Consul General Okada’s Web Message for January 2014
Happy New Year everyone.
My wife and I spent our first new-year season in Vancouver. Our 2014 began with the Honorable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor as we exchanged New Year’s greetings at her Levee on January 1st. A great number of people were visiting Government House just like the New Year’s visit by the general public to the Imperial Palace in Japan.
Almost one year has passed since my arrival in Vancouver. My 2013 was very fruitful through the many exchanges I had with people from a variety of fields including Japanese Canadian communities, Canadian and Japanese businesses, and the government of British Columbia. This year, all our consulate staff including myself, would like to do our best to expand these exchanges for the further advancement of the ‘Open Consulate’.
As I mentioned in my previous messages, this year marks the 125th anniversary since the establishment of the Consulate of Japan in Vancouver. In consideration of this special occasion, I made my new year’s resolution which is on-ko-chi-shin (discover the new by learning from the past).
The opening of the Consulate 125 years ago in Vancouver signifies that there were already a considerable number of Japanese immigrants in the area. Protecting their rights and interests was the purpose of establishing the Consulate. The first Consul, Fukashi Sugimura, arrived in Vancouver and opened the Consulate on Howe Street on June 22, 1889 not long after the city had suffered from a large fire.
Since then, for one and a quarter centuries, our Consulate in Vancouver has walked an historical path alongside that of Japanese descendants. In order to study the Consulate’s involvement with numerous events that local Japanese and Japanese Canadians experienced in the past, including auspicious occasions and hardships, I would like to review the official telegraphs sent from the Consulate in Vancouver to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan over the past 125 years, which are preserved in the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry.
Through that review process, I would like to look back at the efforts that our past Consuls General made so that I will be able to identify what we can learn from the past and what can be improved for the future.
I am planning to implement the review process with input from Japanese Canadians that are from several generations, namely Nisei (second generation) through Yonsei (fourth generation) from various areas including Vancouver, Steveston, Victoria, etc. by holding a number of keynote presentations with panel discussions open to the public.
Best wishes for your 2014.