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Mearnie Summers on shore
Mearnie Summers Obituary

In Memoriam:

Mearnie Summers

First JGS President
b. 26 January 1927 d. 7 January 2017

Mearnie was born in 1927 in Vancouver and she grew up in the Kitsilano area. She had many Japanese-Canadians neighbours, schoolmates and friends. As a young teenager, Mearnie remembered a neighbor coming to ask her parents for help when the government decided to remove and detain any and all persons “of the Japanese race” from designated “protected areas.” Her parents were caught up in the views of the times, and to Mearnie’s great regret they did not help. Her friends, neighbours and schoolmates of Japanese ancestry disappeared, and she did not know what had happened to them until she heard Rose Murakami speak at a meeting of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society around 2002. Rose spoke of her first-hand knowledge of the horrors detention, imprisonment, the confiscation of property, and racist measures that prevented her family and many others from returning to the coast until the 1950s. Mearnie was outraged, and she spoke up with a vision of a garden of unity and reconciliation - so that all would learn of this history and none would forget. She was the first president of JGS and she worked on the project for 10 years. She often mused wryly that she was surprised by the effort required – she initially thought she would only have to mention the idea, and that the whole community would leap to bring the garden into being. Mearnie believed deeply in the vision and values of the Japanese Garden Society. Her own experience of oppression and discrimination as a lesbian fed her passion for a just society, and she believed in using the privilege and good fortune life had brought her to “Pass it On.”

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Uprooting Presentation Post 2017

2017! This year is Canada's 150th birthday and also the 75th anniversary of the uprooting of the Japanese-Canadians from the BC Coast.

The Japanese Garden Society will be holding a month-long presentation about the history of the Japanese-Canadians, focusing on the uprooting that happened during WW II. You may find some parallels to what is going on in the present world.

The Uprooting
1942: The War Measures Act and Japanese-Canadians
Location: Salt Spring Library Program Room
Date: February 1st to 27th
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5am
(When the Program Room is not in use for the other event)

The presentation will be at the Library Program Room from February 1st to the 27th. There will be a display describing the often rocky history of the Japanese-Canadians, with many photographs from the late 1800s to the mid 1980s.

There will be four public events during the presentation month.

February 7th (Tues) 4 to 6 pm - Opening Reception
Guest speakers: Rose Murakami and Keiko Mary Murakami Kitagawa
The story of their family’s journey through the history of the uprooting.

February 14th (Tues) 6:30 to 8:30pm
Talk by Masayo Hora: Return to Steveston, My Family's Journey
A sansei (third generation) view of the uprooting and rebuilding of a Japanese-Canadian community. For context, a short film describing Steveston and illustrating Masayo's story will be screened.

February 18th (Sat) 6:30 to 8:30pm
Talk by Brian Smallshaw: The Uprooting of Saltspring Islanders During WW II
Some background on Saltspring’s Japanese Canadian community before the war, the legal mechanisms used to take their property during the war, and their efforts to resist the injustice they faced.

February 26th (Sun) 6:30 to 8:30pm
Film ‘Hatsumi’ - One grandmother’s journey through the Japanese-Canadian internment, directed by Chris Hope.
“A family portrait that brings the heartrending story of wartime Japanese-Canadian removal from the margin of history into our heart” (comment by Greg Robinson, author of ‘Tragedy of Democracy’).

If he is available that evening, director Chris Hope will answer questions from the audience via Skype from Toronto after the 55-minute film presentation.

Please drop by when you are in Ganges. It will be a good opportunity to peek into the past and learn from history.

The poster of the presentation was produced by the Library. The JGS is grateful for the Library's assistance.

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Blossom Picnic 2016

6th Annual Blossom Picnic
@ the Heiwa Garden in the Peace Park
Saturday April 9th 11:00 ~ 2:30
update 30/03/2016

In a celebration of spring, the Japanese Garden Society will hold the 6th annual Blossom Picnic on Saturday April 9th from 11:00 to 2:30.
Join us for music, martial art presentations, Japanese home-style sushi lunches, calligraphy and tea ceremony demos, and many more activities. 

