It is a tremendous honour for a couple of members of the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill to be bestowed as the winner of the 2020 District 7070 Wilf Wilkinson Peace Award. James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama joined Rotary in 2001. For close to twenty years, the couple took on many charitable and humanitarian projects in Toronto and abroad, helping the vulnerable youth and the environment. Their selfless efforts have set a leading example for Rotarians and citizens to emulate.
Here are some of the work they have taken on and completed as narrated by James and Chako:
  1. Landmine Effort
The first fundraising activity since becoming members of the Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill in 2001, we offered our home for fundraising activities for the eradication of landmines in the world. This donation of $10,000 was made to the Association of Landmine Eradication of Canada. In 2002 the same effort continued for Cambodia and Mozambique.
  1. Princess Takamodo Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum
In 2004-2006 Princess Takamado of Japan came to support the Prince Takamado Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum. The fundraising dinners were organized at our home, European night, Mexican Night etc., with the cooperation of the respective Counsel General’s offices in Toronto and raised $50 000 to donate to The Royal Ontario Museum.
  1. Fukushima Tohoku University Scholarship Fund
In 2011, $50 000 was Raised for Tohoku University, Fukushima Japan for their scholarship fund through a fundraising party at The Japanese Canadian Cultural Center with about 200 guests.
  1. Support our Kids Program
Invitations of 10 Tsunami affected children of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami disasters (2011.3.11) to Toronto to experience the Canadian way of life through cultural and friendship exchange and through homestay programs, camping and English language studies with Canadian children.
The children are now grown up and many are leading important roles in their communities and helping other Tsunami victims. Once helped by others’ kindness, they now are able to help others from their mature positions. We believe this is the Rotary spirit exemplified. We learned from our experiences through the activities of Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill.
  1. Sagamihara Partnership
In 2013 the mayor of Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Japan nominated Chako and James to be Special Advisors in Toronto to strengthen the friendship relationship between the city of Sagamihara and Toronto.
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  1. Sakura Project
In the year 2000, the Counsel General of Japan in Toronto Mr. Satoshi Hara organized “Access Japan 2000” to introduce Japanese culture and tradition to Canadian society. Chako and I started as Founding members of “Sakura Project” which has planted 3000 Sakura Trees all over Ontario, in schools, universities, churches, municipalities, hospital and park areas, etc. After this project finished in 2010, we have decided to plant more Sakura (Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees) in our communities. “Toronto Sakura Project” was established to let the Canadian people know about the symbol of Japan. The Sakura blossom is the symbol of friendship and peace.
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c) Toronto: In 2017 we donated and planted Sakura Trees at Woodbine Park in Toronto.
d) Markham: In 2018, Sakura tree planting in the City of Markham.
e) Chatham: In 2018, Sakura planting was organized at Chatham, Kent, Ontario.
f) Holland Bloorview Children Rehabilitation Hospital: In 2019, planting ceremony at Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital with the cooperation of the R.C.T.F.H. with 7 SOK kids from Japan in attendance.
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  1. Scholarship Fund with Prime Mentor of Canada: In 2010 -2020 James Moto Scholarship Fund with the Prime Mentor of Canada was established to support special kids with talent who were overlooked by society.
  2. Award from the Emperor of Japan: In 2013, James Matsumoto received “Kyokujitsu Tanko Sho” (The Order of Rising Sun Silver Ray Award) an Honorable award for his dedication to society. This award was presented by the Emperor of Japan.
  3. Award from the Counsel General of Japan: In 2019 Chako received a special award “Sou-ryoji Hyosho” from the Counsel General of Japan in Toronto, Ms. Takako Ito, for her dedication to the community.
  4. Japanese Speech Contest: Chako and James supported “The Japanese Speech Contest” through Shinkikai -The association of Japanese Canadian Businesses and Professionals, Showflex Intl. Co. Ltd. and James Moto Enterprises Co. Ltd.
  5. Support Our Kids Toronto: Presently Chako is the President of “Support Our Kids Program”, “Toronto Sakura Project”, and “Sagamihara Friendship Society in Toronto”. Chako also started the Shinki-kai Scholarship Fund for sending a Canadian Student to Sagamihara city as a Friendship Ambassador.
  6. Award from the Governor of Mie Prefecture: Chako is the president of Mie Prefrecture Society in Toronto. She was nominated to this position by the Governor of Mie Prefecture of Japan for 3 years.
  7. Youth Link: In 2019, We opened our home for the benefit of “Youth Link” a shelter and community centre for homeless young people.
  8. Here are some of the activities we established since 2000 to now. We are very sorry that due to COVID19 Pandemic, our activities are very much limited. We very much appreciate the continuous effort all the members of Rotary Club Toronto Forest Hill embrace, to usher the Rotary Spirit to support many charitable organizations in Toronto. Chako and I learned tremendously about how to serve the world through Rotary’s good spirit of kindness and generosity.