Nikkei Voice asks Japanese Canadian community for support to preserve Kogawa House
Joy Kogawa at Kogawa House, the house she left at age 6, never to return.
Katherine Mika Fukuma, the English Editor of the Nikkei Voice, has come
out strongly in favor of the effort to save the Joy Kogawa House in her
October 2005 “Editor's File” column. The Nikkei Voice is the national
forum for Japanese Canadians.
Katherine's editorial, “The JC community is again in need of your support,” is nearly half a page long. It reads in part:
“As you may have already read in the Globe and Mail (Sept.24) or in the Vancouver Courier (Sept. 28), the house of Obasan (Joy Kogawa homestead)
is currently in danger of being demolished. According to sources, the
owner of the Marpole, West 64th Avenue house–in which Joy Kogawa lived
until her family was relocated to Slocan Valley when she was six years
old–applied to the city of Vancouver for a demolition permit in
The news came as a disappointment and a shock despite the fact that the
city of Vancouver will be planting a cutting of the cherry tree from
the backyard of the Marpole home on city hall grounds this fall as a
way to commemorate the experience of Japanese Canadians during the
Second World War.
Other joyous news for Kogawa this year included her book Obasan chosen as the Vancouver Public Library's One Book, One Vancouver selection for 2005, as well as the premiere of the Vancouver Opera's World Premiere production of the opera for young audiences and their family, Naomi's Road.
The Vancouver Opera presented four public performances before the
production embarks on a province-wide tour, visiting more than 140
schools and community venues throughout B.C. between October 25 and May
Furthermore, there was discussion at the September 19, 2005 meeting of
the City of Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation of the possibility
of naming the new Park for Marpole (at West 72nd Avenue and Osler
Street and Selkirk Street) “Joy Kogawa Park.” This park will be a
neighbourhood park, with a design element representing a Japanese theme
to reflect the history of the area.
Now, wouldn't all these events create more than enough meaning to
declare the property, or the house as a historical landmark? If it is
impossible to purchase the entire property, at least the house itself
should be saved, before it is too late.
The house represents more than just a literary icon's childhood home.
It is packed with a historical essence of the kind of lifestyle of the
prewar Japanese Canadians and may be the last of its kind. Once it is
declared a historical landmark much can be done. (Of course, it
shouldn't end up as just a museum!)
I surely hope that Vancouver councillors are smarter than those in Toronto…Preserve our nikkei history and heritage and help educate our future generations.”
Nikkei Voice, 6 Garamound Court, Toronto, ON, M3C 1Z5
Publisher: Frank Moritsugu
Owner: Nikkei Research and Education Project of Ontario
Circulation: 3000 Subscription: $35.00 Frequency: 10/year
Yusuke Tanaka, Japanese Editor/Advertising Manager