Meet Roy Uyeda and Akira Horii — elders in our community that have volunteered for many years with our Taiken education program. They are dedicated to giving talks to students about their experiences growing up Japanese Canadian.
Through volunteering at the Nikkei Centre, I try to grasp every chance I can to speak to as many young people as possible because they’ll carry the future. I try to relate to them as one individual from the thirties to forties, of how the treatment of us Japanese Canadians by the Canadian government from the beginning of 1942 had affected my entire life as did to thousands of other fellow Japanese Canadians. I also try to relate from my own experiences and educate people who are unfamiliar with this part of our Canada’s history.
I was born in Vancouver in 1931 and was in Grade 5 at Lord Strathcona Elementary and Vancouver Japanese Language School when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. Subsequently, I was interned at East Lillooet from 1942 to 1949. In 1949, I graduated from Lillooet High School and went on to study at UBC where I received my B.A. (Honours in Zoology) and M.D. degrees. I practised family medicine for 48 years and retired at age 78 in December 2009. For 25 years, I have taught UBC medical students and retired as a Clinical Professor Emeritus. In retirement, I was asked by my niece, who was the NNMCC Education Coordinator at the time, to start giving talks to students. Since then, I have given more than 70 talks across the lower mainland, the majority of them through the Nikkei Centre. I missed the students in 2020 because of the pandemic but got to talk to Japanese-Americans for the first time through Zoom.