In the Wondrous Reverberations of Silence: Mel Murakami and a Generation of Japanese Canadian Visionaries


September 19, 2019 :: Dr.’s Darren Aoki and Carly Adams
Moderated by Dr. John Harding

They constructed a Japanese garden on the parched land of the southern Alberta prairie, an iconic monument amplifying the most powerful of all sounds – silence. Mel Murakami, Kingo Sakamoto, and a generation of many other Japanese Canadians. Who were these visionaries who literally changed the face of postwar Lethbridge?

How can we piece together the stories of people who did so much but spoke so little? In a very special journey to remember remarkable individuals, we’ll hear echoes of voices now long departed in the memories of their descendants. We’ll eavesdrop on the behind-the-scenes of the extraordinary things they achieved.

In giving long-overdue recognition to them, we’ll also begin to discover something of our own shared heritage: tales of wartime degradation survived and hardship overcome, of connections forged across continents and friendships nurtured, and above all, how a vision of beauty in a Japanese garden is a lesson of sharing in our conflicted times.

Come, join us, to hear silence in all its wondrous, thunderous reverberations.

Speakers: Dr.’s Darren Aoki and Carly Adams

Darren Aoki is Lecturer in World History at the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom). His research interests include gender and sexuality in twentieth-century Japan, and more recently, the history of the Japanese diaspora with a methodological focus on oral history and digital storytelling. In 2011, Aoki initiated a pilot project of oral history interviews exploring the history of southern Alberta Nisei (‘second generation’). In 2017, he teamed up with Carly Adams to launch the Nikkei Memory Capture Project, a long-term community-based oral history project to spur the narration of the history of Japanese Canadians in the second half of the twentieth century.

Carly Adams is a Board of Governors Research Chair (Tier II), Acting Associate Dean in the School of Graduate Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. She is also a founding member of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition. As a social historian and an advocate for oral history, her research explores community, identity, and gender with a focus on sport, recreation, and leisure experiences.

Moderator: Dr. John Harding

Date: Thursday, Sep 19, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Room PE250, First Choice Saving Centre, University of Lethbridge

Co-sponsors for this free event are Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, U of L, COHT and SACPA

Everyone welcome, parking is free in Lot E, F and G at U of L after 5 pm


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