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Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center – Vancouver

Konichiwa!!!  Nikkei Center is Vancouver’s largest Japanese Canadian Cultural Center + museum!






I meant  to do this post A LOOONG time ago – these pictures are from November while Jeff’s dad Brian was visiting the west coast – which is the best coast!  Oh snap!!!!  Just kidding east coasters, don’t get all excited on me!

The Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center (or Nikkei Place) is located in Burnaby, British Columbia – a city directly east of Vancouver.  I still consider Burnaby part of Vancouver.  It’s that close.  The structure was built in 2000 + it is a gorgeous structure, is it not?Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 01

Ah, yes.  The crane.  “Tsuru” in Japanese.  A symbol of good fortune + longevity!  My maternal grandmother’s name was Tsuru + the town my mother is from in Japan is called Tsurugashima – “Island of Cranes”.  Hai!!!!Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 02



















In front of the building is a lovely, well kept garden – Jeff’s dad enjoyed walking along it’s tranquil path.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 03



















The impressive + massive rain chain.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 04



















I love the high ceilings, natural light + the airy feeling of the lobby.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 05


















The center’s museum is located next to the front desk.  It is tiny, but always packed full of information, history, stories + is well displayed!  The current exhibition is Ryoshi – Nikkei Fisherman of the BC Coast.  This exhibit will be up until May 19th, 2013 – so go check it out!Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 06



















Many Japanese Canadians + Japanese Americans have strong ties to the ocean + worked hard to make a living in their new country through fishing + the fishing industry.  There was much persecution + racism towards the Japanese prior to the war + after the return from the internment camps.  In the 1920s, the federal government tried to exclude Japanese Canadians from their traditional livelihood of fishing by limiting the number of their fishing licenses.  Because of this, the community grew stronger + more tight knit.  They formed co-operative associations to market their produce and fish, and community and cultural associations for self-help and social events.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 07

Artifacts + a fishing net.  There were also personal auditory accounts of Japanese Canadians + their experiences – for example, their living conditions, racism, family life, etc.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 08

A display of a typical table setting for the fishermen.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 09



















Japanese Canadian women also played a large role in the fishing industry.  Many of them worked long hours in the canneries.  My paternal grandmother worked in a cannery on Terminal Island in Long Beach, California.  It was a dangerous + thankless job. Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 10

I am obsessed with Japanese Canadian/American folk art that was created with whatever was available.  These sweet decorative umbrellas were made with BC Packers cannery labels that were left after the season was over.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 11



















The Nikkei Center also has a variety of cultural activities + classes available.  There are sushi classes, kimono dressing, Japanese calligraphy + folk dancing.  There was a folk dancing class in session during our visit.  Check out their website for the schedule of these great cultural events.Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center - 12

I’ve also attended a kimono fashion show at the center + a New Year’s mochitsuki making celebration!  Please stop by the Nikkei National Museum + Cultural Center + support an amazing institution that promotes + educates the community on Japanese Canadian history, tradition + culture!!!!  I’m so grateful to have such a fantastic resource in Vancouver!!!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. i can totally see you doing the folk dancing class, sounds right up your alley!

    January 23, 2013
  2. rocky nishino #

    Thank you for this blog which made me a homesick. My Kawagoe High School emblem is crane also. Next time I visit your place I love to go see this museum. I hope you could take some Japanese cooking classes which is very healthy and tasty. You are very good cook so those dishes add to your culinary skill.
    love you and miss you,

    January 23, 2013
    • You would love the Nikkei Center! Next time we will DEFINITELY go there! I miss you too!!!

      January 23, 2013
  3. Hey, you need to visit the east coast so you can fairly compare the two! I’d be happy to play tour guide in Halifax as well! 🙂

    Although really, I love them both, just for very different reasons. I’m not sure I could pick one over the other! I do like east coast food and culture better…but as far as scenery goes, they’re totally different and equally beautiful!

    January 23, 2013
  4. kenneth papi-dadd-o nishino #

    greeting’s, Nan, a definite must when we (mumsie & ash) travel
    2 vancouver and visit this fab museum, was curious about a cafe
    in this museum, again miss U and take care, hey 2 jeff, luv, papi

    January 23, 2013
    • There is a restaurant there, dad! It’s called Hi Genki!!!! I definitely want to try it out – it’s supposed to be really good Japanese soul food!

      January 24, 2013
  5. kenneth papi-dad's nishino #

    hi, Nan, sounds like a place we have 2 visit with,
    mum’sie and ash, when visit hopefully in the fall,
    does the Nikkei Center, have a cafe or place 2
    eat,…ok, take care, best again 2 jeff, luv U, dad’s

    January 23, 2013

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