Season 4: Nikkei Women

During the run of the “Iron Willed: Women in STEM” exhibition, we will be sharing stories of Nikkei Women. Lives of remarkable Japanese Canadian women who have survived through the Japanese Canadian internment will be presented by Julie Tamiko Manning. Subscribe now on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss an episode and tune in weekly.

July-September 2021

Season 3: Marpole Monogatari

The Sounds Japanese Canadian To Me podcast features a new series Marpole Monogatari on life at home, work, and in the community for Japanese Canadians in pre-War Marpole. Hear David Suzuki’s father talk about the birth of his twins, as well as Joy Kogawa singing a favourite song from kindergarten. Hear Mush Arima talk about buying a chicken from David Suzuki’s grandmother, along with other stories of triumph and tragedy from former residents, descendants, and associates.

June-July 2021

Stories From the Stage: 2020-21

In the age of social distancing, performing artist Kunji Mark Ikeda takes the reins of Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me to lead a series of in-depth conversations with some of today's most exciting Japanese Canadian performing artists.

Listen on our website, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development, and the Rozsa Foundation.

Season 1: 2013-2017

Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me is a monthly podcast hosted by Raymond Nakamura and staff members at the Nikkei National Museum.  They sit around a microphone (usually in the museum's collection vault - for ambience) and have a casual discussion on a chosen Japanese Canadian topic.  The goal of this endeavour is to entertain and wow people about Japanese Canadian history and culture.

Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me
Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre

Explore the fascinating world of Japanese Canadian history and culture with Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me. Our first series is hosted by Raymond Nakamura and Nikkei National Museum staff members features casual discussions on Japanese Canadian topics. Our second series, Stories from the Stage, features interviews between Kunji Mark Ikeda and some of the most exciting Japanese Canadian performing artists living through the age of social distancing.


Episode 27 – Hastings Park 1942 

It’s not all fun and games at The Fair. In this episode, Raymond is joined by guest Erica Isomura to talk about Hastings Park in East Vancouver, better known as the PNE Fairgrounds, and its role for Japanese Canadians from up the coast and Vancouver Island in internment.

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Episode 26 – Taiko

In this episode, Raymond and Carolyn explore the fascinating history of Japanese taiko drumming, from its ancient roots in folk culture to the emergence of taiko ensembles in both Japan and North America after the Second World War. Taiko ensembles first began in North America in the 1970s, and were closely tied to Asian American and Asian Canadian political activism.

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Episode 25 – Dressmaking (Our Mothers Patterns)

Sewing was an important occupation for Japanese Canadian women before and during the Second World War, not only to clothe themselves and their families, but also as one of the few professions which was not barred to them in the racist climate of the time. Many pre-war issei and nisei women were skilled technicians, attending schools to learn how to draft their own patterns. In this episode, Raymond and Carolyn discuss some of what they learned about this history from the Nikkei National Museum’s online exhibit, Our Mother’s Patterns.

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Episode 24 – Cultural Centres

Just what is it with Japanese Canadian cultural centres, anyway? This episode, Raymond and Carolyn discuss this phenomenon, from the JCCC in Toronto to centres in Montreal, Steveston, and even the Nikkei Centre which they’re recording out of. Different centres across Canada have unique and interesting origins related to varying histories of postwar Japanese Canadian settlement, and today continue to provide space for their local communities in many ways. Many were built with the help of the redress settlement, and are important venues for celebrating multiculturalism and Japanese heritage today.

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Episode 23 – Harmonicas

The harmonica was the musical instrument of choice for young nisei Japanese Canadian men in the 1930s and 1940s. Raymond and Carolyn look at some reasons why it became so iconic for this generation, some of the more prominent players, and story of the Lemon Creek Harmonica Band.

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Episode 22 – Cherry Blossoms

Join Raymond and Carolyn as they discuss figures in ancient Japanese folklore, botanical attractions in Vancouver and across Canada, and…mutants and clones? The Japanese ornamental cherry tree is all of these, not to mention a feature of spring in Japan and many places in Canada.

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Episode 21 – Baseball

In this episode, Raymond and Carolyn discuss the Japanese Canadian favourite of baseball. While the Vancouver Asahi are the most famous Japanese Canadian baseball team, there were many Nikkei teams and leagues throughout BC before the forced removal, in the camps during internment, and even some established east of the Rockies in the 1950s and beyond.

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Episode 20 – Cumberland

For our twentieth episode, Raymond and Carolyn look at the fascinating history of Japanese Canadians in the village of Cumberland on Vancouver Island. Coal baron Robert Dunsmuir began importing workers from Japan and elsewhere to Cumberland in the late 19th century. Labour disputes and racism were rampant, but the Japanese immigrants were also able to build lives there, moving from mining to logging and service industry work, and even bringing over their families and establishing a Japanese Language School. After the community was forcibly removed in 1942, efforts have been made by Cumberlanders in more recent years to uncover, preserve, and celebrate the multicultural history of the village.

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Episode 19 – Place Names

In this episode, Raymond and Carolyn discuss the who, what, where, when, and why of Japanese place names in Canada, from Ikeda Bay in Haida Gwaii to Bonsai Street in Vancouver, and even “Matane” in Quebec. While some are named in honour of early immigrants from Japan, others are more like tributes from afar to the idea of Japan and Japanese culture, or arrived at their names through a variety of interesting and surprising occurrences.

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Episode 18 – Samurai

In this episode, Raymond and Carolyn discuss the samurai way of life – from the Satsuma clan to Inazo Nitobe’s Bushido – and its possible influence on Japanese Canadian history and culture. While the figure of the samurai has been popularly mythologized in Western culture by the likes of Tom Cruise, many real-life samurai emigrated from Japan in the late 19th century to build new lives for themselves in places like Canada.  Some went on to become Canadian citizens, and fight for their adopted country in the First World War.

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