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The Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA) is a non-profit organization that builds communities, and advocates for social justice primarily for people in Canada of Japanese heritage, and their families. The GVJCCA is the publisher of The Bulletin/Geppo, a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history & culture.


May is Asian Heritage Month

Vancouver Map 1912

Vancouver Map 1912

 

GVJCCA walking tour

GVJCCA's walking tour on May 20 is part of 2018. The walking tour will be a Pan Asian view of life in the Powell Street area. Hear the stories of how Asian Canadians lived and worked in the Powell Street area over 75 years ago. Join Hayne Wai, Chinese Canadian Historical Society, Naveen Girn, Komagata 100, and Lorene Oikawa, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association, for a walk around the Powell Street area in Vancouver. Meet near Chapel Arts (304 Dunlevy, at the corner of Dunlevy and East Cordova) at 10 a.m. 

Free event, open to the public. For more info, contact gvjcca@gmail.com or 604.777.5222. Registration not required, but confirmation of your attendance would be appreciated to give us an idea of numbers. Thank you.

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated in Canada for about 20 years, but it was 16 years ago when May was officially declared as Asian Heritage Month by the Canadian government. It is also the 30th anniversary of federal Redress when the federal government apologized to Japanese Canadians for the racist act of uprooting, dispossessing, and internment of Canadians of Japanese ethnicity in 1942. It wasn't until 1949, five years after the war ended that Japanese Canadians were allowed to move back to the west coast or move anywhere in Canada, and they were allowed to vote. There was no evidence against any Japanese Canadian and the RCMP and military told the government at the time that there was no evidence and no need to take any action against Japanese Canadians. 

Asian Heritage Month

April 18, 2018 is National Canadian Film Day

                      

Join the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA) and the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) for a free screening at Tonari Gumi in Vancouver. GVJCCA and NAJC are hosting the films, The Breadwinner and Meditation Park, as part of the National Canadian Film Day on Wednesday, April 18th starting at 6:30 p.m.

The Breadwinner is an Academy Award nominated animated feature about Parvana, an 11 year old girl, who disguises herself as a boy to help her family survive under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.

Meditation Park is about a Chinese-Canadian family and a journey of self-discovery for the matriarch Maria. Her daughter is played by Sandra Oh.

GVJCCA & NAJC host National Canadian Film Day    

Wednesday, April 18, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Tonari Gumi, 42 W8th Avenue, #101, Vancouver

The Breadwinner


Meditation Park

March 21, 2018 – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

 

Every year on March 21st we acknowledge the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations in remembrance of a horrific act of racism in 1960. Take a moment to remember the 69 unarmed black men, women and children who were killed and over 180 who were injured. Police opened fire on people who were participating in a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid “pass laws.” Many were shot in the back as they were trying to leave the area in Sharpeville, a black township in South Africa.

We have made great strides in 58 years, and examples of positive stories of how we get along outnumber the negative stories, but we must not be complacent. Racism and discrimination still exists in our workplaces, schools, unions, organizations, online, and in the headlines.

The theme for 2018 is “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.” We all have a responsibility to speak out against any racist action and intolerant messages. We also have an important role in promoting a respectful, inclusive society.

Sometimes it starts with a story. When we share our stories there is an increased awareness and the breaking down of stereotypes.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Redress when the Federal government apologized for the racist uprooting, dispossession and internment of 22,000 children, women and men. These Canadians (most were Canadian born) of Japanese ancestry were targeted and labelled enemy aliens despite the assurance of the leads for the RCMP and Canadian army who said there was no evidence and no threat. In 1988, the Federal government did apologize, and said never again.

Yet, we see certain communities such as First Nations and Muslims who are constantly under attack, and the fear mongering that is being used today is very similar to the rhetoric used in 1942 against Japanese Canadians.

I have a personal connection. I am a fourth generation BCer of Japanese heritage and both my mother and father’s side of the family were interned. My mother’s family who had been living in Cumberland on Vancouver Island since the 1800s were allowed two suitcases for my grandparents and six small children. They were then sent to Vancouver. They had to live in the animal barns in Hastings Park with other detainees before being sent to the Kootenays.

