Nippon Fujinkai – Japanese Women’s Associations
Women’s associations that were organized by Japanese Canadian women in the early twentieth century were called fujinkai. Seventeen years after the arrival to Canada of the first known Japanese female immigrant, Yo Shishido, the Nippon Fujinkai was founded in Vancouver in 1904. Under Genko Nagamine’s leadership, the initial mandate of the Nippon Fujinkai was to raise funds to send relief for the bereaved families of Japanese soldiers who were killed in the Russo-Japanese war.
By 1907, the Nippon Fujinkai had over 170 women who worked tirelessly to support immigrants who came to Canada from Japan. With the growth and diversification of Japanese communities and enclaves in British Columbia, there were over eight fujinkai organizations in different regions of the province in the early twentieth century. These included the fujinkai in Haney, Steveston, Ocean Falls, New Westminster, and other areas, as well as Buddhist and Christian fujinkai in Vancouver. The fujinkai groups served to bridge Japanese groups with the broader Canadian society. They also networked with different associations within the Japanese Canadian community, such as the ubiquitous prefectural associations, to address various social issues and to help settlers adapt to the new socio-cultural environment in Canada. READ MORE