About the Project

About the project

This website is a joint project of the Vancouver Japanese United Church (VJUC) and the Pacific Mountain Regional Council Archives of The United Church of Canada. It was made possible through some funds from the redress payment that the congregation received from the United Church in 2018. The website tells the history of the Vancouver Japanese United Church, which is particularly important to research, assemble and publish at this time while individuals who were part of that history are still living.

Powell Street congregation, Oppenheimer Park, Easter 1941
Portrait of three little girls, [191-?]
The history of the VJUC is part of the broader story of the racism suffered by Japanese Canadians, culminating in the internment and scattering of British Columbians of Japanese descent during the Second World War.

Above all, this is a story about people, so we invite visitors to the site to help identify individuals. If you can identify people in photos or have further comments/information, please leave your comments below the relevant photographs. Note that your comments will be reviewed before they’re posted.

Names won’t necessarily appear on the website due to privacy restrictions but identifying individuals is an important part of this project.

UBC graduates, [ca. 1930]
About the content
  • Personal Information: The names of ministry personnel, where known, are included. Some other names are not included (particularly names of children) to protect personal information.
  • Captions: Captions have been transcribed and/or translated from recto (front) or verso (back) of photographs. Where possible, photographs with information on verso have been scanned on both sides.
  • Duplication: Where possible, duplicate photos have been omitted. Occasionally duplicates have been included to preserve context (e.g. same photo on two different album pages)

  • Planned update: The project team has selected archival material for this site based on knowledge and availability of resources at the outset of the project in 2019. We plan to update the website with further images and information in 2021.
Disclaimer: historic and offensive terms

The website project team is keenly aware that some terms or sentiments in the documents (e.g. Superintendent of Oriental Missions) may be considered distasteful or offensive to some readers. These terms were used at a certain time in Canada’s history and do not reflect today’s sensibilities. They appear in the historical account on this website because to erase these terms from archives would be to erase evidence of those attitudes from our history.

Project team

Vancouver Japanese United Church advisory team – Joan Fairs, Rev. Daebin Im, Jean Kamimura, Becky Maruno, Keiko Norisue, Dorothy Yamamoto

Project manager/researcher – Blair Galston, Regional Archivist

Web developer/designer – Alison Taylor, Digital Dandelion Web Studio

Writer/editor – Catherine Atyeo

Project archivist (scanning) – Ed Ko

Interviewer – Kimiko Karpoff

Interview transcription – Victoria McAuley

Sincere thanks

Thanks to the BC History Digitization Program of UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, which provided matching funds for the digitization portion of the project.

Thanks to the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre for guidance on policy and practice, and for help in identifying a number of individuals in the images.

Thanks to the Vancouver Japanese United Church advisory team: Joan Fairs, Rev. Daebin Im, Jean Kamimura, Becky Maruno, Keiko Norisue and Dorothy Yamamoto. They guided the project and provided important context and details that made the history more enriching and accurate.

Thanks to those who participated in the interviews: VJUC advisory team, Sumi Yoshida, Margaret Eto, Rev. Tad Mitsui, Rev. Kenneth Moy, and Pastor George Takashima.

Some of the members of the VJUC advisory team reviewing photos, February, 2020