On November 28th, City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam successfully moved the motion to proclaim the 75th Anniversary of Nanking Massacre at the Toronto City Council. In an effort to raise public awareness of Nanking Massacre, the Toronto Association for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia (ALPHA) organized a series of successful commemorative and educational events for members of the public, high school teachers and youth.
A photo exhibition took place at the Toronto City Hall rotunda from Nov 27th to Dec 2nd with authentic archival photos from museums in China and Korea.
On Sunday December 9th, a candlelight vigil and community forum took place at the auditorium of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. In attendance with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam was Olivia Chow, a Member of Parliament, Ms. Tamaki Matsuoka, a passionate Japanese peace activist, Mr. Chang Chu-Yeh, a Nanking Massacre survivor, and over 300 community members from all across Ontario. During the candlelight vigil, a group of youth ambassadors stood on stage in silence for one minute alongside Ms. Matsuoka and Mr. Chang. The attendees also had a chance to watch the documentary “Torn Memories of Nanking” produced by Ms. Tamaki Matsuoka, with hundreds of testimonials from Japanese veterans and Chinese survivors.
The commemoration continued for high school students with ALPHA’s History meets Humanity student conferences. Though the student conference on Dec 10th with the Toronto District School Board was cancelled due to the job action of OSSTF, the “History meets Humanity” student conference on Dec 11th at Blessed Trinity High School was well-attended by over 150 students from the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board. The one day conference prepared for students and high school teachers was joined by Ms. Tamaki Matsuoka, Mr. Chu-Yeh Chang, Mr. George McDonnell, a 91-year old Canadian Veteran who was a Prisoner of War in Hong Kong during WWII in Asia, and Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall. The participants connected learning about the history of WWII in Asia with the concept of understanding humanity and human rights today. The stimulating workshops touched on themes of ethical reflection, critical thinking, global and social justice.
Toronto ALPHA sincerely thanks all the volunteers, youth ambassadors, supporters and speakers for making the commemorative events possible.
Mr. Chu-Yeh Chang was 14 years old when he was captured by an officer from a Japanese military engineering troop in the suburb of Nanjing. He witnessed the slaughtering and rape of family members and the aftermath of the Nanking Massacre as a teenager. After being schooled in Nanjing, Mr. Chang moved to Taiwan to serve as a journalist for 30 years. Mr. Chang currently resides in Middletown, New Jersey with his wife Ms. Margaret Ting. He has just celebrated his 90th birthday with his children and grandchildren.
Tamaki Matsuoka is a researcher, writer and film producer. Born in Osaka, Japan in April 1947, she became an elementary school teacher in 1982. She visited Nanjing for the first time in 1988 and since then has been educating Japanese people, and especially youth, about the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese military aggression. Spanning through three decades, she has interviewed more than 300 individual Nanjing Massacre victims and over 250 former Japanese soldiers and in 2007 produced the documentary “Torn Memories of Nanjing”. The film was nominated for the documentary film section at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and was invited to appear at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Public Concert in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Nanking Massacre
New St. James Presbyterian Church (280 Oxford St East, London)
Co-organizers: Chinese Canadian National Council London Chapter and Toronto ALPHA
Free Admission with donation proceeds to Toronto ALPHA
Globally, the sister organizations of Toronto ALPHA have organized the following events to commemorate the Nanking Massacre.
San Diego: Panel Discussion on the aftermath of Nanking Massacre
Edmonton: Panel discussion and student workshop on Nanking Massacre
Dec 7 - 8
New Jersey: Community conference on WWII in Asia
Dec 12 - 13
Hong Kong: International conference on Sino-Japanese relations
Film Screening of "Iris Chang - the Rape of Nanking"
High School presentations delivered by Ms Tamaki Matsuoka