Nikkei Internment Memorial Center 日系メモリアルセンター

After we met by chance on a mountain top and talked to Tomo Fujimura, a Japanese resident in Revelstoke and a mountain guide as well as an avalanche specialist, I got really interested in visiting the Nikkei Internment Memorial Center to find out more about the history of Japanese-Canadians. Fujimura-san told us passionately about the history of Japanese-Canadians and how important it is to communicate this part of the history to other Japanese.

The history of Japanese immigrants is something I have been interested in since I visited the Japanese Immigration Museum in Sao Paulo ten years ago. Since then I have read about this relatively unknown part of the modern Japanese history. It is a sad and crazy part and the story of Japanese Canadians was not different…

After the Pearl Harbor Attack 22,000 Japanese-Canadians living in Vancouver were labelled “enemy aliens” by the Canadian authorities, deprived of their possession such as houses, shops, cars and others, and sent to the internment centers. Families were separated and many men were sent to labor camps to work on roads and fields. They had to pack up their limited personal belongings in 24 hours and were forced to move to “relocation” camps in the Rockies, which was considered to be “remote wildness”. It saddens me when I think how desperate, angry and confused Japanese Canadians felt. They are second or 3rd generation of Japanese-Canadians and they have been living as Canadians for their life, some of them not even speaking proper Japanese anymore. Just because of their Japanese ancestors and their crazy war which they had nothing to do with, they were thrown out of their lives all of a sudden.

The Nikkei Memorial Center in New Denver maintains original buildings of the internment camp and keeps its history. I did not know anything about the history of Japanese-Canadians so the exhibition and the history was “disturbingly interesting” (as Philippe said).
The war, as any war, created only misery to individuals. It is simply maddening that the war game is still continuing and we humans seem not to learn anything from the past. In Japan we are heading into a scary ultra-conservative direction again…

The Nikkei Internment Memorial Center is located in a small town called New Denver. Apparently there are still 20 Japanese-Canadians living in this town, who are now in their 70s to 90s.

After the museum, we visited a zen garden at the lake-side, Kohanso 湖畔荘. It was almost sadly serene because it is so peaceful despite the history of this town. We sat there for a while, looking at the mirror-like lake and thought about our crazy world….

Another history of Japanese-Canadians in Ucluelet

Al from Archipelago Cruise mentioned to us about the Japanese-Canadians in Ucluelet and pointed out the place of their village during our cruise trip. I wanted to find out more about them so the next day we went to the Ucluelet Information Center which had a small stand describing the history of Isabel Kimoto and … Continue reading Another history of Japanese-Canadians in Ucluelet

Ferry or Nothing – Halcyon Hot Springs

On Mount Revelstoke at the start of our hike to Eva Lake, we met the Japanese mountain tour guide and avalanche specialist Tomo Fujimura who in no time gave us lots of infos and advice. One was to visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Center in a small town called New Denver and to stop at one of the hot springs on the way.

So we changed our plan and off we went. We took route 23 southbound which is connected by a ferry to cross Columbia river – the only way to continue the trip. It was a very beautiful 15-minute ride surrounded by mountains, forest and a fjord-like river. This boat trip made my day – as almost any boat trip (smile).
On the other side of the river, after a few minutes drive, there are the Halcyon Hot Springs which also had a camping ground attached. We decided to spend the night and got a super private campsite with lake view – nice. Yasuko could finally have a good soak in a 40-degree bath and I a nice piece of meat on top of it.