OUR
MISSION

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.


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

May is Asian Heritage Month

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. 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

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’s Message – January 2017

Happy New Year! Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

I am a yonsei, fourth generation Japanese Canadian, and my family’s Christmas dinner is similar to most Canadians celebrating Christmas. The turkey roasting in the oven for hours. Our feast includes turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and salads for supper. New Year’s Day is all about Japanese food and traditions my grandmother taught us. It actually starts on New Year’s Eve when we have to eat noodles and soup. My obaachan used to make her own noodles, but I don’t have the time or proficiency to pull that off, yet.

When people ask me why we eat noodles I would say for good luck and long life, but I don’t remember the details and my grandmother is gone so I can’t ask her. I googled the origins of the tradition and found a fascinating history.

The Japanese tradition of eating noodles probably originated in the 13th or 14th century when a temple or wealthy ruler would treat the people to noodles on the last day of the year. The tradition of eating Toshikoshi soba on New Year’s Eve became widely established during the 17th to 19th century (Edo period 1603-1868). Apparently the merchants in Edo (present-day Tokyo) developed many customs for good fortune. During this time, soba noodles (made from buckwheat grain) were the preferred noodle in the north from the Kanto region (which includes Tokyo) and udon noodles were more popular in Kyoto. Today, most of Japan uses soba noodles for this ritual although there are variations in different areas and families. Our family likes fishcake, green onion, nori, and a fried egg with our noodles.

Toshikoshi refers to the year crossing, jumping from the old year to the new one. Some say the long noodle symbolizes the year crossing. What may have appealed to the Edo merchants is that fine soba flour was once used by Japanese goldsmiths to gather up leftover gold dust and the connection to gold would be an ideal symbol of good fortune. Also, soba noodles are easily cut so they represent letting go of the old year’s troubles and regrets. Soba is also seen by some as symbolizing strength and resiliency because of the nature of the buckwheat plants to be able to bounce back after being hit by wind and rain. There are also some who attribute the long noodles to a long life.

For me, the food traditions are a way to remember my ancestors and my family. I remember watching my grandmother roll out the dough with a long wooden dowel as she made her noodles. I could smell the broth bubbling on the stove. Eating the delicious noodles and soup made me feel a deep comfort, my grandmother’s love, and that all is right in the world. I think it’s a good way to start the new year.

Food is an important way for our families to share our culture and our personal stories. It’s also a delicious way to connect with other individuals and communities. What are your memories of your obaachan’s (grandmother’s) or other family member’s contributions to your family meals? Share your stories and we may share some in a future edition of The Bulletin and on our Facebook page.

On behalf of the GVJCCA board, we wish you and your loved ones, a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. 2017 is year of the rooster (tori) and in Japanese legend the rooster’s crowing awakened the sun goddess Amaterasu who left her cave and brought light to the world. I hope for more light and peace in the world, and the GVJCCA will continue our work for a just and inclusive society.

2017 is a momentous year. It will be Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 75th anniversary of internment/incarceration. We, at the GVJCCA, will be working on a number of projects and events, and some in collaboration with the NAJC and other Japanese Canadian groups. Keep reading The Bulletin / Geppo and checking the gvjcca.org website for more information.

Also, this year is our 3rd annual GVJCCA Japanese Canadian Community Bowl-a-thon.

The GVJCCA Community Bowl-a-thon will take place on Sunday, February 19 at Rev’s Burnaby, 5502 Lougheed Highway. It’s the same location as last year and participants found the location very convenient next to the Holdom Skytrain station and plenty of free parking. You will receive a parking pass when you check in at noon. Rev’s also has full food and bar service so you can grab some lunch and drinks while having some fun with your team. Cost covers two hours and shoe rental: $30 per individual and $180 for a team, maximum of 6. Prizes will be awarded at 3 p.m.

The bowl-a-thon is a fundraiser, but it’s also an opportunity for members of the Japanese Canadian community and their families to come together and have some fun. We are raising funds to keep producing the high quality, monthly Bulletin magazine for the community. You can also help by collecting pledges for the GVJCCA or one of the other Japanese Canadian community groups who are participating in this community bowl-a-thon. We will have prizes for bowlers who collect the top pledges and also for the bowlers with the top scores. When we have confirmed the Japanese Canadian community groups who will be participating we will have the information along with the registration and pledge forms on the gvjcca.org website.

It is fun for the whole family. I hope to see you on February 19.

Last word to Paul Kariya who emailed me and let me know that Dr. George Iwama was the first Japanese Canadian President of a Canadian university, the University of Northern British Columbia. Thanks for the information. I had asked a few people who thought Santa Ono was the first Japanese Canadian university president which led to my speculation.  Japanese Canadians have made many contributions to our country, and it’s not always recognized or known. This inspires me to think about another project to add to our list. In the meantime, the GVJCCA will continue our work to highlight the contributions of Japanese Canadians in The Bulletin / Geppo.

 

Recent News

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

DETAILS

Site Button 575X250 Bulletin01
Publishing monthly since 1958, The Bulletin/Geppo is a bilingual English/Japanese journal of Japanese Canadian community, history & culture.  EXPLORE


Site Button 575X250 HRC02
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


Site Button 575X250 HRG01
This bilingual Japanese/English Human Rights Guide is an online resource for those with questions surrounding rights and freedoms in Canada. EXPLORE


Site Button 575X250 Upcoming01
Keep up-to-date on upcoming workshops, gatherings and other events. EXPLORE


JCCA_IMG_3152

JCCA_IMG_3151

JCCA_IMG_3153

JCCA_IMG_3052

JCCA_IMG_3045

JCCA_IMG_3044