SEDAI: The Japanese Canadian Legacy Project

Sharing the unique history and experiences of Canadians of Japanese ancestry

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sedai Corner – February 2012

2010 Japanese Canadian Experience Conference –

Videotaped interviews now on SEDAI site

(www.sedai.ca)

By Lorene Nagata

 

In November 2010, for three days, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (“JCCC”), hosted more than 400 delegates, for The Japanese Canadian Experience Conference: Sharing Your Stories of the War Years.

At the conference, more than 100 “storytellers” volunteered to share their personal recollections of their wartime experiences with 300 listeners in 10 facilitated break-out sessions.  All stories were videotaped for the JCCC’s Sedai Project (www.sedai.ca).  Children, grandchildren and friends attended to hear these heartfelt, informative and emotional stories.  Our youngest participant was 10 and the oldest, 97 years old.  During this Conference, there was an energy and “pulling together’ of the community which had not been felt for some time.

James Heron, the Executive Director of the JCCC, said that he cannot remember an event that had such a positive impact on the Community.  As a result of this Conference, and the generosity of the storytellers, an important part of the Japanese Canadian history has been preserved.  As well, the residual positive effect that the Conference had on the Community is invaluable.

This conference, generously sponsored by the JCCC Foundation, the Nelson Arthur Hyland Foundation, the JCCC Sedai Project, Kirin Beer and Gekkeikan, was unique.  Never before had the JCCC (or any other Japanese Canadian organization) been able to attract so many individuals spanning so many generations.  Many people were sharing their stories for the first time. 

These stories can now be viewed at Sedai.ca.  Simply visit the website, click on the “Sedai Archive” section of the site and you will be able to watch the interviews, categorized by where the interviewee resided during the war. 

We appreciate that it has taken some time to digitize and upload all of these videos to the Sedai site, but please understand that it is a lengthy and expensive process to edit and digitize each interview.  Our next goal is to eventually transcribe the interviews, so users will be able to search each interview using specific topics for instances where one is using the site as a research tool, such as “ jobs” or “food” in the Camps – if you would like to volunteer as a transcriber, please contact Lisa Uyeda at Sedai.

Thank you to the Interviewees for generously sharing your stories and making this possible.  Your support made a huge difference – we would not have been able to preserve this part of the Japanese Canadian history without it.  For those Storytellers who have not yet shared their full life stories with Sedai and wish to do so or who wish to make a donation to Sedai, please contact Lisa Uyeda at lisa.uyeda@jccc.on.ca or (416) 441-2345 ext. 303.

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