History スティーブストン日本語学校の歴史

Japanese language studies have had a long history in the community of Steveston. Between 1906 and 1907 Japanese language education began in Steveston at the Japanese Hospital and Christian Church. Later, the first Japanese school was built in 1909 on the east side of No.1 Road north of Chatham Street by the Japanese Fisherman’s Benevolent Society (JCCA Bulletin Feb.1996). The school opened on February 18, 1911 with Shintaro Takashima as the principal. This historical building has been preserved and is currently on display at Moncton Street and 1st Avenue.

スティーブストンに於ける日本語学習の歴史は、 永く刻み込まれてきました。1906年から1907年にかけて、日本語教育はスティーブストン日本人病院とキリスト教会で 始まりました。その後、最初の日本人学校は、日本人漁師慈善団体によって1909年にChatham Street の北側に面した No.1 Roadの東側に建てられました。(JCCA 月報1996年2月号)。そして1911年2月18日、高嶋信太郎氏を校長に迎えて開校しました。この歴史的な建物は現在1st Avenue 沿いに保存されています。

In 1941 during the Second World War, the school was closed due to the relocation and internment of the Japanese Canadians. Japanese language studies would not return to Steveston until 1949 when the Kahan-Gakuen (Richmond Japanese Language School) was started at the Steveston Buddhist Temple. Shortly before 1960, Haruichi Okuyama approached the Steveston Community Centre to provide classroom space for a Japanese language school. In September 1960 the Steveston Japanese Language School opened its doors. In June of 1975 the Richmond Japanese Language School merged with the Steveston Japanese Language School and later in the year was granted a non-profit society status by the BC Government to become the Steveston Japanese Language School Society. 


In those days, the students of Steveston Japanese School consisted of three groups: the children who had parents from Japan and spoke Japanese at home; the children who had parents that were Nisei or Sansei (2nd or 3rd generation) and didn’t speak Japanese at home; and lastly the students whose parents were non-Japanese.


In 1991, the school established “Saturday Classes” for the students who were in high school and starting to learn the language at an older age. Classes were made up of four levels, with 16 students enrolling in the inaugural Level 1 class. At that time, public high schools started to offer Japanese classes, which seemed to ignite student interest in Japan and its language. Today, the classes are called “Senior Fundamental Classes” and have a continued popularity among high school students.


Fresh start at a new location – The Present Day to Beyond 新しい建物での再スタート — 現在 — そして

In September 1992, the school moved to the newly constructed Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, behind the Steveston Community Centre, where the school continues to operate. The building provides large classrooms, as well as a Japan- like atmosphere for the students to learn the language and culture.


In 1995, the school opened Preschool Classes for 3 and 4 year olds. Due in large part to the teachers’ diligent work, the Preschool Classes have become successful and popular programs.


The school’s annual bazaar began soon after the school had moved to the Steveston Community Centre in 1960, and became a very well-attended event in Steveston. People came to buy sushi, manju, udon, etc. Then, few Japanese restaurants or Japanese shops existed, and so locals and visitors alike enjoyed eating and meeting old acquaintances at the bazaar. As the school grew larger and volunteer availability diminished, the large scale event became difficult to organize and host despite its popularity. The last bazaar was held in 2002.

本校恒例のバザーは、1960年にSCCで開校してまもなくしてから始まり、その規模の大きさでスティーブストンでは有名になっていました。元々は授業料を安く抑える目的で、 地元日系人たちの協力を得ながら続けられてきました。始まった頃は、まだおすしやまんじゅう、うどん等、日本の食べ物は、今のように簡単に手に入らなかったので、地域の人々に喜ばれました。しかし後年になり、学校の規模が大きくなり、働く両親が増えるなど、社会情勢が急速に変わりゆく中で、2002年のバザーを最後に遂にその幕を閉じることになりました。

In 2004, the Steveston Japanese Language School set up a booth for the first time in the Cultural Centre at the Canada Day Salmon Festival. The room was decorated like TANABATA (Star Festival, a very popular event among children in Japan) theme. Origami, calligraphy, and craft booths were provided for children and mini Japanese lessons for adults. At present time, the school provides even more activities, such as KIMONO dressing and papermaking. People enjoy trying on Kimonos and these booths have become very popular among the visitors.

