Welcome to KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony

Dear Friends and Community,

We are deeply saddened to share the news of our father, Tatsuo Kage’s passing.

After a slow but gradual decline in his health over the last couple of years, at the age of 86, he took his last breath peacefully on January 26th, 2022. He was surrounded by his family and close friends right to the very end, as we played drums and sang songs in ceremony. We are truly grateful for the kind gestures, prayers, support, and offers from everyone.

He was a humble and kind husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who found solitary pleasure in nature, downhill skiing for nearly 65 years, and fishing in the summer on the Sunshine Coast. He followed his values, engaged in all things he believed in and loved to do, including cooking Japanese cuisine.

Formerly a professor/lecturer in Tokyo, he also was a writer, author, translator, consultant for Japanese immigrants, an advocate for marginalised groups, and an activist who never hesitated to speak up for human rights.

We plan to hold a celebration of his life sometime this spring or summer with details to be announced at a later date. In preparation, we would greatly appreciate anyone willing to share stories, memories, or photographs of Tatsuo Kage to help us remember who he was and how he engaged in the community.

*To leave a message for the family, please scroll to the bottom of the page, type your message in the “comments” box and click the “submit” button. Once approved, the message will appear on this page.

Photos and stories can be sent to [email protected]

Condolence Messages

  1. Hisako Masaki

    06 April 2022 6 months ago

    Kage-san, it was wonderful to get to know you and your family.
    Thank you for everything.

  2. Masako Stillwell

    31 March 2022 6 months ago

    My earliest memory of Kage san is from the 1980s. We had no idea what to do with Mother Kinori Oka’s old books, some many years from Japan, which the family had kept all through displacement in an internment camp. We decided to ask Kage san for advice, and he kindly took the time to come to an elderly woman’s home to assist her. We followed his suggestion that we get in touch with Mr. Tsuneharu Gonnami of the Asian Library, University of BC to ask if they would like them, and her books found a home there. Our sad sympathies and best wishes to the Kage family from Peter and me, for their great loss.

  3. Millie Creighton, Prof at UBC

    02 March 2022 7 months ago

    When I heard Kage-san had passed from this life onto his next journey, I felt sad and at the same time thought, ‘
    “what a life well lived”. Kage-san was engaged in life’s diversity, in terms of people, and also in activities and creative outlets. He was an intellectual—devoted to scholarly research; he was a nature enthusiast—engaging with the great outdoors. I remember most his work on the JCCA Human Rights Committee, as one of the main organizers of the “Children of Intermarriage” events–workshops, lectures, and a filming of an “intermarried” family for a television special. My children were young then, so he garnered my family’s involvement, and it was exciting to see ourselves on TV. He aimed at understanding human rights in complicated and intersecting ways. The “Children of Intermarriage” events explored not just children but also adult offspring of such marriages. They also explored those not socially defined as minorities but tied in through their involvements as spouses or as raising their own children who were defined as minorities. His perspective brought into focus considering personhood and identities in larger contexts of community, connectedness, and interrelationships. I was glad to have known him, and to have been able to work with him on certain projects. He will be missed.

  4. Emiko Morita

    01 March 2022 7 months ago

    On behalf of Powell St Festival Society, I’m sending our condolences. Kage-san will be deeply missed. We’ll share this message and some photos from Tamio Wakayama’s archives in our upcoming e-news.

    Kage-san was a founding member of the Powell Street Festival, a stalwart defender of human rights, and a friend and mentor. He shared a friendly smile and intuitive understanding of justice that permeated his community work and helped set the tone at the festival.

    Long-time festival member Kathy Shimizu offers, “Kage-san always knew when action needed to be taken, and did so by collaborating with others in his unique, kind, gentle, thoughtful, caring, and level-headed way. When my tendency is to shy away from conflict, I think of Tatsuo’s calm but strong demeanour – always speaking up no matter how uncomfortable the situation might feel. He helped me see clearly that my discomfort did not matter and that conflict is just inherent in the struggle for justice. His courage and commitment will remain a big part of his legacy along with his many, many accomplishments.”

    We will forever hold Kage-san in our hearts and minds so his wisdom might guide us as we nurture Powell Street Festival and its community work.

