Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall jointly with Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre
SURVIVOR STORIES 2022.
The joint project with the VJLS alumni and the Kika Nisei group will interview 10-15 of each group about themes of Education, Identity, and Citizenship. The VJLS honour a group of alumni that come out each year to the Powell Street festival to enjoy a reunion type luncheon on the top floor of the Hall. There, they reminisce about the old days where they were encouraged by their issei parents to attend JLS in the Powell Street area. Those alumni have rich stories to share about growing up in the hub of Powell Street, the education they received and how hard their parents worked. The alumni are dwindling, and out of about 20 remaining, 10 are willing to tell their stories for future generations, leaving a legacy.
The Kika Nisei are a group of survivors who were born in Canada and were then either stuck in Japan during the War or were exiled there in 1945-46 or later. This group of Canadians may have suffered discrimination in war torn Japan, and they also may have had their education interrupted from temporarily living in both countries. As a group, their story is largely untold and we hope they will discuss the impact of growing up in two countries, and how it impacted their identity and citizenship. In fact the leader of the group, Miki Hirai has approached the NNMCC to do this.
We will interview each person for 1-2 hours in hopes of catching 20-30 minute cohesive and powerful vignettes for use in schools, at the NNM, or for families of the survivors. Laura Saimoto will be the interviewer for the VJLS alumni, and Linda Kawamoto Reid will be the interviewer for the Kika Nisei group. We would like some of the interviews to be group interviews, which might inspire animated and spontaneous conversations. We hope to give each participant an honorarium and a gift for participating. This will be audio taped by a community member, Adam Smith (married to a sansei).