The NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council has nine members. Below we profile: Art Miki, Tatsuo Kage, Henry Yu, Terry Watada, Setsuko Thurlow and Keiko Miki with biographies of the balance of the members to follow.
Arthur Miki has had a distinguished career as an educator and community activist. He began his career as an elementary school teacher and later served as principal for 18 years. Throughout his career, Mr. Miki dedicated a considerable amount of time in promoting positive race relations and a greater understanding between peoples, as well as to increase awareness of human rights issues in Canada. He was formerly the vice-chairperson of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and now advisor, president of the Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba (JCAM), and president of the Asian Heritage Society of Manitoba.
Mr. Miki is an active leader in the Japanese Canadian community having served as president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) from 1984-1992. He led the negotiations to achieve a just redress settlement for Japanese Canadians interned during the Second World War. In 1991, he received this country’s highest recognition, the Order of Canada. In October 1999, he received an Honourary Doctorate degree from the University of Winnipeg. On July 12, 2012, he received the Order of Manitoba. In 2014, he was awarded the Canadian Race Relations Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2016 the Harmony Award for leadership and Excellence from the Transformation Institute and Silvertrust Media.
On March 2, 2017, Art was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Government of Japan. This is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese Government to individuals who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, and advancements in their field. It is Art Miki’s long standing commitment on human rights, globalization, education, and community relations that he has received this prestigious award and for his involvement in the Japanese Canadian Redress and the promotion of Japanese Culture.
He is the author of The Japanese Canadian Redress Legacy: A Community Revitalized (2003) and co-author of Shaku of Wondrous Grace: Through the Garden of Yoshimaru Abe (2007). Mr. Miki was Citizenship Judge for Manitoba and Saskatchewan from 1998 to 2008 and was formerly a part time lecturer at the University of Winnipeg, Faculty of Education.
As a Founding Member of the NAJC and unwavering leadership in the Japanese Canadian community, Dr. Art Miki was selected to become a member on the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council.
Tatsuo Kage was brought up in Tokyo. He studied European history at University of Tokyo and continued his graduate study at the University of Tübingen, Germany. As a professor, he taught Political and Diplomatic History at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. In 1975, he and his family immigrated to Canada. For ten years, he worked as a Bilingual Counsellor at MOSAIC, a multicultural immigrant and refugee settlement service agency in Vancouver.
In the 1980s, he participated in the Redress movement for Japanese Canadians. Soon after the Redress Settlement he was appointed as the Co-ordinator assisting Redress applicants in BC and Japan through the NAJC Redress Implementation Program. He also worked with the NAJC as a Director and the chairman of both Immigration Committee and Human Rights Committee. In the early 1990s, he continued human rights work participating in the formation of Human Rights Committee in the Greater Vancouver JCCA and supporting redress for WWII victims.
In 1993, he participated in the UN Human Rights Conference in Vienna. Later, in 1999 at the International Citizens Forum held in Tokyo, he presented a paper dealing with the international implications of the Redress settlement for Japanese Canadians. In that same year, he chaired the Organizing Committee of “Nikkei Mental Health Service Symposium” in Vancouver, BC and, appointed a member of the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism of BC.
He participated in the writing of A Resource Guides for Teachers: Human Rights in the Asia Pacific War (1931-1945), published in 2001 by the BC Ministry of Education.
His research work on Exiled Japanese Canadians after the end of WW II was published in 1998 in Tokyo. An English version of this book was published in 2012: Uprooted Again: Japanese Canadians to Japan After World War II, published by TI- Jean Press, Victoria, BC. Tatsuo was also the co-editor of the recently published book in 2016, “Honouring Our People – Breaking the Silence”.
He is a recipient of various awards that include the NAJC National Merit Award in 1991 and 2002; also in 2002, the Golden Jubilee Medal; and the first NAJC Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Award in 2012.
As a member of the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council, Tatsuo Kage will continue to share his experiences and contributions to the Japanese Canadian community. Currently, he is a member of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (JCCA) Human Rights Committee and an English–Japanese Translator accredited by the STIBC.
Henry Yu is an Associate Professor of History, and the Principal of St. John’s College, UBC. He received his BA in History (Honours) from UBC and an MA and PhD in History from Princeton University. Prof. Yu’s research and teaching has been built around collaboration with local communities and civic society at multiple levels, in particular in the digital humanities.
