- Jujiro Wada passed away in San Diego
- 1937 (Showa 12)
- San Fransisco’s The Japanese – American Courier, publishes a weekly article, JU WADA AS I KNOW HIM, over three weeks in the month of June, depicting the life of Wada. Written by Frank Cotter.
- The daughter of Norio Mitsuoka, Noriko, living in California, on a summer school assignment about based historical Japanese figures, made an inquiry in the Fairbanks Daily News-miner of April 17. When looking into the stories of Jack London, she wants to know how much of reality is there, and she came to understand that Wada befriended Jack London. Now she asks the readers to help and send any information they might have on Wada. Also she made inquiries to a news reporter Robert De Armond in Alaska about Wada.
Ryozo Azuma (1889 – 1980) first mentioned his encounter with Wada in his book titled “Alaska; The Last Frontier” (Yama-kei Publishers co.,Ltd.). Following the book’s release, Azuma reached out to Toshio Wada to obtain documents and information on Wada.
- 1974 (Showa 49)
- Jiro Nitta contacts Azuma directly to request documents and information donated by Toshio Wada. Upon refusal by Azuma, Nitta wrote about Wada for Shosetsu Gendai titled “A God of manipulating dog sled” from freely available information.
- Josuke Yamaguchi (Director of Uwajima city Cultural asset Conservation Committee) and Yuji Tani (Author) begin research on Wada.
Uwajima, Ehime, born Jujiro Wada has been famous in the early development of Alaska as explorer. Please help us to know more about him and keep his memory alive. (By J. Yamaguchi)
About Jujiro Wada
Recently I received a New Year`s update from my second son. As a JOCV volunteer he was crossing a farming village in Morocco by motorcycle, engaged in visits for tuberculosis prevention in cattle.
In his letter, he recommended me to inform myself about Jujiro Wada, an Alaskan explorer, and he mentioned an article he left at home. Immediately I looked up the article Alaska: the final frontier by Ryozo Azuma, chairman of the National Park Association. There was a chapter Fairbanks and Wada the Japanese covering him in about 3 pages.
I quote e.g. “This Wada arrived in Alaska at the start of its development, spent his whole life in Alaska, and was a record-holding explorer of many unknown places.” and “At the time Jujiro Wada, was known to everyone.” He was active around 1900, and was a distinguished person as the founder Fairbanks. Starting from 1906, he spent 2 years exploring the Arctic parts of Alaska at the request of authorities. At his return a local newspaper run the editorial By any means, the government has to award Jujiro Wada. It reportedly accounted of the courage and achievements of this Japanese. According to the article, this Japanese by the name of Wada was born in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture. However, only Uwajima, is not enough of a clue. If anyone knows about him, please let us know. Let`s ensure this person is preserved in the records.
(by Josuke Yamaguchi / Nanyo Local Research Club)
Reaction to information request on Wada. Wada was not from Uwajima, but from Uchiko in Ehime.
Having read Azuma‘s book and Mr. Nitta`s article and being aware of the existence of the resources donated from Toshio Wada, they contact Mr. Nitta, assuming he has possession of the donated resources. Mr. Nitta, having been initially refused the resources from Azuma, recommended Tani attempt a second request, together with Toshio Wada, to contact Azuma for the resources. After successfully obtaining the resources from Azuma, Tani began writing an article; “Work of Jujiro Wada” for the Yama to Keikoku magazine.
The article how Josuke Yamaguchi and Yuji Tani started researching about Wada.
1975 (Showa 50)
Recently the spotlight is on Jujiro Wada, through books and magazines. It all started with a publication by J. Yamaguchi of the local historian of Uwajima, in the reader`s contribution column of the New Ehime, which rose interest in the explorations of Jujiro Wada.
The librarian D. Dunn of Fairbanks North Starborough to Yuji. Tani
- Found no info about Wada
- FW`d info RQ to the federal Office of Consular Services, State Dept. (Washington D.C.)
1978 (Showa 53)
To: Yuji Tani
Uchikocho, Kita-gun, Ehime
I`ve received your letter the other day. I understand your interest is for Jujiro Wada. Herewith I`ll let you know in short what has happened. The timeline as written by Jiro Nitta is as far as we know correct, but the family register has him recorded as the second son of Genhachiro.
I myself am the successor of the Wada family, by my grandfather, Jutaro, his elder brother. After Jujiro`s mother Setsu passed away, my father inherited the relics. Also thereafter Jujiro sent very passionate letters to Setsu. One or two years later the communication had faded out. This was around 1933 or 1934.
