2 – On Intermarriage

Since first hearing about my family and the Japanese Canadian experience during the war from a reluctant father through a Grade 8 Social Science assignment, I have always been curious to learn more about my heritage, including learning the language and studying Japanese creative and martial arts. Although I expected I might glean stories from my grandmother about their lives in BC, my wife related more easily to her, both being immigrants, albeit very different circumstances.

Our Toyota and Abe clans certainly fit the mold of a high degree of intermarriage, with just a few outliers. My younger sister and I both have spouses from Japan, our other two siblings have Caucasian spouses. Just by virtue of more Japanese presence in the household, along with the trendiness of sushi, anime, manga, video games and J-Pop, etc. our kids have gravitated more towards Japaneseness than others from the mixed households of similar generations.  I’ve heard from cousins of my generation who say that they don’t know how to explain their history and heritage when their mixed race Yonsei children start asking because they themselves didn’t learn about it at home.

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