Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
REFLECTIONS ON INTERNMENT: LEGACY OF SURVIVORS.
It has been 80 years since the forced removal, dispossession and dispersal of Japanese Canadians took place in BC during World War II. This forced uprooting affected almost 22,000 persons of Japanese descent. This traumatic event disrupted families, destroyed communities and had a profound intergenerational impact on the Japanese Canadian population. After the war, as the Japanese Canadians struggled to rebuild their lives they seldom talked about their internment experience and as a result those Japanese Canadians born after the war know very little of their family experience during WW II. Today it is estimated that around 6,600 Japanese Canadian (JC) survivors are still alive in Canada, 30 of whom live in the Greater Victoria area. As the years pass on by, the number of JC survivors dwindle and so too does our link to the memory of the internment period. Once the JC survivors die, we will lose that link to the past.
Our oral history project, Reflections on Internment: Legacy of Survivors, is meant to capture and preserve the JC survivors’ memories of what they and their family went through during the internment years and how that affected their life and their upbringing. We intend to hire a professional videographer to make individual videos of the JC survivor describing their family’s history. The oral history interviews will be conducted by Japanese Canadians who are experienced in conducting oral histories and are familiar with Japanese Canadian words, phrases, food, customs and culture in order to understand the context of the story telling and guide the interview. The video would be presented to the family as a keepsake that they can pass on to their future generations. The video content can also be used, with the consent of the interviewee and family, in video productions by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society for educational purposes. With consent, videos will be made available through the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society website and/or through the Nikkei National Museum archives.