An incredibly successful Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner in support of our ‘Nikkei Place: Feels Like Home’ initiative

On Saturday, September 24th, 2016 we celebrated and honoured four of our Nikkei community leaders at our Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner presented by Canadian Tire! We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came and supported the event, and we hope you enjoyed the evening! Your support benefits Nikkei Place: Feels Like Home  our initiative to make Nikkei Place a second home for all to enjoy. It was truly a night of inspiration, listening to the rich stories and accomplishments of our awardees. We feel thankful many of you came to celebrate with us as we honoured Dr. Akira Horii, Mr. Takeo Yamashiro, Ms. Yoko Matsuno and Mr. John Endo Greenaway for their immense service to the Nikkei Community and to Canada. This year also marked the first time we were able to award the Nikkei Youth Athletics Bursary – congratulations once again to Beth Kamimura!

Thanks to the generosity of our community, together we were able to raise over $100,000 in a single evening before event expenses for our Feels Like Home initiative.

The Board of Directors and staff of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre and Nikkei Place Foundation thank everyone — the awardees, guests, sponsors, donors, presenters and volunteers — for helping make this year’s Awards Dinner a remarkable success, and we hope to see everyone back again next year! We invite you to view and share photos from the event with your friends below or connect with us on our facebook page! Thank you once again for your support!
Photography by Manto Nakamura
Questions? Contact Nikkei Place Foundation at or 604.777.2122

Dr. Akira Horii: Presidents’ Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Dr. Akira Horii:

Presidents' Award Recipient

  • Japanese-Canadian, interned at East Lillooet
  • In 1960, became one of only four Japanese-speaking physicians in Vancouver.
  • Now a retired family physician who served many Japanese-Canadian patients
  • Clinical Professor Emeritus of Family Practice, University of British Columbia
  • Regularly shares his history and family’s story at area schools, universities and at Nikkei Place.
  • Long-time supporter of Nikkei Place and provided flu shots to the residents of Nikkei Home and donated his fees to the Society.
  • Volunteered with Strathcona area schools, Vancouver Aquarium, Nikkei Centre and Nikkei Senior’s Health Care & Housing Society.
  • Presently an active volunteer Speaker for Nikkei National Museum’s Taiken Education program
  • Former Board member of Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society

