Nikkei Memory Capture Project a key feature of new Bunka Centre

The stories of Japanese Canadians and the challenges they faced as they settled in southern Alberta is the focus of a new collaborative effort between University of Lethbridge researcher Dr. Carly Adams and University of Plymouth (UK) associate professor Dr. Darren Aoiki’s Nikkei Memory Capture Project and Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden.

Part of the Time Map feature in the Bunka Centre.

Unveiled at the new Bunka Centre on Thursday, Apr. 14, the project allows visitors to hear these important stories through an interactive sound booth installation and a Time Map feature wall that details the journeys of Japanese Canadians in southern Alberta.

“It is very exciting to be unveiling the Time Map collaboration, and Nikkei Memory Capture Project’s Memory Booth,” says Adams, who is also the co-director of the Centre for Oral History & Tradition at ULethbridge. “These two installations highlight what I most appreciate about this collaborative work – connections with community organizations and members, publicly accessible histories, and adding nuance and complexity to little known histories. It has been a pleasure and privilege being involved in these installations and involving undergraduate and graduate students in this vital work.”

A look at the Memory Booth where people can listen to oral histories and record their own.

“The unveiling of the Time Map and Memory Booth is such an exciting development for us,” says Aoki. “It’s so exciting to be able to share the wonderfully distinctive histories of Japanese Canadians in southern Alberta that the Nikkei Memory Capture Project has been privileged to explore.”

Adams and Aoki (via zoom) gave a presentation to attendees of the unveiling and addressed the partnerships that were utilized in creating the memorable project.

“This is a celebration of so many innovative collaborations, exciting partnerships, and close friendships: with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, the Centre for Oral History and Tradition; between the University of Plymouth and University of Lethbridge, and most importantly, with the many individuals who have so generously shared their memories, stories, and wisdom with us,” adds Aoki.

The installations are now open to the public at the Bunka Centre. Guests who attend are also able to record their own memories to be shared with future generations.