  5. Tsuneharu Gonnami

    16 February 2022 8 months ago

    Feb. 12, 2022

    To Diane and Mariko Kage-san and all their family members,

    I regret very much to have heard from you that your beloved husband and father, Tatsuo Kage,, had passed away this past January. Please accept my deepest condolences to both of you and your family members for his departure.

    I admired him greatly as a scholar, a man, and a friend. I was an avid reader of his personal serial essay entitled
    Tatsuo’s Page, which was appearing in the Japanese-Canadian community Bulletin with his good humour, sometimes with his critical and cynical sences,, but most times with his warm spirit. I really missed this splendid chronicle. His contributions were many, always motivated by his desire to make this multi-cultural Canada a better place to live for the First Nation people, as well as all the other ethnic immigrants from every corner of
    the world.

    I sincerely pray for Kage-san”s peaceful sleep. Gassho (hands iin prayer)!

    Tsusneharu Gonnami

  6. Thekla Lit

    08 February 2022 8 months ago

    As I am looking at a 2003 group photo being placed on my desk, all memories about my encounters with Tatsuo over the last 25 years just keep flying back. In this photo Tatsuo was standing by my side, together with a “comfort woman” survivor from Korea, a germ warfare victim from China, the late author Iris Chang and a few others who were either organizers or speakers of the “Canadian Conference on Preventing Crimes Against Humanity: Lessons from the Asia Pacific War”.
    Tatsuo, as a staunch supporter of the redress movement for victims of atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese forces, you have been under great pressures from not only individuals within your own community but even from the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver. You have deeply impressed me with your extraordinary and unshakeable resilience in upholding the principle of human rights for all. You didn’t succumb to such pressure but kept continuing the work for justice and reconciliation.
    My recent experience of being criticized as anti-China (In fact, I only denounce the human rights violations committed by the CCP regime) by my own community due to my support for Hongkongers’ struggle for freedom and democracy has made me understand much better the impact of such pressure from one’s own community. Fortunately, I can look up to you as my role model when facing such challenges. Thank you, Tatsuo! May you rest in peace!

  7. Rita Wong

    05 February 2022 8 months ago

    Dear Kage family,

    This is a huge loss to all of us. I am so grateful for Kage-san’s dedicated work for social justice, community memory, and peace. I was always so happy to run into him and to learn from him. Please know that our love and prayers are with you in this time of grief and that Kage-san’s legacy lives on in the wisdom he shared so generously and kindly.

  8. Miyuki Nakamura

    03 February 2022 8 months ago

    Dear Mr. Kage,

    You showed us what is most important in life.
    You do not give in to abuse of power, but rather helped people overcome injustice with equality and love.
    We will never forget your spirit, and your work during your life will continue to affect future generations.
    I am deeply honored to have met you.
    May your departure from this life be with love and peace.
    Thank you very much,

    Miyuki Nakamura

  9. John Endo Greenaway

    02 February 2022 8 months ago

    When I became part of the Japanese Canadian community in the late seventies I learned the power of community, of being part of something bigger than myself or my family. It was a formative time, and one that helped shape the rest of my life. It was the first time I learned of the internment and of the community’s first steps towards working to heal from those broken years.

    I very suddenly met a great number of people, many of whom I still know to this day.

    One person I became aware of early on was a man everyone called Kage-san. For whatever reason, he was the only community member known by his last name. In fact, I didn’t even know he had a first name for many years. Even then, it took me many more years before I could bring myself to call him Tatsuo.

    When I took over editorship of The Bulletin in 1993, Tatsuo was on the Board of Directors of the JCCA, just one of the many organizations he was involved with. I came to know him as a gentle, soft-spoken man of deep convictions, who was never afraid to advocate for what he felt was right, despite what others thought. While this sometimes made him unpopular in some circles, I believe he earned a great deal of respect for the strength of his convictions.

    As one of the few shin-ijusha (post-war immigrants) involved in the Redress movement and the post-war drive towards a renewed community, Tatsuo shouldered a heavy load, advocating for Japanese-speakers, including those who had been deported to war-torn Japan after the war.

    There were few important community events over the years where Tatsuo wasn’t in attendance, few social justice causes where he didn’t lend his support, including the fight of Korean comfort women for recognition and redress.

