- “Life is Sweet”: Vulnerability and Composure in the Wartime Narratives of Japanese Canadians
- Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'études canadiennes
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 43, Number 1, Winter 2009
- p. pp. 186-218
- View Citation
With Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent were dispossessed of their property and belongings, and uprooted from their British Columbia homes to various sites of internment. Some stayed in these sites for four years or longer. Utilizing the concepts of vulnerability and composure, this essay examines Japanese-Canadian Nisei (second-generation) women’s and men’s mixed narratives of these wartime events. At the same time that narrators describe these years as filled with hardship, turmoil, and racial injustice, they also speak of happy times, kindness, and the sweetness of life. The essay points to ways in which the researcher and narrator work towards a “shared authority” in the presentation and interpretation of these complex memories.