Akira Horii’s parents had lived in BC since their arrival in the 1920s from Mirozu, a small fishing village in the Wakayama area of Japan. His father helped to build a thriving cod fishery and establish the first multi-ethnic fishing association, the BC Cod Fishermen’s Coop. The Horii family lived in Japantown, an area around Powell Street in Vancouver.
Following Pearl Harbor, Akira reflects on life in his neighborhood and that “Japantown came to a standstill bringing with it economic hardship and a half to social life. There were no late ball games, judo practices, concerts or visiting; no ‘hanging out’ by the young Nisei or listening and dancing to jukeboxes at a café. We were warned that breaking the curfew could lead to severe punishement, including being sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in a place no one had heard of – Angler, Ontario.”
After his father’s fishing boat was taken away and they were ordered to leave the coast, Akira and his family were granted permission to move to East Lillooet, a selfsupporting internment map in the BC interior. The family had to pay for their own transportation and housing materials. At the camp, they were responsible for building a school and paying the teachers’ wages. There, Akira also became involved in baseball. He remembers how baseball brought the Japanese-Canadian and local white communities closer. In 1949, after the ban was lifted that restricted Japanese Canadians from returning to the coast, Akira Horii entered the University of British Columbia. After finishing his first year, he was pressured into joining his father in the family fishing business. He speaks about this experience at length in an oral history interview for Simon Fraser University’s Japanese Canadian Oral History Collection. After three years, Akira went back to complete his undergraduate degree before entering medial school. He graduated in 1960, becoming one of four Japanese-speaking physicians in Vancouver. Dr. Horii has shared his story of internment at schools, churches, public lectures and through books and oral histories at his own expense. He has provided insight into the culture and heritage of Japanese Canadians from their pioneering days through war years and to the present. One of his nominees wrote ”Although now retired from his profession as a family doctor, his kindness to all people regardless of racial origin is well remembered.” He provided flu shots to residents at Nikkei Home, at no cost to the seniors. Dr. Horii is a former Board Member of the Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society and is an active volunteer speaker for the Cultural Centre’s Taiken Education program. A Nikkei Centre staff member wrote:
“Aki Horii has played a vital role in our education programs for a number of years, and in my experience with him over the past year, he has increased his amount of involvement and dedication to the programs. He has spoken to elementary, high school and university level visiting students and has visited two school in spring of 2016 to speak to one group of 40 private school students and another group of about 120 public school students at the elementary level. He is always open to helping out and is incredible to work with. He makes the programs easy to organize and operate. He is open to speaking about historical events and his personal experiences to reach the children in a unique way. Aki has also been open to using powerpoint presentations in his talks, which I operate, and has adapted to this method very easily. Aki is also featured as one of four individuals on our Taiken Education Film series: Nikkei Experiences: Our Elders, Our Stories. The films have been produced, and are being made accessible this summer to fully launch to educators in the fall of 2016. Finally, his gentle manner, approachability, and respectfulness create a good environment to teaching children and youth, and make it very easy for me to organize the programs.”
Dr. Akira HoriiIn recognition for his distinguished career in Medicine, the University of British Columbia awarded Dr. Horii with Emeritus status as a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Family Practice in 1997. Dr. Horii demonstrates an outstanding dedication to his own work while maintaining a high level of commitment to community service and education. He has been recognized by his peers and also from within his community. Dr. Horii’s interviews can be found in the following: • Interview with Akira Horii: Japanese Canadian Oral History Collection, Simon Fraser University • Interview with Akira Horii: Collections of Nikkei National Museum • Fukawa, M. Sprit of the Fleet: BC’s Japanese Canadian Fisherman (2009) • Hickman, P. and Fukawa, M., Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Japanese Canadian Internment in the Second World War

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Takeo YamashiroYoko Matsuno, and John Endo Greenaway!

Takeo Yamashiro: Outstanding Community Service Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Takeo Yamashiro:

  • Co-founder of Tonari Gumi
  • Executive Director of Tonari-Gumi for almost 30 years
  • Hiroshima survivor of Atomic bombing
  • Master Shakuhachi (Japanese flute) player
  • Educated public on shakuhachi and traditional Japanese music all over North America

