Gerald Tanaka

Gerald Tanaka is a retired accomplished management professional. He is a Sansei on his dad’s side of his family and Yonsei on his mom’s side. He was born in Chicago; grew up in Gardena, CA; and spent summers on his grandparent’s farm in Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada. He studied Business Administration/Asian American Studies at Cal State University, Long Beach. After visiting Baja and seeing the poverty and needs there, he created and has run a program at his church since 2006 which partners with a group down south to help build homes, as well as create and run trade schools. He also has gone to support orphanage organizations in Africa and Thailand.

Updated June 2019

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Japanese Canadian Internment and Family Experiences - Part 2

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While the family was in camp, the Canadian government was doing everything in its power to rid the Japanese Canadians from British Columbia. They passed PC 469 under the War Measures Act, which gave them the right to dispose of the Japanese Canadians’ property without consent.

The family farm on Salt Spring was sold for pennies on the dollar. My grandparents were shocked. Salt Spring Islanders had promised to keep their property safe until their return. My Bachan remembered one man who put his arm around her and said, “Don’t worry Kimi, not one chopstick will ...

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Japanese Canadian Internment and Family Experiences - Part 1

The Japanese Canadians were among the first non-native settlers of Salt Spring Island. The 1901 census shows 59 islanders of Japanese origin. In 1941, there were 77 adults and children in 11 families. They owned about 1,040 acres of land and ran some of the island’s largest and most prosperous farms and businesses.

The history of our family in Canada began in 1896, when my great-grandfather, Kumanosuke Okano, immigrated to Canada from Hiroshima, Japan. He was followed in 1902 by my great-grandmother, Riyo Kimura Okano. My grandmother (Bachan) was born in 1904, the first Canadian baby of Japanese ...

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