After the war, in 1955, the news of Jujiro`s lonely death in the Volunteer Hospital of Los Angeles in the year 1940 and about his burial in a shared grave, was received from Ryozo Azuma, Chairman of the Japan Animal Protection Association. Furthermore he told of his intention to write a novel for boys about the life of Jujiro and his respect for his dogs rather than for human (his own) life. He asked us to send material about this.
When everything would be successful, it was the plan to erect a bronze statue at his birth ground Matsuyama. (At the time nobody diagnosed the death, so precise time and place of death remain unknown.)
To: Yuji Tani
From Toshio Wada
Autumn has come, but noon temperatures are still a tormenting 30 degrees. I hope you are all the same? Please excuse me for not earlier replying to you.
First of all, I have happily received a copy of the book with a sign by the respected Jiro Nitta. About Ryozo Azuma, I`ve acted fast and written a letter requesting to send back the belongings and writings left behind, etc. He has sent them back in return. However, in about 1 in 5, the writing of Azuma is on it. Within shortly he “will categorize the remaining items himself and send them back.” I prefer to get it returned by mail or otherwise I hope he can finish the sorting in time before my visit to Tokyo, so I can take everything home complete and well.
I was planning to visit Tokyo September 14th, but as the company I`m running is building a small factory, I`d really love to visit Tokyo end of September, or beginning of October.
1979 (Showa 54)
- Ehime Newspaper put an article titled “King of explorers in Alaska is a man from Matsuyama” on February 17 to introduce Wada. Tani provides the Jujiro Wada resources to the Ehime newspaper who in turn begin a weekly feature on Jujiro Wada for the following 6 months.
1983 (Showa 58)
- Robert De Armond introduced Wada in the essay “This is my country” in the magazine “Alaska”.
1985 (Showa 60)
- As Wada’s death occured overseas, there was no official record of his death in Japan. Incedentally, the (then) Mayor of Matsuyama City, Mayor Tokio Nakamura, assumed (based on records stating he was an implausable 110 years old) and incorrectly admitted Wada’s death to the offical registry, due to extreme old age.
1992 (Heisei 4)
Silvia Kobayashi and Mitsuoka visited Japan for research and the exchange of information. It was at this visit that Yuji Tani learns about the American publications about Wada: “This is my country” (1983) by Robert DeArmond, and “JU・WADA・AS I KNOW HIM” (1937) written by Frank Cotter. Also the news was brought that Mitsuoka was able to find Wada’s death certificate (County of San Diego–Standard Certificate of Death #37-023109, filed March 11, 1937) and locate his grave at Mount Hope Cemetery in 1986.
It was a long and difficult journey, as Mitsuoka had to contact most of the major hospitals and graveyards in San Diego, with the help of the local Japanese-American Society. However, Wada’s grave no longer exists as it was removed due to construction at the cemetery.
1993 (Heisei 5)
To Sylvia Kobayashi From Alaska Historical Collections
- Found article “This is my country” (Alaska Magazine, March 1988)
In May Norio Mitsuoka visits Ehime from Seattle. A letter from Sylvia Kobayashi announces this visit. She has no luck yet finding Wada`s grave.
1994 (Heisei 6)
In April the historian of the tabasco company McIlhenny Co. writes to Y. Tani. He gives sources about the Alaska connection with the McIlhenny family, but has only one source mentioning him together with Wada. After Yuji Tani shared information about the possible relationship between the President of Tabasco, E.A. McIlhenny and Wada, Shane K. Bernard of Tabasco Archive started researching about the connection.
1995 (Heisei 7)
The Samurai Who Chased The Aurora, written by Yuji Tani, was published fromYama-kei Publishers co.,Ltd. This book was introduced by USTTA News and the Japanese office of Alaska State Tourism Agency. Ehime Newspaper serialized a column “A man who boomed Alaska” by Yuji Tani, which started on September 8 and last for 25 times. As a token of appreciation for the help received, the book was sent to the Yukon Archives.
1996 (Heisei 8)
Wada was introduced in an article by Fumiko Miyahara meant as a book review on the “The Samurai Who Chased The Aurora”, for a Canadian newspaper “Yukon News”.
Makes the Canadian and USA readers aware of the recent Japanese language publishing in 1995 of what she translated as A Samurai Who Mushes Through the Northern Lights by Yuji Tani.
She gives a short summary of Wada`s character. Her interest started when the author mailed a letter about his book to the Yukon Archives.
