Southern Alberta Okinawan Diaspora

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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

5:00pm PST | 6:00pm MT


Free to attend. Register online from the link below.

Darcy Tamayose, photo by Morton Molyneux

Southern Alberta Okinawan Diaspora (1907- Present)

Through the Lens of Naoko Shimabukuro: A Kika Nisei Journey

Online Talk by Darcy Tamayose

In 1907 a group of 152 Okinawans came to Canada as part of a labour diaspora. This would be the largest group from Okinawa to enter Canada before 1908 when the Hayashi-Lemieux Agreement restricted immigration from Japan. Tamayose’s MA thesis, supervised by Dr. Gideon Fujiwara, examines the kika nisei journey of Naoko Shimabukuro whose grandfather was one of the Okinawan migrants who came to settle in southern Alberta. Through Naoko’s lens the research will address this lesser-studied experience within Okinawan diasporic scholarship and fill a gap that exists in the experiential representation specific to this prairie region of Canada. Tamayose’s research investigates and contributes to Okinawan Canadian and global Okinawan diaspora research through:

  1. connection between geographies of southern Alberta and Hamahiga Island;
  2. Naoko’s eye witness account of the Battle of Okinawa (as a Canadian citizen) during prewar, wartime, and postwar periods; and
  3. Canadian sansei self-reflexive exploration of generational cultural transference and related critical thought. 


Darcy Tamayose is a writer, graphic designer, and PhD student. Her recent short story collection, Ezra’s Ghosts (NeWest), was finalist for the 2022 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and is a CBC Books Best Canadian Fiction of 2022; Odori (Cormorant), and youth fiction book, Katie Be Quiet (Coteau) received the Canada-Japan Literary Award, and has been shortlisted for both the Alberta Writer’s Guild Georges Bugnet Award and Foreword Indie Juvenile Award. She is currently a research assistant for the Nikkei Memory Capture Project spearheaded by PhD supervisors, Drs. Carly Adams and Darren Aoki. Born and raised in the prairie landscape of southern Alberta, Tamayose lives there today surrounded by daughter, family, and friends.