A European and Japanese crew work at the Rainbow Ranch

A European and Japanese crew work at the Rainbow Ranch

A history of Japanese culture in Lake Country

Lake Country Museum opens its exhibition celebrating the area's Japanese pioneers and their descendants.

The Kakonosedai exhibition, opening Saturday, Aug. 10, is the third of the Lake Country Museum’s special exhibitions.

Kakonosedai: A Century of Community celebrates the Japanese pioneers of Lake Country and their descendants, with a look at what they brought with them from Japan to Canada in the late-1800s and early-1900s.

The exhibition showcases the efforts by Japanese pioneers to blend the old and new to end up with a new way of life in their Canadian home.

On display will be a collection of original artefacts, photographs and personal documents to supplement the existing stories of these courageous people.

“One of the most important aspects of this exhibition is that almost all of the pieces that will be on display have been provided by the Japanese-Canadians of this area or their family members,” said Lake Country Museum curator Dan Bruce. “It is safe to say that none of the objects will have ever been shown before.”

The museum has worked in partnership with the Japanese-Canadian community for more than a year to develop this compelling exhibition, with contributions from descendants across Canada as well as those who still live in Lake Country or the Okanagan.

“This is a significant project for the museum and for the community as a whole,” said Dr. Duane Thomson, president of the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society.  “The opportunity to present this rich history of Lake Country’s settlement has been incredibly rewarding.”

Kakonosedai: A Century of Community is a continuing series of events to tell the story of the first Japanese-Canadian pioneers of the community and their experiences during the period from 1899 to pre-First World War (1939).

Funding for the exhibition has been provided by The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, Vancouver, B.C.

“I am grateful for the enthusiasm with which the idea of the exhibition was received by the Japanese-Canadian community and their whole-hearted participation in sharing their artefacts and personal stories,” said Bruce. “The visiting public will gain an appreciation of what it was like to be born and grow up in a very distinct cultural tradition. It was especially different from Canada in every sense of the word. The exceptional part of the story is how these pioneers arrived here and made a success of their journey in dissimilar circumstances.”

The Kakonosedai: A Century of Community exhibition runs until Nov. 2.

The Lake Country Museum is located at 11255 Okanagan Centre Road West, Lake Country.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week through Labour Day, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through the fall.

Group tours are available other days by appointment. Admission is by donation.

The public can also visit the Lake Country Museum blog and website at www.lakecountrymuseum.com to keep informed of upcoming events, or phone 250-766-0111.