A Summer of Struggle for the Japanese Community – Kano Remembered

Chris Kano

Submitted by: Bill Delingat

This past spring and summer will be remembered as good and bad memories for the people of Japan and their Canadian families. With the biggest earthquake and Tsunami, spawning a nuclear disaster larger then any on record, Japan and their community are on the road to recovery.

Here in Toronto, Canada (located at 6 Garamond court off of Wynford Drive and Eglington) is the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. For more than 40 years the JCCC (as it is known)  has served as the gathering point for the Japanese Canadian community and for those of non-Japanese ancestry who have an interest in things Japanese in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Open to everyone regardless of race, religion, sex or age, the JCCC provides a place - and more importantly, the impetus - for the exchange of ideas; a showcase for those with Japanese artistic and athletic talents; social and intellectual events. The JCCC is pleased to introduce the culture, history and legacy of the Japanese Canadians to all Canadians while creating a tribute to the history of the Nikkei community and their contributions to the building of our nation. The centre has been proactive in bringing the spirit and youth of the community together during these difficult times with public charity events, concerts and bazaars.

One of the communities unofficial spokesperson, with his energetic almost cartoon character was Chris T Kano; drummer, musician, and actor. Kano started the now famous Yakudo Drummers after seeing the Taiko drummers perform and soon brought the group to stage and television and the forefront of percussive events with their incredible strength and syncopation. When the Kobe earthquake devastated the Osaka area, Kano and his drummers were there to raise awareness and funds with a benefit concert that drew media attention worldwide. Kano had moved onto the piano and was part of the duo, Kano and Tosh, that performed annually at the centre with their themed event “Ginza Nights”. When the call for help came again this summer when the largest earthquake in decades hit Japan, Kano and his team were ready to go again. Kano called up the Yakudo drummers and fellow friends and musicians from Canada and Japan and was in negotiations to put on another benefit when tragedy hit. Kano succumbed to a sudden medical condition on Tuesday July 26th at his home.

The community celebrated his life at the centre and Tosh will perform the planned ‘Ginza Nights’ in his memory this December. Cashbox recognizes the great work and contribution Kano had on the Japanese and Canadian artistic community and would like to help support their struggle and honour the memory of fellow artist and a good friend.

Be sure to visit not only their sites but also the Centre while enjoying the sites and sounds of Toronto.