PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

The Murakami Family in Greenwood in BC’s Interior: (MURAKAMI, KIMIKO, RICHARD, MARY, ROSE, VIOLET AND ALICE) (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) 2004-005-038. Image courtesy of Salt Spring Island Archives.
Two children look into the window of a Japanese store, closed after the forced relocation of Japanese nationals. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) Credit: Jack Lindsay, City of Vancouver Archives.
Confiscated boats of Japanese Canadian fishermen, Bamfield Harbour, BC. Japanese Canadian boats from the west coast of Vancouver Island were rounded up by the Canadian Navy immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Although most cameras were confiscated, no one paid attention to the child who took this photo as she rowed around the fleet to pick up the family’s daily supply of goat’s milk. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) NNM, 2001.20.3.6. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
The image shows an older man in a vest and tie with his arm out, leaning against a storefront that has “397 K Saito Tailor” painted on it. Powell Street, Vancouver, c. 1920. (Not featured in current exhibit) NNM, 2011.16.1.2.5. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
A registration certificate, numbered 10333, issued to Hiroshi Okuda of 306 Jackson Avenue, Vancouver, on June 7, 1941. The certificate reads “Canadian Born” and includes Hiroshi’s photograph. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) NNM, 2018.3.1.1.6. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
This scroll is part of an important donation to the NNMCC from the family of Eikichi Kagetsu, a lumber baron whose property was forcibly dispossessed in 1943. The collection was in banker boxes bagged and ready to be placed in an off-site freezer to destroy any mold or insects that may have made its way into the material while it was stored in the Kagetsu family’s North Carolina basement. Photo was taken in 2016 at NNMCC. Photo credit: Kaitlin Findlay with archival materials from the NNMCC.
Displaced Japanese Canadians leaving the Vancouver area (possibly Slocan Valley) after being prohibited by law from entering a “protected area” within 100 miles of the coast in BC. (l-r: woman holding book is Nobuko Morimoto; woman in dark cardigan is Tei Terashita; young woman leaning out of train is identified as Kazuyo Kawabata) (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre on Sept. 26, 2020). Image provided courtesy of NNMCC.
Thousands of visitors came to Canada’s first Japanese garden and teahouse, run by brothers Hayato and Kensuke Takata, until their internment in 1942. (Photo, c. 1914/15, not featured in current exhibit) Toyo Takata Fonds, v986.18.6. Image courtesy of the Esquimalt Municipal Archives.

The University of Victoria will soon be sharing the untold stories of more than 22,000 Japanese Canadians, as part of a new national exhibition exploring Japanese Canadian internment in the 1940s.

The university announced the new exhibit Tuesday (Sept. 22), called ‘Broken Promises.’

The gallery will be officially launching Sept. 29 at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby.

A website was also released today sharing the findings from the Landscapes of Injustice.

In a news release, UVic historian and project director Jordan Stanger-Ross says the gallery will portray the lesser known period of Canadian history through previously unreleased photographs, personal interviews, official documentation and letters of outrage.

“This exhibition launches in the midst of long overdue conversations about racism in Canada,” he said. “It is a time for excavating how our present realities are shaped by past inequalities.”

Exhibit organizers say the gallery is intended to share the untold truths of Japanese Canadians who suffered a profound loss of their homes, personal possessions and livelihoods, along with their civil and human rights.

Japanese Canadians who are now facing multi-generational trauma as a direct result that was initiated by the Canadian government eight decades ago.

“Broken Promises” will be on display at the centre through next spring. It is scheduled to travel to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto in May 2021, and to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria in early 2022, with dates in Halifax and other regional locations yet to be announced.

The public is also invited to the Sept. 26 live-streamed celebration launch. Visit the Facebook event page or watch live on YouTube.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Royal BC Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

Left, Rowena Leivo early on in her volunteer career with the South Surrey/White Rock Food Bank. Right, Leivo in the food bank Tuesday. (Contributed photos)
After 34 years, ‘The Boss’ retires from South Surrey Food Bank volunteer gig

Rowena Leivo, 90, spent a third of her life volunteering at the food bank

Ali Watson in Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of “No Child…,” which plays until Nov. 8. (photo: Moonrider Productions)
Viewers of Arts Club’s streaming plays support Surrey Civic Theatres

Company’s ‘bubble method’ of theatre production means just 50 in-person tickets for each performance

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read