The NAJC has been keen to promote and preserve the legacy of the community, including the arts. Our goal is to enshrine the legacy of Japanese Canadian artists whose creative works were made prior to the internet era, and have been lost to time. We also want to provide a platform for practicing artists to meet, share, research, and promote their work. Along the way we have made new discoveries and refreshed older works.
It is a cross-Canada venture to establish an electronic website of names, contact information and samples of JC artists.
The project is being led by a Partnership Team of Susanne Tabata, of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC), Emiko Morita, of the Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS) along with Bryce Kanbara and John Ota of the Art Committee, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC).
“We have three main goals for the website,” says Bryce Kanbara. “We want to increase awareness of JC artists, encourage JC artists to network with the public and each other and also to announce events, profile artists and job possibilities.”
While the idea of starting a website originated in Vancouver, it was a JC Artist Symposium in April 2016 in Toronto that determined that an Artist Directory Website could be the centrepiece of revitalizing JC art. The new online resource would be an updated version of Aiko Suzuki’s 1994 publication, Japanese Canadians in the Arts – A Directory of Professionals. The Suzuki publication contained information on over 215 artists under the following discipline headings: Applied Arts, Architecture, Film/Video, Literary Arts, Music, Performing Arts, Traditional Arts, Visual Arts, and Emerging Artists.
“A key incentive for the website is to preserve a legacy for past JC artists who might be forgotten in the digital age,“ says Susanne Tabata. “We want to showcase those who have produced works in the 20th century, and whose contributions are part of the rich tapestry of artistic expression in Canada.”
But the website is also for the present and future JC artists.
“The directory will be a platform to showcase all Japanese Canadian artists, past and present.” says Emiko Morita. “Our focus at present is enhancing the ‘legacy’ artists and, once we go live, we’ll invite contemporary artists to create their online profiles. We see it as an essential hub to connect artists with each other and their audiences.”
The Partnership Team is grateful for funding from the Canada Council of the Arts and the NAJC, through the Arts Culture Education Committee (ACE), in support of the JC Web Directory.
Discover and connect with Japanese Canadian artists, past and present
- Add your artist profile and share your work
- Contribute biographical material for our legacy artist profiles
If you are interested in volunteering to support the JC Artist website or require further information, please contact: John Ota at firstname.lastname@example.org.