A big thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers that made this year’s Japanese Cultural Fair a big success! お疲れ様でした！And to all you who made it out to the festival we hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed putting it on!
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.
Savour the wonderful tastes of Japan (including delicious sushi, bento boxes and sweet manju desserts).
Experience demonstrations of ikebana, tea ceremony, bonsai, shodo, and various martial arts.
Enjoy performances by Uminari Taiko, the Furusato Dancers, Satomi Edwards (Koto), the VJHLSS Children’s Dance Group and Choir and many more!
Haiku – Terry Ann Carter in the Craigflower Room at 1:15pm.
Japanese Classical Theatre – Professor Cody Poulton in the Craigflower Room at 2:15pm.
Kamishibai Story Telling – Rebecca Kool is returing this year and will be presenting stories in the Kamishibai tradition (Kids Room at 11:45am).
Harumi Ota (master potter) will be doing pottery demonstrations in the Kids Room all day (you don’t need to be a kid to drop in and watch!).
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2017
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is sharing the story of the tragedy of the Second World War relocation and internment of Japanese Canadians with the community at a special luncheon slated for Sunday, Sept. 10.
More than a dozen Internment survivors living in the Greater Victoria area will speak about their experiences on the 75th anniversary of the Internment to highlight this important history to the broader community.
“Because it’s so hard to imagine this happening today, it’s critical that all Canadians — whether they have Japanese heritage or not — remember what happened with the Internments during the Second World War,” said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “We are fortunate to still have first-hand witnesses who can share their stores with the generations who followed them.”
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, restricted in their movement and stripped of their businesses and homes. In fact, the sale of their personal property was used to fund the Internments.
“People who never committed a crime were treated like criminals simply because of their heritage,” Kurushima added. “It’s a wrong the Canadian government apologized for in 1988 along with the launch of a redress program.”
There will also be a presentation by Jordan Stanger-Ross, Project Director of the Landscapes of Injustice project housed at the University of Victoria. He will give a an update on the project exploring the forced dispossession of Japanese Canadians.
Where and When:
Tsugio Kurushima, President
Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
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:
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.
“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.
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: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.
The following is the scheduled program for Obon.
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:
Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada
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.
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