Author: Martin Kobayakawa
The Japanese-Canadian Survivors Social Club held their opening event at Tonari Gumi on April 30, 2022. The Social Club brings together survivors of the Japanese-Canadian wartime experience in a supportive and welcoming setting. It is a community-wide collaboration between Tonari Gumi, the Greater Vancouver Japanese-Canadian Citizens Association and the Steveston Community Centre.
Twenty JC Survivors attended the opening event. For many, it was a reunion that brought together old friends and acquaintances, some of whom had not seen each other since the internment camp days. Participants were seated at “hanashi” tables at which they were able to converse with one another while enjoying a delicious bento and dessert. The gathering also featured an open mike session in which participants shared their memories with the group. Survivors Kikko Tasaka, Don Mukai and Frank Kamiya recounted their experiences and feelings before and after the war.
The event was MC’d by David Iwaasa of Tonari Gumi. Up-and-coming musician, Tamika Roberts, provided the musical entertainment, with songs that brought back memories to the survivors. Special thanks to the Social Club Advisory Committee, our dedicated volunteers and Tonari Gumi staff who helped organize and run the event.
The Social Club is planning more activities in the spring and summer months. On May 21st, a viewing party will be held at Tonari Gumi to hear a live announcement by the provincial government on BC Redress. On June 19th, a picnic for JC Survivors and their families is planned for Spanish Banks. On July 6th, a walking tour of historical Steveston will take place. Finally, a number of bus trips to the Tashme internment camp site are being planned throughout this period. To register for any of these events or for more information, please contact Yuko Liew, Coordinator, for the Japanese-Canadian Survivors Social Club at: firstname.lastname@example.org