought Japanese swords home with them. At the time there was virtually no Nihonto related material available in English. John Yumoto recognized this need, and was instrumental in providing basic information about Nihonto to these non Japanese-speaking sword collectors. John published his book 'The Samurai Sword' in 1958. These new students, together with many members of the NCSC, were instrumental in founding the JSSUS in Berkeley, California. (The first JSSUS Bulletin was published in 1959.) Its founding members included: John Yumoto, Albert Yamanaka, Reg Bretnor, Mr. Yamashita, Paul Allman, and Jack Paras; among others.
January 26, 1964 The first official meeting of the Northern California Japanese Sword Club is held on January 26, 1964 in the home of John M. Yumoto, as recorded in his daily journal.

The Southern California club was also formed in this time period. (Sometime after 1963?)

Late 1960's The JSSUS reorganizes, changing from local leadership with regular local meetings, to a dispersed leadership with infrequent meetings held in different cities across the United States. This resulted in the loss of many of the local sword activities and meetings enjoyed by the local founding members. This void was quickly filled by the newly founded NCJSC.
1976  The NCJSC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in June of 1976.

The first San Francisco Token Kai was held at the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco, July 29-August 1, 1976.

Early in the clubs history, meetings were held in member's homes. Lateer, a regular meeting place was established in the meeting room of the Sumitomo Bank in Oakland, California (dates? We were there as early as August, 1980). Meetings were then moved to the Union Bank located in San Francisco's Japan town. (Date??-June 1993)

October 1, 1988 Sensei John Masayuki Yumoto, one of the club founders, passes away.
1987 The Newsletter becomes monthly. Prior to this there were six to eight newsletters per year.

San Francisco Token Kai moved to the San Francisco Airport Hilton Hotel.

July, 1993 Monthly meetings moved to the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), in San Francisco's Japan Town.
1995 First glossy inserts added to the NCJSC newsletter.

San Francisco Token Kai moved to the San Francisco Airport Marriott, the old Hilton Hotel was torn down for airport expansion.

August 1997 To-Ron becomes the name of our newsletter. Dr. C. Y. Chin submitted the winning entry in the "Name your newsletter" contest.
February 2001 The Club library moved to a more accessible location.
June 2001 The NCJSC web site is published on June 10, 2001.