Discovering the Past: Storytelling to Reveal Japanese Canadian History, Traditions and Culture

View all CAPI event videos.

Presented by the Department of History, the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives and the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society

December 3, 2014 at 4:30pm
David Strong Building, C103
University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Poet, novelist and social activist, Terry Watada is the author of Ten Thousand Views of Rain (Thistledown Press, 2001), Obon: the Festival of the Dead (Thistledown Press, 2006),Kuroshio: The Blood of Foxes (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007) and the forthcoming The Game of 100 Ghosts (TSAR publications). His lecture addresses the role of storytelling in overcoming a legacy of silence in Japanese and Asian Canadian literature. As a young person, Terry Watada never knew about the internment and dispersal his family suffered during and after WWII, nor did he know his family’s stories. His ignorance persisted until 1972, when he helped organize the Asian Canadian Experience Conference in Toronto. His subsequent searching has propelled him to write songs, poems, histories and fiction centred on Japanese Canadian history, culture and traditions. A longtime colleague and friend of Midge Ayukawa, Terry received the Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi Humanitarian Award this fall.

The Ayukawa Commemorative Fund was established last year by the UVic Department of History in honour of the life and work of Dr. Michiko ‘Midge’ Ayukawa (1930-2013) who dedicated her later years to the study and telling of Japanese Canadian and women’s history. Her Ph.D. dissertation (History, UVIC) was published as Hiroshima Immigrants in Canada, 1891-1941 (UBC Press, 2008).