Sunday, February 3, 2013

日本の皆さんへの二通の手紙―カナダ・バンクーバーより Open Letters to People of Japan - from Vancouver, Canada

バンクーバー市民二人より、日本へのメッセージです。Here are open letters from two residents of Vancouver.

C A N A D I A N S   F O R   R E C O N C I L I A T I O N   S O C I E T Y

An open letter to people of Japan


January 19, 2013 2013年1月19日 

Recently we were made aware of the lack of understanding among many citizens in Japan, of Japan’s role in the aggressive wars against China and other Asian nations from 1931 to 1945. While Japan’s military role during that period and atrocities are well engraved into all the Asian countries invaded by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, such education apparently has been insufficient in Japanese schools, media and culture. Most people of Japan are unaware of the horrors inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, who believed they were fighting for a living god--the divine Emperor, and were receiving praises and honor for the courage to commit such atrocities.

We feel that candid understanding of the historical truth is overdue since the long dispute over ownership of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands was turned into something dangerous when Japan unilaterally bought the Islands in September 2012. For Chinese, this was like putting salt over unhealed wounds, as Japan has yet to properly acknowledge the war-time atrocities it committed in China and other Asian countries. Sadly emboldened by US, which is apparently more interested in using Japan as a pawn to contain China, Japan has turned the dispute into increasingly high stake naval and air patrols from both countries near the Islands. Such insensitive move as the “purchase” of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands occurred only months before the 75th anniversary of the notorious Nanjing Massacre, where as many as 300,000 Chinese were murdered by Japanese Imperial Army. December 2012 also marked the re-appointment of prime minister Shinzo Abe, who has been using nationalism to divert attention from the depressed Japanese economy. Abe intends to revise the past government’s apologies for the war-time aggression and atrocities, and accelerate his attack on Japanese textbooks to whitewash history. If any of Abe’s plans - whether it is to visit Yasukuni Shrine, to land or man the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, or to amend the constitution so Japan can have an army for offensive purposes – materializes, it will result in regrettable escalation of tensions with China.

As Japan and China will be geographical neighbors forever, such saber rattling is dangerous for present and future relationship. Besides, history should not be covered to protect the few war mongers while putting tens and millions of innocent citizens at risk of another war and the hundreds of billion dollars’ worth of Sino-Japanese trade at a standstill. As a Canadian group focused on reconciliation, we are appealing to all peace loving citizens of Japan to consider understanding the historical background that we referred  to above, expressing regrets, and joining a new grassroots movement towards reconciliation. Such reconciliation does not imply defeat, or shame. On the contrary, it means victory and honor for our shared humanity. As this is not a top-down effort, we hope you can start from wherever you are, simply by seeking for educational materials that honestly tell historical facts of the Japanese war atrocities, and sharing with your friends and neighbors about what each of us can do under the current crisis, to bring peace and reconciliation between China and Japan. Thank you for your help!

Bill Chu ビル・チュー
Canadians For Reconciliation Society

ビル・チュー プロフィール
Bill Chu is the founder and Chair of Canadians For Reconciliation Society. He graduated in California with an engineering degree and immigrated to Canada 38 years ago. He is a Christian who tries to apply his faith in his numerous social concerns for society. After learning the sad colonial history the Indigenous People were and are still subjected to in British Columbia, he founded CFRS with the initial focus to reconcile the relationship between Canadians and the Indigenous People. For that, he brought 1800 Canadians over the years into native reserves, invited natives to participate in Vancouver’s Chinese New Year parade for the last 17 years and tirelessly educated the public of Canada’s injustice towards the natives. In recent years, he expanded the Society's focus into reconciling the history between Canadians and Chinese in BC. His work with the City of New Westminster resulted in 2010 in the first formal apology to the Chinese community by a Canadian city for its past discriminatory policies.    


