LOGO
 

VNCS :: ビクトリア日系文化協会

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society – Celebrating Japanese-Canadian Culture

banner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner imagebanner image

VNCS Board of Directors

Each year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) the members of the VNCS elect an Executive Group from the general membership whose responsibility it is to execute the work of the society throughout the year. The positions are all volunteer. Below is a list of the current and past Executive Officers and Directors.

2019 Executive Officers

Tsugio Kurushima – President

kurushima-tsugioTsugio Kurushima is a Nisei born and raised in Winnipeg. He moved to Victoria with his family in 1979. Tsugio got involved in Japanese Canadian affairs during the Redress Movement in the 1980’s. Since that time he has been active in the Nikkei community not only in the greater Victoria area but also on Vancouver Island. He is a founding member of the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and has served on its Board since its inception in 1994, holding the capacity of President for 8 of those years. Tsugio is a member of Uminari Taiko and the Furusato Dancers. In addition to his Japanese cultural interests he is active in hockey, golf, church and playing his guitar. Tsugio is married to Susan and has 2 adult children, Carmen and Bradley.

Debbie Ibaraki – Vice President

ibaraki-debbieBio information pending.

Ken Watai – Treasurer

watai-kenA retired mining executive, Ken was born and raised in Japan. His wife is a member of faculty at UBC, Asian Study and they have four children and four grandchildren. Ken served as a director for VNCS from 2000-2004 and accepted the current position when the former treasurer moved to Vancouver early in 2010. Ken is currently promoting Premium Japanese Sake with the Sake Association of British Columbia, throughout BC and Alberta and also with the Consulate General of Japan through various cultural events.

Secretary

VACANT

Mike Abe – Past President

abe-mikeMike Abe, a Sansei, was born and raised in Ontario where he graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Biology. He worked and lived in Japan from 1987-1993 where he met and married Izumi Masuda. Their eldest son, Kento was born in Kofu, Japan and they moved to Canada, settling in Victoria in 1993. Their daughter, Natsuki was born in Victoria in 1998. Mike worked at Tourism Victoria for 13 years and for 7 years at Tourism BC. He is currently the Project Manager for Landscapes of Injustice at the University of Victoria. This is a research project focused on the dispossession and forced sale of property owned by Japanese Canadians during WW II in British Columbia.

Mike enjoys golf, shodo and sumi-e and holds a third degree black belt in Yoshinkan Aikido. He has been editor of the Victoria Nikkei Forum newsletter since 2001 and has served as VNCS president for seven years over the last ten years.

2019 Directors

Mieko Fedrau

fedrau-miekoMieko Fedrau was born and raised on a rice farm on the west coast of Japan and moved to Edmonton in 1986. She studied American Literature at Niigata University (M.A.) and Education at the University of Alberta (B. Ed.). She taught Japanese Language and Culture at Harry Ainlay High School in Edmonton for 21 years. Since moving to Victoria in the fall of 2015, Mieko and her husband have been enjoying their retirement. Mieko likes reading, travelling, practicing Kana Calligraphy, playing Badminton and Golf, hiking and watching Japanese drama and news shows. Her daughter currently attends Emily Carr University in Vancouver.

Kyla Fitzgerald

Kyla Fitzgerald was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. With a Japanese mother and Canadian father, Kyla experienced a bicultural upbringing. While she attended school in Canada, she spent her summers in Tokyo, Japan to spend time with her mother’s family in which she was able to discover, learn and enjoy Japanese culture and language. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Victoria pursuing a Master of Arts in History. In addition to her studies, she is a research associate with UVic’s Landscapes of Injustice project, which is dedicated to recovering and grappling with the forced sale of Japanese-Canadian-owned property. Kyla’s passion for raising cultural awareness and multiculturalism in the community compelled her to join the VNCS this year.

Lorin Goshinmon

When not being the home handyman; some of my time is spent practising – playing music and karate. Lived in Victoria for 33 years, born in Lethbridge Alberta, of Okinawan heritage. Lorin is a retired graphic artisit from the promotional products industry and I look forward to lending a hand to the organization.

Amy Kawano

kawano-amyAmy Kawano was born in Vernon, B.C. and raised in Okanagan Centre. Upon graduation from high school, she moved with a group of girls to Victoria, BC. Her first job in Victoria was with Medical Services Plan (then called BC Medical) but after three years she moved to Vancouver to be a little closer to family. She then worked for a wholesaler who sold giftwrap paper and ribbons. After approximately 25 yrs. in Vancouver Amy returned to Victoria BC in 1995. Her brother introduced her to the VNCS and she was then asked to become a Board Member. Once she got involved with the organization, Amy has really enjoyed assisting with the different events and overseeing the food preparations for the Cultural Fairs. She learned how to make manju which she had never made before – “my grand-mother always made it for us”. This experience has been very rewarding and Amy would like to thank all those who volunteer to help put on the events. Amy has now been a board member for over ten years and at this time would like to welcome all the new Board Members for 2019.

Karen Kobayashi

Karen Kobayashi, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Research Affiliate with the Centre on Aging at the University of Victoria. She has been involved in the Japanese Canadian community since her teenage years in Toronto, first as a member of the original NAJC Youth Group and later in her early adult years in Vancouver as a Board member of the National Nikkei Heritage Centre Society, the National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre Society, and as Chair of the Board of Tonari Gumi.

Before moving to Vancouver to begin her doctoral studies, she was the Project Director for Program and Support Service Development at the Momiji Health Care Society and Momiji Centre in Toronto. She has consulted for the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society, helping to develop their Community Needs Assessment in 2011, and is currently evaluating their dementia care program (Iki Iki) at three sites in the Lower Mainland.

Academically, she is a member of the Asian Canadian Studies working group at UVic and has delivered a number of lectures and presentations on the intersections of ethnicity, immigrant status, health, and aging at national and international conferences and workshops.

Craig Mercer

mercer-craigCraig Mercer was born and raised in Victoria, BC where he graduated from Royal Roads University with a diploma in network security as well as technical certifications in systems administration and systems design. While working for the Ministry of Attorney General in 2003 he met a young lady from Osaka, Japan named Kana Ogino. They married and moved to live in Osaka, Japan from 2005 to 2007. Their daughter Grace Yuki was born in Osaka in 2005. Their son Wyatt Haku was born in Victoria in 2009. Craig is currently working as the Direcor for Project Methodology at Island Health (aka VIHA).

Craig has been serving as a Director with the VNCS Board off and on since 2010 and looks after the VNCS website.

Yukari Peerless – Communications Director

Yukari Peerless was born in Osaka, but grew up in Sasebo, Nagasaki. She moved to Canada in 1998.

She joined VNCS to stay connected with Japanese culture, and joined the board in 2014. Since joining the VNCS, she has been interested in learning more about the histories of Japanese Canadians and hopes to connect immigrants and Japanese Canadians.

She is the owner of Lucid Communication, an ESL and consulting firm. She also blogs on various social media platforms.

Yukari enjoys reading, movies and theatre when she’s not busy taking care of her two boys.

Bruce Yoshida

Bruce Yoshida 2019 VNCS board

Bruce grew up in Brampton Ontario but knew that the west coast was going to be his home. His parents were born the west coast in Chemainus and
Vancouver. Both families were interned at the Tashme camp and proceeded to move east after the war.  After high school he moved out to Victoria
to study at UVic and continued his education in Vancouver at UBC. Bruce was able to become a high school teacher but he soon realized it was not a good fit and continued to work in hotels where he met my wife Melanie.

After a year in the Cayman Islands he decided to move to Victoria to raise a family.  This family eventually turned out to be 2 daughters, Robyn
Natsuki and Kaitlyn Sakura.  Bruce is currently works with TELUS as a
manager at a call centre in Saanichton.

