Regina Japanese Canadian Club

February 13, 2013 at 6:56 am

The Regina Japanese Canadian Club (RJCC) was formed in the early 1920s and has evolved into a social club for people of Japanese ancestry, their families, or anyone interested in Japanese history, culture or heritage. Only recently the executive decided to become incorporated provincially and to become an associate member of the NAJC.

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Originally, in the 1920’s the Mens Club was started with six members who met informally.

The six original members were:
•    Kanekichi Ohashi
•    Hiroshi (Harry) Takashiba
•    Genzo Kitagawa
•    Kamezo Tanouye
•    Kinjiro Kobayashi
•    Ihei Nomura

CCF30092012_00000The wives of the Mens Club decided to get together and formed their own club. After a while, the two clubs joined together to make a social club for people of Japanese ancestry. In the early years, the elder members of the club welcomed Japanese residents to Regina, and helped them to get acquainted with the city, and introduced them to other Japanese families.

The Regina Nisei Club was formed, but in December 1941 all club activities ceased. During the war, some of the Japanese families who were evacuated from BC came to Regina. Some stayed, but many later moved on to Eastern Canada. After the war, the Tanouye brothers and Arthur Kato organized the Christmas concert and the summer picnic at Buena Vista with help from the members of the Nisei Club. They did this for many years. The next generation of the club became known as the Regina Japanese Canadian Citizen Club, later becoming the Regina Japanese Canadian Club Inc.

During the years of depression, racism, war and uncertainty, a Christmas Fund was set up by the club to buy Christmas presents for the children.  In typical Japanese fashion, the children were important and this was the reason for the fund. This fund is now incorporated into our Memorial Fund. The Memorial Fund is in its infancy stage but will be used to bring Japanese culture to our members and community as per our constitution.

Today, there are 35 families in our membership with 11 seniors and  22 children. The executive decides how many events there will be each year, with a minimum of four events. The four are as follows:

• Hakamairai / Obon to remember the Regina Japanese of our past, where we visit two of the graveyards and have an act of remembrance, remembering the former members of our Club who have passed away. Children are encouraged to be a part of this. Keeping with Japanese culture, this event is usually in August.

• Keirokai where we honour our seniors to show appreciation and respect for what they have done and have been through in past years. The children are involved in this event to learn about Japanese culture and heritage. Keeping with Japanese tradition, this is usually done in September.

• New Years Potluck where everyone must bring a potluck item with some members and restaurants delighting us with Japanese food. Otoshidama is given to the children of the club and Japanese games are played. Members are encouraged to bring guests to help promote Japanese Culture.

• Summer BBQ is held in our beautiful Wascana Park.  Members are encouraged to bring friends and guest. Games are organized for the children with prizes. This is a very relaxing day in the sunshine.

The RJCC has changed throughout the years and continues to change. In the past few years we have contributed to Japan Relief, started the Memorial Fund, wrote and adopted a constitution and resolution, became an associate member of the NAJC, developed a website, started using an RJCC email account, applied to become provincially incorporated, and started accumulating old pictures and documents for our archives. The executive consists of Laura Kobayashi (president), Shelley Tamaki, Doug Wakabayashi, Nadine Wakabayashi, Hiromi Isa, Hana Kanayama, Madoka Otani and Joanne (Nakamura) Rollins.