Takeo Yamashiro was born in July of 1943 and is a registered survivor of the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. He began playing the shakuhachi in Kyoto, while in University. He was the last uchi deshi (live-in disciple) of master Kikusui Koku at the Shakado Temple, Kyoto where he received his shihan certificate and shakuhachi name “RENPU,” Lotus Wind. Takeo came to Vancouver, Canada as a tourist in June 1972, by an invitation of his musical students from Canada. He then became a landed immigrant in the following year as a ‘Musician Instrumentalist’ (for the shakuhachi). Of this time, he reflects that “my language skills were very limited, but the shakuhachi worked as a language, really, as a way of communicating with people.” He has performed in concert and toured as a solo artist as well as with Themba Tana, Uzume Taiko and Kokoro Dance. He achieved landed immigrancy in 1972. Along with Jun Hamada and Michiko Sakata, Takeo Yamashiro founded the Tonari Gumi Japanese social services organization. In the fall of 1973, Jun (Samuel) Hamada received a federal employment creation grant under project named “Japanese Community Volunteers”. This initial five-month-trial operation of the Issei support program, run between January and May in 1974, came into the hands of Jun and Takeo, as one of the four original employees. The Japanese name “Tonari-Gumi” was born before the termination of the project. The initial five months gave them time for quick on-site need study in the Issei community. In June, Jun and Takeo visited Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) and negotiated with Bruce Eriksen to secure a office space. Bruce sympathized with the Issei’s situation in the old “Nihonmachi” area and decided to let them use a small room shared with their Chinese Community Worker. By the end of same month, June 1974, the DERA hired Takeo as their Japanese Community Worker. Jun meanwhile had to make trips back and forth to the Vancouver General Hospital for dialysis—kidney failure. In April 1976, they were able to obtain more stable funding from the provincial government and from the City of Vancouver and opened a drop-in centre at 573 East Hastings. It was during this time that many of the current programs and services were developed. For over 30 years, he served as the Executive Director until his retirement in July 2004. After retirement from Tonari-Gumi, he has focused on playing his shakuhachi daily. He has a Canada Council CD project pending and continues to teach a handful of serious students. Throughout his life, he has educated and inspired many people all over Canada about the magic and beauty of the shakuhachi flute. Takeo was featured as part of the Verdant Stones Project at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He has also performed at the Mariposa Folk Music Festival, the Powell Street Festival, Bumbershoot, Katari Taiko’s 15th Anniversary Concert at the Vancouver Playhouse and in concerts at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. He has served as a judge for the 1994 and 1995 Juno awards, performed on two solo albums and created more than 10 film scores that include 6 National Film Board productions such as “Obaachan’s Garden.” Takeo's community work earned him a Minister of Foreign Affairs Award in 2003. His recordings include NYO (1998, Lotus Wind Records) and Takeo Yamashiro: Shakuhachi (1988, Aural Tradition).
In an interview he was asked what his hopes were for the Canadian Nikkei Community. His answer:  Today, we have the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre (in Burnaby, B.C.) where they are busy working on research and collections of historical artifacts and archival materials through the exhibits under their developmental projects. Their collections only get richer as they dig further into our preceding generations and their lives in Canada. Accordingly, it gets easier for our upcoming generations to access resources for our ancestral history of immigration and their lives through the building and development of the JC community. As our community in future will be changing in its racial makeup and cultural values, I feel personally an urgent need of re-examination/re-evaluation on our future community needs and set a direction as to where to and how we are going. It seems to be a big challenge but we really should be talking about a multilingual and multicultural community within the JC community after all—bravo! We all live as equal members in Canada’s cultural mosaic. Hopefully, this is when one may want to seek his/her identity with their conscious effort by going through to their ancestral roots. It will add much deeper and meaningful respect and confidence to his/her own dignity as a person. It may also give one an opportunity to appreciate their cultural heritage which they can then pass on to future generations.

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiYoko Matsuno, and John Endo Greenaway!

Yoko Matsuno: Japanese Culture Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet Yoko Matsuno:

  • Master teacher and dancer of Nishikawa-ryu
  • Shamisen player, specializing in Nagauta
  • Leads the Nishikawa Dance Group
  • Has been performing and teaching Japanese classical dance in Vancouver for close to 40 years
  • Formed the Satsuki-kai dance in May 2011 for members to study traditional Japanese dance under the tutelage of Master Kayo Nishikawa in a relaxed atmosphere. They perform at a number of diverse settings including senior homes and the Powell Street Festival.
  • Has led the bon-odori dance every year at the Powell Street Festival
  • Currently an active instructor at NNMCC

