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.

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’s Message September 2016

by Lorene Oikawa

The long, hot days of summer are transitioning into preparation for back-to-school and the routine of fall. We say it every year, but it does seem as if time is flying by.

We were fortunate to have three wonderful, talented summer students, Xavier Bryant, Eleanor Panno, and Nathan Yeo, who put a lot of effort into our summer events such as our wild salmon barbeque and musubi food booth, and community booth at Powell Street Festival. The barbeque is our main fundraiser for the year, and requires a tremendous amount of planning and preparation. In addition to our barbeque, we also had a full schedule of events this summer including the launch of our book, Honouring Our People: Breaking the Silence, and the Hiroshima-Vancouver Peace Concert.

Most of the year, we depend upon volunteer help which means our office doesn’t have regular hours. With your donations and support, we are looking to get part-time administrative help. Starting in September, we are very pleased, one of our summer students, Xavier, who was our event coordinator, will be helping us on a limited part-time basis until we can get a permanent position in place.

This summer, we had a new communications summer student position, in addition to our event organizer, and archival assistant, and in that role, Eleanor took a lot of photos and regularly posted to social media. We have some great new photos that we will continue to share throughout the year.

Speaking of new, we hosted the first Hiroshima-Vancouver Peace Concert and welcomed performers from Japan. The concert was well received, and the delegation of 16 were very pleased with the response and our support. There was some talk about making a return trip in a year or two, and if they do return, the GVJCCA would be happy to host again. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the concert.

The Hiroshima Goodwill Cultural Mission is a group of citizens who organized this whirlwind trip, travelling to Montreal for a concert on Sunday, August 7, which had a simultaneous performance in Hiroshima to share the connection between the sister cities. The next day they hopped on a plane, arriving in Vancouver on August 8, and I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with some members of the delegation. For some, it was their first time to Canada, and unfortunately they did not have much time to see the city, because the concert was the next day, August 9, and then they flew home on August 10.

The concert presented the amazing talents of nationally known Japanese dancers, singers, a koto player, and an Aikido master. By sharing their traditional culture and music, it brought us together, and even if we didn’t understand the language, we understood and appreciated the art and beauty underscoring the message of peace.

Thanks to David Iwaasa for his help including providing some interpretation at the concert, Takeo Yamashiro and the Hiroshima Kenjin-kai for their support, locally based Chibi Taiko for a rousing welcome at the start, speakers, City of Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan for his welcome, Consul General Asako Okai, and former Canadian Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Caron. Thanks to Vancouver Shinpo and The Bulletin / Geppo for the special promotion of the event. Thanks to the facilities staff of the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre for their assistance. A very special thanks to the performers and the delegation leader, Yasumaro Yoshinaka, who also brought messages of peace from the Mayor of Hiroshima.  Thanks also to Katsukuni Tanaka, one of the delegation organizers, who was instrumental in making the connections to make this concert happen.

From the culture of Japan to the culture of Japanese Canadians, the GVJCCA is now helping organize our community on another initiative. In the last Bulletin we provided information from the provincial government announcement calling for nominations of Japanese Canadian historic places, but we didn’t have any other information. We do have one major concern which is the short timeline. The deadline to submit nominations is September 9. A group of Japanese Canadian organizations including the GVJCCA and Japanese Canadian individuals met on August 11 and we shared similar concerns. A letter was quickly drafted outlining our concerns, and sent to Heritage BC.

On August 18, we found out a bit more at an information session with Heritage BC, who has been contracted to do the work, and some government representatives. Individuals from our community, and people who met on August 11, reiterated concerns about the timeline. It was pointed out that because of the racist act of internment, our Japanese Canadian community was forcibly dispersed and many are no longer living in BC, and it will take time to get information to them.

On behalf of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and the GVJCCA, I also expressed concerns not only about the restrictive timeline, and potential for missing Japanese Canadian voices and important sites, but also about the care and attention given to the language used to describe Japanese Canadians.

In one of the promotional materials, “Japanese community” caught my eye and the eyes of some of our seniors. The omission of “Canadian” brings back bad memories. During World War II, the government labelled Japanese Canadians as enemy aliens, stripping their citizens of their Canadian identity, subjecting children, women, and men to forced removal, dispossession and incarceration. Canadians of Japanese ancestry were not allowed to move back to BC nor vote until four years after the war ended. Our Japanese Canadian ancestors were determined to rebuild and successfully fought for Redress. We must continue their work and not let others use language that removes our citizenship.

A Facebook group, JC Sites BC, has been set up to share information and provide a place where we can post nominations as we hear about them. This informal tracking will help the community to spot any missing important sites. Please also see the media release posted in the Facebook group, in The Bulletin, and on the GVJCCA website. At the time the media release was produced, we received word that the government will be extending the deadline to the fall, but we have not been given a date so it’s best to nominate as many places as possible and as quickly as possible. You can also help by getting the word out. Japanese Canadian history is BC history, and recognition of Japanese Canadian sites is one step towards ensuring the contributions of Japanese Canadians are not forgotten.

Recent News

  • GVJCCA Legacy of Redress Forum on Novermber 19
    GVJCCA Legacy of Redress Forum on Novermber 19

      Greater Vancouver JCCA Legacy of Redress Forum Sun, Nov 19, 2017 from 2 to 4:30 pm Peter Kaye Room, Vancouver Public Library Central Branch 350 W. Georgia Street 75 years ago, 22,000 Canadians of Japanese ancestry were labelled enemy aliens, and forcibly removed from the BC coast in 1942. Join Read more →

  • Annual GVJCCA Wild Salmon BBQ, Musubi Food Booth, and Community Photo Booth
    Annual GVJCCA Wild Salmon BBQ, Musubi Food Booth, and Community Photo Booth

    Join us at our annual GVJCCA Wild Salmon BBQ & Musubi SPAM Sushi Booth, and our Community Photo Booth at the 41st Powell Street Festival. You can enjoy a delicious fresh salmon dinner with rice and salad, and Musubi (sweet and salty grilled pork on sushi rice and wrapped with Read more →

  • JCCA Keirokai – January 21, 2017
    JCCA Keirokai – January 21, 2017

    JCCA Keirokai is our annual celebration to respect our elders. “Kei” is Japanese for honour or respect and “ro” refers to elders, and this annual event is our way to pay tribute to the seniors in our community. Saturday, January 21, 2017 – 1 to 4 p.m. Nikkei Centre, 6688 Read more →

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


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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