In 2007 he was the Co-Chair of the Anniversaries of Change Steering Committee that oversaw a year of cultural events, art exhibits, and civic dialogues marking the 100th anniversary of the anti-Asian riots of 1907 in Vancouver, and between 2009-2012, he was the Co-Chair of the City of Vancouver’s Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities Project. Between 2010-2012, he was the Project Lead for the “Chinese Canadian Stories” public history and education project funded by the Federal Government of Canada involving 29 community organizations across Canada. In 2014-15, Prof. Yu and his research team completed a project on Chinese and First Nations Gold Rush mining heritage sites along the Fraser River corridor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwjLZSu0BWs, http://www.youtube/_DMmRy9zYzg, and http://ow.ly/TbY1g. He is the Executive Producer of the film “All Our Father’s Relations,” directed by Alejandro Yoshizawa and produced by Sarah Ling, that tells the story of the Grant siblings who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. Raised primarily in the traditions of the Musqueam people, the Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of Asian migrants and indigenous peoples in Canada today and in the past.
Dr. Yu was a member of the UBC Committee that organized the 1942 Japanese Canadian Students Degree Ceremony in 2012 and one of the faculty of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program that was created in 2014 as the result of commitments made by UBC Senate to honour the 76 Japanese Canadian UBC students who were removed in 1942.
He is the Project Lead for the Hong Kong Canada Crosscurrents Project (2012-2018) involving universities and community institutions in Canada, Hong Kong, and Macao, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Landscapes of Injustice Project on the dispossession of Japanese Canadians. In 2015, Prof. Yu was appointed as the Co-Chair for the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council implementing legacy projects following the province’s apology in May 2014 for BC’s historic anti-Chinese legislation. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the BC Multicultural Award in 2015 in recognition of his community leadership.
Dr. Henry Yu’s significant contributions to Asian Canadian communities as well as his involvement in education made him an ideal nominee to become a member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) National Honorary Advisory Council.
Terry Watada is a Toronto writer with many titles to his credit. His publications include Light at a Window (a manga, 2015), The Game of 100 Ghosts (poetry, 2014), The Sword, the Medal and the Rosary (a manga, 2013), The TBC: the Toronto Buddhist Church, 1995 – 2010, (non-fiction, 2010), Kuroshio: The Blood of Foxes, (novel, 2007), Obon: the Festival of the Dead (poetry, 2006), Ten Thousand Views of Rain (poetry, 2001), Seeing the Invisible (a children’s biography, 1998), Daruma Days (short fiction, 1997), Bukkyo Tozen: a History of Buddhism in Canada (non-fiction, 1996) and A Thousand Homes (poetry, 1995). He is also proud to be part of the anthology Vancouver Confidential (ed. John Belshaw, 2014), which was ranked number 1 by the BC Publishers Association two weeks in a row. His latest publications include The Nishga Girl, a children’s story about Judo Jack Tasaka (a Nisei boatbuilder) and Eli Gosnell, a chief of the Nisga’a Nation. His second novel, The Three Pleasures was released during the spring 2017.
As a playwright, he has seen seven of his plays achieve mainstage production; his best known is perhaps Vincent, a play about a Toronto family dealing with a schizophrenic son remounted every year from 1993 to 2008 and again in 2017. Most notably, it was produced at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the first and second Madness and Arts World Festival in Toronto and Muenster, Germany, respectively.
His essays have been published in such varied journals and books as Maclean’s Magazine (March 2011), Canadian Literature (UBC), and Ritsumeikan Hogaku “Kotoba to sonohirogari” (Ritsumeikan University Press, Kyoto Jpn). He wrote a monthly column in the Japanese-Canadian national journal the Nikkei Voice for 25 years. Since 2012, he has continued his column in the Vancouver JCCA Bulletin when the magazine expanded to a national level. Essays about his work have appeared in the International Journal of Canadian Studies, Modern Drama (UTP), and in Transcultural Reinventions: Asian American and Asian Canadian Short-Story Cycles (TSAR Publications).
For all his efforts, Terry was awarded the William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award from the City of Toronto and a Citation of Citizenship from the Government of Canada. Recently, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the NAJC’s National Merit Award. His dedication to the development of human rights in Canada was recognized with the Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Award.
