VNCS :: ビクトリア日系文化協会

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society – Celebrating Japanese-Canadian Culture

banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image banner image

2018 VNCS Annual General Meeting (AGM)


Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
2018 Annual General Meeting

Sunday, February 4th, 2018
Esquimalt Rec Centre, 527 Fraser Street.
(Craigflower Room which is just to the right of the rear entrance…also known as the dance studio.)
Registration – 9:30 am
AGM – 9:45 am – 11:45 am
Guest Speaker – 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
(Memberships can be created/renewed at the AGM)

Guest Speaker – Susanne Tabata on Japanese Canadian Artists Directory.

Details to come.

Mark your calendar!

2018 Mochi Tsuki Shinnen Kai and Potluck Dinner



Presented by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, the Japanese Friendship Society and the Victoria Japanese Heritage Language School Society
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Esquimalt Rec Centre
3:00PM – 6:30PM

Please join us for a potluck dinner, entertainment and interactive participation including mochi-pounding and traditional games to celebrate this New Year.

Volunteer Help Needed – the old adage “many hands make light work” is best demonstrated at an event like this celebration day and we are looking for assistance from all groups with: Set-up, Kitchen Crew, Greeter, Mochi or 50/50 Sales, Food Table Monitors, Games and Take-down.

Contact Debbie Ibaraki at ibarakidebbie@gmail.com if you can help.

Live performances of Japanese Problem

Live performances of Japanese Problem

In 1942, over 8,000 Canadians were detained in barns at Hastings Park
—the effects, and the memories haunt us to this day.
JAPANESE PROBLEM is a title derived from the nomenclature of WWII, but containing in it the understanding that the citizens affected at the time were neither Japanese–they were overwhelmingly legal residents/citizens of Canada, nor problematic–with zero verifiable connections to activities against Canada.

JAPANESE PROBLEM invites an audience into a stall, which residents have turned into a temporary home and place of wonder, as they are filled with the uncertainty of their next destination.
The piece exists in the contemporary moment simultaneously, where evidence of Hastings Parks’s former tenants has been erased, where survivors are uncertain if they want their names included in a memorial; and where refugees to North America are being treated in a fashion that is terrifyingly familiar.

The event will take place at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on Sunday, December 3, 2017 in the Spencer Mansion.

There will be 3 programs to choose from:
Program 1 2:00-3:20 pm (registration 1:45 pm)
Program 2 3:30-4:50 pm (registration 3:15 pm)
Program 3 6:00-7:20 pm (registration 5:45 pm)

The program will begin with registration in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria lobby, with pre-performance Japanese refreshments and light snacks in the Kearly room and Mansion foyer. There will be a short presentation on the latest research by Landscapes of Injustice. The performance begins about 15 minutes into the program in the Spencer Room, at which point latecomers will not be able to enter so please ensure you arrive to register prior to the start of the program time.

Seats for the program is $30 per person. Seating is limited. Please indicate your first and second choice of times.

To guarantee your attendance, contact Michael Abe at mkabe2011@gmail.com

Due to the generosity of patrons, there are some seats available free of charge for youth and those on limited income. Contact Mike to request these seats.

For more information about the play, check out www.japaneseproblem.ca

150 Years and Continuing: Fighting for Justice on the Coast

“150 Years and Continuing: Fighting for Justice on the Coast” in Salt Spring Island Library

The Salt Spring Historical Society, the Salt Spring Archives, and the Japanese Garden Society are hosting an exhibition ‘150 Years and Continuing: Fighting for Justice on the Coast’ for the month of November in the Salt Spring Library’s Program Room.

Ten big panels of visuals and text will guide you through the history of the struggle of the First Nations and Asian Canadians who faced injustice, colonialism, and racial exclusion.

Two panels describe local Salt Spring stories of the First Nations and of the Iwasaki Family who used to own nearly 600 acres of land which was taken away from them after they were uprooted from island.

The exhibition was developed by an inter-university group called the Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island Project (ACVI) headed by Dr. John Price of the University of Victoria.

Upcoming talks during the month of the exhibition:
November 15th (Wed) 7pm – 8pm: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians from Saltspring Island by Brian Smallshaw

November 25th (Sat) 3pm – 4pm: Historical Charcoal Pit Kilns on the Southern Gulf Islands as a legacy of Japanese Canadians on the Coast by the Japanese Garden Society

November 28th (Tues) 7pm – 7:30pm: The Story of the Murakami Family by Keiko Mary Murakami Kitagawa

‘These stories can be unsettling, challenging and even disorienting… we encourage everyone to stick with the discomfort and embrace Canada’s whole history so that we can move forward together toward true reconciliation and creating a Canada we all want to share.’ (ACVI project synopsis)

Japanese Fair Shows Off Culture, Food, Music in Greater Victoria

The thunder of the Japanese Taiko drum. The quiet contemplation of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The traditional taste of a sweet Japanese manju dessert.

All this and more will be there to experience along with other Japanese food, entertainment and crafts at the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 18th annual Japanese Cultural Fair Oct. 21 at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

“The cultural fair is a highlight of the season for our community – it’s our chance to share our culture as Japanese-Canadians with our friends and neighbours,” said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “It’s an all-ages event – with activities for old and young to get a taste of Japanese food and culture.”

On the cultural front people can try their hand at writing Haiku, find out about Japanese classical theatre, or enjoy learning about Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) and bonsai.

