Japanese-Canadian Working Group Briefs JCCCM
Coming To Terms With Rev. G.G. Nakayama’s Sexual Abuse Of Community Members
by Alan Itakura
The following article was published in the English Montreal Bulletin July-August 2018 about Japanese Canadian Working Group members Wendy Matsubuchi Bremner and Judy Hanazawa presenting on June 4 in Montreal about community effects from GG Nakayama’s history as a child sexual abuser. The Working Group will meet with Primate Fred Hiltz on July 15 to discuss a national Japanese Canadian healing legacy from the Anglican Church. More information will be reported in the August Bulletin. On June 2, Judy Hanazawa and Wendy Matsubuchi- Bremner, members of the Japanese-Canadian Working Group (JCWG), made a presentation to the JCCCM council and attendees of the Annual General Meeting outlining the goals of the JCWG and the activities it has undertaken since its formation in Spring 2014.
The JCWG grew out of inquiries made by the Human Rights Committee of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association (GVJCCA) regarding alleged sexual abuses perpetrated by the late Reverend Gordon Goichi Nakayama. In March 2014, when they learned of the inquiries into their father’s conduct, Reverend Nakayama’s children — author Joy Kogawa and Timothy Nakayama — issued the following joint statement in The Bulletin (Vancouver) and The Nikkei Voice:
“We are aware of an initiative that is underway by the JCCA Human Rights committee in Vancouver to clear the air and bring closure for the victims of our father’s heinous sexual attacks while he was a priest of the Anglican Church. We express our solidarity with all those he harmed, the young men and boys, their families and our community and express our profound grief as members of his family. May the truth be told. May the truth be heard. And may the Love that is among us and in the universe bring healing to us.
“With deep gratitude to those who in their mercy have been kind to us.” – Timothy Makoto Nakayama, retired priest – Joy Nozomi Nakayama Kogawa
Should any persons wish to be in touch about this matter they may email firstname.lastname@example.org Following this apology, Joy Kogawa consented to the community outreach work that the JCWG wished to do. Since then the JCWG had many months of discussions with Anglican Church representatives to arrive at a solution that would help bring closure to the individuals and families that were affected. On June 15, 2015, in a meeting organized by the JCWG, the Anglican Bishop of Calgary and the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster issued the following twelve-point apology:
1. Mr. Nakayama was a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary. Some of his ministry was in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, and he travelled widely in Canada and in other parts of the world.
2. After he had retired, Mr. Nakayama confessed in person and in a letter dated December 28th 1994 to the then Archbishop of Calgary that he had engaged in ‘sexual bad behavior . . . to so many people’.
3. Upon receipt of Mr. Nakayama’s confession, the then Archbishop of Calgary formally brought forward the very serious charge of Immorality against Mr. Nakayama on February 10, 1995.
4. Upon receiving this charge, Mr. Nakayama voluntarily resigned on February 13, 1995, from the exercise of priestly ministry.
5. It is not known how many young people were affected, and no complaints were received at that time.
6. We have been made aware of the impact and effect of these past actions by some of today’s survivors, whom we acknowledge and seek to support, along with those who have died, their families and friends.
7. We deeply regret that Mr. Nakayama while a priest committed these acts of immoral sexual behavior.
8. On behalf of our dioceses, we express our deep sorrow and grief for harm which Mr. Nakayama did, and we apologize to all whose lives have been affected by Mr. Nakayama’s actions.
9. We deeply regret this Apology was not delivered to the Japanese Canadian Community at the time of Mr. Nakayama’s confession, the charge of immorality, and his subsequent resignation from the exercise of priestly ministry.
10. We express our support to survivors, affected families, and community as a whole and deeply hope that this Apology encourages healing and wellness for all whose lives have been affected by Mr. Nakayama’s actions.
11. We commit to participation in a healing and reconciliation process with the members of the Japanese Canadian Community who were harmed by Mr. Nakayama.
12. And we assure you that the Anglican Church takes these matters seriously, and takes steps to prevent this type of behaviour.
The JCWG has conducted seminars and workshops among Japanese Canadian community members in Vancouver, Lethbridge-Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto- Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal and provides regular updates of its progress in The Bulletin ( jccabulletingeppo. ca).
One of the main objectives of the JCWG is to obtain an apology by the national leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada who they are planning to meet in July 2018.
For those who wish to obtain further information or to provide testimony regarding abuses suffered at the hands of Reverend Nakayama, please contact one of the individuals below.