Yoko Matsuno started taking lessons when she was 4 years old. She liked dancing so much that she decided to proceed with the intensive study to master the art form through the Nishikawa school of odori. In 1962, she received the her Natori (teaching name), Kayo Nishikawa. Mrs. Matsuno not only dances but also plays shamisen, a three-stringed instrument used for accompanying odori. In 1973 she became a certified shamisen player specializing in Nagauta (“long song”), and took another stage name Katsuyuya Kineya. In the same year she immigrated to Canada. In 1976, she started teaching the Japanese dance to members of the Japanese-Canadian community. In the following year she began teaching “matsuri-ondo” for Powell Street Festival and the Japanese Canadian Centennial celebration. Since then she has been teaching matsuri-ondo every year for the Powell Street Festival. As a member of the Nishikawa School, she performed 65 one-hour programs at the Japan Theatre of EXPO 86, Vancouver. She has lead the cultural impact of this art and introduced it to virtually thousands of people all over Canada. For over 25 years she has been involved in “Touch of Japan”, a project by Japanese Consulate to introduce Japanese culture to Canadian public. She still actively demonstrates dance and kimono dressing to many schools, senior homes, community centres in Hope, Aldergrove, the Fraser Valley, Gibsons (Sunshine Coast) as part of cultural exchange program. She has been teaching bon-odori dance at Steveston Buddhist Church for many decades. At NNMCC, she has been volunteering as an instructor of the museum’s Education program, the Taiken program (dancing and kimono dressing) All the materials used in the program are donated by her. All of the volunteers of this particular program are her dance class students Satsuki-kai. Satsuki-kai dance group was established in May 2011 with the purpose of introducing Japanese folk dance to a broader audience. Most recently, she and the Satsuki-kai dancing group initiated and performed at the Kimono Show held on April 3, 2016 at Nikkei Centre and raised over $7,000 and donated all the proceeds. Through dance and kimono dressing, she has been introducing Japanese Culture to the Canadian community for many years, and by leading the way contributed to the enrichment of the greater community.
Her nominator writes that: Yoko “has demonstrated the best in what our community has to offer. Through selfless volunteerism and leadership she has inspired many in our community to embrace the art of Japanese dance and has had a significant impact in expanding this important cultural and iconic activity to a wide audience. Through bon-odori dance and Japanese traditional dance, she has brought many ethnic groups together. Through bon-odori dance and Japanese traditional dance, she has brought many ethnic groups together at Nikkei Cultural Centre. An example would be the bon-odori dance at Nikkei Matsuri, where young and old of all kinds of ethnic groups participate and enjoy dancing. You can see this in the faces of all the participants of the bon-odori dance.”

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiTakeo Yamashiro, and John Endo Greenaway!

John Endo Greenaway: Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award Recipient

Every year at Nikkei Place's Community Awards + Fundraising Dinner we honour people and/or organizations with awards for their immense contributions in building a strong and vibrant Nikkei community for all. They are our community leaders that help shape our ever changing community. This year, we honour four awardees -- Dr. Akira Horii with the Presidents' Award, Takeo Yamashiro with the Outstanding Community Service Award, Yoko Matsuno with the Japanese Culture Award, and John Endo Greenaway with the Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Award.

Meet John Endo Greenaway:

  • Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Awardee

    Japanese Canadian History Preservation & Education Awardee

    Freelance Graphic Designer and Owner of Big Wave Design
  • Founding member of Canada's first taiko group, Katari Taiko
  • Founding member of Canada's first professional taiko group, Uzume Taiko, with whom he toured extensively across Europe and North America.
  • Spent five years as assistant instructor with Chibi Taiko, Canada's first youth taiko group.
  • Since 1993, he has been the Managing Editor of The Bulletin, a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history and culture.

