Posted in Yonsei

Family History

My maternal grandmother Tabata passed away from cancer in 1980. Grandfather Tabata passed away before I was born and unfortunately I never learned much about him. From what I know, both of my Tabata grandparents were from Wakayama and immigrated to Canada in the 1910’s.  Grandfather Tabata was a fisherman and the family lived in...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

Post-War Racism

When I asked my parents about their internment experiences, neither of them recalled much since they were both so young during the war. As very small children, neither of them felt particularly traumatized by their internment experiences but they most certainly saw and dealt with plenty of racism afterwards. This racism towards JCs persisted for...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei


While both of my parents said they didn’t feel consciously traumatized by their internments, both of their families were quite poor before, during and after the war.  My mother’s parents felt that the best way to escape poverty was for their kids to go onto post-secondary education and pursue well-paying jobs using their brains rather...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

The Sato Gene

Most of what I learned of the internment was briefly taught in school, and from the MJCCA. The suffering and loss was not described in a personal level in my family. I learned much of my family’s involvement as an adult, but we had always held on to things, and loathed to waste, keeping careful...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

growing up, work in progress

I believe efforts to shield the young nisei during the internment and assimilate after didn’t allow for emotional vulnerability for the issei, impacting relations between generations in my family. My relatives encouraged me to participate in my culture from childhood, as they yearned for the opportunity when they were younger.  It was our duty as yonsei...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

family historian

My great grandparents passed away while my father was still young, so I had little idea what kind of people they were, or what relationship they had with their nisei children. For a long time, to me, they were just “the ancestors from Japan”. I think it was similar for my Dad and his siblings,...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

COVID-19 and Racism

The pandemic and subsequent rise in anti-Asian sentiment is just the most obvious way in which racism still permeating our society has revealed itself in the past few years. I think there’s an undeniable commonality with the WWII incarceration. Although COVID-19 is a different beast than a global war, “Asianness” continues to be the way...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei


While all my family members from my grandparents’ generation, as far as I am aware, married within the Japanese Canadian community, almost all members of my father’s generation intermarried with non-Japanese Canadians. I followed suit and also married someone outside the community. I think this high rate of intermarriage is undeniably a partial product of...Continue reading

Posted in Yonsei

Biography, Self-Identity

Name: Nicola Akiko Tabata Pronouns: She/her Birthplace: New Westminster, Canada DOB: in 1994 Life Events: Graduated with BA Philosophy and Sociology 2018, Taking MA International Relations/Political Science (2019-present); married 2019 Identify as Japanese Canadian Whenever I am asked the question “What are you?” I, like many people of colour, have learned that the asker is...Continue reading

Posted in Gosei, Yonsei
A linocut image, in black, against a white background, of a young girl, with straight, chin-length hair, bangs, and freckles across her cheeks.

Rapids and Replica

It’s not the 1940s, but a whole slough of inheritance, littered with dead leaves and charged with memory, weighed in greyscale, nets cast and prey caught, hundreds upon hundreds upon thousands of voices, each curing the others in moonlight, quicksand, some arc of cello, languid and long, half stretching and half succumbing, just letting itself...Continue reading

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