Bruce’s travels to Japan in the last 4 years made him realize how much he wants to be more involved in the Japanese Canadian community.  He says he finds it tough in many ways to be Japanese but being more Canadian. “My travels to Japan made me realize what a unique position I, and other Japanese Canadians, are in and I look forward to becoming more involved with the VNCS, and the Japanese community in Victoria.”

Scott McDonald

Scott McDonald, VNCS board memberScott McDonald was born in Ontario and did his undergrad in the Japanese Studies specialist (Hons. B.A.) program at the University of Toronto. He completed an M.A. in Classical Japanese Literature, University of Kyoto and went on to work in Tokyo at a Japanese trading company. Upon returning to Toronto, he went into high school teaching and also was a teaching assistant at U of T in the first year Japanese language program.

Presently Scott is a digital strategist at Gardens British Columbia, speaks on digital strategy at conferences, and designs SEO and social media campaigns, is a member of Garden Communicators International and a garden writer. He volunteers in his community of Colwood, the Victoria Cool Aid Society, and sits on the board of the Colwood Garden Society.

Scott is most happy when he is exploring a garden, beach or forest, reading a book or hanging out with his teenage daughter, Ayla.

Past VNCS Board of Directors

2018 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Tsugio Kurushima
Vice President: Debbie Ibaraki
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Vacant
Past President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Mieko Fedrau
Kyla Fitzgerald
Lorin Goshinmon
Hitomi Harama
Amy Kawano
Karen Kobayashi
Craig Mercer
Kana Mercer

Yukari Peerless (Communications Director)


2017 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Tsugio Kurushima
Vice President: Debbie Ibaraki
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Vacant
Past President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Mieko Fedrau
Kyla Fitzgerald (Ex-Officio)
Hitomi Harama
Amy Kawano
Karen Kobayashi
Tomoko Okada
Yukari Peerless (Communications Director)
Cristina Shore

2016 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Tsugio Kurushima
Vice President: Debbie Ibaraki
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Vacant
Past President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Mieko Fedrau
Kyla Fitzgerald (Ex-Officio)
Hitomi Harama
Amy Kawano
Karen Kobayashi
Tomoko Okada
Yukari Peerless
Cristina Shore
Jeff Tanaka

2015 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Toni Burton
Past President: Tsugio Kurushima
Patti Ayukawa
Kyla Fitzgerald (Ex-Officio)
Debbie Ibaraki
Amy Kawano
Karen Kobayashi
Craig Mercer (VNCS Website/Grant Applications)
Kana Mercer
Yukari Peerless

2014 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: vacant
Past President: Tsugio Kurushima
Kyla Fitzgerald (Ex-Officio)
Debbie Ibaraki
Amy Kawano
Yukari Peerless

2013 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Debbie Ibaraki
Past President: Tsugio Kurushima
James Harada-Down
Debbie Ibaraki
Amy Kawano
Craig Mercer (VNCS Website/Grant Applications)
Noreen Scarth
Henry Shimizu

2012 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Debbie Ibaraki
Past President: Tsugio Kurushima
James Harada-Down
Debbie Ibaraki
Amy Kawano
Craig Mercer (VNCS Website/Grant Applications)
Noreen Scarth
Henry Shimizu

2011 Executive Officers & Directors

President: Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Debbie Ibaraki
Past President: Tsugio Kurushima
James Harada-Down
Mami Harada-Down
Brian Harvey
Debbie Ibaraki
Amy Kawano
Craig Mercer (VNCS Website/Grant Applications)
Cody Poulton
Noreen Scarth
Henry Shimizu

2010 Executive Officers & Directorss

President: Tsugio Kurushima
Vice President: Cristina Shore
Treasurer: Ken Watai
Secretary: Susan Kurushima
Past President: Mike Abe
Mike Abe (Victoria Nikkei Forum Newsletter)
Kathy Harris
Debbie Ibaraki
Akira Iwase
Roy Katsuyama
Amy Kawano
Craig Mercer (VNCS Website/Grant Applications)
Henry Shimizu