News

Nikkei Society honours Victoria’s Japanese pioneers

The Victoria Nikkei Society is spending its 20th anniversary with one foot in the past, as it honours the pioneers of the city’s Japanese-Canadian community.

The Nikkei Society will be celebrating its annual Obon Festival on Aug. 10.

Obon is a traditional Japanese ceremony in which participants wash the graves of their relatives— though the ceremony is celebrated a little differently in Victoria.

After being forcefully relocated from B.C. during the Second World War, the families who originally established Victoria’s Japanese community did not return.

Many of the original settlers who lived and died in the city still remain in Ross Bay Cemetery, and play a unique role in today’s community.

Despite not sharing blood ties, Nikkei Society co-founder Tsugio Kurushima considers these pioneers to be ancestors of the entire community, and are honoured as such during Obon.

Kurushima says that a challenge the Nikkei Society faces today is encouraging younger Japanese-Canadians to become more involved in their heritage. Despite such a deep involvement in the community now, he admits that he once felt the same.

“Growing up in Winnipeg, I wasn’t very involved in Japanese culture, I just wanted to be like every other white kid on my block,” recalls Kurushima. “It wasn’t until I grew older that I wanted to learn more about my heritage.”

Kurushima hopes that the Nikkei Society’s events, including the New Year’s celebrations, cherry blossom festival and upcoming Obon can spark that interest for young Japanese- and non-Japanese Canadians.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Victoria financial institutions bank on United Way
 
Big changes expected at Greater Victoria board of education
 
Victoria Royals unable to hold off Kelowna Rockets
Past, present and future
 
After the vote: Newly elected councillors respond
 
ELECTION 2014: New city council pushes teamwork
A Green Party in Parksville
 
Red Nose offers Nanaimo drivers safe ride home
 
Speed bump

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 21 edition online now. Browse the archives.