B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving

the History of WW II in Asia (ALPHA)

 #1107 – 805 W. Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1K1 
E-mail:    Website:

Dear people of Japan: 日本のみなさまへ 
We at BC ALPHA would like to extend wishes for a prosperous and peaceful 2013 for you and your families. After a busy and productive 2012, we look forward to continuing our efforts to preserve and promote awareness of the history of Japan’s war against China and other Asian nations from 1931 to 1945, and to fostering greater understanding between the communities involved in and affected by this period in Asia’s past.
私たちBC ALPHA は、皆様とご家族にとって豊かで平和な2013年になることを祈っています。忙しく充実していた2012年も終わりました。私たちは引き続き、日本が中国や他のアジア諸国に対して行った戦争(1931-1945)の歴史を記憶する啓蒙活動を続け、このアジアの歴史の一幕において影響を受けた地域間において、より理解が深まるような活動をしていきたいと思っています。 
In the spirit of new beginnings, we are entering the New Year with the hopes that you and our organization may work together to achieve the goals of truth, reconciliation, and peace in the Asia-Pacific region. As you may be aware, continued denial by Japan’s right-wing government of atrocities committed during the war by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces is a cause of conflict and insecurity in the Asia-Pacific. The unresolved tensions have manifested in numerous ways this past year. Whether it is territorial disputes in the East China Sea, doubts over  the validity of the claims of victims of Japanese military sexual slavery system, or denials of the Nanjing Massacre, what is clear is that the unhealed wounds from the war-time atrocities by the Japanese military, what we recognize as the Asian Holocaust,” are directly affecting relations between countries in the region today. We simply cannot move into a peaceful and prosperous future without acknowledging and reconciling the past.
For this reason, we would like to ask people in Japan to participate in the larger reconciliation by formally acknowledging the country’s past wrongdoing and by standing in solidarity with the victims from this grim period in our history. Such actions would demonstrate Japan’s courage, strength, and integrity. There is no doubt that the people of Japan can serve as an example for the world of how facing the past can result in a more peaceful and secure future for all involved.
Your partnership in the efforts to address the damages caused by the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces would be of invaluable significance. Let us support each other in achieving peace for the sake of our future generations, and for the benefit of all humankind.
Yours in solidarity, 連帯の気持ちとともに、
Thekla Lit テクラ・リット
President BC  ALPHA代表
テクラ・リット プロフィール
Thekla Lit is Co-founder and Co-chair of the Canada Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WW II in Asia (ALPHA) and is the President of its B.C. Chapter.  The mission of ALPHA is to promote understanding, redress and reconciliation related to the tragedies of the Asia-Pacific War that spanned from 1931 to 1945.  In cooperation with different ethnic groups representing Canadians of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Dutch and other heritages, ALPHA organizes educational projects and events that facilitate students as well as the general public to learn and reflect on the humanity aspects of WW II in Asia. The ultimate objective of ALPHA is for justice, reconciliation and peace in Asia.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Remembering Nanjing Massacre 75th - in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada カナダの二大都市、バンクーバーとトロントにて南京大虐殺75周年を記憶する

In December 2012, Nanjing Massacre 75th anniversary was remembered in Vancouver and Toronto, in Canada. In Vancouver, a roundtable talk and a candle vigil were held, with initiative by Canadian citizens and residents with Japanese, Chinese, Korean, European and other heritage, including author Joy Kogawa. The Toronto City Council unanimously passed a resolution for remembering the Nanjing 75th, and Mayor Rob Ford issued a proclamation, as shown below. Here are various Japanese language media reporting the event - local papers and magazines, and a weekly magazine Shukan Kin'yobi in Japan. カナダでは、西海岸最大の都市、バンクーバーと東部のカナダ最大の都市、トロントにて、南京大虐殺事件75年を記憶するための行事がもたれた。バンクーバーでは12月9日に、日系人作家ジョイ・コガワ氏らの呼びかけで対話集会、キャンドルウォークを行い、トロントでは市議会全会一致決議により、市長が「南京を記憶する日」宣言を出した。以下、報道や宣言文を紹介する。

週刊日本語新聞『バンクーバー新報』2013年1月31日号より。Weekly Vancouver Shinpo, January 31, 2013.

月刊誌『ふれいざー』2013年1月号より。Fraser Monthly, January, 2013.

Bulletin 月報』2013年1月号より。Bulletin/Geppo, January, 2012.

Coco Magazine』2012年12月号より。Coco Magazine, December, 2012.
 トロント市長ロブ・フォード氏による2012年12月13日「南京を記憶する日」宣言文。Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's Proclamation, December 13, 2012.

トロント、バンクーバーの動きを報道した『週刊金曜日』2012年12月21日号(8ページ)。Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Kin'yobi, December 21, 2012.