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The Sedai Project

The Sedai Project is committed to collecting, documenting, preserving and sharing the history of the Japanese Canadians. The Sedai Committee collects and preserves Japanese Canadian history through audio and video recordings, and they continue to search for all Japanese Canadians who were born in the pre-war and war years to come and share their stories with them. Recorded interviews can be viewed on Sedai on Vimeo. For more information, please send enquiry to heritage@jccc.on.ca.

Feature of the month

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Known for her role in CBC's "Radio Revolution", Margaret Keiko Lyons talks about family's expectations as a Japanese Canadian woman. Learn how Margaret broke the mold when married outside of the Japanese Canadian community, their move to London, England, and how she worked her way up in broadcasting and journalism at the BBC. 

Interviewer: Connie Sugiyama
Date: July 16, 2010
Accession number: 2010-036

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Jean's parents and older siblings moved to Vancouver, BC in 1933 from Fort McCloud, AB. Jean was born at St Paul Hospital, Vancouver in 1933 and in 1935, her sister, fondly known as Flo was born. Soon, her family decided Jean and Flo would migrate to Japan where their Obasan (grandmother) lived. Life was not easy for the three in Japan especially during WWII when they were separated from their family in Canada. This interview documents when Jean, Flo, and Obasan received news in the Fall of 1948 that they would be moving back to Canada to reunite with their family, who were settled in Toronto, ON. Their journey started on September, 25 1948 and they only arrived in Toronto on October 12, 1948. In this short clip, Jean retells her journey from Yokohama to Hawaii, San Francisco, and finally to Toronto by way of ship and railway. 

Interviewer: Lisa Uyeda
Date: June 24, 2010
Accession number: 2010-031

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Kinzie Tanaka, a member of the group of nisei progressives who lived at 84 Gerrard Street in Toronto, Ontario from the 1940s. Tanaka described how he received permission to join his brother George Tanaka in Toronto and talked of his first impressions of the city. Together with figures like Dave Watanabe, Roger Obata, and Kunio Hidaka, they form early Japanese Canadian organizations that worked to fight for the rights of Japanese Canadians. Their work alongside other similar organizations in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec gained momentum and in 1947, the National Japanese Canadian Citizen Association (NJCCA) was formed. Today NJCCA is better known as the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC).

Interviewer: Dan Toguri and Tak Yano
Date: June 8, 2006
Accession number: 2010-010

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Ted Nishi speaks about the integration of Japanese language school and the English school in Steveston, BC. Ted’s father was from Mio, Wakayama. Prior to Steveston, he migrated from Japan to the United States.

Interviewer: Connie Sugiyama
Date: March 31, 2009
Accession number: 2010-015

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It was only in 1945 that Yatabe, along with other nisei men wanting to serve were finally allowed to enlist. Some of them received training at the S-20 Japanese Language School as the British Army were in need of translators. Yatabe also speaks about the nisei veterans who continue to serve in Southeast Asia for the Canadian Intelligence Corp after World War II.

Interviewer: Peter Wakayama
Date: March 31, 2009
Accession number: 2010-017

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One of the common workplace for Japanese Canadians during the early 20th century was in the sawmills. Roy discusses his family living in White Rock, B.C. because his father was working at the sawmill in White Rock. There, housing was provided for single workers and families like Roy’s. Roy also gives us an insight on the laborious work that went into making paper in the sawmills.

Interviewer: Lisa Uyeda
Date: July 29, 2010
Accession number: 2010-044

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Listen to Kay as she talks about her family's history, specifically how her grandfather and father migrated to Hawaii as contract workers in pineapple plantations and how her father transmigrated to Canada as a teenager.

Interviewer: Lisa Uyeda
Date: July 29, 2010
Accession number: 2010-043

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Mary’s father arrived in New Westminster, BC from Shiga-ken in 1897 as a teenager. He worked in various trade including fishing, sawmill, and lumber. Like most issei men, he would marry and with Mary’s mother, have children and form their own family. By 1930, they were able to start a small business with their savings. Listen to Mary as she recalls her family’s business near Granville Street in Vancouver.

Interviewer: Lisa Uyeda
Date: September 16, 2011
Accession number: 2011-259

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Joe Ohori worked for the Canadian Pacific Airlines in the 1960 and was part of a team that was instrumental in cultivating Canada as the destination for skiing especially for Japanese travellers. Listen to Joe as he recalls how his team worked tirelessly to bring Yūichirō Miura, one of Japan's finest skier who took on Mount Everest, when everybody scoffed at their small budget.

Interviewer: Lisa Uyeda
Date: September 13, 2011
Accession number: 2011-258

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Mits Ito speaks about his experience growing up in Mission, British Columbia, from attending Japanese school to playing marbles with his friends.

Interviewer: Mary Ito
Date: March 23, 2005
Accession number: 2010-008

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Sid Ikeda recollects the planning of the Japanese Canadian Centennial celebration during his tenure as president of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. The centennial celebration that brought the Japanese Canadian community together had an enduring influence on the community including the fight for redress and the establishment of the Momiji Health Care Society.

Interviewer: Lorene Nagata
Date: December 23, 2009
Accession number: 2010-023

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Dr. Fred Sunahara was one of the founders of Momiji Health Care Society that was originally established to serve the issei generation in Toronto. In this clip, Dr. Sunahara recounts the early days of Momiji.

Interviewer: Lorene Nagata
Date: December 23, 2009
Accession number: 2010-024

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