Sadly, many of our elders are no longer with us. And whether out of a survival instinct, or a desire to protect their families from that dark period, many did not share their stories with their families. Our stories are missing from the history texts and not consistently taught in schools. The GVJCCA produced the Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence book which provides stories from a wide range of Japanese Canadians who were interned at various locations. This is just one example of the many initiatives in our community.

The stories of our past are important if we and future generations are to learn from our history and not repeat the mistakes.  

On March 21, use the opportunity to speak up and support diversity in our workplaces, schools, homes, unions, and communities. Every day challenge racism. Do not accept intolerance from anyone, not from governments, employers, co-workers, friends, family or those who comment online and on social media. We all benefit from a thriving inclusive society.

Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association (GVJCCA) Annual General Meeting

 

Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 2 p.m.

Tsubaki Room – Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC

If you would like an opportunity to connect with our vibrant community, help preserve and share our Japanese Canadian history, and advocate for social justice, join us for this annual review of the activities of the GVJCCA, and learn about our plans for the year.

Nominations to the GVJCCA Board of Directors are being accepted. At this time, we are especially interested in recruiting board members with skills and experience in governance, financial management, community outreach, public relations, and fundraising.

Expressions of interest should include a cover letter describing your interest in our organization as well as a resume and be emailed to gvjcca@gmail.com Attention: GVJCCA President by March 16, 2018.

Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey Film Launch

 

Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey Film Launch

Snnday, March 4

2-4 p.m. Surrey City Centre Library

10350 University Drive, Surrey

Join us for the launch of the short film, Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey. The film captured some highlights of last year's event when we heard and shared the stories of the early settlers who came from Japan to build their lives and contribute to the growing community of Surrey. The stories also remind us about the reasons we need to support inclusiveness and reject the racist rhetoric that we thought would never be heard again, and is being repeated today. Discover a part of Surrey's rich cultural heritage and learn that we have more in common than you may think. Surrey's Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar will be hosting the event along with Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association president Lorene Oikawa.

Thank you for your support for the 2018 4th Annual GVJCCA Community Bowl-a-thon!

 

Thank you. Lots of smiles and laughter at the 4th Annual GVJCCA Community Bowl-a-thon.

We have lots of people to thank including the bowlers, supporters, donors, and the volunteers. We will have the full list in the April Bulletin. 

2018 GVJCCA Bowl-a-thon Committee and Volunteers

GVJCCA 2018 Photo Contest

The Bulletin / Geppo around the World in 2018!

Take your copy of The Bulletin / Geppo with you on your travels and snap a photo of you and The Bulletin / Geppo. See below for the sample photo of the GVJCCA prez when she was in Japan. We'll publish some of our favourites during the year and one lucky person will win a prize for our favourite photo. Photos must be taken from January 1, 2018 to December 10, 2018, and must include and clearly show The Bulletin / Geppo. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) December 10, 2018. 

Click here for the fine print 

Happy New Year! Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

On behalf of the GVJCCA Board, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, prosperous New Year.

We hope you are enjoying your time with family and loved ones, and have the opportunity to sample the traditional foods associated with New Year's.

Osechi Ryori

 

Toshikoshi

 

Inari Sushi

Wrapping up 2017 and looking forward to 2018!

 

Legacy of Redress 2017 Photo by Ali Bordbar

 

GVJCCA CLiFF 2017 Film Festival

 

GVJCCA Prez loves musubi and wild salmon!

 

Free films & popcorn too!

GVJCCA 2017 Film Festival

Join us for free film and popcorn on Saturday, November 25, 2017 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 101 - 42 West 8th Avenue in Vancouver. We will be screening three movies, The Vancouver Asahi, The Orange Story, and Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey.

More information here and on our Facebook page here.

 

Honour. Remember. Respect.

Remembrance Day 2017 at the Japanese Canadian cenotaph in Stanley Park

The rain stopped. The large crowd at the Japanese Canadian cenotaph in Stanley Park gathered to pay their respects to the Japanese Canadians who served Canada starting with World War One. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the battle at Vimy Ridge during World War One. 

Remembering the Japanese Canadians who served Canada since World War One.


