Remembrance Day 2013 – Photo Gallery
Veterans led the charge for Redress
by Linda Kawamoto Reid
Chair Japanese Canadian War Memorial Committee
There must have been over 400 people attending the ceremonies this year on a brilliantly sunny day for the 88th annual Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park. It was heartening to see the veterans, their families, friends and supporters huddled together to pay tribute to those Japanese Canadians who made the supreme sacrifice for our country, our community and our civil liberties.
The CBC was in attendance, interviewing the vets and our moderator, Gordon Kadota. Later, on the CBC news, the footage focused on Reverend Aoki’s Buddhist blessing at the monument. It was great exposure to even acknowledge our service.
Gordon Kadota did a brilliant job of moderating, welcoming David Mitsui and his family from Edmonton and remembering Sgt. Mitsui. David was responsible for the nomination to Parks Canada commemorating “JC Soldiers of the First World War and the fight to win the vote” in 1931 as a National Historic Event. It is likely the event will be commemorated with a plaque near the cenotaph in 2014. It really speaks to the hardships and determination of those vets who, after years of trying, actually won the vote by one ballot in the legislature, becoming the first group of Asians to win the franchise in British Columbia. Sgt Mitsui was the president of the BC Branch of Legion # 9, an all-Japanese Canadian Legion Branch when they lobbied members of the BC Legislative Assembly in the second and successful bid to win the franchise.
The flag raised at the Remembrance Day ceremony beside the Canadian flag is the Legion #9 flag. This year the Japanese Canadian War Memorial Committee retired the original which was very faded and torn, to the museum and reproduced another one in its image. The new flag is embroidered in gold on a navy background with the Union Jack in the corner, mirror imaged on the reverse side. We were proud to fly it and display it at the reception. We heard so many encouraging remarks on the relevance and the presentation of the ceremony and felt inspired by them.
Besides the always respected presence of the Vancouver City Police Mounted Squad, there were also two on foot. Piper Alex Galloway began the ceremony, and the sound of the Lament and Reveille played by Junichi Fujii brought somber tradition to the ceremony. Councilor George Affleck from City Hall, Commissioner Trevor Loke from the Parks Board, Corporal Somerville from the RCMP, and Consul General Seiji Okada brought tradition to the ceremony. The much appreciated singing of O Canada and God Save the Queen by Keiko Norisue and the reciting of In Flanders Fields by Eileen Kitamura have also become landmarks. Reflections were given by Reverend Tatsuya Aoki from the Vancouver Buddhist Church. As usual, the planes flew over the cenotaph in formation and we could hear the gun salutes from the Victory Square memorial.
At the reception in the Vancouver Rowing club, we met the vets in attendance, heard where they served and some anecdotes of their experience. Karl Konishi said when he signed up to go to Korea, he served with men he knew from Tashme, who had signed up in Japan after being deported in 1946. Ken Iwaasa who served in Afghanistan was in attendance, bringing into consciousness the fourth war that Canadians have served in, and remembering Trooper Michael Hayakaze who died five years ago in Afghanistan. And we remembered the vets who fought for redress after their tours, men like George Tanaka, Roger Obata, Tom Shoyama, Harold Hirose, and Dick Nakamura.
Lest we forget.
‘They Went to War’ Campaign
Mandy Shintani, partnering with the Nikkei Place Foundation, launched the “They Went to War “campaign in October and have been very successful in getting the word out about our Cenotaph Restoration project next year. The $110,000 project will include restoring, repointing & resealing the cenotaph and surrounding area, replacing the dedication plaque, restoring the honor rolls of the WWI vets which lie in the Vancouver Japanese Language School, and dedicating a biography of the WWI vets in a booklet for the centenary of the First World War in 2014. The committee is also applying for grants from Veteran’s Affairs, BC Heritage Foundation and the Canadian Heritage Legacy Fund. The JCWMC thanks those who contributed to the campaign so far: Dick Nakamura , Sharon Yoneda, Roy & Misao Katsuyama, Robyn Hunter, Teruo & Eileen Kitamura, Tak Kinoshita, Claude Tani, and George Shintani.
Veterans in attendance this year:
Dick Nakamura – RCAF in 1947, flew to Korea during wartime, lives in Victoria.
Ray Nakamoto – enlisted in Japan to join Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in the Korean War
Jim Nishiyama – RCAF, lives in Victoria
Karl Konishi – Korean War, lives in Burnaby
Ken Iwaasa – served in Afghanistan, lives in Richmond
Ken Ujimoto – 35 years in RCAF and Canadian forces, lives in Victoria
Wreaths were laid on behalf of
Legion #9-David Mitsui, grandson of Sgt Masumi Mitsui, lives in Edmonton
S20 & Nisei Vets – Mandy Shintani, daughter of Sgt George Shintani
NAJC – Tosh Kitagawa
Consulate General of Japan – Consul General Seiji Okada
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Center Justin Ault
Greater Vancouver JCCA –Yuji Matson
RCMP – Corporal Peter Somerville
City of Vancouver – Councilor George Affleck
Vancouver Police – Superintendent Mike Porteous
Vancouver Park Board – Commissioner Trevor Loke
Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Churches Federation of Canada- Mrs. Izumi Low
Konko Church of Canada – Roderick Hashimoto
Seicho-No-Ie Vancouver Soai Kai –Mrs. Atsuko Yoshinaga
Japanese Christian Churches of Greater Vancouver –Reverend Yutaka Zama
A wreath of poppies was made from contributors at the ceremony and placed on the memorial.
The Japanese Canadian War Memorial Committee wishes to express their sincere appreciation to those dedicated volunteers and supporters who contribute to the success of the event every year.
The committee wishes to extend its grateful appreciation to the following donors for their generosity: National Association of Japanese Canadians Ron Nishimura, Judy Hanazawa, Teruo & Eileen Kitamura and many anonymous donors. Last year: Chic Tanaka, Miyoko Grignon, & Judy McDermond
Donations from businesses and organizations
Amano Foods Ltd, Kami Insurance, Baxter Kobe Florists, NNM&CC.
Donations of food for reception
Alice Takaki, , Chic Tanaka, May Sato, Sanaye Ikari, Miwako Mori, Caitlin Ohama Darcus, Winola Chu, Hiroko Stuart, Naomi Kamiya, Eileen Kitamura.
Volunteers for reception, display and ceremony
Gordon Kadota, Ray Ota, Harry Otsuki, Chic Tanaka, Michael Yamauchi, Amanda Dannais, Linda Reid, Cameron Reid, Christopher Yamauchi, Lynn Kobayashi, Beth Carter, Sherri Kajiwara, David Mitsui, Jack Matsushita, Miyoko Grignon, Lillian Morishita, Sanaye Ikari, Emiko Inouye, May Sato, Walt Shore, April Shimizu, Winola Chu, Naomi Kamiya, Tara Teng, Mary Kawamoto, Caitlin Ohama Darcus.
The Japanese Canadian War Memorial Committee thanks the Vancouver Rowing Club and the Parks Board for supporting the event every year. And for the delicious Sushi provided by Sakaya Seafood & Sushi – Yvonne Nakano; and the equally delicious manju & mochi provided by Yumi Matsuda.
Photos from this year’s Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park.
To view as a slideshow, click on the first image and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to cycle through the images.