Incarceration, Dispersal, and Dispossession

In my early teens, I took a tour through incarceration campsites. It was the first time I was able to contextualize my grandparents’ wartime lives; during the time when they should’ve been planning their futures, they were instead forced to exist in limbo for years. I don’t think it’ll ever be possible for me to truly “get” what my grandparents endured, but standing there in the camp, now just an empty field with a lonely sign, and watching my grandmother try to recall where her family’s hut once stood, allowed me to understand how much of my grandparents’ childhoods were annihilated.

Hannah Kawai (my grandmother): Registration Card

I took a sociology class of racism in Canada in which my classmates were largely future RCMP officers. During our unit on WWII, I was astounded that the majority of my classmates supported Canada’s actions as “doing what was necessary to protect Canada.” I’ve continued to encounter this opinion throughout my adult life. While I’ve always felt at somewhat of a distance from my grandparents’ experiences; yet, this disconnect has become juxtaposed by the feeling that I must always be ready to defend my grandparents and the Japanese Canadian community from continued attacks on their loyalty, 70 years onward.

Harry Tabata (my grandfather): Registration Card
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