Two views, many perspectives

The internment of Canadians of Japanese descent during the Second World War is a troubling chapter in our history.

Canadians of Japanese 
descent board a train in 1942.

The internment of Canadians of Japanese descent during the Second World War is a troubling chapter in our history.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, both the Canadian and United States governments forced the relocation of citizens of Japanese descent from the coastal regions.

Nearly 22,000 Japanese-Canadians and 120,000 Japanese-Americans were affected.

There’s still time to see Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank, a traveling exhibit of 66 black and white photographs from the Japanese Canadian National Museum, presented at the Surrey Museum to Oct. 29.

Leonard Frank was hired by the B.C. Security Commission to record the removal of Canadians of Japanese descent from the B.C. Coast.

His photographs of the temporary holding areas at Hastings Park have been described as both stark and shocking.

Frank also documented the moving process and visited several camps in the B.C. interior.

Ansel Adams is usually thought of as a landscape photographer. But from 1943 to 1944, he made a number of trips to Manzanar War Relocation Centre, where he captured the daily life of its 10,000 captives, the Nanaimo Museum reported when it hosted the exhibit in May.

Adams described the purpose of his work as to show how people suffering a great injustice and loss of property, businesses and professions had overcome defeat and despair by building a vibrant community.

Surrey’s unique stories are also featured in Two Views. Surrey’s Japanese Canadian community dates back to the early 20th century, when new immigrants introduced strawberry and chicken farming.

Canadian army veteran Zennosuke Inouye arrived in Surrey shortly after in the First World War.

He started a new life for himself and his family, only to have it all taken away during the internment.

He petitioned to regain his land and assets, and is the only Japanese Canadian veteran to successfully do so.

Raymond Nakamura from the Japanese Canadian National Museum presents a History Speaks lecture on Saturday, Oct. 22, the same date as the Two Views Exhibit Tea and Tour. (For more information and to pre-register, please call 604-592-6956.

Two Views is presented at the Surrey Museum to Oct. 29. The museum is located at 17710 56A Avenue, Surrey. Hours of operation are Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays.

Admission in 2011 is sponsored by the Friends Society.Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.