HomeAsian AmericansVancouver Chinatown stabbing victim identified as local chef

Vancouver Chinatown stabbing victim identified as local chef

The victim of a fatal stabbing in Vancouver’s Chinatown that occurred on Wednesday has recently been identified as Wataru Kakiuchi, a 32-year-old chef working at a Hapa Izakaya, a modern izakaya restaurant in Downtown Vancouver.

Vancouver’s mayor Ken Sim called Kakiuchi’s murder a “senseless act of violence,” that “has our city in shock and mourning,” in a statement released Thursday.

“He was a positive presence and a cherished friend to many. His contributions to our community will not be forgotten,” Sim said.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Kakiuchi immigrated to Canada in 2016 and began to work in restaurants. He went drinking with friends while on a break waiting for his work permit to be renewed the night he died. He was waiting for a ride near a friend’s apartment at Union Street when he was stabbed. Despite the efforts of first responders, Kakiuchi succumbed to his injuries.

The Consulate-General of Japan in Vancouver, Satomi Okagaki, who was contacted by police, confirmed that she had notified Kakiuchi’s family in Japan, about his passing, according to the Vancouver Sun. She told the Vancouver Sun that she was unable to make any further comments, but “was grateful for the sympathy that has been shown since his death.”

Since the announcement, both friends and family have taken their time to honor Kakiuchi, with a vigil for him being held on Thursday. Family, friends, and co-workers have described Kakiuchi as a positive person who got along with everyone, and whose warm personality uplifted those around him. In online tributes, friends reminisced jam sessions where he played rock on his guitar, staff meals at restaurants, and “pho on Broadway” at 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Kakiuchi’s friend and co-worker Yoshihiro Tanabe said that he couldn’t sleep after learning about his death, and is still trying to process it.

“He can make a good mood in the kitchen,” Tanabe told the Vancouver Sun through his wife, in an emotional interview. “Nice guy … so fun.”

Hapa Izakaya’s owner, Justin Ault told the CBC that the recent news felt like a “a kick in the stomach.”

“For some of the people in the kitchen, he was a real brother,”Ault added. “Words can’t describe how sad we are.”

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have not determined a motive for the killing, and no arrests have been made. Anybody with dash-cam video from the area recorded between midnight and 3:30 a.m., is urged to contact the VPD’s Homicide Unit at 604-7171-2500.

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