    On behalf of The Bulletin-Geppo, I send my deepest condolences to the Kage family, who cared for Tatsuo over the last few years and saw him off on January 26 at the age of 86. His legacy is important and lasting.

    Rest in peace, Kage-san.

  10. Addena Sumter-Freitag

    02 February 2022 8 months ago

    Kage, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father, Tatsuo Kage. I am sending you, and your family, my love and condolences hoping that these sentiments will help soothe you all as you grieve his passing.
    I never had the pleasure or the opportunity to meet your father Tatsuo Kage in person, but I have read about his life, his amazing accomplishments , and his work as an Educator and Human Rights Activist. You must be so proud of him and his legacy.

  11. David McIntosh

    02 February 2022 8 months ago

    Heartfelt condolences to Diane and all of Tatsuo’s family. May your sorrow give way to new joys as you remember Tatsuo in the faces, stories and relations that he leaves with us.
    It was a joy and privilege to know him, mainly through the JCCA Human Rights Committee and the Vancouver Article 9 group. I will always remember Tatsuo’s passion for justice, peace and proper history, his ever-calm, ever-wise voice, and the warmth of his person and home. Thank you for the gift of you, Tatsuo!

  12. Jordan Stanger-Ross

    01 February 2022 8 months ago

    Tatsuo was an inspiration to so many of us. I did not get the chance to know him well, but I am one of many beneficiaries of his generosity and support. I hope my ongoing research continues his legacy justice to generous spirit. I’m thankful to Tatsuo, Mariko, and the Kage family.

  13. Dan Pon

    01 February 2022 8 months ago

    Condolences and healing thoughts to the Kage Family. I had the good fortune to meet Tatsuo later in his life and was struck by his generosity and humility in sharing stories and photos from a life lived fully with so much purpose, joy, and wisdom. May his spirit soar and his memory live on in the many communities he touched.

  14. Bonnie Soon

    01 February 2022 8 months ago

    I am sorry for the loss of your father. I admired the open and welcoming nature of Mr. and Mrs. Kage when happening by their home. They were in full support of all their children’s activities in life and active in making our community better for all. l saw them as wonderful people to have as parents and am grateful that Mr. Kage shared so much of his life with his family. Love and Peace.

  15. Lily Shinde

    31 January 2022 8 months ago

    My deepest and sincere condolences to Diane, Kage, Mariko, Alissa and Kenji and all his grandchildren! I had the honour of being on the Human Rights Committee with Tatsuo and know how much he contributed to the Japanese Canadian community and beyond. He was a mentor, an educator, a respected social justice and political activist who I respected and was fortunate to learn from his wisdom and vast knowledge which he shares generously. His passion for social justice and anti-racism work will live through his children who continue to carry his legacy. Thank you, Tatsuo, I will try to practise some of the teachings I learned from you

  16. John Price and Margaret McGregor

    31 January 2022 8 months ago

    Tatsuo Kage was an activist, a friend and a mentor and we miss him deeply. Our prayers go with him and to Diane, Mariko and the rest of the family who eased his passage into the spirit world.

  17. Cat Renay

    31 January 2022 8 months ago

    We are very sorry to hear of Mr Kage’s passing. The community has lost an amazing & compassionate person. Our condolences to the entire Kage family.
    Cat & Lisa

  18. Rain Daniels

    31 January 2022 8 months ago

    My deepest condolences to the Kage family. May you find strength to carry you through your loss. May you also find peace in your memories of Tatsuo. He clearly touched many people’s lives. Thinking of you.

  19. Stan Kirk

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    I was deeply saddened by the news of Tatsuo’s passing although I knew for some time that he was in failing health. He was not only an inspiration to my research on life histories of Japanese Canadian exiles through his writings, but also continuously encouraged and supported my research efforts, patiently reading drafts of my papers and offering feedback. During my research sabbatical in Vancouver several years ago I was able to meet him in person for the first time and was surprised by his warmth, and patience, hospitality, and willingness to help in any way he could. He will be deeply missed by me and I’m sure by many others who have similar memories of him.

  20. Paul and Koko

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    We are sad to hear of Kage-San’s death. We always remember his kind smile and actions, and his deep thinking.

