Stephen D. Oikawa
For two decades, Stephen Oikawa's passion for Japanese Canadian culture has contributed to the growth of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Toronto's understanding of his community. General manager of access provisioning, southern Ontario, Bell Canada, Oikawa began teaching karate classes at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in 1974, becoming a member of its youth group. Over the last decade, he has been instrumental in the centre's growth, serving on numerous committees. From 1991-1993, he served as the centre's president. His insight and contributions, particularly during the last several years, played a significant role in the centre's decision to relocate to meet the demands of the Japanese Canadian community. In 1996, he was appointed as special advisor to the centre's board. Through his involvement with the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Engineer Oikawa was invited to be part of "Kids for Kobe", a relief fund created by concerned organizations and individuals following the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Oikawa's contribution to his community was recognized in 1993 when the Japanese foreign ministry selected him to tour the country for several weeks to experience the economic and cultural atmosphere first hand. Only one Japanese Canadian is chosen for this honour each year.