There will also be demonstrations of a number of Japanese martial arts, including Iaido and Kendo (two types of swordsmanship), Judo, and Aikido.

On the musical front there will be the ever popular taiko drums, as well as the ever popular Soran Bushi and Youth Choir, and a Bon Odori performance by the Furusato Dancers.

And no cultural experience can take place on an empty stomach – one of the reasons why the food offerings are always popular at the fair. Ready to eat are chicken or vegetarian bento boxes, the only-at-the-fair YYJ Dogs (hot dogs with special Japanese toppings), homemade onigiri rice balls, and tasty bean-jam filled manju desserts. And of course, there will be plenty of sushi.

The complete schedule of events is at goo.gl/quYnY3.

“Everyone from the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is looking forward to welcoming the community and giving a glimpse into Japanese culture right here in Greater Victoria,” Kurushima added.

Where and When:
What: 18th Annual Japanese Cultural Fair
Where: Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St..
When: Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 am to 4 pm
Cost: FREE

Fair offers chance to try Haiku – NEW EVENT

Aspiring poets young and old can learn about traditional Japanese Haiku poetry and contemporary North American haiku (primarily written in English) at the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 18th annual Japanese Cultural Fair Oct. 21 at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

Terry Ann Carter, the Victoria-based president of Haiku Canada, will host a Haiku table all day long at the fair to give people the chance to try their hand at  the art form tracing its origins back hundreds of years. She will be joined by other members of Haiku Arbutus, a haiku study group that she formed here in Victoria four years ago.

Carter, and the other poets at the table, will be aiming to go beyond counting syllables, to teach the techniques for composing haiku which ultimately juxtaposes the natural world and human nature. Participants at the Fair may also ask for a personal haiku written just for them.

Carter has published five chapbooks of haiku and has just released Tokaido, (Red Moon Press, 2017) a collection of haibun — or combination of prose and haiku — that mirrors the journey on the old road between Kyoto and Tokyo, the two cities at the heart of Japanese culture.

Some example of haiku by the poets who will be at the fair:

dark moon

we all have

our secrets.      

Terry Ann Carter


scattered ashes

the lilacs bow down

with rain            

Dan Curtis


evening tide


becoming sand      



leaving Tokyo subway

a hundred umbrellas

rise in unison                   

Sidney Bending

Taste of Japan at 18th Annual cultural fair

Bring your appetites when you come to the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 18th annual Japanese Cultural Fair Oct. 21 at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.

A variety of Japanese and Japanese-inspired foods are on the menu for the day to make sure that everyone can have a taste of the rich food culture of Japan and the Japanese community in Greater Victoria.

The homemade bento boxes are sure to fly off the shelves as they are one of the most popular — and delicious — items at the fair. Available with either chicken or in a vegetarian version, they come with rice, and delicious Japanese vegetables. This is the kind of traditional boxed lunch Japanese workers bring from home for their midday meal.

For those looking for a snack rather than the full meal of a bento box, there will be delicious homemade onigiri — rice balls. One of the most popular snack foods in Japan, the onigiri at the fair have either salmon or umeboshi (traditional Japanese sour plum) wrapped in rice and held together with a large piece of nori — the dried seaweed sheets used to make sushi rolls.

Another handmade and homemade treat is the ever popular manju. These traditional Japanese desserts have a flour and rice powder pastry-type shell wrapped around a sweet red bean filling. They are a true taste of Japan — and you’ll want more than one.

There will also be a wide variety the Japanese food that has become a staple in every corner of the world – sushi. Sushi’s origins are as a street food — something you picked up and ate at a small stand in the middle of a market. So the experience at the cultural fair is like a time travel trip to old Edo (the name of Tokyo before it became the capital in 1868).

Some folks wait the entire year for the cultural fair for the once-a-year and only-in-Victoria Japanese style treat — the YYJ dog. It may look like a hot dog. It may come in a bun. But the magical blend of special Japanese toppings make this a mouthwatering treat worth waiting for!

Admission to the fair is free — so mark your calendar and come hungry to enjoy a taste of Japan!

Trees to permanently honor Japanese Canadian internees 75 years later

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is creating a permanent tribute to the Japanese Canadians dispersed and interned during the Second World War with the donation of three cherry blossom trees to the Township of Esquimalt.

The trees along with a commemorative plaque will be placed in the Japanese Garden in Esquimalt Gorge Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese Internment. The donation was announced at a Sept. 10 luncheon honoring Greater Victoria’s many living survivors and attended by 120 people.

“There are people in our community who lived through the Interment — being forced to leave their homes, losing their properties, being separated from the families,’ said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “These trees honor all the lives touched by the tragedy of the Internment — and will serve as a reminder to future generations so it does not happen again.”

Esquimalt’s Japanese Garden has a history directly tied to the Internment. The Takata Teahouse and Garden originally located there was the first Japanese garden in Canada when it opened in 1907. It closed in 1942 when the Takada family were sent to internment camps in the Kootenays. They never returned and the gardens and buildings fell into disrepair and were eventually lost.

Lasting from 1942 until 1949 (four years after the end of the war), Japanese-Canadians living in Coastal British Columbia were detained by the government, relocated to camps and farms in the Interior and in the rest of Canada, and stripped of their businesses and homes. In fact, the sale of their personal property was used to fund the Internments.

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society was able to donate the trees with financial support from the National Association of Japanese Canadians.