Ottawa Japanese Community Association (OJCA)
Ottawa Japanese Community Association is a non-profit organization, which was established in 1976. OJCA membership is open to all individuals who accept the mandates of the association.
The Board is responsible for the official activities of the Association. Board members are elected by the general membership at the Annual General Meeting.
The OJCA is a member organization of National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and sends delegates to various meetings and workshops held by NAJC.
- to encourage a greater participation by members of the Japanese and Japanese Canadian communities in the Ottawa area in matters of citizenship;
- to strive to maintain our cultural heritage;
- to share with the larger community those aspects of our cultural heritage which will be of interest to them;
- to promote and develop friendship, goodwill, and better understanding amongst the Japanese and Japanese Canadian communities, and others interested, through a program of cultural, educational, social, and recreational activities.
The 2021/2022 OJCA Board
- Melisa Kamibayashi-Staples (president)
- Matt Miwa (vice president)
- Allyn Takahashi (treasurer)
- Takashi Toyooka (secretary)
- Jennifer Matsunaga
- Rie Nakamura Drolet
- Alex Okuda-Rayfuse
- Yumi Schoenhofer
- Mariko Sumi
Principles for Conduct of OJCA Board Members
OJCA Board members:
- Act prudently and in good faith to uphold the best interests of the OJCA and its members
- Do not use their position for financial gain or to otherwise further their private interests
- Disclose potential or actual conflicts of interest to the OJCA Executive* and play no part in influencing or making decisions related to those conflicts
- Treat each other, and the membership, with honesty and transparency, and use respectful language in their communications and exchanges
- Resolve personal conflicts that may arise with other board members through discussion or mediation
Board members whose conduct fails to respect these guiding principles will be requested to attend a meeting with the President and one other Executive member, to seek resolution. (If the Board member whose conduct fails to respect the guiding principles is the President, he or she will be convened to a meeting with two other Executive members.)
If the matter is not resolved after the meeting, the Executive will issue a letter to the Board member(s) involved. The letter will detail the expected corrective action(s), including a timeline for the action(s).
If the matter is not resolved in a timely manner after the issuance of the letter, the Executive will revoke the Board member(s)’ membership to the OJCA/OJCC.
* President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer
Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre (OJCC)
2285 St. Laurent Blvd.
Map of OJCC
The 2021/2022 OJCC Board
- Brian Yamashita
- Eleanor Hyodo
- Giselle Holloway
- Glen Fujiwara
- Keiko Nagasawa
- Kyoko Tsunetomi
- Nancy Uchida
- Naomi Katsumi
- Ron Shigeishi
- Sakie Kodama
On March 20, 1976, a group of Issei and Nisei (first and second generation Japanese-Canadians) gathered at the house of Hiro and Grace Furuya. Their goal was to create a not-for-profit organization to represent persons of Japanese descent and others interested in Japanese culture in the Ottawa-Carleton region, to commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant, Manzo Nagano to Canada, in 1877. As a result, a general meeting was called at the Baxter Centre in West Ottawa chaired by Mas Takahashi and Yoshimitsu Amenomiya, with keynote speaker the late Tommy Shoyama, attended by 103 interested persons. The result of this meeting was a new organization called the Japanese Community Association led by an interim committee chaired by the late Kunio Shimizu, with the late Tony Tateishi as vice-chair, Ikuko Webster as secretary and Grace Furuya as treasurer. The interim committee was replaced by a permanent board on Oct 28, 1976, chaired by the late Tony Tateishi, with the late Kunio Shimizu as vice-chair, Jane Shimokura as secretary and June Takahashi as treasurer. The Japanese Community Association was later renamed the Ottawa Japanese Community Association (OJCA).
The OJCA under the auspices of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) was active in lobbying the Canadian government for reparations for the treatment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, animosity for Japanese-Canadians living in British Columbia grew. All Canadians of Japanese descent living on the West Coast, many of whom were Canadian born were rounded up and incarcerated in prison camps. They were forced to abandon most of their possessions, including cars, boats, houses and businesses without compensation. On September 22, 1988, the government of Brian Mulrony granted redress to Japanese-Canadians. Included in the settlement was a 21 thousand dollar individual compensation package for those affected by government actions during the war, as well as a 12 million dollar community fund to be shared by all Canadians of Japanese descent.
In 1989, after the redress settlement, a committee consisting of Paul Kariya, Ray Kumagai, Robert Leslie, Len Matsukubo,Tony Nabata, Kathy Nakamura-Leslie, Mas Takahashi, Bea Tanaka, Nancy Uchida, and the late Amy Yamasaki was created in order to take advantage of grants from the redress community fund with the purpose of establishing a community centre for persons of Japanese descent and those interested in Japanese culture living in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre (OJCC), a charitable organization, was established to accept donations from the community in support of the centre. On March 22, 1991, the Ottawa Japanese Cultural Centre, located in a business complex on St. Laurent Boulevard near Conroy Road, was officially opened. The first president of the OJCC was Len Matsukubo.
The OJCA and the OJCC are sister organizations that promote Japanese culture in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The OJCA is also a political organization that represents the interests of persons of Japanese ancestry living in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The OJCA is a charter member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) that represents Canadians of Japanese descent nationally. The NAJC is the organization that negotiated the redress settlement between the Canadian government and Japanese-Canadians to provide reparations for wrongdoings during World War II. The OJCC manages a cultural centre located in the South-East end of Ottawa. OJCA/OJCC membership is open to all adults (14+) who are interested in Japanese culture. The OJCA/OJCC issues a quarterly newsletter to its members. Annual membership fees are $10 for students/seniors, $15 for individuals and $20 for families.
Currently the OJCC hosts a variety of groups and events including Sadou Gakushukai (a tea ceremony group), Nadeshiko-no-kai (a Japanese speaking women’s group), Emi-no-kai (a traditional Japanese dance group), a children’s play group, and Tomo-no-kai (a senior’s group). The OJCC is also used to hold meetings for most OJCA/OJCC business. Other groups within the OJCA include a Taiko group (Japanese drumming), a reading club, a Sumie group (Japanese calligraphy) and an Ikebana group (Japanese flower arranging). In order to participate in these groups you must be a member of the OJCA/OJCC. The OJCA is also affiliated with the Ottawa Japanese Language School (OJLS) which conducts Japanese classes for wide range of levels and ages (membership not required). Major events organized or sponsored by the OJCA/OJCC include Mochitsuki (Japanese rice pounding New Year celebration), Japan Day at the Museum of Civilization, and the summer BBQ.
— Ken Shimizu