Research on Japanese Canadians: What are the Challenges? What are the Possibilities?

Panel Discussion
Free admission
Saturday, November 2, 2013
This is a free event but please RSVP to jcnm[@] so we can prepare enough chairs.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the redress settlement of September 22, 1988, the Nikkei National Museum with Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities and the Asian Canadian Studies Society is pleased to sponsor a panel discussion of eminent scholars who have made significant contributions to the growing body of research on Japanese Canadians.

What research is currently being done on or with Japanese Canadians? How has the politics of representation changed since the redress settlement? What kinds of theoretical frameworks and critical approaches are relevant for the study of Japanese Canadians? What directions can research take in the future?

Moderator: Roy Miki, Professor Emeritus, English, Simon Fraser University

Audrey Kobayashi, Professor, Geography, Queen’s University
Jeff Masuda, Associate Professor, Geography, University of Manitoba
Kirsten Emiko McAllister, Associate Professor, Communication, Simon Fraser University
Mona Oikawa, Associate Professor, Equity Studies, York University
John Price, Professor, History, University of Victoria



more following the panel discussion

– A book launch of Dr. Mona Oikawa’s Cartographies of Violence: Japanese Canadian Women, Memory, and the Subjects of Internment (2012)

– A reception for the exhibit A Call for Justice. 5:00-6:30pm. Remarks at 5:30pm

– Opening of the Nikkei National Museum Resource Centre.

Roy Miki 150Roy Miki, Professor Emeritus in the English Department at Simon Fraser University, has published widely on contemporary Canadian literature. He is the author of several books, including Justice in Our Time: The Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement (co-authored with Cassandra Kobayashi) (Talonbooks 1991) and Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for Justice (Raincoast 2004), as well as five books of poems. His third book of poems, Surrender (Mercury Press 2001), received the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. He is also the editor of two works by Roy Kiyooka: Pacific Windows: The Collected Poems of Roy K. Kiyooka (Talonbooks 1997), which received the poetry book award from the Association for Asian American Studies, and The Artist and the Moose: A Fable of Forget (LineBooks 2009). His most recent books are Mannequin Rising (New Star 2011), a series of poems and photo collages that probe the internal effects of commodity culture, and In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing (NeWest 2011), an essay collection. He received the Order of Canada in 2006 and the Order of British Columbia in 2009.

Audrey Kobayashi
A native of British Columbia, she completed a B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) at the University of British Columbia, and a PhD (1983) at UCLA. She spent two years in Japan as a graduate fellow studying the impact of emigration to Canada, and subsequently has conducted extensive research on the historical geographies of Japanese Canadians, including in-depth study of the development of Powell Street. She was a member of the negotiating committee for the 1988 Redress Settlement, an experience that shifted her work to address more directly questions of racism, human rights, violence, and oppression. She taught in Geography and East Asian Studies at McGill University from 1983 to 1994, then moved to Queen’s, initially as Director of the Institute of Women’s Studies (1994 to 1999) and thereafter as Professor of Geography. She has been a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, University College London and Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand, and in 1994 was a Fulbright Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Other positions include President of the Canadian Association of Geographers (1999-2001), and President of the Association of American Geographers (2011-2012).  In 2011 she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada.

MasudaJeff Masuda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator. Jeff’s program of research is focused on developing innovative methodologies that incorporate art, technology, and dialogue to uncover deeply entrenched societal injustices and working at individual, community, and policy levels to address them. For the past six years, much of Jeff’s emphasis has been to work closely alongside community organizations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood to bring increased attention to the root causes of social and health inequities experienced by this community’s inhabitants. In his current work, Jeff is strengthening connections between local and national Japanese Canadian human rights leadership with Downtown Eastside community advocates, with the aim of investigating the historical antecedents behind the contemporary “dispossession” taking place in this rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood. Much of this work is motivated by the stark historical parallels between past and present-day experiences of racialization, displacement, and social exclusion and is inspired by Jeff’s desire to honour the Japanese Canadian legacy of human rights achievement in the 20th century.

Kirsten McAllister Kirsten Emiko McAllister is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. She grew up in Nanaimo, British Columbia where her Nisei mother (Nakashima) and Scottish Canadian father moved after they met at UBC in the 1950s. When she moved to Vancouver to study at SFU she became involved in Japanese Canadian community projects, including the JCCA oral history project. She then left BC to pursue her Ph.D. at Carleton in Ottawa and post doctoral studies at Lancaster University in England. Since her return to Vancouver in 2003 she has worked with Japanese Canadian artists, activists and researchers to organize symposiums, panel discussions and given public lectures on memory and human rights violations. Her book, Terrain of Memory: A Japanese Canadian Memorial Project (2010) tells the story of the Japanese Canadian elders who built a memorial in New Denver, British Columbia, to transform a site of political violence into a space for remembrance that has contributed to building relations across social and intergenerational divides. She has also published research on the photographic records of internment camps made by Japanese Canadians internees, including a chapter in her co-edited book, Locating Memory: Photographic Acts (2006). To explore how persecution and displacement affect communities today, she has researched the inclusion and exclusion of asylum seekers in the UK and most recently, she started a project on experimental Asian Canadian artists like Midi Onodera and Cindy Mochizuki who investigate the flow of diasporic memories of loss and persecution in a global era.

mona oikawaMona Oikawa is Associate Professor in the Multicultural and Indigenous Studies Program in the Department of Equity Studies at York University. She is appointed to three graduate programs at York University: Social and Political Thought; Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies; and Communication and Culture. She is also affiliated with the York University Centre for Asian Research.
Mona is Research Coordinator for the Department of Equity Studies and is a member of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Research Coordinators’ Group. She is also a member of the Department of Equity Studies Research Committee and the Race Equity Caucus of the York University Faculty Association. Mona’s book, Cartographies of Violence: Japanese Canadian Women, Memory and the Subjects of the Internment, was published in 2012 by University of Toronto Press. She is a collaborator on a Social Science Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)- funded partnership development grant, Building and Mobilizing Knowledge on Race and Colonialism in Canada. She is currently completing a SSHRC-funded research project on the relationship of Japanese Canadians to Canadian settler colonialism. Mona is also a published poet. Mona worked in the redress movement in Toronto from 1985 to 1988. She was involved in community organizing for over twenty years.

john priceJohn Price teaches Japanese and Asian Canadian history at the University of Victoria. He moved to Japan at the age of 18. After returning to Canada he did his graduate work at U.B.C. and his dissertation was published by Cornell University Press under the title Japan Works: Power and Paradox in Postwar Industrial Relations. Beginning around the year 2000 he began to broaden his research interests to Canada-East Asian relations and this work culminated in the publication of his recent book Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver, UBC Press, 2011). He is currently working on a biography (with his collaborator in China, Ningping YU) of Victoria Chung, the first Asian Canadian to graduate from University of Toronto Medical School and one of the longest-serving medical missionaries to China. His current research program focuses on the life stories of fifteen people with transpacific roots whose experiences will form the basis for a new work on the decolonization of Canada. This includes work on the life of Peter Higashi, a founder of the New Canadian and Roy Oshiro, teacher and Baptist minister now living in Okinawa.