The Void (Incarceration, Dispersal, and Dispossession)

While I was certainly made aware that the incarceration, dispersal, and dispossession of Japanese Canadians occurred and that my family was affected by these events, I have never felt as though I feel how I should feel about it.

Perhaps the previous thought requires further unpacking…

For better or for worse, the treatment of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s has never seemed to come up as an event of significance for members of my family…of course it is talked about as a happening which has affected my community and a series of occurrences that we have a duty to ensure must never come to pass again…despite this, strangely, I feel as though my family does not consider it to be significant.

We talk about where we might have lived…how much that property is worth now, etc. but I never feel as though those places or those things are connected to me.

Instead, I feel connected to Elmwood, the neighborhood in Winnipeg where my dad’s family started again, and to Hastings Sunrise in East Vancouver where my mom’s family returned as soon as they were allowed…beyond those locations in time and space it feels as though all that exists is a white void.

I suspect that constructing this void is how my family endeavored to protect me from the events of the 1940s…conveniently convincing me that I was not personally attached to anything before Elmwood and East Van. All this to say that, through their choices and actions, I believe I can better explain how it is that my knowledge and my feelings regarding these events may be incontinent. I do not know if this was the correct choice, however I recognize and am thankful for their efforts to protect me.

Scroll to top