24th Nikkei Community Celebration – SHIN-NEN-KAI

At the 24th Nikkei Community SHIN-NEN-KAI at the National Nikkei Heritage & Cultural Centre, more than 250 people gathered to celebrate “The Year of the Dragon” with specially prepared Osechi Ryori (traditional menu for the New Year) and, of course, Sake!  But not any Sake – Oikawa Island Sake.

The history of “Oikawa Island Sake” dates back to the year 1898 – some 135 years ago – when a man named Jinzaburo Oikawa from Miyagi prefecture in Japan first made Japanese Sake in Canada on a small island he purchased in the middle of the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia. Learn more about Sake Making History in Canada here

Oikawa Island (Oikawa-jima) was renamed “Don Island” at the beginning of World War II in 1942 and has remained so to this day. Harold Steves (pictured here), a veteran Richmond City Councillor with 51 years of service, took a step forward by advocating the renaming of the island to its original name.  He is a hero and an inspiration to all of us with Japanese roots and heritage.Article on Harold Steves and Island Name Change. “Japanese names for Richmond islands never adopted” by Maria Rantanen

Lorene Oikawa (also pictured) is a descendant of the Oikawa family, whose passion and dedication to preserving the identity and cultural heritage of Japanese Canadians is nationally recognized, and is also a hero and inspiration to all of us who have immigrated to Canada.  ‘“The Story of Oikawa Island” by Lorene Oikawa

Masa Shiroki, founder of Artisan SakeMaker and his life partner Yukiko, together with dedicated staff members on production floor and tasting room on Granville Island’s sake winery, continue to produce Sustainable, Natural and Local Sake for the enjoyment of Vancouverites, Canadians, and visitors from abroad.  WE are blessed by the support and encouragement YOU give us to continue what we believe in doing – YOU are the reason we exist!

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