Tonari Gumi Board of Directors 2019-2020

Returning Directors and Nominations for 2019

Tonari Gumi’s Board of Directors consists of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. The Board’s role is to oversee and manage the organization within the guidelines set out in its Constitution and By-laws on issues such as organization policies, human resources and authorities given to staff to carry out day-to-day operations.

Directors are recruited on any combination of:  professional skills, connections to the community, knowledge of Tonari Gumi and community-mindedness. They serve 2 year terms and can serve 3 consecutive terms for a maximum of 6 years total. In 2018-2019 twelve Directors served on the Board.  For 2019-2020, it is proposed that eleven Directors will serve on the Board.

For the upcoming year, there are 6 returning Directors, 2 seeking reelection and 3 seeking nomination.

Other members are welcome to stand for election at the meeting.


New Nominations for a Two Year Term 

Larry M. Okada (2019 – )

Professional Chartered Accountant in Canada and a Certified Public Accountant in the United States for 37 years. Involved with mining companies during the 37 years as an auditor for 31 years and as a Chief Financial Officer for 5 years and a director of public mining companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange for 10 years. The majority of companies involved with during the 37 years had mineral properties located in North, Central and South America. 

Manabu Ogawa  (2019 – )

I am originally from the seaside town of Kujukuri in Chiba, Japan. After studying to be a sports medical trainer in Japan, I began a career as a firefighter and was part of the rescue and ambulance squad for 6 years. Then, after moving to Vancouver, I went back to my roots and have been specializing in health and sports medicine, working as a Shiatsupractor (Registered Shiatsu Therapist) in North Vancouver for the past 15 years. I started Judo when I was 13 years old and I have a 2-degree Black belt (2 dan). I have 15 years of Judo coaching experience at the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby BC. I also occasionally act as an assistant instructor at the Vancouver Police Judo club. As the Branch manager of the Japan Police and Fire Sports Federation, I did fundraising for and volunteered to help in the rescue and relief effort following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. While living in Vancouver, I have become very interested in the history of Japanese immigrants here. Having played baseball since I was 10 years old, I was inspired by and eager to learn about both the hardships and the successes of the Vancouver Asahi baseball team. Together with 5 like-minded individuals, we founded the Shin-Vancouver Asahi. A youth baseball team that was formed to honour the historic Asahi team who were best known for their sportsmanship and smart playing style. Living in Vancouver with my wife and three sons, I strive to build a positive community, share lessons and values from both cultures and be open to forming new strong relationships while also honouring the past.

Kay Manabe (2019 – )

Kyoko Manabe is a practicing notary and a member of Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia. Prior to becoming a Notary Public, she has honed her skills in marketing, particularly in the areas of social media, advertising and promotions in both private and public organizations such as Destination Canada and Government of Alberta Economic Development. A mother of two and a long-term North Shore resident, you may see her in the North Shore mountains – hiking, and skiing. She holds an MA in Applied Legal Studies from Simon Fraser University, an MBA from McGill University and a BBA in Marketing from Simon Fraser University.


Completed Two Year Term and Seeking Re-elections

Patrick Li (2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 -)

Born in Hong Kong but lived in Japan from the age of 9 since his father owned a trading company in Kobe. In 1981, emigrated to Vancouver and joined Mitsui Canada as a steel trader in their Vancouver Steel Department. Patrick’s wife, Tomoko, became involved with Tonari Gumi in 1982 and Patrick would assist whenever he could. Upon retiring from Mitsui in 2010, he agreed to join the TG Board. His Hobbies include playing squash, swimming, roller blading, skiing, listening to music, photography, and traveling.

Mamiko Van Horn  (2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 -)

I was born in Yokohama, Japan to a Japanese Canadian Nisei , who was born in Mission , BC. At the age of 8, my family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where all my father’s family relocated to after the war. In l970, I worked as a Librarian Assistant in York University. Then I managed the first Kite Store in Canada and finally owned and operated a flower shop in Toronto. My volunteer experiences includes, – teaching E.S.L. to the Mexican immigrants when I lived in San Diego – kitchen assisting at the Salvation Army Mission Soup Kitchen in Montreal -assisting with various events at my daughter’s schools in San Diego, Montreal and Vancouver -and recently volunteering with Academy of Life Long Learning (ALL) in Bellingham, Washington – doing various volunteer jobs with the West End Vancouver Food Network Through the inspiration and admiration of Ms. Kikko Tasaka, I became a member of Tonari Gumi and became part of what I fondly call, the “Wonderful Wednesday Lunch Making Ladies !’ I have also offered to be an assistant photographer with the Tonari Gumi Garden Project. I look forward to being able to contribute and working with you all! 


Second Year of Two Year Term 

Martin Kobayakawa  (2018/19, 2019 – )

A Sansei, born and raised in Toronto, Martin has a professional background in transportation and urban planning and has participated in the Japanese-Canadian community for many years. Martin is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and studied in Japan on a Mombusho scholarship. He worked as a transportation planner at trans Link and BC Transit. Martin has been an active volunteer at Tonari Gumi, most recently in the Outreach and Lighthouse programs. In the community, he was involved in the Sansei identity movement in the 1970’s and the Japanese-Canadian redress campaign in the 1980’s. Now retired, Martin is an avid musician, photographer, gardener and traveler.

