The Suitcase Project

Development: October 2017 – March 2018
Exhibition: Fall 2018

A collaboration with Kayla Isomura

Call for participants

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Japanese Canadian redress, Vancouver-based photographer Kayla Isomura is developing a photography project featuring Yonsei and Gosei (fourth and fifth generation Japanese Canadians/Nikkei). Ideal applicants will be living in Greater Vancouver regions or South/Central Vancouver Island regions sometime between January and February 2018.

The Suitcase Project is open to folks of all ages and backgrounds, and does not require knowledge of internment or their family’s internment story. Photographs will be taken within the participant’s home and will be exhibited in Summer 2018.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up below. Any questions can be sent to projects [at] kaylaisomura [dot] com.

*Interested in participating but reside outside of Greater Vancouver or Victoria? We’d like to know! 

About the project

Between 1941 and 1942, thousands of Japanese Canadians across B.C. were ordered to pack their lives into a limited amount of baggage and leave their homes. To where, for how long and whether or not they’d stay with their families was unsure.

The Suitcase Project will explore this narrative through the eyes of Yonsei and Gosei (fourth and fifth generation Japanese Canadians/Nikkei) through a series of photo, audio and text.





Participants from across Greater Vancouver and Victoria regions will be photographed in their homes with what they’ve chosen to pack for a journey unknown.

A final gallery of images will be exhibited in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the redress movement. The Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement was signed on Sept. 22, 1988.

The Suitcase Project will allow participants and viewers to reflect on the realities of Japanese Canadian internment and how it carries forward to the world today. It will display the struggle and significance of packing a life into a single bag for survival and sentiment.

With funding made possible in part by the Young Leaders Fund, provided by the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and support provided by the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.