Sharing the images and stories of the Japanese Canadians who served Canada.

Photos: Lorene Oikawa

More photos posted on our Facebook page here.

Remembering the 1942 Japanese Canadian UBC Students

Families of 1942 Japanese Canadian UBC Students and one 1942 student. GVJCCA President Lorene Oikawa (red jacket) representing her Uncle Ted Harada.

Photo: Gilbert Akham

It is the 5th anniversary of the Honorary Degree Ceremony for the 1942 Japanese Canadian UBC students who were expelled in 1942. It's also the 75th anniversary of the internment of Japanese Canadians. UBC hosted a Day of Learning where we remembered the students, discussed how we may learn and never repeat the injustice. Also, a revised yearbook, A Degree of Justice, for the 1942 students was launched.GVJCCA is pleased to have provided support. Thank you to the initiative of Tosh and Mary Kitagawa who spearheaded the campaign to have the students honoured.

 

 

Photos: Lorene Oikawa

1942 Japanese Canadian UBC Students Yearbook, A Degree of Justice 


Mary Kitagawa and how she started the campaign to honour the 1942 UBC Students.

More photos posted on our Facebook page here.

Giving Thanks to Our Wonderful GVJCCA Volunteers!

GVJCCA Volunteers at Appreciation Party

We had a fun luncheon with some of our Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association volunteers. We enjoyed good conversations, delicious food, and prizes. Our volunteers are such caring, dedicated people. Some have been our volunteers for years, coming back to help every year with our initiatives such as our annual salmon BBQ. Our volunteers help us so we can continue our important work for the community.We are giving thanks this weekend including a BIG thank you to our volunteers!

Thank you Shag Ando for the delicious salmon!


Some of our wonderful JCCA volunteers!


Delectable desserts following a scrumptious lunch.


Sushi for JCCA Volunteers


Karaage Chicken for JCCA Volunteers

If you're interested in developing your skills, supporting the important work of the GVJCCA, and learning more about the Japanese Canadian community, consider volunteering with us. For more information, contact us by email gvjcca@gmail.com or by phone 604.777.5222. Send us your resume and a letter outlining your experience, skills, and why you're interested in volunteering with us. Send your information "Attention: Lorene Oikawa, President" to gvjcca@gmail.com or by Canada Post, mail to GVJCCA 249 - 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC V5E 4M7

Thank you. 


President Lorene Oikawa’s Message – June 2017

Asian Heritage Month events filled up our calendar for May. It was especially significant this year, because it is the 75th anniversary of the internment or as some of us are calling it, the incarceration. Words are powerful, and the government used many euphemisms to soften the harsh reality faced by 22,000 children, women, and men who were forcibly uprooted, dispossessed, and incarcerated.

We shared some of those stories at our Discover the Stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey event, and we also shared the stories of the pioneers, the Japanese Canadians who came to Surrey and their contributions.

What is particularly disturbing about the incarceration is that the Canadian government acted against their own citizens. Most of those incarcerated were Canadian born, and Japanese Canadians arrived in Canada long before 1942. 2017 marks the 140th anniversary of the first documented Japanese arrival to Canada, but we now know there are accounts of earlier arrivals and indigenous oral history that appears to refer to even earlier contact.

In the late 1800s, the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Surrey. For our event, we highlighted some of their stories. Some young men came to work in sawmills that were located in present-day White Rock, South Surrey, Crescent Beach, and Hazelmere. Some started boat building in Brownsville, the north shore of Surrey, directly across from New Westminster. Others settled in the Cloverdale area where they eventually purchased land. Japanese Canadians also had farms in other parts of Surrey including where we held the event at Surrey City Centre Library. One of the major stories is about the Strawberry Hill area.

I’ve lived my entire life, so far, in Surrey and I studied the history of our city in elementary school and I do not remember any stories about Japanese Canadians. I didn’t know that Strawberry Hill referred to the strawberry farms that used to be owned by Japanese Canadians. I also don’t remember any history of Japanese Canadians in our high school studies. This was the reason why I started this GVJCCA project. I was curious about the history of this city I live in, and I want to have the history of Japanese Canadians made accessible at community events and in our education system. Our history is BC and Canada’s history.

