The Impact of Dispersal and Dispossession

The uprooting of the Japanese Canadian community irreparably slashed the social fabric that had previously provided threads of connection between and among friends and families. Formerly strong bonds were severed by time and distance. Many JCs, especially the Issei and older Nisei, sadly never had a chance to see some of their friends or family ever again. I think the post war dispersal of the JC community resulted in an acceleration of the decline of Japanese language and culture in Canada. There are relatively few Sansei and even fewer Yonsei who are interested in learning Japanese.

My father’s family, like so many other JC families, lost their home, business, and possessions. Fortunately, Dad’s father was able to leave some of their smaller personal possessions behind in the care of a good family friend, a Caucasian man named John Reid. Mr. Reid later sent most of their items up to Grand Forks enabling Dad to have a few photo albums containing precious pre-war photographs, his childhood stamp collection, and more. What was offered to the family, in terms of compensation according to the Bird Commission’s calculations, was so “bloody insulting” (Dad’s words) that his father sent the cheque back.       


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