Japanese school building in Canada named a National Historic Site

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[Photo courtesy of Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall]

NEW YORK – A building in Vancouver housing Canada’s oldest Japanese language school has been designated by the government as a national historic site.

A ceremony was held Wednesday in the Art Deco building, now called Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, which opened in 1906 in a neighborhood later known as Japantown where the first Japanese pioneers in Canada began to settle and work from the end of the 19th century. .

The school was originally established to teach Japanese to children of the growing Japanese immigrant community. First opened in another location in Japantown, it moved to its current building in 1928.

(Japanese room in 1929)[Photo courtesy of Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall]

School facilities were confiscated by the government and occupied by the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II, but returned to the Japanese-Canadian community in 1953.

“One of the only properties returned to Japanese Canadians after the war, it remains a powerful symbol of community resilience,” the government said.

During the ceremony, Japanese Consul General in Vancouver Takashi Hatori said the building served as a bridge for the cultural and linguistic understanding of Japan in Canada.

He added that its designation as a historic site would help further develop relations between the two countries.


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