It was an inspiring afternoon that started off with recognition of the traditional and unceded Coast Salish land (Kwantlen, Katzie, Musqueam & Semiahmoo) and a warm, indigenous welcome from Roxanne Feeney, and then a rousing performance by Chibi Taiko at the Surrey City Centre Library. I was explaining to Shinobu Homma that his group would be performing in the plaza just outside of the library and as I was trying to point it out to him he said, “I know the design well, I looked after it, I am with Bing Thom Architects.” The Japanese Canadian community is always surprising me. There are so many talented individuals and we don’t always hear about their accomplishments. Another reason why sharing our stories is so important.

GVJCCA is thankful to have received a grant from the City of Surrey (thanks Sean Bindra) so we could carry out this project. The GVJCCA is a non-profit organization that depends upon our membership and donations. The grant helped us to do more including hiring a researcher/writer, Christine Kondo, who has over 10 years of experience including her time on the editorial committee for Nikkei Images, a publication of the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.

Christine provided some highlights of stories of Japanese Canadians in Surrey which we shared at the event, and will be shared in The Bulletin and on the GVJCCA website. Sumi Kinoshita attended and shared her family story. Art Miki emailed and let me know about his father who was born in Surrey. It’s not too late, if you have a story of your Japanese Canadian family in Surrey, please let us know.

We also had a special guest from the Yukon, Lillian Nakamura Maguire, and we did a reading of a few scenes from her play, Hidden Memories. The play is the story of a Japanese Canadian family who was once in Surrey, inspired by her family’s story. Thanks to our volunteer readers Yoriko Gillard, May Hamanishi, Ron Nishimura, and Garin Fahlman.

A special note of thanks to Surrey’s Poet Laureate Renée Sarojini Saklikar who co-hosted the event and also did a session inspiring us with some ideas on how we can write, and use poetry to tell our family stories.

Thanks to all who participated, our wonderful speakers/presenters including Renée, Lillian, Roxanne, Chibi Taiko, Bruce Ralston who is a great supporter of our events and is the MLA for Surrey Whalley in which our venue was located, our project assistants, Christine Kondo research/writing, Kayla Isomura photography, Matt, Kevan and Jake film crew, and our volunteers, May Hamanishi, Ron Nishimura, Perry Nishihata, and Susanne Tabata. Thanks also to Surrey Libraries who were a wonderful support for the event (Carolyn, Ellen and Meghan for their help during the planning), Surrey Archives, and Nikkei National Museum (Linda for her help with the photos). The event is over, but the sharing of our stories will continue.

We also held a walking tour of the Powell Street area for Asian Heritage Month. Thank you to Grace Eiko Thomson who shared her stories of the Vancouver Asahi, and her personal remembrances of living in the area. I shared some stories from my family and from Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs who has partnered with me on previous walks. Geoff was unable to join us this time, but he kindly helped me with the handouts and map for the walk.

Thank you to Jeff Chiba Stearns for his support to show his film One Big Hapa Family at a community and labour Asian Heritage Month event the GVJCCA helped organize. The film really resonates with Japanese Canadian families as we see our families experience the highest rate of mixed unions (Statistics Canada term for a couple where one spouse or partner belongs to a visible minority group and the other does not or both belong to different visible minority groups).

We had lots to be thankful for during May, the month of celebration and remembrance of our Asian heritage. It’s only one opportunity to share our stories and work towards eliminating racism. Let’s make sure it continues throughout the year.

Recent News

HOP-Book-CoverNew Book! 
Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence

DETAILS

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Publishing monthly since 1958, The Bulletin/Geppo is a bilingual English/Japanese journal of Japanese Canadian community, history & culture.  EXPLORE


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The GVJCCA Human Rights Committee works with and supports the Japanese Canadian community, other human rights groups, and ethno-cultural organizations to promote human rights, and combat racism and discrimination, locally and internationally.  EXPLORE


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This bilingual Japanese/English Human Rights Guide is an online resource for those with questions surrounding rights and freedoms in Canada. EXPLORE


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Keep up-to-date on upcoming workshops, gatherings and other events. EXPLORE


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