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The Nikkei Fishermen’s Reunion Project Committee Launches Their New Book

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebrate with The Nikkei Fishermen’s Reunion Project Committee as they launch their new book, Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet: BC's Japanese Canadian Fisherman on the following dates and at the following locations: 

Sunday, April 5 at 1:00pm at the Phoenix Room of the Steveston Community Centre, 4111 Moncton Street, Richmond, BC

Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00pm in the Lobby of the National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Centre, 6688 Southoaks Crescent in Burnaby, BC 

Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet is an intimate collection of stories of Japanese Canadians on the water, from the first Japanese immigrant’s arrival in 1877 to the present day. The 130-year history of the Nikkei is full of drama, violence, epic struggles against injustice, failures and triumphs. Leaving Japan to escape a life of poverty, they arrived in Canada with dreams for a better future. Collectively, they brought old skills and made many innovations. Fishing for a living is hard but Nikkei fishermen faced additional barriers. Opposition from other fishermen and government, and racist policies sought to exclude them from the fishery entirely.

The Nikkei Fishermen Reunion Committee first made the call for fishermen and their families to share their stories, knowledge, skills and time in 2001. The committee includes: Shigeaki Kamachi, Paul Kariya, Takemi Miyazaki, Toshio Murao, Dan Nomura, Richard Nomura (chair), Terry Sakai, Ken Takahashi and George Murakami. The committee contributed their personal experiences, encouraged others to add their stories and served as a sounding board for the writing of The Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet.

The companion book Nikkei Fishermen on the BC Coast: Their Biographies and Photographs was published by Harbour in 2007 and earned an Honourable Mention for books on BC History for that year.

Masako Fukawa has been the principal writer and managing editor of the Nikkei Fisherman titles since the formation of the Nikkei Fishermen Book Committee in 2003. She is a former school administrator and teacher specializing in the story of Japanese Canadians. Fukawa lives in Burnaby, BC.

Stanley Fukawa is the translator, interpreter and contributing writer for Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet. He is also on the editorial committee of Nikkei Images, a journal of the Japanese Canadian National Museum. He lives in Burnaby, BC