Recalling Tashme Internment: The Tashme Historical Project
One never knows what a simple statement such as “wouldn’t it be great if….” could become nor how it could entice members of the Nikkei community to re-connect with each other. Well this “little idea” of mapping out the residents in Tashme has grown to also include collecting data about the families who lived there, recording nisei stories about Tashme, and collecting artifacts used in the internment camp. It has connected people from the Greater Toronto Area to British Columbia, to California and reconnected people who haven’t seen each other nearly seventy years.
It has been great to see the tangible work being done by Keo Shibatani and Harold Miwa at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, who have taken the lead in mapping out the residences using the registry provided by the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby, British Columbia. A new addition to this team has been Arnie Arai, whose brother, Art, was the donor of the map of Tashme. Arnie’s own involvement in Tashme and his connection to Nisei in the Hamilton area has helped add and clarify information for this project.
Transferring the information from the registry to the map is almost complete.
Always a very valuable part of any project are the intangible aspects. It begins very casually. People drop into the JCCC Heritage Resource room in Toronto to help “fill in the gaps” or clarify information about Tashme and specifically the map. They start by examining the Tashme map or pictures such as the scout troop, the judo group, or the group photos – and then the magic begins. “Do you remember when….or remember when we….” It is a wonderful time of reminiscing, sharing stories, and re-connecting with friends. It is a wonderful time of honouring the past and acknowledging how far we have journeyed from that time.
The success of the Tashme Historical Project is dependent on people sharing information and stories. We are hoping that additional former Tashme residents will help us with our data collection. If you were a former Tashme resident or know someone who was, please direct them to a questionnaire downloaded from the Sedai website www.sedai.ca and ask them to send completed questionnaires to Heritage Resource Centre, c/o JCCC 6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Z5.
TASHME DAY coming to Nikkei National Museum!
To help broaden the range of contacts and disseminate the information to nisei in the British Columbia/Alberta regions, interested folks from the Nikkei National Museum, including Linda Kawamoto Reid, and former Tashme residents Tak Negoro and Howard Shimokura, are collaborating on this project.
If you have an interest in the Tashme Historical Project, whether or not you were a resident or are too young to remember much about Tashme, join us at the NNMCC on April4th, 2013 to hear about the project, its objectives and plans, progress so far, and how you can participate. We at NNMCC hope that ‘Tashme Day’ will be a mini reunion of former residents, a chance to gather, reconnect, and share stories. Bring along any photos, postcards, letters or artifacts to share.
Event details: Thursday, April 4th from 1:30 – 3:30 pm in room 105 at Nikkei Place. Tea and sweets will be served.
Contact: Nichola Ogiwara or Linda Kawamoto Reid at: