The 20 in 2020 digitization project includes over 3900 photographs & 35mm negatives preserved in the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC)’s archives that capture the life of the NNMCC from its pre-history in the 1980s to the present day. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the NNMCC and 2021 celebrates 40 years of the Japanese Canadian community’s dream to establish a community archives to honour, preserve, and share Japanese culture and Japanese Canadian history and heritage for a better Canada. The recently digitized photographs follow the archives from a small office on Broadway to our purpose-built museum space today: a journey seen through groundbreaking ceremonies and community gatherings.
The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre fonds (collection) serves as a reflection of Japanese Canadian culture here in British Columbia, through initiatives set forth by the NNMCC. The opening of the centre in 2000 signifies the symbolic and physical return of the Japanese Canadian community and culture to the coast of British Columbia since the forcible uprooting of Japanese Canadians from the west coast in 1942. It was a fitting culmination of the historic Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement, which included a fund to help rebuild the Japanese Canadian community.
Land for the NNMCC site was purchased with a portion of these funds; building construction was largely supported by personal contributions made by community members and families. The new building provided a secure and permanent home for the NNMCC archives that had been growing since the 1980s. The archives, previously known as the Japanese Canadian Archives and later federally incorporated as the Japanese Canadian Museum & Archives Society, was formed by the Japanese Canadian community in response to the growing need to:
- preserve and share Japanese Canadian history while life experiences could still be told by the first generation;
- connect new generations with their heritage; and
- support the Redress movement.
The NNMCC has since proven to be an integral aspect of the Japanese Canadian community in the lower mainland of Vancouver by providing a home base for our culture and history to be discovered, re-discovered, and shared. The collection contains over 3900 photographs and 35mm negatives taken between 1980-2019. The photographs feature the opening of the NNMCC and several events that have taken place at the Centre since its grassroots start in 1980.
Thank you to the Irving K. Barber BC History Digitization Program at the University of British Columbia for helping us preserve and make accessible these important photographs. More information about the program can be found at www.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca