The New Canadian Newspaper, Treasures from the Vault, Episode 3

The New Canadian newspaper

Collections Manager Lisa Uyeda introduces treasures from the museum vault. In this episode, we introduce The New Canadian newspaper.

The New Canadian (1938-2001) was a small newspaper of national historic importance. Tom Shoyama served as editor from 1939 to 1945. The paper moved from Vancouver to the small Kootenay town of Kaslo, where 1200 Japanese Canadians were interned during and after the Second World War.

Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa (nee Fujiwara) was born in Vancouver on April 3, 1912, and was raised primarily in New Westminster. She graduated from Duke of Connaught High School and attended UBC. Working with other Nisei anxious about their futures as full-fledged Canadians with the right to vote and work in any profession, Kitagawa helped found The New Age in 1932, the first journal to regularly print the thoughts, emotions and ideals of Canadian-born Japanese Canadians. She was also part of a Nisei writing group, The Scribblers; a notable member of that group was Mark Toyama, writer of the poem Only Powell Street Knows.

In 1939, Muriel Kitagawa began writing in the English language periodical, The New Canadian, under the pen name Sue Sada. Although Kitagawa did not publish a book during her lifetime, Roy Miki edited a posthumous collection of her writing called This Is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians 1941-1948 (Talonbooks, 1985) which consists primarily of letters Kitagawa sent to her brother Wes Fujiwara, a medical student in Toronto, in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbour bombing of December 1941. Miki provided a comprehensive introduction to place Kitagawa’s writing in historical context with a particular emphasis on the fact that an overwhelming majority of the 21,000 individuals of Japanese descent who were uprooted and dispossessed on the West Coast were naturalized or Canadian-born citizens.

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