Yuji Tani gave a lecture on “A Samurai who runs through Aurora” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Yurakucho, Tokyo. 1997 (Heisei 9)A radio drama “A Samurai who became Aurora” produced by RNB, Nankai Broadcast Co., Ltd. received the Japan Private Broadcast Association Award for its radio entertainment section.1998 (Heisei10)RNB radio drama “A Samurai who became Aurora” was aired at a radio channel KJPN in Hawai’i.2003 (Heisei 15)A TV program “A Samurai of Aurora” on the life of Wada produced by Hokkaido Broadcast Company was aired at Ai TV in Ehime.2005 (Heisei 17)
1999 (Heisei 11)
Letter from Norman Kagan to Yuji Tani
First contact. He studies NWT and Yukon pioneers. He reports his findings about Wada and related pioneers and their historical whereabouts.
Through Fumiko Miyahara, Dr. Kagan receives the pictures Yuji Tani used for his book. This further raises his interest in Wada, especially the photograph of his daughter Himeko. In fact his interest 8 years later brought success, as Dr. Kagan located Himeko (Helen Siberia)`s offspring.
2000 (Heisei 12)
2006 (Heisei 18)
A descendant of Jujiro, Heather O’Hare visited Uchiko town.
July 22: Tani gave a lecture at Soga Community Hall.
November 6: A meeting was held to discuss the establishment of Wada’s monument at Hinode town Community Hall.
December 24: The second radio symposium of “Meiji person on top of the hill”, “Who is Jujiro Wada” was held.
2007 (Heisei 19)
February 6: At the Yukon Quest dog sled race, Lillian Nakamura Maguire of the Human Rights association, with support from Fumiko Miyahara and Fumihiko Torigai, held a pre-race event to promote awareness of Wada’s connection to the race.July 16 ~ August 1: An exhibition was held at the exhibition room in Matsuyama Castle ropeway building.
September 3: Jujiro Wada Memorial monument was built at the riverside park of Hinode town in Matsuyama and its unveiling ceremony was held.
September 12: The memorial exhibition was held at the Matsuyama City Community Center.
September 26: The first president of the Association Jiro Ueoka passed away.
2008 (Heisei 20)March 18 ~ 24: The memorial exhibition was held at the Uchiko community center, where 600 people visited in total in seven days.
August 8: RNB recreated the radio drama “A Samurai who became Aurora” into a program for planetarium show and ran its preview at the Cosmo theater in the City Community Center. It was released in public from the next day and had 1,400 audience in 21 days.
September 9 ~ 21: One of the grandsons of Jujiro’s elder brother Heitaro, Toshio Wada and some other members of the association visited North America to exchange ideas with some study groups of Wada in Whitehorse, Canada and in Fairbanks, Alaska in the U.S.
October 25 ~ 27: A Jujiro Wada researcher in Whitehorse, Canada, Torigai and his family visited Matsuyama and Uchiko.
November 20 ~ 24: An exhibition was held in Oda, Uchiko town, where 150 people in total visited in five days.
December 20: “Planetarium Christmas Concert” was held at the Cosmo Theater in the City Community Center. There were 200 people in the audience.
2009 (Heisei 21)
Takami Doi, Former municipal superintendent of the board of education became the second President of the association.
August 1 ~ 15: A memorial exhibition was held at the Sakanouenokumo Museum in Matsuyama with 3,000 people attending.
Keizo Funatsu, a musher in Alaska, having been a friend of the JWMA for quite some time, made his first official contribution to JWMA by conducting a radio symposium titled “Jujiro Wada, a man called king”, with Tani at the exhibition.
August 2: “See and know about the aurora and Alaska” was held at the City Community Center. 70 attended.
August 15: A concert was held by Fukujuso at the exhibition room. 100 attended.
October 7: Jujiro Wada Memorical Association (JWMA) was designated as a specified non-profit organization.
October 24 ~25: A memorial exhibition was held at the Hinode town Community Hall in Matsuyama. 100 attended.
2010 (Heisei 22)March 5 ~13: Four members including President Doi visited Alaska to trace the Jujiro’s footsteps and to promote friendship with Seward etc.
May 15: “Jujiro Wada Talk Show” was held at the open studio of Ehime CATV. Presenters were Kazuhiro Tanaka, RNB President who created the radio drama “A Samurai who became Aurora”, Kei Kono, Producer of Hokkaido Broadcasting Co. or HBC who created the document drama “A Samurai of Aurora”, Tokihiro Nakamura, Governor of Ehime. 70 attended.
May 30: A concert was held by Fukujuso. 100 attended.