2004年には、毎年7月1日に開催されるサーモン・フェスティバルで、本校初の ブースを文化センター内に持つことができました。七夕の飾り付けをして、会場を訪れ る子供達のために、折り紙コーナーと習字コーナー等を設けました。大人には、日本語のミニレッスンをしたり、パンフレットを配ったりと学校のPRに努めました。現在は、習字やクラフトの他に紙漉きと着物の着付けを楽しむコーナーもあり、訪れる 人々に人気が出てきました。

In 2010, the Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and the school celebrated its 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the School. Coincidentally, additional exciting events occurred during that year:

  • In February, several Japanese speed skaters who participated in the Vancouver Olympics visited the school. Students and parents welcomed them and spent a meaningful time together.
  • On May 1st, the school held its “Fiftieth anniversary of the Founding of the School” at two locations, the Steveston Community Centre (SCC) and the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (SJCCC). In the SCC, The school brought back the popular Bazaar that had been cancelled several years back. Sushi, chow mein, manju were sold. At the craft tables, small hand made items were sold. Many people came and enjoyed the foods and displays reminiscent of the original bazaars. At the SJCCC, photo panels of the school history were displayed. Groups who used the Cultural Centre showed their crafts such as paper dolls and bread dough flowers. In the classrooms, there were Japanese conversational lessons for adults and entertainment for the children provided by a ventriloquist.
  • During the evening, a Celebration Banquet was held with Mr. Hideki Ito, Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver, Mr. Malcolm Brodie, Richmond’s Mayor, and Honorable Alice Wong, Member of Parliament all present. For entertainment, two groups were invited to perform: Japanese dancing was provided by Tatsumi Japanese Dance Society, and the Taishou-goto (a type of musical instrument) were played by Nagomikai group. Mayor Malcom Brodie noted in his speech, “We are certainly appreciative of the invaluable contributions you have offered to our community, enriching our cultural community. As Mayor, I take pride in the remarkable multicultural, community within our city and believe it creates mutual respect and generates understand of the different values and traditions that make up a diverse cultural heritage.”
  • In November, Mr. Jim Kojima, well known in Steveston, paid a visit to the school with Kousei Inoue, a former  Judo Olympic medalist from Japan.  The students as well as the parents were excited and honored to meet the famous hero-like figure.


  • 2月には、日本からオリンピックに出場したスピードスケーターの選手、数名が本校を訪れました。生徒達と父兄が参加しての交流会を開き、生徒達にとっては思い出深い日になりました。
  • 5月1日には、「創立50周年記念祝賀会」をSCCと文化センターの2カ所で開催しました。昼の部はSCCで、本校が2002年まで続けてきた「大バザー」を再現しました。名物だったおすし、チャーメン、おまんじゅう等が販売され、大勢の人々で賑わいました。クラフトのテーブルでも手作りの物が売り出され、人々の目を楽しませました。昔のバザーを覚えている人々にとっては、懐かしい光景に時間が思わずタイムスリップしたように思われたでしょう。日加文化センターでは、折り紙や紙人形、パンフラワー等の展示があり、教室では日本語のミニレッスンや子供達のためには、腹話術などのエンターテイメントもありました。
  • 夜の部は、在バンクーバー日本国総領事館総領事「伊藤秀樹氏」をはじめ、リッチモンド市長「マルコム・ブローディ氏」、国会議員「アリス・ウォング氏」等が出席して盛大な祝賀パーティーが催されました。和会(なごみかい)による大正琴演奏と辰巳会による日本舞踊がパーティーに華を添える形となりました。マルコム・ブローディ市長がスピーチの中で次のように述べられました。「日本語学校が、文化的に我々の地域社会に貢献されてきたことが、計り知れないほど 貴重なものであることは言うまでもありません。市長として、リッチモンド市が素晴らしく多様文化的な市であることに誇りを持っていると共に、そのことはお互いへの敬意を生み出し、広範な文化遺産の素材となる異文化や伝統への理解を引き起こすものと信じます。」
  • 11月には、ジム・コジマ氏( オリンピックや国際試合で柔道の審判であり、スティーブストン・コミュニティの発展に尽力をされている)が日本では有名な柔道の元オリンピック・メダリスト「井上康生」氏と共に本校を訪問して、生徒達や父兄と交流をする機会がありました。

In 2015, the Steveston Japanese Language School began participating in two community events, Richmond Doors Open, held on the first weekend of June and “ Amazing Race” held in September. The former is run by Richmond Museum Society with the purpose of introducing the city’s unique heritage, arts and cultural sites to the citizens. Within the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, teachers and parent volunteers showcase Japanese culture with Origami, Kimono dressing, and calligraphy. The latter is a fundraising event in which participants visit 15 sites throughout the city including the SJCCC, and complete challenges such as making origami figures and picking up small beans with chopsticks.


The Steveston Japanese Language School continues to grow its history through its language and cultural enrichment classes, making positive connections and contributions within the community and with its residents.