75th Anniversary Book Launch

Please join us to celebrate recent Japanese Canadian publications.

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, Ellipse Lobby

Guest speakers:
Jordan Stanger-Ross
Sherri Kajiwara
John Endo Greenaway
Linda Kawamoto Reid
Keiko Miyamatsu-Saunders
Ann-Lee & Gordon Switzer

Presentations followed by book signing and refreshments
Free event



Chronicling The Expulsion Of The Japanese Canadians From The West Coast 1942-1949

Written by John Endo Greenaway, Linda Kawamoto Reid, Fumiko Greenaway

Published by the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, September 2017

In 1942, over 22,000 Japanese Canadians, many of them Canadian-born or naturalized citizens, were labelled enemy aliens, forcibly rounded up, and processed through the cattle barns of Hastings Park before being shipped to road camps, internment camps in the interior of BC, sugar beet farms in Alberta and Manitoma, and POW camps in Ontario. They were not permitted to return to the west coast until 1949, three years after the war ended.

Using archival photos, the memories of survivors, recipes from the camps, artefacts, and poetry – tanka and haiku – the book presents a multi-dimensional portrait of a people forced from their homes and scattered across a country that did not want them.

Woven through the book are the voices of the sansei and yonsei – the third and fourth generations – offering echoes of those years that continue to resonate long after the last camp was closed down.

John Endo Greenaway is a graphic designer, taiko drummer composer, and editor of The Bulletin: a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history + culture.

Linda Kawamoto Reid is Research Archivist at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.


Witness to Loss – Race, Culpability, and Memory in the Dispossession of Japanese Canadians

Edited by Jordan Stanger-Ross and Pamela Sugiman

McGill-Queen’s University Press, October 2017

When the federal government uprooted and interned Japanese Canadians en masse in 1942, Kishizo Kimura saw his life upended along with tens of thousands of others. But his story is also unique: as a member of two controversial committees that oversaw the forced sale of the property of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver during the Second World War, Kimura participated in the dispossession of his own community.

In Witness to Loss Kimura’s previously unknown memoir – written in the last years of his life – is translated from Japanese to English and published for the first time. This remarkable document chronicles a history of racism in British Columbia, describes the activities of the committees on which Kimura served, and seeks to defend his actions. Diverse reflections of leading historians, sociologists, and a community activist and educator who lived through this history give context to the memoir, inviting readers to grapple with a rich and contentious past. More complex than just hero or villain, oppressor or victim, Kimura raises important questions about the meaning of resistance and collaboration and the constraints faced by an entire generation.

Illuminating the difficult, even impossible, circumstances that confronted the victims of racist state action in the mid-twentieth century, Witness to Loss reminds us that the challenge of understanding is greater than that of judgment.

JORDAN STANGER-ROSS is associate profession of history at the University of Victoria and director of the Landscapes of Injustice project.

PAMELA SUGIMAN is professor of sociology and dean of arts at Ryerson University and the chair of the Oral History Cluster of the Landscapes of Injustice project.

The Tree Trunk Can Be My Pillow – The Biography of an Outstanding Japanese Canadian

Written by Tadashi Jack Kagetsu

University of Victoria Press, November 2017

This book is a son’s tribute to his father, delivered to readers after the death of both. As Jack Kagetsu laboured for a decade on his manuscript, travelling to archives, combing newspaper articles, and organizing his findings as well as his memories into writing, he must have felt that he was discovering parts of himself as well as his father. It is a very personal history. The book also has communal resonance for Japanese Canadians. It reflects reverence for elders and speaks to the accomplishments and losses of a generation of immigrant founders, the Issei. In the case of Eikichi Kagetsu both accomplishment and loss were of staggering proportions; perhaps no one else built so much, only to see it stolen in the mid-twentieth century odyssey of Japanese Canadians.

TADASHI (JACK) KAGETSU (1931-2006) was the youngest son of “outstanding Japanese Canadian” and prominent Nikkei timber industrialist Eikichi Kagetsu. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1957. He went on to an accomplished career in the United States with the Union Carbide Corporation, where he received two patents for technical innovation. He was also a chess master – as a university student, he defeated a Russian grandmaster as well as a US and former world champion.


カナダの日系史「Gateway to Promise – Canada’s First Japanese Community (2012年初版、2017年改訂版)」の日本語版



サンダース宮松敬子 1973年よりカナダに居住。日本経済新聞社トロント支局に10年間勤務後、フリーランスとしてカナダの事象を多方面に書き続けており、トロント、バンクーバー、ビクトリアの日系関連出版物にコラムを持ち寄稿。著書に実母の22年間に及ぶカナダ移住体験を綴った「カナダ生き生き老い暮らし」(集英社)、「カナダのセクシュアル・マイノリティたち:人権を求め続けて」(教育資料出版会)、「日本人の国際結婚:カナダからの報告」(彩流社)がある。ビクトリア日系文化協会会員。

New Japanese translation of

Gateway to Promise – Canada’s First Japanese Community

Written by Ann-Lee & Gordon Switzer

Originally published in English in April 2012, revised in 2017.

Translated into Japanese by team of translators lead by Keiko Miyamatsu-Saunders in 2017.

The Gateway to Promise was awarded the second place in historical writing by the BC Historical Society in 2013.

For the first time, the history of Canada’s pioneer Japanese community is recounted, beginning in the mid-1880s. Victoria, British Columbia was the “Gateway to Promise” for the Japanese immigrants. This book begins with the earliest races of Japanese presence on the Coast, then goes on to the first recorded visits of the Japanese to Victoria, and eventual settlement-in the first seven chapters. Tragically, the entire Japanese Canadian community of Victoria was exiled to the interior of B.C. in 1942, after Japan entered the Second World War with an attack on Hong Kong.

In the book’s mid-section, specific topics of that history are dealt with in more detail: the Japanese Church, the farms, sports, and more. The last section consists of memoirs of the some of the survivors: their youthful days in Victoria and their families. Here is a book which can be picked up  at any point. Do you enjoy stories about people? Read the third section. Detailed history? Choose from the Section Two. Or for an overview start with the First Section.

396 pages, over 200 historic photos, paperbound.

ANN-LEE SWITZER is a historian and writer with an interest in the Japanese Canadian experience; as well she has a long-standing affection for Emily Carr. In 2007 she published This and That, the Lost Stories of Emily Carr (Touchwood Editions). A regular writer for the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s Nikkei Forum, she has also contributed articles to Nikkei Images and Nikkei Voice. She and Gordon Switzer produced a booklet, Gathering Our Heritage (about seaweed harvest) in 2006. They live in Victoria, British Columbia.

GORDON SWITZER is a historian, writer and editor who grew up in Japan from the age of three. He returned to North America after attending a year at I.C.U. in Tokyo. A long-time student of Zen Buddhism, he recently published Zen Within the Tao Te Ching. He and Ann-Lee have been members of the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society since 2001. Their most recent work is Sakura in Stone: Victoria’s Japanese Legacy. Last year both of them travelled to Japan and visited Kuchinotsu, Manzo Nagano’s home town in Nagasaki prefecture, in search of early documents.