John Endo Greenaway lived in the downtown east side for over 30 years (His parents co-founded Strathcona’s first housing co-op at Union St. and were involved in the 1970’s fight to stop the freeway). Now based in Port Moody, BC, in an interview he stated that: “When my family moved to Vancouver when I was 10 we ended up in Strathcona in what may have been Vancouver’s first housing co-op on Union Street. That was where my mother — a second generation Japanese-Canadian — started to reconnect with her roots, which she had really lost contact with, and also how I became involved in helping to form Canada’s first Taiko group Katari Taiko, work on the Powell Street Festival and more. Amazingly, the Strathcona Community Centre used to let us use its space to practise three times a week for a number of years until they realized that nobody else could do anything else when we rehearsing because of the volume. ”
He co-founded both Uzume Taiko and Katari Taiko (whose founding helped marked the re-emergence of the Japanese Canadian community who had been scattered about the country after World War II). He worked on a collaborative project “AGAINST THE CURRENT” that looked at the important role played by salmon in both Salish and Japanese history and tradition. The collaboration between Chibi Taiko, Katari Taiko, Sansho Daiko, Sawagi Taiko and Vancouver Okinawa Taiko also included storyteller Rosemary Georgeson (Sahtu Dene/Coast Salish) and Salish musicians Tzo’kam, led by composer Russell Wallace with narrations by Greenaway, and Hiromi Goto and Savannah Walling with participation of 25 DTES community members in creating the sets. The Bulletin CoverJohn has worked in the print production, design and world music field. Following his departure from Uzume Taiko in 2000, he has concentrated on his freelance design and editing business full time, working primarily in the Japanese Canadian and arts communities. His freelance clients include Hard Rubber Orchestra, Kodo, Lola MacLaughlin Dance, Takeo Yamashiro, Caravan World Rhythms, Gary Cristall Artist Management, JLS Productions, the National Nikkei Museum and Cultural Centre, the Japanese Canadian National Museum, Vancouver New Music Society, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Ashe Brasil, Vancouver Moving Theatre, Diane Kadota Arts Management, and the Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association. John has received a number of awards such as:
  • 2007 North American Association of Asian Professionals Vancouver (NAAAP) award (Arts and Culture)
  • 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • He was honoured by the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) at the Spotlight on Leadership Celebration held in Vancouver on October 25, 2007. The NAAAP is a nonprofit organization that promotes the career advancement and leadership development of Asian American professionals in all fields through networking, respecting Asian multiculturalism, and supporting diversity and community service. Below is a shortened excerpt of his acceptance speech:
“It is somewhat fitting, I suppose, or perhaps ironic—I’m not sure which—to receive the Unsung Asian Hero Award tonight. As editor of The Bulletin, the monthly publication of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association I have spent the past 14 years covering many unsung heroes within the Nikkei community. We have our public heroes of course, the ones we share with the rest of the world – the David Suzukis, Raymond Moriyamas, Joy Kogawas and Thomas Shoyamas – but for every man and woman in the spotlight, there are dozens more toiling away unheralded and most likely underappreciated. They are educators, artists, business owners, fishermen, community activists, cooks, students. Some are imbedded deeply within the Nikkei community, others work within the larger community. Some identify strongly as Nikkei, others would consider themselves simply Canadian. As the latest in a long line of editors dating back to 1958 (the year before I was 8 born), I have made it my mission to profile the many quiet heroes in our midst. It is sometimes like pulling teeth—if you want to talk in stereotypes, then we Nikkei tend to be a rather shy lot—but with a little coaxing, most people will open up, often in surprising ways. A CBC producer asked me the other day how our community magazine, with its relatively small circulation and limited readership can hope to bring these people greater national recognition and I replied that I don’t think that is necessarily my aim. It is, rather, to instill a sense of pride within our community, to build up, issue by issue, a sense of who we are—where we have come from, and where we are going. As a community I think we are sometimes guilty of dwelling on the past. Indeed, it is difficult to discuss the Japanese Canadian experience without the subject of the wartime Internment coming up…” “It is easy sometimes to play the victim card. But if there is one thing I have learned in my time working in the Nikkei community, it is that we are not a community of victims, but rather survivors. And yes, thrivers. I believe it is important to keep our eyes firmly forward—not forgetting the past, but using it as a springboard to a bright future. As I get older I see more and more value in the Japanese phrase shikataganai, “it can’t be helped”. I used to interpret it as defeatism, but have come to see that it simply means that railing against what can’t be changed is a waste of time and energy. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you give up, far from it—rather, you move on and change what you can.”

We extend our deepest appreciation to all of the award recipients for their contributions and commitment to the Nikkei Community. Please check out posts on our other awardees Dr. Akira HoriiTakeo Yamashiro, and Yoko Matsuno!

