Greater Toronto Chapter NAJC Hosts UBC Class of ’42 Reunion
By Addie Kobayashi
On November 4, 2012, a special lunch for Ontario’s UBC Students Class of ’42 was held in the beautiful setting of Momiji Centre. The event was organized by UBC, hosted by the Greater Toronto Chapter NAJC, and filmed in collaboration with Dr. Henry Yu, a historian at UBC and a member of the UBC Japanese Canadian Students Tribute Committee and Mary Kitagawa of the UBC Group of Vancouver. The reunion was a follow-up to the well publicized UBC Convocation for Japanese Canadians Class of ‘42 that took place in Vancouver on May 30, 2012. Twelve of the fourteen Ontario students were present.
Ken Noma, President of the National NAJC sent a message to the students on receiving honorary degrees from UBC and congratulated them on their “perseverance in seeking a higher education in spite of the racism that existed towards minorities at that time is an inspiration to all, especially to the Yonsei.”
Following lunch, filming continued during the discussion where students were asked how they felt when they learned they were to receive an honorary degree from UBC, how they felt now that they had received the degree and what they felt the long term impact of this honour would have on future generations. Roy Shinobu recalled “how in earlier days they all had a dream that as graduates from UBC, they would make a contribution to the uniqueness of Canadian living” and spoke of their “incredible journey” and the “significant role” they played in Canadian history in the 70 years since Pearl Harbor. Fred Sasaki spoke of his personal journey, reminding us of the sacrifices made by some students before they were able to enroll in university. Others contributed to the dialogue with their thoughts and experiences that are now preserved on film.
The event was later described by UBC filmmaker Al Yoshizawa as a “deeply moving reunion and a moment to treasure for all those who were fortunate enough to be there.”
Thank you to NAJC volunteers, Momiji Seniors and Scott Inouye of Momiji, for their help and generous contributions in making the day memorable.