The cityscape of falling leaves is telling us that autumn is almost over. Although such scenery brings a melancholy feeling, the city was excited with the Vancouver International Film Festival at the end of September which included the screening of several Japanese films.
One of them was ‘The Vancouver Asahi’ a movie based on the historical facts of the pre-World War II community of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver.
I, too, have been spotlighting the history of Japanese Canadians through studying the archives of the official correspondence between our Consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo from the time our Consulate in Vancouver was established in 1889 to the present day for the purpose of verifying the role of our office in the history of Japanese Canadian communities.
The more I go through these archives, the more clearly I can see the severity of discrimination and exclusion that the Japanese Canadians faced in pre-war Canadian societies.
The Vancouver Asahi film highlights the winning team, the Asahi, which was the pride of the Japanese Canadians under that discrimination and exclusion.
I met Mr. Kei Kaminishi who was one of the actual players on the baseball team portrayed in the movie. Mr. Kaminishi, 92 years old, is in good shape. He came to the stage at the Vancouver International Film Festival and spoke briefly. He actually appears in one of the final scenes from the movie, being seen briefly from behind. In a calm manner, Mr. Kaminishi talked to the audience. I was impressed with his words. He said that the happy memories of playing for the Asahi easily surpass the recollections of the hardships and prejudice he lived through.
I understand that The Vancouver Asahi will be released in Japan on December 20 and I hope that the history of Japanese Canadians will come to be known among Japanese people through the movie.
Our Consulate, together with the people from Japanese communities, has been organizing a series of forums that traces the history of Japanese Canadians. So far, 4 forums have taken place and the last 2 will feature the redress movement of the Japanese Canadians.
The next forum is on October 28 from 7 p.m. at the Nikkei Center in Burnaby. I am looking forward to seeing you all there.
Consul General of Japan in Vancouver