TorontoNAJC – December Update

December 19, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Season’s Greetings  –  TorontoNAJC wishes all its members, patrons and friends a safe and happy holidays and  a healthy, peaceful and wonderful  New Year.    Thank you for your loyal support in 2017 and we look forward to serving the Japanese Canadian community in the Greater Toronto Area in 2018

Luncheon registrationThe Special Luncheon “Honouring Japanese Canadians on the 75th Anniversary of their Displacement and Internment in Canada” held on Saturday Nov 25th was a resounding success!   The event was organized and hosted by the Greater Toronto Chapter of the NAJC.  Of the 300 attendees, the vast majority were Nisei who had lived through the displacement, internment, forced labor and imprisonment during the WW2.   Now seniors in their 80s, 90s and older, they came enthusiastically, some in wheelchairs, walkers and with canes gamely showing the spirit with which they endured the war years and carried into their resettlement in the post war years.

Luncheon photo exhibitOne the features of the luncheon was a large photo exhibit which the TorontoNAJC compiled consisting of photos depicting life in different internment camps. The photos brought back long forgotten memories for the many viewing them.    It was indeed a time of remembering and reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances from those years.  In addition, artist Joanne Maikawa was kind enough to allow us to show two pieces of her unique and compelling multimedia works based on the JC internment.   Jennifer Hashimoto of Nikkei Books offered attendees a selection of books on the JC history many of which cover the war years.  Theressa Takasaki and Jan Nobuto of the JCCC’s Historical Committee invited attendees to view a collection of historical camp photos and identify individuals in them to help complete documentation of key photos.  They also provided advice to individuals on how to  donate their photos and artifacts to the Centre. The Nikkei National Museum kindly provided a copy of their slide show on Internment Camps which was shown over lunch.  Janet Sakauye designed an interesting program and information brochure on the TorontoNAJC and the NAJC.  Adding to the historical content of the Luncheon, Janet and Jennifer had several copies of the just released book “Departures” which is a fascinating collection of photos, poems and artifacts of the Japanese Canadian experience during the war years.  Authors of this brand new book are John Endo Greenaway, Linda Kawamoto Reid and Fumiko Greenaway.

Luncheon entertainmentAfter a delicious bento catered by Sakawa Coffee on the Danforth, the attendees enjoyed an entertainment program  featuring Noriko Yamamoto, a professional dancer and mime who perform her moving interpretation of the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the war.   Next, the Ayami-Kai Japanese dancers offered 3 wonderful and exquisite dances: “Yuzuru No Mai”, “Tabi Sake No Ame-Ni” and “Matsuri” which were beautifully performed by Susan Nikaido, Tracy Wakayama, Carly Noda, Tami Sugie, Gwen Edamura-Schenk, Kristin Kobayashi, Alana Flemming and Emily Anza.   Songs of the  40s and 50s, were performed by the Momiji  Lug a Jug Band led by pianist Bruce Tatemichi with Budi Winarto-winds, Beverly Taft –vocals, Mauro Bellotto –bass, Tony Quarrington – guitar and Cam Jobson

luncheonThis event would not have been possible without the help of wonderful volunteers who gave of their time to set up the tables and chairs, register the attendees, assist them to their seats, distributed the bento boxes and served tea, feed volunteers and cleaned up.   A Great Big Thank You  to:  Tomo Shimizu, Gerry Kumagai, Akira Yoshikawa, Dana Oikawa, Norm Ibuki, Keith Akada, Lynn Kobayashi, Susan Aihoshi,  Aja Shimizu, Joanne Kataoka, Dianne Ishida, Del & Shelly Ishida, Louise Uyede, Mika Fukuma,  Marlene Fraser, Anri Simpson, Kari Shiozaki, Brefni Shuttleworth, Edy Goto, Dawna Kobayashi, Linda Oikawa, Ray Nakano, Lauri Towata, Diane Mark, Lucy Fukushima,  Lisa & Paula Ibuki.

We had wonderful support from the Toronto JC community for this event.  The Momiji Health Care Society was very generous in offering the venue for the event.  In particular Sheri Lynn Armstrong, of  Momiji  could not do enough for us in supporting this event and  making it a success.  The Toronto Buddhist Church and Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre assisted greatly by selling out tickets for the event.   The Heritage Committee of the JCCC was instrumental in assisting the chapter in obtaining  copies of photos from their archives and that of the Nikkei National Museum.  The Community Development Fund of the National Association of Japanese Canadians provided financial assistance for this project.   We are grateful to HollisWealth/Marty Kobayashi for their donation toward the bento and to G&GElectronics/Gary Tsuyuki who donated video equipment which ensured a great view of the stage performances to all attendees.    THANK YOU