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Sister City Synergy

Ashcroft has a sister city in Japan, Bifuka.  Over the years many exchanges have occurred with an exchange of citizens going back and forth.  Needless to say, the experience for the youth is unforgettable and enriches everyone.    The above piece of art is a combination of Royden Josehson's and Kazuhiko Nagaki of Bifuka's work whiich came to Marina in a dream.  Marina worked with both artists in the process of this work.  Royden developed the mock up and Hiroko Kanamaru communicated with Kazuhiko on a daily basis to make sure he was in agreement with where Marina was taking her interpretation of his work.  Royden spent a good deal of time with the project along with Marina and Daniel, making decisions with color and form.  The end result now lives on the north end of the TNRD Library in Ashcroft.  It is one of Marina's favourites.  

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Harmony Bell Project 2018

Japanese Side

The Japanese side of this project began with a request to the Japanese Community of Ashcroft to meet at the Hub.  It was probably the first time they had every been asked by an outsider to meet.  In the beginning it seemed a little doubtful that a meeting of the minds would occur, but once people became comfortable with what was being asked, it was amazing how vociferous everyone became.  It was clear these people wanted a say and they were specific on how they were going to tell their story.  Roy Teshima was adamant that the Japanese Cherry Blossom needed to be a huge symbol.  It was Bob Nichiguchi along with Roy that were quite adamant that they wanted portraits of the youth and the elders to represent their community.  From there the albums, the books, the stories and the pictures came out and they have been coming ever since.  Years later, it is a rare day or week that we do not have visits to our studio from our Japanese Community members.  The Stories continue to come.  The community continues to grow stronger.

photo by Wendy Coomber

Japanese Internment 1941-1948 Ashcroft

Work in Progress February 2019, Started early 2018

The idea for doing an Internment recognition piece for the Japanese Canadians of Ashcroft came from the first two projects we have done together.  Marina and Daniel received an education on what happened during World War II regarding Internment of the Japanese because the Japanese Can. Community brought in so much literature to help bring us up to speed.  To know what happened is to understand how things became as they are.  So many Japanese Canadians lost everything in a matter of hours.  All that they had built up was suddenly taken from them and never, in most cases, returned.  In a flash families were separated and most were sent to Internment Camps which had next to no provisions for the newly indigent people.  Also, in many cases the men were sent to work camps, leaving the women and children to have to fend for themselves in the far and remote and isolated reaches of B.C.   To hear the stories first hand brings the reality of what happened to a clear and  present understanding indeed. 

The Japanese Canadian Internment Project focuses on the first days of this life changing journey. The project also focuses on how many Japanese Canadian men not only served in the Canadian And British Forces but also helped lead the way to ending WWII.  

We owe a great deal to these people and their children and their children again.  The Redress in the late 1980's was an important first step.  This Mosaic is yet another small layer towards reconciliation.

Thank you again to New Pathways to Gold Society of B.C. for paying for the materials for this project and believing in the Ashcroft Mosaic Project led by Marina and Daniel and  supported by the Ashcroft Rotary as well as the Village of Ashcroft, the Japanese Canadian Community of Ashcroft and the Lions.  Thank you to all the volunteers who continue to give of their time and their love towards this and all projects of reconciliation.

Above are details of the drawings on the Japanese Internment Project.  Here we can see some of our own community members such as Eddie Ando, Tommy Morimoto, Bob Nishiguchi and his mother and the Ikari Brothers.  

Tommy Morimoto, bottom right, was an amazing WWII figure in that he was able to create a code not decipherable by the enemy, and taught this code to soldiers who were able to further the advances of the Allies on the coded information then used.  Details are in his book Breaking Trail.  

Kan Jo ("Forgiveness Without Resentment")

Japanese Internment Mosaic of Ashcroft 2019

This Mosaic was inspired by the artwork of Linda Ohama  who donated 90% of the money received from sales of her prints toward efforts leading up to the Redress, signed in 1988. Her work, Watari-Dori (Birds of Passage) represent a very important part of Canadian History where Apology was made for the Internment of the Japanese Canadians during the Second World War years and thereafter. Depicted in drawings by Marina Papais are local members of our Japanese Community here in Ashcroft, some of which are still alive. Here we honour Tommy Morimoto who helped the Allies win the war through his knowledge of code language and the teaching of Kanzi. He is the author of the book Breaking Trail which describes his life. We also honour Edward Ando who was in the Canadian Airforce during the Korean War  and Mr. Arthur Nishiguchi who was a member of the Canadian Army in the First World War. In this Mosaic we honour the Ando, Miyagishima, Seito, Tashima, Morimoto,  Kanamaru, Ikari, Frane and Nishiguchi families, some who were survivors of the Internment. We honour Mr. Aki Kanamaru for his beautiful handwritten poem that says Generosity of Spirit leads to Forgiveness going forward. We are so blessed to have the inspiration of our wonderful Japanese Canadian Families here in Ashcroft.

​Ayla and Rayla busy working on the Japanese Internment Piece.

Bob and Janine Nishaguchi on hand for grouting the mosaic.

Renee ​and Ida here to help get this piece ready to be housed on the Ikari building (pharmacy and Unitea).

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