January Message

I’m sure you have all made great New Year’s Resolutions, and some of you have already broken them, just as I do every year. But I made several again this year, including getting back to my first love of making art, and writing, and traveling for fun. Of course, I know these are just wishful thinking since I have a lot of jobs to complete this year. So once again I will be postponing my dreams to 2009.

One of the main jobs for this year that I am already immersed in and enjoying, is of course the preparation for and holding of the 20th Anniversary Celebration Conference of the Redress Settlement.

The conference will take place over the period of September 19, 20 and 21, in Vancouver, and while we are still in the early stages of planning, we contemplate an opening plenary on Friday, which focuses on themes of Redress Present/Past, and on Saturday, Redress Present/Future. The plenary and workshops are tentatively planned to include such topics of sharing and reflection as `redress today’ with an intercultural panel; building partnerships with Aboriginal peoples; Japanese Canadian history panel including participation of youths and ijusha; seniors’ issues and health care; academic interventional writings; discussions `beyond anti-racism’; the changing face of Nikkei Canadian, etc. Cultural performances and receptions for purposes of community interaction, dot the three-day program, and a redress recognition dinner on Saturday complete the envisaged overall program to date.

Undoubtedly, the resolution of the past through successful completion of Redress Settlement has given impetus for our communities and individuals to accomplish in remarkable ways. I believe it most important, therefore, that all necessary steps are taken to ensure an inclusive celebratory conference with full participation by our community. For this to happen, we need your assistance. Please inform anyone you know who should be made aware of this event, but also let us know who you believe should be recognized at this event for his/her contribution to this community. The contact information is: national@najc.ca, attention of Cindy Mochizuki, Coordinator.

(We must this year also give recognition to two important media events: the 20th anniversary of Nikkei Voice and the 50th anniversary of Greater Vancouver JCCA’s the Bulletin/Geppo. Also of significance is the marking by the Embassy of Japan of the 80th year of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Canada.)

Before closing this article, I want to give a brief report on the status of the Canadian War Museum’s panel on the wartime history of Japanese Canadians, which I had reported on in earlier articles. We received a letter from A/Director Mr. Mark O’Neill, who informs that not only is the Japanese naval flag removed from the floor opposite to this panel, but that work is now proceeding to make changes as suggested by the NAJC. Mr. O’Neill also kindly offers a display case may be added to this exhibit where related artifacts may be shown. If you have any suggestions regarding such objects, please let us know as soon as possible.

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