September 12: A photo live was held by Alaska Photographer Norio Matsumoto who is from Matsuyama. 300 attended.
October 12: A ceremony was held at Soga elementary school to donate a DVD “A Samurai who became Aurora” to all municipal elementary schools.
October 26 ~ November 23: An exhibition was held at the “Sakanouenokumo Museum”. 10,000 visited totally.
October 28: A ceremony was held at Uchiko elementary school to donate the DVD to all elementary schools in the town.
November 14: The Jujiro Wada Symposium is held in Matsuyama city at the lecture room in the Ehime art museum. Shunichi Akasofu, a director emeritus of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska, was invited to speak at the Jujiro Wada Symposium. Akasofu, being in Matuyama at the time, was also invited to hold a science class of 80 students at the Cosmo Theater in the City Community Center alongside Toshiaki Taniguchi, Professor, Directer of the Research Center for Space and Cosmic Evolution in Ehime University, and Tanaka, President of RNB.
After hearing about Akasofu’s invitation to the Jujiro Wada Symposium in Matsuyama, Hiroyuki Matsuura, wanting to meet Akasofu, introduced himself to JWMA and was also invited as a guest speaker at the Jujiro Wada Symposium to talk about his time at a memorial event in Seward, Alaska, at which 90 people attended.
2011 (Heisei 23)January 23: Funatsu gave a speech at a lecture room in Ehime Prefectural Art Museum. 90 attended.
March 11: A comic to depict the life of Jujiro, “A Samurai who runs through Aurora~ A story of Jujiro Wada~” was produced by students in the Comic Creator department, Kawahara Gakuen school. 1000 copies were donated and distributed to all municipal elementary and junior high schools in Matsuyama city through the JWMA.
September, 2011 ~ February, 2012: “King Wada for science teachers. Nature school” was held at eleven schools in Ehime Prefecture as “Theme-oriented Partnership Promotion Program”.
December 11: A musical “Chasing The Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada ” was performed by Mikan Ichiza Playgroup (led by Setsuko Kaida) at Matsuyama citizen’s hall.
December 24: The same musical was performed at Uchikoza theater. 2,000 attended for those two performances in total.
2012(Heisei 24)January 30: the Twenty-seventh Alaska State Legislature honors the pionnering spirit and accomplishments of Jujiro Wada, makeing 110 years since he carried new of the Fairbanks gold strike to Dawson City (1902), and on the 75th anniversary of his death (1937). On be half of the Interior Delegation and as a member of the Twenty-seventh Alaska State Legislature, it is a honor to remember Jujiro Wada for his inspiring pioneer story.May 27: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the establishment of JWMA, a “Debrief meeting” was held at the City Community Center to look back the activities they have conducted and to consider the future activity,
International coordinator, Matsuura and Funatsu gave speeches. A mini performance by Mikan Ichiza Playgroup. 200 attended.
October 8: A supporting team was set up aiming at the performing at Botchan Theater. 50 supporters attended “The general meeting of Jujiro Wada supporting team” at Iyotetsu Kaikan.
November 17: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Jujiro Wada Memorial monument, “The fifth anniversary program of the establishment of Jujiro Wada Memorial monument” at Hinode town hall annex. Total 70 people including Former Governor Moriyuki Kato and his wife and members of Mikan Ichiza attended.
2013 (Heisei 25)January 13, 14: A musical “Chasing the Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada ” was performed at Botchan Theater in Toon city by Mikan Ichiza. The role of hero Jujiro Wada was taken over from Toshikazu Fujisaki to Shu Koito, Total 1,700 audience came in all three stages.
March 20~24:International coordinator Matsuura and the secretary of the association Mikio Ueoka visited Alaska holding DVD of the musical performed at Botchan Theater with subtitle attached and met members of Alaska Jujiro Wada Association.
September 16: “Alaska week” was held for three weeks hoping for the Alaska show of “Chasing The Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada” by Mikan Ichiza. The photo live show of Norio Matsumoto was presented on the first day at the lecture room in Ehime Prefectural Art Museum. 100 attended.
September 23 ~ 29: ◯ Jujiro Wada Alaska Photo exhibition was held at the Sakanouenokumo Museum. Not only the photos and news articles on the photo panels to introduce Wada’s life, but also magnificent landscape photographs of Alaska by Matsumoto and Michio Hoshino were exhibited.
◯ President of JWMA Alaska, Tonny Nakazawa visited Matsuyama with a request letter of Alaska performance as a feature of opening event for the photo exhibition. At the ceremony, a large panel “Go for Alaska” to promote the Alaska performance was unveiled.
