Ceremony held as Slocan Japanese memorial site gets new monument
Members of the Slocan Valley Historical society together with reverend Yasuhiro Miyakawa (center) and Laura Saimoto chair of the Japanese Canadian Legacy committee (right). The monument was inaugurated at a ceremony on Sunday. (Photo: Ludvig Drevfjall, My Nelson Now staff)
NELSON, B.C. – Japanese Canadian cremated at the Slocan cemetery during the WWII internment era were honoured on Sunday.
The ceremony also saw a refurbished monument replace the old wooden memorial post marking the significance of the location.
Reverend Yasuhiro Miyakawa from Kelowna read a buddhist prayer at the site in front of the roughly 30 attendees.
The memorial site is honouring the at least nine Japanese Canadians who were cremated at the cemetery during the internment era.
“It is important for us to understand the history and how our grandparents lived, and how they endured hardship. It is very important”. Rev. Miyakawa said before lighting the traditional incense.
Laura Saimoto chair of the Japanese Canadian Legacy committee, who participated in creating the monument, flew in from Vancouver to participate in the ceremony
“It is now a time where we feel strong enough to share our history. These are education initiatives, as well as commemoration initiatives”, she told MyNelsonNow.com
The monument was made possible through donations and support from the Columbia Basin Trust community initiatives program.
Some 12,000 Japanese Canadians were forced to live in internment camps during WWII according to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.