His archives of the Asian North American experience have been collected as the Terry Watada Special Collection and housed in the East Asian Library. His literary papers are part of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Robarts Library, the University of Toronto. His theatre production papers are part of the Guelph University Library collection, his oral history is stored within the Simon Fraser University Library.
As a writer who has dedicated his works about Japanese Canadians as well as a songwriter/performer, Terry Watada has defined the Japanese Canadian community and culture through his contributions. He is also the president of the Hastings Park Foundation for Rights. For these reasons, Terry Watada was selected to be a member of the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Board.
Setsuko Nakamura Thurlow was born in Hiroshima, Japan on January 3, 1932, was educated at Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Hiroshima, Lynchburg College (Lynchburg, Virginia), and the University of Toronto School of Social Work, receiving BA, BSW, MSW.
Upon graduation from University of Toronto, Setsuko returned to Japan to teach and practice social work at Tokyo Family Court Training Institute, and in the Osaka area with students and women’s groups at Kwansei Gakuin University.
Since 1962 Setsuko Thurlow has been a permanent resident of Toronto. She was an Associate Director of the Northeastern Area YWCA of Metropolitan Toronto, Coordinator of the Parent Education Program at the Hugh McMillan Centre for Children with Disabilities, and school social worker with the Toronto Board of Education. She also acted as a field instructor for graduate students of Social Work at the University of Toronto.
Her social work practice culminated in the founding of Japanese Family Services of Metropolitan Toronto in response to the unmet needs of the Japanese ethnocultural community for equitable accessibility to professional, culturally and linguistically appropriate family services. JFSMT was founded in 1990 and was an active member of the Multicultural Coalition of Family Services Agencies of Metropolitan Toronto.
Setsuko Thurlow’s professional activities included serving on the boards of the Ontario Association of Professional Social Workers, American Orthopsychiatric Association, Yorkville Health Centre, Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto and the University of Toronto Alumni Association.
As a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, she has been engaged through most of her life for public education & advocacy for nuclear disarmament, the scope of which has expanded from local to international level over the years.
Her efforts around the world have been recognized by membership in the Order of Canada, Commendation from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Nuclear Weapons Abolition Advocacy, Arms Control Person of the Year for 2015 (Arms Control Association, Washington, DC), Distinguished Peace Leadership Award (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, California), Peace Ambassador (University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica), Hiroshima Peace Ambassador, and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Peace Prize (London, UK), and others.
Setsuko Thurlow is the 2015 recipient of the Art Miki Leadership Award and delivered a powerful speech at the 2015 NAJC AGM about her experiences and promotion for peace. The National Executive Board selected and recognized her as a member of the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council.
Keiko Miki (nee: Nishikihawa) was born in Steveston, British Columbia but forcibly relocated to Minto, BC as an infant and later to a Sugar Beet Farm in Manitoba during World War II. In Winnipeg, Keiko attended schools and worked as a registered nurse.
During the past 35 years of community volunteer service, Keiko participated in the redress movement through the Manitoba Japanese Canadian Citizens’Association (MJCCA), now Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba (JCAM) Redress Committee and National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) Activities. Her commitment and dedication to the JC communities are recognized in the leadership and active roles she fulfilled in the following positions:
• Chair of MJCCA History Committee publishing a book called “The History of Japanese Canadians in Manitoba”
• President and Board member of MJCCA
• Chair and Member of the NAJC Human Rights Committee
• President and Vice President of NAJC
• Board Member of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council (CEC)
• Member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Advisory Council, and
• Board Member of Manitoba Ethnocultural Advisory and Advocacy Council (MEAAC)
Keiko’s extensive involvement and advocacy with the Japanese Canadian community and organizations are the evidence that she was selected to become a member of the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council.
Currently, Keiko Miki is retired, married with 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She remains to be active as a member of Rehfit, a health and fitness facility, chair of JCAM Family History Preservation Project, and Vice President of JCAM Horizon Club. In the local community of Winnipeg, she participated in the Reconciliation Canada Workshop at University of Manitoba, attended the Asian Heritage Society Panel Discussion on Asian-Canadian Refugee Experience held at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Her continuous engagement and determination are qualities that defines Keiko Miki where she will advocate for equitable inclusion and human rights. She continues to serve as a Special Advisor to the NAJC Human Rights Committee.