Canadian Nikkei Series

The inspiration for this new Canadian Nikkei interview series is the observance that the gulf between the pre-WW2 Japanese Canadian community and the Shin Ijusha one (post-WW2) has grown tremendously. 

Being “Nikkei” no longer means that one is only of Japanese descent anymore. It is far more likely that Nikkei today are of mixed cultural heritage with names like O’Mara or Hope, can’t speak Japanese and have varying degrees of knowledge about Japan.

It is therefore the aim of this series to pose ideas, challenge some and to engage with other like-minded Discover Nikkei followers in a meaningful discussion that will help us to better understand ourselves.

Canadian Nikkei will introduce you to many Nikkei who I have had the good fortune to come into contact with over the past 20 years here and in Japan. 

Having a common identity is what united the Issei, the first Japanese to arrive in Canada, more than 100 years ago. Even in 2014, it is the remnants of that noble community that is what still binds our community today.

Ultimately, it is the goal of this series to begin a larger online conversation that will help to inform the larger global community about who we are in 2014 and where we might be heading to in the future.

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Canadian Nikkei: Oakville Sansei Dr. Erik Nabeta - Part 2

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Have you ever been to Japan? What attracts you to it? Any contact with family there?

Yes, Tokyo. It was only four days, and I need to return. One of my favourite cities I’ve ever visited. Can’t wait to go back. I have a couple of Japanese friends that have said I need to visit Kyoto as well. I love Japanese culture for the respect they all carry. The city works so well because of this. My favourite example is the subway and watching people line up. When the train arrives, people wait in an ...

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Canadian Nikkei: Oakville Sansei Dr. Erik Nabeta - Part 1

As a public school teacher, I’m keenly aware of the breakneck speed at which culture is evolving and how, correspondingly, ideas of “Nikkeiness” are changing too. Who needs grandpa anymore when discussions and information are just a Google search away?

For me these days the discourse about identity has shifted from the binary hafu to something a lot more diverse. Nowadays, it isn’t unusual for me to meet students at my mostly Punjabi/Hindi school, who tell me that they have relatives that live in Japan. One even has an aunt who works for the Indian embassy in ...

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Equitably Speaking ... Lethbridge Nisei Rev. George Takashima - Part 2

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How did you become an educator?

After graduating from high school, I spent the first year of a five-year Chartered Accountancy program working in a CA firm. After one year, I decided this was not for me even though I excelled in mathematics. My girlfriend at that time was going to enroll at London Normal School (later known as Teachers’ College) so she said why don’t I join her? Tuition was free because there was such an acute shortage of teachers. I decided to give it a try and I rather enjoyed my experience at Normal ...

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Equitably Speaking ... Lethbridge Nisei Rev. George Takashima - Part 1

With May being Asian Heritage Month, I am wondering how our Nikkei voices will in fact be heard?

As a dedicated CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio listener and teacher who takes pride in celebrating all of the cultures that make up Canada’s highly celebrated multicultural society, I am curious somewhat about how our Asian stories of how we helped to build this country are going to be heard? Admittedly, there is a long lineup of marginalized voices who historically have been ignored by the mass media.

So, hey, CBC (and other media outlets), give us Asian Canadians our fair ...

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Toronto Nisei "Mush" Arima - Part 2

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What do you remember about life in the camps e.g., eating? Toilet? Baths? School? Your mother passed away there. Was she also buried there?

I experienced my first train ride from Vancouver (Hasting Park) to Slocan City, a four-day trip. Quite exciting for me – for mother and sisters, tiring and exhausting with only sandwiches to eat. We arrived in Slocan City in the fall of 1942. There were no living quarters available. Some families whose husbands or sons had arrived earlier to build houses for the arrival of their families were able to be put-up almost ...

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