At one time or another, my sisters and I, and most of my Canadian and American Sansei cousins, married or partnered with others neither Asian nor Japanese. Although dispersal likely played a big role, because many of us lived and grew up where there were few other Japanese Canadians around, I also believe that incarceration and the pressure to assimilate played a large part. Our generation largely did not know our history, including the incarceration, and grew up in a world that was both racist and dominated by white, European and British culture and history. We did not, for the most part, connect to our Japanese roots or heritage. We wanted to fit in, so we worked hard and kept our heads down. It is not surprising that the intermarriage rate for our Sansei generation has been cited at around 90%.
In talking about intermarriage, I hope that Yonsei do not perceive it as a criticism, but more as an issue that Sansei faced with respect to their identity and history. If we can talk about those issues between generations, we might better understand how and why the incarceration and racism affected our choices.