Jim Raddysh will sing some of his tunes that kids will love; Ruwadzano Marimba Band will inspire your inner rhythms; there will be Shorei-kan Karate and Seven Star Tai Chi demos to watch; and Shinobu Murata will write beautiful calligraphy with sumi ink and brushes; Akiko Otsu will make you an authentic cup of Matcha tea. Be sure not to miss out the samurai theatre put together by the Japanese community on the island, and a lovely choir ofthe Salt Spring Japanese Singers.

Bring family and friends to this fun gathering! 

Don't forget to pre-order our popular sushi lunches.
The Japanese community is preparing two different flavours: Inari sushi ($5) and Chirashi sushi ($6)

Please email to order: rkanesaka@gmail.com

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Tapestry of Japanese Sounds 2016

JGS's annual fundraising concert

A Tapestry of Japanese Sounds Vol.3:
Tsumugu Project - new currents in traditional music

Tickets: $20 @ Salt Spring Books
Location: All Saints by-the-Sea
Date: Friday April 15th 2016
Doors open: 7pm Music starts: 7:30pm

update 30/03/2016

The concert brings together three diverse performers that will create rare and inspiring sounds that are new to Canadian audiences by combining the traditional songs of the Amami Islands in the south, Tsugaru Shamisen of Aomori in the north, and the thunderous rhythms of the Taiko drum as the pulse of Japan. The result is an uplifting musical evocation of the Japanese spirit.

With their mastery of Japanese traditional art forms, Anna Sato (vocals), Chie Hanawa (Tsugaru Shamisen) and Keita Kanazashi (Taiko) have joined forces to bring these instruments and sounds to magnificent new levels.

Keita Kanazashi was drawn to the Taiko drum at a very young age and became a professional Taiko player when he was a university student. Propelled by his wish to expand the horizon of traditional expression, he has been actively collaborating with artists in various genres in both Western and Japanese music, and dance and theatre in both traditional and contemporary styles. In recent years he has also been active in teaching and holding workshops in Japan and overseas to popularize the Taiko drum.

Chie Hanawa began her Shamisen training when she was nine years old. When she was seventeen, she received a prestigious first prize in the national Shamisen competition in the women’s class, the youngest in history. Since making her professional debut in university, she has been performing solo and in groups in a variety of venues, including a concert for the Royal Household.

Anna Sato began receiving instruction in the folk songs of her home in the Amami Islands from her grandfather when she was three. Since then, she has flourished as a professional vocalist, and received numerous prizes and awards. She is expanding her range into theatre performances, such as the musical Les Misérables and Cirque du Soleil.

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Taiko Workshop

Date: Thursday April 14th
Location: Core Inn top floor
Time: 6:00 ~ 7:00 Youth program $20 / 7:30 ~9:00 Regular program $30

update 30/03/2016

Spots are limited. Please email to register: rkanesaka@gmail.com
Taiko drummer Keita Kanazashi from Japan will be offering a rare opportunity for those interested in trying their hands on the taiko. The taiko drum is a Japanese instrument that is played with two wooden sticks. Participants will learn about taiko notation and basic rhythms at this hour-and-a-half, hands-on workshop.


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Japanese Garden Society AGM with a special guest speaker
update 12/02/2016

The Japanese Garden Society AGM

Date: Thursday, February 18th, 2016
Time: 3:30 to 5:00pm
Location: SS Public Library Project Room

Guest Speaker: Brian Smallshaw: “The Dispossession of Japanese-Canadian Land on Saltspring”

We are having a guest speaker for this year's AGM. Brian Smallshaw will share findings from his research into the uprooting of Japanese Canadians from Saltspring during World War Two. Based primarily on work carried out at the University of Victoria, Library and Archives Canada and in personal interviews, his talk will focus on the land that was taken from Japanese-Canadians and sold against their will, and provide insights into this unhappy chapter of the island’s history.

