Letter to the Premier:

Japanese Canadians for Bill 79

This letter offers a Japanese Canadian voice in support of Bill 79 in the Ontario provincial legislature. If you identify as Japanese, Japanese Canadian, or Nikkei, or are part of a Japanese Canadian community, we encourage you to sign on to the letter here.

日本語訳はこちらです

Dear Premier Wynne,

We are a diverse group of Japanese Canadians writing to you in support of Bill 79 (An Act to proclaim the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day). We wish to express our support for the bill for the following reasons:

 

1. The Nanjing Massacre of 1937 is a historical fact. Preserving this history helps us to learn from the past, and to support calls for justice in the present.

2. Many Chinese, Korean, and other Asian Canadian individuals and organizations support Bill 79, because it gives voice to their communities’ experiences of grave injustice. We wish to stand in solidarity with them, in the same way that many of them stood in solidarity with us in our struggle for Japanese Canadian redress in the 1980s.[1]

 

3. Some have argued that Bill 79 will incite intolerance against Japanese Canadians. We believe this argument is unfounded: in fact, similar memorial days commemorating the Holocaust (1998) and the Ukrainian Holodomor (2009) in Ontario have encouraged learning and created opportunities for reconciliation, rather than promoting intolerance.

4. Some have also argued that Bill 79 deals with a foreign issue, one that does not concern Ontarians; yet many Japanese and Asian Canadians in this province have strong personal ties to the history of war in Asia. As long as Ontarians are affected by this history and how it is remembered, Bill 79 remains very much a local concern.

5. We believe that acknowledging the past is a necessary first step toward reconciliation in the present. As Japanese Canadians, we feel that supporting the commemoration of the Nanjing Massacre will lay the groundwork for reconciliation between Japanese and wider Asian communities, in Ontario and beyond.

We recognise that Bill 79 deals with a history that many find uncomfortable and divisive. Yet avoiding or suppressing this history only makes it more painful, and deepens divisions between us. By acknowledging history instead, Bill 79 creates much-needed space for dialogue, understanding, and empathy, and signals hope for reconciliation for present and future generations. We therefore hope that your government and our society will join us in supporting Bill 79.

Sincerely,

(To sign the letter, please complete this form.)

Ren Ito

Kendall Yamagishi, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Toronto

Mike Murakami, LifeLine Syria - Community Champion

Haruho Kubota

Pamela Sugiman

Joy Kogawa

Leatrice M. Willson Chan (nee Nakano)

Tak Ariga

Yusuke Tanaka, Toronto Article 9, Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day Coalition

Koko Kikuchi

Shirley Yamada

Tatsuo Kage, Vancouver Save Article 9

Eileen Kage

Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Vancouver Save Article 9, Peace Philosophy Centre

Teiya Kasahara

Elena Kusaka

Lucy Fukushima

Basil Tadashi Izumi

Randy Enomoto, Past President, National Association of Japanese Canadians

Sumi Hasegawa, Montreal Save Article 9

Hiroko Suzuki, Montreal Save Article 9

Judy Hanazawa

Dahlia Chan Tang

Sue Obata

Emiko Morita

Terrie Hamazaki

Leslie Komori

Shinobu Homma

Yuriko Hashimoto

Hisako Masaki

Taro Whitred

Tristan Tsuji

Kaoru Yoshida

George Takashima

Mariko Yamamoto

Reika Lee

Daiyo Sawada, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta

Erica Isomura, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Vancouver

Ryuko Kubota, Vancouver Save Article 9

Gerry Shikatani

Sharon Okuno

Kagari Ando

Kathleen Tanaka

Wendy Matsubuchi-Bremner

Van Hori

Ryoko Hashizume, Montreal Save Article 9

Yoko Iemoto

Kazumi Marthiensen

Emi Kordyback

Dr. Roy Miki

Alexandra Shimo

Joyce Sharp (nee Kariya)

Janice Matsumura, Department of History, Simon Fraser University

Karlene Ooto-Stubbs

Katherine Yamashita

Thaddeus Miya

Janet (Murakami) Beecham

Vanessa Matsui

Jun Bongolan

Connie Nakatsu

Toshihiro Iemoto

Tracy Nishimura

Lora Kikuchi

Michael Hidetoshi Mori

Masako Yaegashi

Leslie Shimotakahara

Tomoe Otsuki

David Kogawa

Michiko Inoue

Martha Onodera

Kathy Shimizu

E. Ochiai

Kyoko Hara

Alex Murata, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Vancouver

C. Sachi Kikuchi

Victoria Akemi Young

Angela Kruger, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Vancouver

Aya Yamamoto

Faye Riehle (Nago)

Seiwa Yanagi (Shenghe Liu)

Linda Uyehara Hoffman

Rev. Dr. Seiichi Ariga

Virginia Ariga, McMaster University

Seiko Roberts

Soly Sawada, Ph.D. Immunology, University of Alberta (retired)

Ivy Yukiko Ishihara Oldford

Shizuka Ebata

Fumihiko Torigai

Lucas Wright, Japanese Canadian Young Leaders - Vancouver

Michael Fukushima

Sam Mototsune

Ellen Matsui

Teru Ikeda


1 The Korean Canadian Cultural Association of Metropolitan Toronto, which has endorsed Bill 79, was part of the National Coalition for Japanese Canadian Redress. Key members of the Toronto and London chapters of the Chinese Canadian National Council, which was also part of the National Coalition, have supported the bill as well.