From Mio

From Mio combats growing anti-Asian racism through activities that educate Canadians about the histories of Japanese Canadians on Vancouver Island, linking over 140 years of systemic discrimination and historical wrongs to today's acts of anti-Asian aggression.

Project Dates: December 1, 2020 – Ongoing
Funding Amount: $14,000
Number of Student Researchers: 2

Project Summary

The “From Mio” project will develop short videos describing the historiographies of the first migrants (Issei) from Mio, Wakayama, Japan to Campbell River, BC.

In the early 1900s, men from Mio, Japan came to BC to work in the vibrant and rapidly growing commercial fishing sector. Many of these Issei settled in Vancouver Island communities, including Campbell River, however as a result of the internship and dispossession of Japanese Canadians during World War II, much of this history has been lost. The “From Mio” project aims to build an appreciation for the multi-cultural influences and diversity of the community and to contribute towards developing an anti-racism ethos.

Although the overall project is three years in length, this portion of the project, in collaboration with the Campbell River Community Foundation, involved the compilation of stories of two Japanese families who immigrated to the Campbell River region. Researchers interviewed descendants of Japanese immigrants who made Campbell River their home and the people with memories of those individuals and families. Already, many people in the Campbell River, Quadra Island and Black Creek areas have indicated their interest in sharing stories. These interviews with aging knowledge holders are crucial to the preservation of this history and will enable the project to share this information for the benefit of descendants, residents and visitors of Campbell River.

Research Team

Lisa Domae
Lisa Domae, Lead Researcher
Lisa Domae assumed the role of President of North Island College on April 12, 2021. She has lived in the Comox Valley and worked at North Island College since 2000, most recently as NIC’s Executive Vice-President, Academic and Chief Operating Officer. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of British Columbia, a post-baccalaureate diploma from Simon Fraser University as well as a master’s from Queen’s University and a PhD from University of Victoria. She is also a Registered Professional Planner and member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.
Yui Okada, Student Researcher

Project Outcomes

A series of courses have been developed at NIC to feature the results of this project entitled Fishing, Indigeneity and the Asia-Pacific. The project has digitized archived records describing the lives of Japanese immigrant fisher families on Vancouver Island, including a number of lectures that have been integrated into the new curriculum. Additionally, a field school is scheduled to travel to Japan to explore both urban and rural Japanese towns and cities, historic museums, hands-on learning about local fishing practices within Japan's indigenous community, and Canada's deep-rooted connection to the town of Mio.