Remembering the Internment 75 years on

Remembering the Internment 75 years on

Detained having never committed a crime. Forced to leave home. Stripped of property and possessions. Threatened with deportation to a country they had never seen.

It’s hard to imagine from the distance of 75 years that anything like this could happen in Canada. But it did. It is exactly the experience so many Japanese Canadians survived through as the government forced them to abandon their lives on the B.C. coast and move to internment camps in the Interior and through the rest of Canada.

Because it’s so hard to imagine, it’s critical that all Canadians — whether they have Japanese heritage or not — remember what happened during the Internments during the Second World War. To help people remember the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is marking the 75th anniversary with a special luncheon Sept. 10.

A number of individuals from the Greater Victoria Nikkei community who lived through the Internment will share their experiences and memories at the luncheon. Their stories will offer a living document of what must never happen again.

There will also be a presentation by Jordan Stanger-Ross, Project Director of the Landscapes of Injustice project housed at the University of Victoria. Jordan will give a summary of their findings and describe the next phase of the project exploring the forced dispossession of Japanese Canadians.

There are a limited number of tickets available, so be sure to get yours today.

Where and When:

  • What: 75th Anniversary of Internment Luncheon
  • Where: Ambrosia Event Centre, 638 Fisgard St.
  • When: Sunday, Sept 10, 1 to 4:30 pm
  • Cost: $15 (Children 5-12 half price), includes buffet lunch with 2 hot entrees including a vegetarian lasagna option
  • Tickets: Contact Patti Ayukawa at Real English Victoria, #301 – 1111 Blanshard St (250-858-8445). Also available at Obon Matsuri event August 13 (noon to 4:30pm) Ross Bay Villa
  • More info:

Obon Matsuri (2017) Sunday, August 13th at Ross Bay Cemetery

Obon Matsuri (2017)

Cost: FREE


Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone


12:00pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri (Festival)

Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemeteries Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.

What is Obon?

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.” – from Wikipedia

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

Japanese-Canadian Graves at Ross Bay Cemetery

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore, there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project along with the Old Cemeteries Society in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read:

The following is the scheduled program for Obon.

12:00 pm – Grave Washing

2013 Grave Washing
2013 Grave Washing

Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone at 12 (donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time) and then cleaning teams will be assembled to proceed with:

  • Cleaning of gravestones
  • Laying flowers and toys for children’s graves
  • Preparing the Kakehashi Stone

2:30 pm – Obon Service

Obon Service 2011
Obon Service 2011

Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm – Matsuri (Festival at Ross Bay Villa)

Suika Wari 2014
Suika Wari 2014

Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
Light refreshments (including Kakigōri) will be provided as a thank you for all the hard work in washing the graves and entertainment will include the Furusato Dancers and other activities.

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map –

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website –
Ross Bay Villa website –

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Announcing the VNCS Cultural Outreach Program!

VNCS Cultural Outreach Program

The mandate of the VNCS Cultural Outreach Program is to help promote the awareness of Japanese culture in the greater Victoria community. We strive to achieve the goal by providing the community with a variety of fun and educational Japanese cultural activities through hands-on workshops, lectures and presentations. Please contact us if you are interested in our service. After assessing your needs, we will be able to help you set up sessions you are looking for either by the VNCS directly or connecting you with suitable cultural groups that meet your expectations.

The attached is the application form for us to assess your interest and needs. Please fill it out in detail and send it to We will contact you as soon as possible!

Cheers from the Cultural Outreach Team!
Mieko Fedrau, Hitomi Harama,  and Tomoko Okada


The Right to Remain Film Screening

Public Screening:
A Right To Remain

Join filmmaker Greg Masuda for a screening of “A Right To Remain” followed by Q&A and discussion.

“The Right To Remain”, a CBC documentary, looks at the Downtown Eastside residents and the fight to save the community from development. Started as an idea five years ago, Greg Masuda accumulated over 300 hours of footage. He says “’The Right to Remain’ is a culmination of my entire career as a filmmaker. As a Japanese Canadian, I could not resist participating in the advocacy for the Downtown Eastside community as it looked down the barrel of the real estate industry in the second most expensive city in the world.”

Once known as “Japantown”, this area was home to thousands of Japanese Canadians before World War II.

Thursday, April 27, 2017
3:00-4:30 pm
University of Victoria
Victoria BC

Free and open to the public

“The Legacy of Japanese Canadian Redress: A Reflection/An Assessment”

“The Legacy of Japanese Canadian Redress: A Reflection/An Assessment”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
4:30 pm | David Strong Bld C116

With Roy Miki, GG award-winning poet and leader of redress movement.

Dr. Miki will offer an assessment of the legacy of redress including a comparative look at Japanese Canadian redress and the Indian Residential  Schools Settlement Agreement.
Free and open to the public

Don’t forget to renew your membership!

VNCS Membership Renewal

Please renew your VNCS membership for 2017.  The membership fee is still only $10 for an individual and $15 for a family.

It’s a small amount, but collectively it helps pay for the operation of the VNCS.

We were hoping to have the online membership payment facility available by now, but it is taking a bit longer so you will have to pay the old way by writing a cheque payable to VNCS and mailing it to:

Membership – Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
4401 Tremblay Drive
Victoria BC, V8N 4W6

If you are new to the VNCS then please include a membership form which can be obtained at