Eiko Henmi: Victoria's Forgotten Poet

November 26, 2018
05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Fraser Building 158
Eiko Henmi, at right in Montreal, ca 1944

In 1942, over two hundred Japanese Canadian residents of Victoria were rounded up and forced to leave the coast. Among those uprooted was Eiko Henmi, already a noted poet by time she graduated from Vic High and Victoria College in 1933-34. While studying at UBC, she became part of the ‘Scribblers Group’ animated by Muriel Kitagawa. Her prize-winning short story “Let Her Keep Her Dreams” gained a wide audience but her career was interrupted in 1942 when she was forcibly relocated with her family to snowy Sandon, BC. She left the detention centre in 1944 and moved to Montreal where she continued to write for the New Canadian and direct theatre. She worked at the CBC in Montreal for many years until her death in 1990.


John Price
Professor Emeritus
UVic History

Dr. Price’s research on Eiko Henmi is part of his new book, Beyond White Supremacy: Race, Indigeneity and Pacific Canada (forthcoming), a sequel to his earlier publication, Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific (Vancouver, UBC Press, 2011). His study of the first Asian Canadian woman to earn a medical degree in Canada, Searching for Victoria Chung, M.D.: The Forgotten Chinese Canadian Physician (with Ningping Yu) will be published this spring.

In Memory of Michiko ‘Midge’ Ayukawa

Raised in the Strathcona area of Vancouver, Midge was uprooted and interned at Lemon Creek in 1942. The family relocated to Hamilton where Midge went on to a distinguished science career and raised a family. Returning to BC in 1980, Midge began a third career, earning a history MA and PhD at UVic and publishing her landmark article “Good Wives and Wise Mothers: Japanese Picture Brides in Early Twentieth Century British Columbia” (BCStudies), and Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada 1891-1941 (UBC Press, 2008). To honour her legacy, her family and colleagues established the Ayukawa Commemorative Fund.

A free public event brought to you by CAPI and

  • the Ayukawa Commemorative Fund
  • the Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific Research Project
  • UVic History department
  • Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society
Jonathan Woods