Tamako Copithorne  (2018/19, 2019 – ) 

Born in Matsue in the last century and grew up in Tokyo. Entered Keio University in 1954. While a student at Keio I went to UBC in 1955-6 as the first Japanese exchange student on the World University Service of Canada scholarship and spent an extra year at University of Toronto. Returned to Keio in 1957 and graduated in 1959 (Psychology with interest in socio- linguistics). Graduate studies at Yale University and received M.A. in Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies in 1962. Married to Maurice Copithorne (international law and foreign affairs) of Vancouver and spent 23 years in Ottawa and various foreign capitals including, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, Vienna, etc. representing Canada. Upon husband’s retirement, returned to Vancouver in 1986. In 1989 – 2000 worked (teaching and programming public events) until retirement, as Director of Japanese Culture and Communication at David Lam Centre for International Communication, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre. Past and present committee work includes as a board member/advisor at International Social Service (Geneva), Canada Japan Forum (bi-national appointment), Vancouver Chamber Choir (chair), Pacific Canada Heritage Centre, Museum of Migration Society (Hon. Advisor), etc. Hobby: Sports, art and music, Family: Husband, two sons and four grandchildren in Toronto and Montreal. 

Kanako Motohashi   (2018/19, 2019 -)

 A 2nd generation Japanese Canadian born in Ottawa and raised in Victoria, BC. After attending the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor in Political Science, she lived in Kobe, Japan for 4 years working and traveling the country. Currently Kanako is a Human Resource Manager in Vancouver and resides in Burnaby with her husband and two young sons.



Fourth Year of Four-Year Term

David B. Iwaasa  (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 – )

Third generation Japanese-Canadian, born in Raymond Alberta. Grandfather emigrated to Canada from Hiroshima-ken in 1898. Ancestors from his mother’s side come from Fukui-ken. Studied international economics at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Kyoto University in Japan and the University of British Columbia. Joined the Canadian federal government in 1975 and has worked in Ottawa; Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Tokyo, Japan. Has served as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, various community associations and for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He and his wife served as volunteer missionaries for three years in Fukuoka, Japan. After returning to Canada in 2009, he worked as the Executive Director of Tonari Gumi from March 2010 to October 2014. Married to Jane (nee) Kadonaga with four children and ten grandchildren.

Michael Beaty (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 – )

Born and raised in Vancouver, I grew up on Bowen Island. I am a UBC graduated, having majored in Japanese language and culture. During my studies I spent two years on exchange in Japan in Nagoya, and Tokyo, studying at Waseda University in my 4th year. I have worked in the non-profit technology sector for the past 5 years, with a focus on payment processing, CRM, marketing and automation.

Karen Nishi  (2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 – ) 

Karen is a Sansei with family roots from Mio or “America-Mura” in Wakayama-ken. With a Marketing and Strategic Planning career spanning 30 years, Karen is a Vice President at Wasserman + Partners Advertising where she helps clients seek the focus and clarity required to transform their brand and business. After graduating from UBC Sauder School of Business, Karen began her Marketing career at Campbell Soup Company in Toronto. Homesick for Vancouver, she moved back home with Molson Canada before making her way into the advertising world. Karen lives in Vancouver with her husband and teenage son who just can’t get enough of his Obachan’s cooking.


One Year Remaining of Three-Year Term – Resigned

 Sanae Moteki   (2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019 – )

Sanae was born and worked in Japan for over 20 years before coming to Canada. She had studies accounting in London, Ontario and Victoria, B.C., before moving to Vancouver for work where she remained until retiring in 2017. While wanting to return the kindness, which she had received from nay people who she did not even know their names of or would not meet again – and then a friend asked her to help TG and so she agreed. 


Retiring Full Term

Michael Sakamoto (2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

Montreal born and raised Sansei. Upon graduation from McGill University, spent 5 wonderful years working in Africa. This was followed by a 32 year career with the federal government which included self-government and treaty negotiations. Now retired and enjoying lots of walking, golf and skiing.    

Chuichi Chris Nakahori (2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19) 

Born and raised in Japan. I moved to Canada in 1968 as a student. Received Immigrant status in 1970 and partnered in many businesses. Since 1999 I have been actively involved in Seaborn Enterprises. One of the hobbies I have been enjoying since 1973 is being part of the chorus group, “Sakura Singers” I was elected as one of their Directors last year.

Derek Imai (2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19)

Raised in Greenwood, BC, Derek grew up in a bi-cultural home with Steveston-born Nisei parents (dad was interned in Greenwood and mom stranded in Japan after Pearl Harbour). Derek was always interested in his Japanese heritage. His first encounter with Japan was at 19 when he spent 18 days at a danjiki dohjoh in the mountains of Nara. After graduating from UBC with a teaching degree he went to Gunma Prefecture to teach English. Enjoy Japanese culture and life he moved to Tokyo to study Japanese and work. After 3years living in the dynamic & energetic city he returned to Canada. Now teaching ESL and students with learning disabilities in Surrey, Derek has become a volunteer with Tonari Gumi to connect with the local Nikkei community.

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