Growing Up, Family, Parenting

I remember always being encouraged by my family to participate in KJCA activities, such as odori, taiko, and language classes. My grandparents were delighted that I was able to do a high school exchange in Osaka. Overall, I spent my childhood very culturally connected to the Kamloops Nikkei community.

Hannah Kawai (grandmother), prizewinner in the Roseberry Ikebana contest

It’s difficult to trace the legacy of my grandparents’ WWII experience in my upbringing, or to know how it may have affected the way I was raised. I don’t recall my grandparents ever talking about their incarceration with me unprompted and I am too young to know how my grandparents and dad reacted to the fight for Redress. In fact, I remember first learning about the incarceration from my mother. If anything, she was the parent who first attuned me to the covert racism that comes from being a person of colour by having to explain to strangers who frequently asked her about my ethnicity as a child.

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