  21. Kathy Atkins

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    Dear Kage, and Alisa, I am so very sorry you have lost your beloved Father, Tatsuo. Your strong family ties will be invaluable in bouying you through the grief and sadness of your loss, now and in the years ahead where your Dad’s absence will be felt. Holding you, and your whole family, in my heart, with prayers and love.

  22. Hisako Hayashi

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    Kage san was a very kind and knowledgable person I met through Tonari Gumi. May your soul rest in peace. We greatly miss him, but do practice his sprit of advocating human rights!

  23. Maryka Omatsu

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    I was saddened to hear of the death of Tatsuo Kage. He was a pillar in the Vancouver Japanese Canadian community. I greatly respected his steadfast support for human rights and commitment to the welfare and betterment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Canadians. He was a kind and generous man and will be greatly missed.

    My sincere condolences to the family.

  24. Yuki Okada

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    I had the pleasure of working with Tatsuo through NAJA’s Immigration Committee and Human Rights Committee. He showed me what it means to be part of Canadian society and to be a Japanese Canadian by example. He was a great guide in my life. Thank you, Kage-san. Rest in peace. My heart goes out to his family members.

  25. Lorene Oikawa

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    We haven’t been able to gather (to keep everyone safe during this COVID-19 pandemic) so I miss meeting up with Tatsuo at events. I have so many memories especially of my time when I was president of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association and chair of the Human Rights Committee. Tatsuo was a valuable member of the committee and in fact, he was responsible for the creation of the Human Rights Committee in the early 1990s. He contributed to so many projects like the production of the Human Rights Guide and the Honouring Our People book. He helped with the ijusha (post Second World War immigrants) perspective and organizing workshops and helped with our needs for English-Japanese translation. I also remember his work to help prepare the display for the GVJCCA booth at Powell Street Festival and sitting together at the booth during a shift answering questions of people stopping by. He answered the Japanese questions and I answered the English questions.

    He was also active on a national level. In the 1980s he participated in the Redress movement and was appointed a co-ordinator with the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) Redress Implementation Program and assisted applicants. He became a director on the National Executive Board of the NAJC and was the chair of both, the Immigration Committee and Human Rights Committee. In recognition of all his contributions, he was appointed to the NAJC National Honorary Advisory Council.

    Thank you to Tatsuo’s family for sharing him with us. He will not be forgotten and he will live on in your hearts.

    My thoughts are with you, and on behalf of the National Executive Board of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, our heartfelt condolences.

    Lorene Oikawa, President, National Association of Japanese Canadians

  26. David Khang

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    I have never met Tatsuo, but I KNOW Tatsuo who lives on in and through Kage. I find it curiously easy, as well as compelling to imagine what he is like through those whom he has left behind in this life. I remember my mother’s friends who have never met me before, say “Ahh! You are Sunny’s son!” and immediately trust me, not because of what I have done, but because of who my mother was. I trust that Kage will always reflect Tatsuo in some way going forward. Thinking of you and your family.

  27. Emiko Lashin

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    Tatsuo san is someone I have known for many years. I used to be concerned about his health but he would inevitably keep showing up in the most unusual places, whether it was on a ski hill or at a dance and at many of the meetings I used to attend. I thought he would live forever! So it is with shock and dismay that I hear of his passing. He was such a wonderful man! He will be missed by many.
    With much sadness but with many loving memories, Emiko Lashin

  28. Barbara

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    My condolence to all the Kage family and close friends.

  29. Aseefa Merali

    30 January 2022 8 months ago

    Dear Kage,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s transition. Please accept my heartfelt condolences and I’m holding you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your father sounds like he was a remarkable man. Please take comfort in the joyful memories that you shared with him, and in the love and support of your family. I’ll leave you with a Ugandan proverb that states “Even the mighty eagle comes down to the tree tops to rest”. May his spirit soar, Ameen. With much warmth and sympathy, Aseefa 🙏🏼🌷❤

  30. Prof. Henry Yu, UBC

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Our family is so sorry to hear about Kage-san’s passing. I had the honour of working alongside him in 2007 to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1907 anti-Asian riots. I got to know Tatsuo well through that year long process, as well as other causes in the years afterward, and was always struck by his courage, integrity, and humane generousity. He lived by his principles, and treated others with the care and humour and I never saw him use the extraordinary sharpness of his intelligence to wound, but rather to dissect and clarify what needed to be done. He often used his sense of humour to expose what was ludicrous, poking fun at hypocrisy but always in hope of changing society for the better. His academic fluency in both Japanese and English was so important to help guide us and to create resources in both languages that we otherwise could not create. He was always kind to me and quietly gave sage advice to help navigate difficult situations. He has left a giant mark on many in his time with us, and I am grateful along with many others for the privilege of having known him.