A mini performance was also added. 70 attended.
◯ “Japan-US Friendship Alaska Performance Supporter group rally” was held at Iyotetsu Kaikan as an organization to support the realization of performance in Alaska. 80 attended.
October 6: Naoko Hoshino talk show, “A scenery I viewed with Michio Hoshino” was held at the lecture room in Ehime Prefectural Art Museum as a final event. 90 attended.
2014 (Heisei 26)April 29: The author of the book “A Samurai who runs through Aurora”, Tani passed away on November 25, 2013. An event “Memorial for Yuji Tani” was held at the Cosmo Hall in the City Community Center in order to condole him. 120 attended.
August 5: As the English version of a comic “Jujiro Wada Story” was donated by Kawahara Gakuen Design Art Technical School, its presenting ceremony was held in front of the Jujiro Wada memorial monument. 500 copies were printed and distributed to students and residents in Alaska.
August 24 ~ 31: The leader of Mikan Ichiza Playgroup, Setsuko Kaida, the stage manager, Toshio Nakamura, and the secretary of the association, Mikio Ueoka, observed the halls in Anchorage, Seward and Fairbanks and had a pre-award meeting with local staff assisted by Nakazawa and International coordinator Matsuura.
September 7: “Jujiro Wada Cup: Charity Golf Tournament” was held at the Eliair Golf course as part of the Alaska performance support project. 144 attended.
October 4: “Norio Matsumoto Alaska photo live x Gakujinzan” was held at the Camellia Hall in the City Community Center as a pre-event of Japan-US friendship Alaska performance. A collaboration concert by Gakujinzan and Kazunori Nakamura with a mini performance by Mikan Ichiza and a video show by Matsumoto at the back of the stage. 450 attended.
October 11: The Japan-US friendship Alaska performance rally was held in order to boost the motivation including local residents.
2015 (Heisei 27)April 28 ~ May 6: Japan-US friendship Alaska performance group was formed with Kato as the leader.
April 28: The departing ceremony was held with attendance of Ehime Governor Tokihiro Nakamura at Matsuyama airport. The group arrived in Anchorage by way of Haneda and Seattle airports.
April 29: An exchange event was held at Seward High School with citizens included. 300 attended.
April 30: At 10 A.M., Mikan Ichiza performed as a “Culture Exhibition” at the Performing arts Center in Anchorage, in which cultures of eight Asian countries were introduced. At noon, it gave a presentation at Well Fargo Bank. Then at 6 P.M., it attended the casting party with board members of Asian Alaskan Cultural Center which is the organizer of this event.
May 1: Fourteen members of Uchiko JWMA made a courtesy visit to Wasilla city.
The musical “Chasing The Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada from Japan” was performed by Mikan Ichiza at seven P.M. at the Performing arts Center. The number of audience was 1,700.
May 2: 33 members from Mikan Ichiza and nine of the train, total 42 people, left for Fairbanks. They visited the University of Alaska, the Pipeline, the Visitor Center etc.
May 3: An exchange event was held with the citizens at West Valley High School. 200 attended. They also met and exchanged ideas with a local square dance group.
May 4 ~ 6: Everyone returned home.
May 23, 24: The musical “Chasing The Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada from Japan” or “Thank you performance” (the last stage) was performed by Mikan Ichiza at the Matsuyama City Hall. The total number of audience was 2,000 in all three stages.
August 29: “Alaska performance debrief” was held at the lecture room in Ehime Prefectural Art Museum, where two TV programs, “A Samurai who led Alaska ~The story of Jujiro Wada and his mother~”, produced by RNB and “How nice★ The musical by Mikan Ichiza ‘Chasing The Aurora, The Samurai Musher, The Tale of Jujiro Wada from Japan’ ”, produced by Ehime CATV were shown in front of 100 audience. Also, the Alaska performance photo exhibition “A miracle of Alaska, Hiromi Hosokawa Photo exhibition” was held at the special exhibit space on the second floor of the Prefectural Art Museum in conjunction with the debriefing.
Kazuhiko Tanaka, President of RNB or Nankai Broadcast Co. became the third President of JWMA.
October 9 ~ November 4: Alaska performance photo exhibition, “The trace and miracle” was held at both Uchiko town Visiter Center and Uchiko Community Center. 1,500 attended in total.
2016 (Heisei 28)May : Jujiro Wada Memorial Monument is to be built in Seward, Alaska.
September 23 Jujiro Wada Statue was built at Railway Avenue in Seward and its unveiling ceremony was held.