Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall

Who We Are

The Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall (VJLS-JH) is a 115-year-old cultural organization located in Historic Powell Street dedicated to promoting Japanese language and Japanese Canadian culture and history to a diverse community of individuals and families.

We offer immersion childcare programs, weekly Japanese language lessons for students of all ages and backgrounds, as well as cultural programs like calligraphy.

In addition to our programs, we bring our community together through community and cultural events like Mochitsuki, Tanabata, the Powell Street Festival, and food Bazaars.

As a community space we host numerous Japanese Canadian community groups, including aikido martial arts, kendo, kyudo archery, and taicho drumming groups. We also provide important space for the local and broader community, hosting local non-profit and community groups including WePress which offers meals to individuals in the DTES.

Our site is the only building to have remained in the Japanese Canadian community’s ownership through the internment period, and we play an important role in remembering this tragic history and the pain it caused through the displacement and loss it caused.

As a National Historic Site we are committed to preserving this story and helping others learn from it through our programming and public exhibits.

Why We Are Involved

As an organization that serves a racialized cultural community that has experienced systemic racism, displacement, and dispossession, we believe that we have an important role to play in ensuring that this does not happen to other communities.

Inclusion and Belonging are therefore important values within our organization, and this extends to how we recruit our staff and the opportunities we can provide to community members through our programming.

At VJLS-JH we serve a growing number of neuro-diverse individuals and families, and we are working with our staff and community partners to update our processes, policies, and environments to be more inclusive and accessible for this community.

With the support of community partners and government funding, we have recruited two neuro-diverse staff which has helped provide internal advocacy and awareness of how we can support our employees and staff to feel included and able to participate in our community.

We are committed to continuing this learning as well as focusing on other dimensions of diversity where we have more to learn and improve.

Accessibility Initiatives

We are still new on our accessible employment journey and have not fully implemented a full initiative.