  31. Imtiaz Popat

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    I knew Tasuo Kage as a community organizer. He worked hard for the Japanese and well as the larger Asian Canaduan community. His work and legacy will be remembered. Sending healing prayers to the family.

  32. Patsy George

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Dear Diane and family, I am so sorry to hear of your beloved husband and father, someone I admired for many years. He stood for and worked hard for justice and fairness, influenced many of us to take public positions on many issues. He will be missed. My thoughts are with you.

  33. Phoenix Two Spirit

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Prayers up for all those left behind to mourn his crossing. May the loving memories of him comfort you in your grief.

  34. Kelly White

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Honour to have met him. Prayers for familys, friends in mourning. Highest honours, respects to supports for family in grief. All my relations…

  35. Glena Thevarge

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Condolences to my nephew’s on the loss of their Grandfather. I had the chance to meet him but once, found him to be very polite. So I’m sending prayers for the families. Loves and hugs to you all.

  36. Rosalin Edmonds

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    the Creator has gained a wonderful man to walk with him.. Tatsuo will not be forgotten.. sending love to Diane and to all the children and grandchildren.. RISP.. Rosalin and Daniel Edmonds

  37. sharon olsen

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    love to the Kage Family from an old family friend

  38. Gail Kreiser Leech

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    My Condolences to the family and prayers for the departed for Tatsuo on his journey!!
    He made such a large imprint on the world and advocated for many people and cultures such a good thing to read in the what was shared last week on his life’s journey.
    There is a lot more healing, awareness and understanding now and for the next generations.
    Thank you for sharing:)
    Gail Kreiser Leech

  39. Marlene Hale

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    To the family of Tatsuo Kage, I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. Please accept my condolences and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help during this difficult time. …
    You were blessed to have a father so special and caring. His memory will live forever in our hearts and in the Japanese community of Powell Street. His heart was in that area.
    My sincere condolences to your mother. and family!

  40. Ellen Woodsworth

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Dear friends,

    I am sending my heartfelt condolences at the passing of your husband, father and grandfather, a dear friend and mentor to so many. He was such a loving, sensitive, principled man, so important in the fight against racism, social injustice, imperialism and war. My father considered him a special friend. I considered him a teacher, friend and ally as we fought together in the Save Article 9 campaign. We last spoke briefly and affectionately in an anti asian racism webinar. His legacy will go. I hope we can work together to commemorate his work and values. My deep affection, Ellen

  41. Ema Alicia Oropeza

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    My condolences to the Kage family and wishing that all the loving memories of such an accomplished human being keep your heart warm while you mourn his passing away.

  42. Bonnie McDonald

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    I am so sorry to hear this! Please accept my deepest condolences!

  43. Haruko Okano

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    Grief never really leaves but time tempers it. My heart is with all of your kin.
    With love,

  44. Haruko Okano

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    My heartfelt condolences for the passing of Tatsuo. He was an amazing role model of putting advocacy and human rights as a behaviour that is not about the “I” in the doing. His humble continued support of those less
    privileged in this society is a path of ethics in action. It is so different than the Do as I Say and truly was Do as I Do. It has remained one of the main ways I differentiate from between the “Talk” and the “Walk”. I hope to see you on the other side Tatsuo. My heart is with all of his family.

  45. Noriko Kobayashi

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    I am saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Tatsuo Kage. My heart goes out to his wife Diane and adult children Mariko, Alisa, Eileen, and Kenji and his many grandchildren. I am sending my condolences and prayers, and I hope you all can find solace in the days ahead.

  46. merle addison

    29 January 2022 8 months ago

    I didn’t know your father, but I recognize his face. Eileen lives in the co-op. As i said I didn’t know him but I can see his qualities reflected. His memory lives on in his children; as it should be. My sympathies to all.

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