The Japanese Canadian History and Archives Committee (JCHAC) is part of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montréal (JCCCM), a non-profit and non-denominational organization, which was incorporated on November 26, 1975 with a starting business date of May 1, 1976. Kim Nakashima was the organization’s first president. In 1979 the JCCCM began running drop-in programmes for senior citizens; however, it was not until 1982 that the Japanese Canadian History and Archives Committee began actively preserving the history of the community in both Montréal and Canada.
Functions, occupations and activities
The History and Archives Committee falls under the aegis of the JCCCM and is arranged horizontally by function. It could best be characterized as having a fluid reporting structure. Since the inception of the JCCCM, several activities and projects initiated by the History and Archives Committee have aimed at preserving Japanese Canadian history. Starting in 1982, older members of the community were interviewed by students, under the supervision of anthropologist Keibo Oiwa, funded by the federal government’s Summer Employment Programme (Article 38) and biographical information was compiled. Additionally, three or four exhibitions at a college and at a shopping centre have been carried out; however, since Redress in 1988 there have been no further large scale exhibitions. Guest speakers have, on occasion, delivered presentations at local schools to promote awareness of the community in Montréal.
The History and Archives Committee has also produced two publications on the history of Japanese Canadians in Canada, Repartir à Zéro, published in 1987 to accompany the photo exhibit of the same name, focusing specifically on the history of Japanese Canadians in Montréal; and Ganbari: Reclaiming our Home, published in 1998 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Redress, and serving as an update for information on the Japanese Canadian Community in Montréal.
Mandates/sources of authority
The mandate of this non-profit organization is not only to maintain a community centre in Montréal, but also to initiate, develop and promote social, cultural, educational and charitable activities for community members. Its administrative structure consists of a President, Vice President, treasurer, Board of Directors, various committees, including the History and Archives, as well as a council of representatives of different groups active in the community. The centre has received government grants for employment creation which have helped to finance its projects and activities. Although the chief Japanese Canadian organization in Montréal, the JCCCM had close ties with the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) through the Québec Chapter. In fact, many members of the JCCCM have been active in NAJC organizations, including Rei Nakashima, who served as the president of both organizations; as such, the JCHAC archives has a substantial collection of records recording NAJC activities, both at provincial and national levels. The archives also contains local and national records from the National Japanese Canadian Centennial Society (JCCS), under the leadership of Roger Obata, chairperson, and Toyo Takata, executive director, which was established in order to coordinate centennial celebration activities across Canada to commemorate the 100th anniversary (1977) of the arrival of the first Japanese individual, Manzo Nagano, in Canada. Additionally, many members of the JCCCM work on the community’s newsletter, The Montréal Bulletin, of which the archives has a complete set of originals.