Chuck Tasaka

Chuck Tasaka is the grandson of Isaburo and Yorie Tasaka. Chuck’s father was 4th in a family of 19. He was born in Midway, B.C., and grew up in Greenwood, B.C. until he graduated from high school. Chuck attended University of B.C. and graduated in 1968. After retirement in 2002, he became interested in Nikkei history. (This photo was taken by Andrew Tripp of the Boundary Creek Times in Greenwood.)

Updated October 2015

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Iwasaki Family of Salt Spring Island

Ray Torao Iwasaki was born in Ganges, B.C. in 1933 and he lived an idyllic life on Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. His father Torazo came to Vancouver in 1907. His mother, Fuku, from Shizuoka arrived on the Empress of Vancouver in 1918 to marry Torazo. Ray was surrounded by four sisters, Hideko (1920), Mitsuko (1922), Setsuko (1926), and Tsuruko (1931). The Iwasakis lived on Sunset Drive in a five-room house on a 640-acre spread.

Ray’s father was a marine engineer on a Japanese whaling ship in the 1900’s. His occupation took ...

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Nisei Story: Unexpected Friendship Lost and Found

Teresa Chizu Kurisu lived a normal Powell Street life as a child. She attended Strathcona Elementary School in East Vancouver and went to Japanese Language School soon after with her Japanese Canadian friends. Teresa’s parents were Catholic so she took in church activities with her parents. This was a time when Sister Mary Stella, aka Kathleen O’Melia, established the Japanese Catholic Mission (JCM) on Dunlevy and Cordova in 1926. The Kurisu family was one of the first converts.

Teresa’s father Hisakichi was employed at the Orange Kist soda factory. It was a very steady job. Her mother ...

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Nikkei Chronicles #6: Itadakimasu 2!: Another Taste of Nikkei Culture

No Time for ITADAKIMASU!

Itadakimasu. What’s that? I never heard of it when I was growing up in postwar Canada. Japanese Language School didn’t exist in Greenwood. The only word similar to that was “Itai!” or “Itai-na!” when your older brother or sister was shoving you aside to get the best seat at the kitchen table. Besides, we all wanted to be more “Canadian-ized,” that is Anglo-Canadian culture. At Sacred Heart School, we children learned to sing “Irish Eyes are Smiling” or “Loch Lomond”. Even though the food was bland compared to Japanese food, it was a treat to have the nuns ...

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Nisei Nicknames

In this day of hi-tech computer with iPhone, iPad, Galaxy and so forth, whatever happened to the old fashion nicknames? Nowadays, you hear of famous athletes with nicknames like Burnsie, Burr, Marky, JJ, JR, or AJ. Quite vanilla, I think. There should be more ‘wasabi’ injected into the present day nicknames.

Nicknames back in the 40’s and 50’s were colourful, so much so that their real names were forgotten. In hockey, my favourites were: ‘Leaping Lou’ Fontinato, Bronco Horvath, Rocket Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Clear the Track, Here Comes Eddie Shack, Turk Broda, Gump Worsley and the Golden ...

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Nisei: When The Nisei-nts Go Marching In ...

When the saints go marching in, oh when the saints go marching in…. oh when the Nisei-nts go marching in…… There was Christian influence in Japan when missionaries had travelled there in the 1800s. Even before that Jesuit priests from Portugal were present. Tokugawa government tried to put a stop to Christianity. The recent movie Silence is based on that part of history. By the late 1800s, Christianity was viewed as modern and progressive. Therefore, when Japanese immigrants came pouring into British Columbia, there were several Japanese ministers already established.

Goro Kaburagi was a Methodist minister (1879), newspaper editor, and ...

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