Warrior Spirit 1916
Beginning in early 1916, over 200 Japanese Canadian recruits began military training in Vancouver. These men went on to fight in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, participating in the major battles of the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Lens, Avion, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Cambrai, Denain, Valenciennes, and Mons. 55 were killed or died of their wounds. Only six came home uninjured. Letters from the front describe the exemplary and fearless fighting of Japanese Canadians, who won 13 military medals for bravery. This exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the loyalty, dedication, courage, and commitment to a better Canada from the early community of Nikkei in Canada.
Hastings Park 1942
Untold stories remembered
In early 1942 over 8,000 Japanese Canadians were detained in Hastings Park before being sent to internment sites in the BC interior or to work camps across the country. It’s a part of Japanese Canadian history that is little talked about particularly by those who experienced dispossession and removal directly. An outdoor exhibit at the original Hastings Park site at the PNE and related website on Hastings Park 1942 (www.hastingspark1942.ca) preserve the stories and images of this important history.
The interpretative panels were developed by a coalition of Japanese Canadian community groups, including the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Community Association (GVJCCA), the Nikkei National Museum & Community Centre (NNMCC), Tonari Gumi, the Powell Street Festival (PSF), and the Vancouver Japanese Language School (VJLS). Funding for this project was provided by the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, the National Association of Japanese Canadians, the NNMCC and the JCCA.
In July 1942, the Tashme Internment camp, the largest in Canada, opened its doors to Japanese Canadians who had been ordered removed from the coast following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Formerly called the Fourteen Mile Ranch, the camp was located 14 miles southeast of Hope, just outside the 100-mile “protected” zone imposed by the government. It covered 1,200 acres and, at its peak, was home to 2,644 internees.
In answer to the question: “What was everyday life in the Tashme Internment Camp really like?” the Tashme Historical Project website is a living and evolving interactive repository of historical material about the Tashme Internment Camp. The camp was closed in 1946, leaving nothing but memories. Now those memories have been collected in a comprehensive website that looks at every facet of camp life, from its organizational structure; including governance, employment, education, and health care; to everyday life, including commerce and social and sports organizations. It makes available to anyone with a web browser detailed historical records, a diverse collection of textual, photographic, graphical, and multimedia materials.
A wealth of knowledge is waiting to be discovered by children, grandchildren, and descendants of those who lived in Tashme – who have heard about Tashme all their lives and want to know more – as well as educational institutions, teachers, and students.
We invite users to recall your experiences, donate your photographs and documents, and contribute your stories to this important historical record of our Japanese Canadian internment experience.
The Tashme Historical Project Website is a collaboration between the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. Sources include Library and Archives Canada, UBC Special Collections, United Church Archives, and the Nikkei National Museum and Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre archives.
Contact: Linda Kawamoto Reid, Research Archivist
NNMCC, 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby BC V5E4M7
Combining storytelling with archival photographs, Nikkei Stories reanimates the people, places and events important to the social, economic and cultural life of Japanese Canadians who lived in the Powell Street community in Vancouver and Steveston, Richmond, BC.
Writer / Director: Gordon McLennan
Camera / Editor: Greg Masuda
Researcher: Linda Kawamoto Reid
The Open Doors Project – Discovering the diverse histories of Powell Street
Wouldn’t it be great if visitors to the Powell Street Festival could also walk up and down Powell Street and explore some of the businesses and workshops in the area?
This was the simple idea that started the Open Doors Project – a multidimensional project to help commemorate and animate the Powell Street area. Led by the Powell Street Festival Society in collaboration with the Nikkei National Museum, the initial idea grew to include permanent panels, a self-guided walking tour and an interactive website.
The end project includes 16 panels designed by artist Cindy Mochizuki which share snippets of information – of history, culture, stories, and memories. They hint at connections to the land and changes through time. With limited space, the panels only provide a small amount of information – an introduction into the intricate history of this fascinating neighbourhood!
Thank you to the City of Vancouver’s Great Beginnings program for funding the project.
Visit the related website at: http://opendoorsproject.weebly.com/
March to December
Curated by Cindy Mochizuki
Featuring new works by Kyo Maclear, Julie Tamiko Manning, and Baco Ohama
This project was made possible with the financial assistance of the B.C. Arts Council and the Roy Ito Award.
March to December is an interactive web project created in response to the war journal found in the archives of the late Roy Ito. Within this online exhibition, contemporary artists Kyo Maclear, Julie Tamiko Manning and Baco Ohama create individual web projects based on Ito’s documentation of his time serving in the Canadian army during WWII. The interactive web project provides audiences with three entry points into some of the complex and layered, day-to-day accounts that Ito has taken from March to December 1945. The artists have each carefully crafted media-based work that can be found within the online archive, that range from audio, animation, and video work. Their new works present a glimpse; a temporal snapshot into a particular historical moment, and into the observations of Ito during his time at war as a Japanese Canadian sergeant.
Asahi: Canadian Baseball Legends
This is the story of the Vancouver Asahi baseball team whose home ground was Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver from 1914 to 1941. The online exhibit is presented in four chapters: Building the Club, Triumph, Pride of the Community and the Asahi Legacy which can each be explored in depth with many images, sound bites, and film. A timeline of events in team history and the history of Canada’s Nikkei community, as well as teachers’ resources are also available. This exhibit is presented in three languages English, French and Japanese.
Visit the online exhibit http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/virtual-exhibits/exhibit/asahi-canadian-baseball-legends/
Sewing and dressmaking in the Japanese Canadian community is a legacy of pride, skill and accomplishment passed on from thousands of women who mastered this vital art to practice their craft in British Columbia and across Canada from the early part of the twentieth century to the present.
The inspiration for this exhibit came from a collection of dresses donated to the Nikkei National Museum by Mary Ohara, typical of those worn in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Sewing then was not only necessary for women of all ages to provide custom-made inexpensive clothing for themselves and their families, but was also a primary source of income for many Japanese Canadians excluded from mainstream businesses or professional occupations. These women established their own shops or made clothing for clients from their homes after attending dressmaking academies.
During the internment years, the women in almost every camp organized hugely popular classes. For Canadians like Mary Ohara who went to Japan in 1946, dressmaking Canadian-style was one familiar means of showing how closely they continued to identify with customs from their homeland. For others who migrated east of the Rockies, dressmaking abilities allowed them to re-establish themselves. For both, dressmaking was the way to making a livelihood in a new place.
Visit the exhibition online at: The Virtual Museum of Canada