Chuck Tasaka

Chuck Tasaka is the grandson of Isaburo and Yorie Tasaka. Chuck’s father was 4th in a family of 19. Chuck 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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Nikkei Chronicles #5—Nikkei-go: The Language of Family, Community, and Culture

You-mo? Me mo!: Nisei Language and Dialect

I don’t have a PhD in linguistics but I hope that a budding linguist major will get interested in this topic. In Hawaii, the first boat load of about 150 Japanese immigrants came to this island as sugar cane laborers in 1868. It was called Gannen-mono, first-year people. However, it proved to be an unsuccessful venture. They were city dwellers, not really farm workers. Nearly one third of gannen-mono immediately returned to Japan because of their work conditions. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act came into effect once the US took hold of Hawaii. Therefore, a considerable work force …

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Love, Nisei Style

Dion and the Belmonts made the doo wop song famous with “Teenagers in Love.” We could call this segment “Nisei-gers in Love.” Was this the clash of the old world Issei tradition versus the new world Canadian way?

When the first Japanese immigrants came to British Columbia in the late 1800s, most were single men involved in menial occupations. They worked for very low pay and basically had no hopes for promotion. In their spare time they drank and gambled away their savings. Japanese men went to Chinatown to play mah jong. The lottery ticket game that looked similar to …

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The Nisei Hepcats

“The day the music died,” from the song “American Pie” by Don McLean, referred to February 3, 1959, the day Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper perished in the ill-fated plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. Those who were teenagers back then remembered ever so clearly when they heard the tragic news. You know exactly where you were and what you were doing. Music does that. Remember that song on the phonograph for the home waltz at the school dance? You don’t forget who you were dancing with, and how you had such a mad crush on that …

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Cumberland Chow Mein, Denbazuke, Karinto? It's Canadian Nisei Food!

How can you tell a Nisei by looking at the food they eat? Have you heard of Cumberland chow mein, denbazuke, or karinto? In the case of Japanese Hawaiians, you have heard of and most likely have eaten Spam sushi. Spam sushi became popular after World War II when the Nikkei 442nd soldiers returned from Europe, and having Spam as their staple diet, they invented this type of fusion sushi. The other creation is their breakfast where a fried egg and hamburger patty is served on top of the hot rice. I’m sure soya sauce was sprinkled …

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war en ja es pt

Greenwood, B.C.: First Internment Center

Greenwood, British Columbia, in Canada became the first internment center when Nikkei people were uprooted and “relocated” from the coast of B.C. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and shortly after Canada declared war on Japan when Hong Kong, a British Commonwealth, fell to the Japanese army. This started a chain reaction of government decisions to remove the Japanese Canadians from the coast. With the War Measures Act enforced, Japanese Canadians were helpless. Maybe that’s where the term “shikata ga nai” came to be. It can’t be helped. Those who protested were sent to POW camps …

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