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Harbour Congratulates Masako & Stanley Fukawa, Winners of the 2010 Canada-Japan Literary Awards

Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Masako Fukawa, principal writer and managing editor and Stanley Fukawa, translator and contributing writer, have just won the Canada Council’s 2010 Canada-Japan Literary Awards for their work on Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet: BC’s Japanese Canadian Fishermen.

The Canada-Japan Literary Awards recognize literary excellence by Canadian writers who are writing on Japan, Japanese themes, or themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada. It also recognizes literary excellence by Canadian translators of such books from Japanese into English or French. This award comes with a $10,000 prize.

When Stanley and Masako were reached at their home in Burnaby they had this to say:

This is such a great honour. Our thanks to the Canada-Japan Literary Awards Committee for selecting our book for this prestigious award. The book was made possible thanks to the continued support of the Nikkei Fishermen Committee and the generosity of the individuals who so willingly shared their stories and their photographs. Harbour Publishing did an incredible job and produced a beautiful book.

We hope that the reader will gain understanding of our collective history and an appreciation for the progress Canada is making in becoming a more equal, more just and more accepting society. The royalties support the Japanese Canadian National Museum in their work to preserve Japanese Canadian history and provide educational programs.

The Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet was written with the collaboration of the Nikkei Fishermen Reunion Committee, who first made the call for fishermen and their families to share their stories, knowledge, skills and time in 2001. The committee includes: Shigeaki Kamachi, Paul Kariya, Takemi Miyazaki, Toshio Murao, Dan Nomura, Richard Nomura (chair), Terry Sakai, Ken Takahashi and George Murakami. The committee contributed their personal experiences, encouraged others to add their stories and served as a sounding board for the writing. In 2010 the book was nominated for the BC Booksellers’ Choice BC Book Prize.

Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet is an intimate collection of stories of Japanese Canadians on the water, from the first Japanese immigrant’s arrival in 1877 to the present day. The 130-year history of the Nikkei is full of drama, violence, epic struggles against injustice, failures and triumphs. Leaving Japan to escape a life of poverty, they arrived in Canada with dreams for a better future. Collectively, they brought old skills and made many innovations. Fishing for a living is hard but Nikkei fishermen faced additional barriers. Opposition from other fishermen and government, and racist policies sought to exclude them from the fishery entirely.

Masako Fukawa has been the principal writer and managing editor of the Nikkei Fisherman titles since the formation of the Nikkei Fishermen Book Committee in 2003. She is a former school administrator and teacher specializing in the story of Japanese Canadians. Fukawa lives in Burnaby, BC.

Stanley Fukawa is the translator, interpreter and contributing writer for Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet. He is also on the editorial committee of Nikkei Images, a journal of the Japanese Canadian National Museum. He lives in Burnaby, BC

The companion book Nikkei Fishermen on the BC Coast: Their Biographies and Photographs was published by Harbour in 2007 and earned an Honourable Mention for books on BC History for that year.