After the talk, we will have our annual general meeting.


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Photo album of the restoration and the public opening of the kiln
Click the link below to see the photos on Flickr.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/132582883@N03/albums

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Public Opening of the Japanese Charcoal Pit Kiln
update 11/11/2015

The Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission (SSI PARC) and Japanese Garden Society are pleased to announce the public opening of the newly-restored Japanese Charcoal Pit Kiln in Ganges on Sunday November 29th, 2015.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the completion of this project, and to reflect on the Japanese Canadian pioneers and the history of Salt Spring in the early 1900’s.

At the opening event speakers will share their stories and knowledge about the history, restoration, and use of the charcoal kilns.

We look forward to seeing you.

Time: Sunday November 29th from 1pm to 3 pm
Location: Japanese Charcoal Pit Kiln in Mouat Park

The site is on the left fork of the main path after the rain shelter on the right.
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Japanese charcoal pit kilns have been located in Mouat Park
update 14/05/2015

The Japanese Garden Society is launching a new project in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission - the Restoration of the Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns. As PARC has been such a great partner, we are feeling very hopeful about the project.

The society has started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to get the project moving. We recently received some good news that we've been chosen to receive grants from the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Salt Spring Foundation.

Go to Japanese Charcoal Kiln Restoration on our website for more details.

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Spring 2015 fundraising events were great success
update 15/04/2015

Koji Yamaguchi who plays Shamisen and Yoshihiko Fueki who plays Taiko drums made the fisrt stop of their North American Tour at Salt Spring. With a great support of Anthony Mathews who was in charge of the Easter Art Tour and its special exhibit, the concert on April 9th at Mahon Hall was realized.
Japanese traditional music performed by a young and enthusiastic duo was powerful. Japanese singer UA who recently moved to Salt Spring joined them for two songs. It was an amazning evening.

  • Koji Yamaguchi Japanese Garden Society Salt Spring
  • Koji Yamaguchi Japanese Garden Society Salt Spring

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Spring 2015 Newsletter

Please take a look at our latest newsletter. An article about the restoration project of Japanese charcoal pit kilns in Mouat Park is on the second page of the newsletter.

  • JGS Spring 2015 Newsletter
  • JGS Spring 2015 Newsletter page 2

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Spring 2015 Newsletter.

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Cheque presentation from Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce to Heiwa Garden on June 20th, 2014.
update 20/06/2014

A big thanks to the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce! This presentation was made possible by the partnership between JGS and the Chamber in April each year for the Blossom Festival and A Taste of Salt Spring.

  • Heiwa Garden Salt Spring Japanese Garden

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Scenes from April 2014 Blossom Festival

Please also see more photos on our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Japanese-Garden-Society-of-Salt-Spring-Is...

poster

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Winter 2013 Newsletter

Heiwa Garden Blossom Picnic Poster 2013

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Winter 2013 Newsletter.







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Scenes from our Blossom Picnic April 2013

picnic

picnic

picnic

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Japanese Pioneers Honoured

Graves of several members of the original Japanese-Canadian families have been restored, with hand-cut marker stones created by Salt Spring artist Warren Langley shown here with Rose and Richard Murakami.

Japanese Canadian grave salt Spring

To read the article originally published in the Driftwood newspaper July 11, 2013 issue, please click here"Driftwood".

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Mearnie Summers, founding member of the Japanese Garden Society

Meanie Summers was recently featured in an article written by Sean McIntyre in our local community newspaper The Driftwood July 11th, 2013 issue.

  • Mearnie Summers Salt Spring




To read the introduction to the article originally published in The Driftwood newspaper, please click here" Mearnie ".

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Spring 2013 Newsletter

Heiwa Garden Blossom Picnic Poster 2013

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Spring 2013 Newsletter.