4th Community Awards and Fundraising Dinner

On Saturday, September 20, over 250 guests and volunteers joined together at Nikkei Centre to recognize the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, the Steveston Buddhist Temple and the JCCA Bulletin for the  Outstanding Community Service Award at the 4th Nikkei Place Community Awards and Fundraising Dinner presented by Canadian Tire. As well, David Suzuki was awarded the Nikkei Place Lifetime Achievement Award. Emceed by Justin Ault, owner of Hapa Izakaya and Nikkei Centre Board member, and Stephanie Florian, CTV Weathercaster, the evening was kicked off by Chibi Taiko performers Emiko Newman and Becky Jang. Guests were also treated to entertainment featuring Satsuki Kai led by Yoko Matsuno, hip hop dancing by Yoshi and a special performance by Moe Kida who was the winner of the children’s category of this year’s Nikkei’s Got Talent. The highlight of the evening was the speech made by David Suzuki where he talked very personally about his family upbringing. David Suzuki was joined by his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, some family members, and Dan Nomura and Paul Kariya – two former Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre Board members. The fundraising drive, “Answer the Call,” raised $84,000 of its $100,000 goal. Funds raised will be used to help purchase “Call Buttons” for Nikkei Home residents and to help maintain the beautiful Nikkei Garden. Nine year-old child performer, Moe Kida, donated back her $100 honorarium to help “Answer the Call.” Thanks, Moe! If you would like to make a gift, please contact Nikkei Place Foundation at 604.777.2122 or Thank you very much.

The Nature of David Suzuki

This year we will be awarding The Lifetime Achievement Award to David Suzuki at the 4th Annual Nikkei Place Community Awards Dinner talking place on September 20, 2014 at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. David's passion for science and discovering the wonders of nature have led him to become a world leader in sustainable ecology, a respected and admired biologist, environmentalist, genetic scientist, author, activist and popular CBC TV host of the award-winning Nature of Things. He was made a companion to the Order of Canada and has been presented with a lifetime of prestigious awards for his work, including 25 honorary degrees, 52 books, numerous scientific journals, four Gemini awards, and many prizes for science, ecology and broadcasting. You can take the boy out of BC but you can’t take BC out of the boy David, a brilliant and sought-after scientist, could have chosen a different path when exiled to Toronto from BC. He received his B.A. in Biology from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago. He worked as a genetics professor in Edmonton and was offered, among others, positions in Hawaii and Berkely, but he chose to work towards making a difference in BC and in Canada. From an early age, he learned from his father, Carr, to stand up for what he believed in. In spite of being bullied in Slocan by Nikkei and Caucasians alike, and being declared an enemy alien by his own country, David never wavered in his loyalty to Canada. He wrote, “Youngsters need to know that it’s possible to become a scientist and compete while remaining in Canada.” The upcoming Lifetime Achievement award from the National Nikkei Community is not only an acknowledgement of his incredible achievements in science but also reflects an appreciation of David’s mentorship and candor about all of who he is, the nature of him. In his biographies, he acknowledges all the people who have shaped his life, from his best friend and mentor/father Carr, to his wife Tara, his five children, his grandchildren and key people he has met through his stewardship on environmental matters. David’s transparency about himself and what he stands for are admirable. From skipping three grades in Bay Farm’s Pine Crest School, to reciting oratorical contests to his father, to his start in broadcasting with “Suzuki on Science” while a professor at UBC in 1969, to speaking out about Windy Bay in Haida Gwaii, the Stein Valley, the Amazon and the Great Barrier Reef, David has always pushed himself to achieve more and to make a real difference in the world.  Science Matters He has proved over and over that science matters on a global scale. His message to a world-wide audience has been enhanced by the creation of the David Suzuki Foundation which endeavors to continue his work without the sway of government payoffs, or profiteering but having an influence on political and industrial issues. In recognition of his passion for preserving the natural world, David has been honoured by aboriginal peoples around the globe. He has been given names such as Karnemeyu or ‘Holy Mountain’, Nuchi or ‘Mountain’, and Natooeestuk, meaning ‘Sacred Mountain.’ David continues his work with and empowers the Ainu of Japan, and natives of Papua New Guinea. His down-to -earth approach and manner have garnered him respect and trust. Perhaps his proudest legacy, carried down from his fishing and boatbuilding family, is that he has mentored and encouraged his children through his actions to do what they love, walk their talk, and affect change in this world.  

Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall

バンクーバー日本語学校並びに日系人会館   Continuing from the last month’s issue, we have pleasure of talking to VJLS-JH, who will be receiving an award at the Nikkei Place Community Awards Dinner on September 20, 2014.  This year marks the 108th anniversary of VJLS-JH.  Initially the School was called “Kyoritsu Nihon Kokumin Gakuen” and provided Japanese language and cultural education for children of early immigrants, as they were not able to attend Canadian Schools. 4.VJLSJH-photo-MauraDoherty Q. Can you tell us about the history of VJLS-JH ? A. By the end of the 1930s, we had over 1,000 students, and, we were known as “Canada Japanese Hall and Vancouver Japanese Language School.” However, with the outbreak of WWII, the school was forced to close and the facilities were used by the military. All of the assets were sold by the government, but the VJLS-JH building was the only one which was returned to Japanese Canadians after the War. In 1952, Japanese Canadians reopened the School and in 2000, a new 5-story facility was built adjacent to the heritage building. VJLS-JH welcomes diverse communities and encourages not only Japanese language and cultural education in Canada, but also inter-cultural communication for world peace.   Q. Over the past 108 years, VJLS-JH must have been an important presence in the Japanese Community. A. Yes. Throughout its history, VJLS-JH has been a focal point for Japanese Canadians’ education and culture and that drew a lot of guests from Japan. Before the war, Full Admiral Heihachiro Togo, former Prime Minister Makoto Saito, Prince and Princess Chichibunomiya visited the school. After the war, Dr. Hideki Yukawa, Dr. Shinichiro Tomonaga, Elizabeth Thunders visited and gave lectures. In terms of imperial guests, Prince and Princess Mikasanomiya (1965), Princess Takamadonomiya (2004), and Emperor Akihito and Princess Michiko (July 2009) visited. After the building of the new facility, the English play Luli the Iceberg, written by Princess Takamadonomiya was performed. Of course, as our mission is to promote Japanese culture and heritage, we organize multiple community events throughout the year including mochitsuki, kimono photo shoot, hinamatsuri, tanabata festival etc. We also have been providing the Japanese Culture Experience program to about 1,000 local grade school students every year. Continue reading

The Bulletin – connecting community

June_Bulletin_CoverThe theme of this year’s Nikkei Place Community Awards Dinner is “Foundations,” recognizing individuals and groups who have contributed to building a strong and vibrant community from which we all benefit, and ultimately a stronger Canada. Now in its fourth year, the Nikkei Place Community Awards. One of the groups receiving the Outstanding Community Service Award at this year’s awards dinner on September 20 is The Bulletin / Geppo, the monthly publication of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association in recognition of 56 years of service to the community. The NPF spoke to John Endo Greenaway, longtime Managing Editor, about The Bulletin and its long history.
  Q. I understand The Bulletin has been publishing for a long time. A. The Bulletin was first published in 1958 – the same year British Columbia was celebrating its 100th Anniversary. John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister of Canada. Interestingly, that’s the same year the main Post Office opened on West Georgia. I still take The Bulletin there every month to mail them to our members. It was also a year before I was born.   Q. The magazine must have been very different in those days. A. The first Bulletin was published out of a house at First Avenue and Dunbar in Vancouver. The first editor was Mickey Nakashima (now Tanaka). She named it The Bulletin, after the Montreal Bulletin, as she had lived there before returning to the coast. The early Bulletins were collections of mimeographed sheets stapled together. It was meant as a way for the community – still making its way back to the coast after the restrictions were lifted – to communicate. When you think about it, that’s the same purpose we serve today. But just as the community has changed over the past 56 years, The Bulletin has changed too. I think what it means to be Japanese Canadian is more complicated, more nuanced, than it was back then. And The Bulletin has to reflect that new reality. Perhaps realities is more accurate. Continue reading

3rd Annual Community Awards and Fundraising Dinner

On Saturday, September 21, over 250 people came together to celebrate the 3rd Annual Nikkei Place Community Awards and Fundraising Dinner at Nikkei Place. Seven individuals and organizations received awards, selected by the Nikkei Place Foundation Selections Committee, for building a strong and vibrant community at Nikkei place and beyond. Continue reading