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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Nw: Battle forced these Japanese Canadians into internment camps. Probability brought them to the the same prolonged-time length care residence

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Several Japanese Canadians who were forced out of their properties into internment camps by the Canadian government within the Second World Battle are in actuality living in Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in northeastern Toronto.

Sue Kai tells her son, Brian, about her years of being forced to live in an internment camp for Japanese Canadians at some level of the Second World Battle. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

Leaning forward in her wheelchair to look for over a broad characterize album, Sue Kai delves into memories from decades ago. Kai, 96, and her son, Brian, pore over snapshots of her past, some dating abet to the 2nd her existence used to be irrevocably modified.

Kai used to be 16 years stale, and living with her family within the downtown Vancouver residence her father built along with his be pleased two palms, when it came about.

“One Sunday all people goes loopy: ‘Bomb bomb bomb bomb,'” acknowledged Kai. “I acknowledged, what’s a ‘bomb bomb bomb bomb?’ Then they acknowledged ‘Pearl Harbor.'”

From the title, Kai concept it used to be a like coastline, not the American naval flawed in Hawaii that had exact been bombed in a surprise assault by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941. However warnings from the folks spherical her like a flash steered her that wasn’t the case. 

“Then I heard, ‘Now, you higher run inner because they’re going to shoot you.'”

WATCH | These Japanese Canadians who were forced into WWII internment camps now live within the the same prolonged-time length care residence:

Japanese Canadian seniors mirror on being forced into WWII internment camps

Several Japanese Canadians living within the the same Toronto prolonged-time length care residence mirror on having their lives upended as soon as they were forced into internment camps at some level of the Second World Battle. 4: 08

Rapidly after Japan’s assault on Pearl Harbor, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzine King ordered the internment of Japanese Canadians living in coastal B.C., citing fears of sabotage or co-ordination with Japan. Many of them had been born and raised in Canada. 

Simply about 21,000 Japanese Canadians and their households were forced to run away their properties and livelihoods, and in lots of cases their, households. They lost most of their property and any sense of existence they had known. 

Kai is among a entire lot of of the relaxation skills of internment camp survivors who now, decades later, get hang of themselves reunited at Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in northeastern Toronto. After the Second World Battle, the federal government forced the interned Japanese Canadians to run away the country or re-settle extra east in Canada. Many chose to transfer to Toronto, where they rebuilt their lives from scratch. 

Some, fancy Kai, never spoke necessary with their young folks about what came about abet then.

Sue Kai, a long way left within the front row, with her family in 1934. Seven years later, they were crop up up by the Canadian government as it despatched Japanese Canadians into internment camps. (Brian Kai)

“There were times when my of us didn’t are eager to discuss it and when that came about they spoke Japanese. Since I might not understand it, that used to be kind of hidden to me,” Kai’s son, Brian, explained.

A thwarted existence

Brian began interviewing his mother over the last few years to atomize a yarn of her past. However absolute best not too prolonged ago has she revealed the depths of her infuriate and the level to which the internment thwarted her existence.

“I used to be indignant. I used to be indignant,” she admitted. “I planned to run to school.”

Brian Kai has documented many of his mother’s tales about her existence, but is soundless studying new valuable aspects about her time within the internment camps. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

“I didn’t realize that college used to be a risk for her,” Brian acknowledged, in surprise. “I insist on account of the war I exact knew she might not run, however the actual fact that she in actuality entertained thoughts of going is data to me.”

“That is the first time I in actuality heard her articulate the observe ‘indignant’ to the actual fact that she needed to be moved into internment camps, so I mediate I’ve learned about a things already,” he acknowledged.

Separated from her family

After the assault on Pearl Harbor, Sue Kai, her mother, and her youthful brother were shipped to Kaslo, B.C., roughly 200 kilometres east of Kelowna and 450 kilometres from their residence in Vancouver. They were separated from the relief of their family and minimize off from the exterior world.

“No newspaper, no radio, no nothing. We were entirely … we didn’t even know what used to be occurring with the war. Or not it’s terrible to be minimize out,” Kai acknowledged,  “And then the total mail, whenever you happen to obtained it, used to be censored. C-E-N-S-O-R … or not it’s all sad. So if I obtained a letter from my brother, half of it used to be all minimize out, because my brother complained.”

Because Kai used to be a excessive school graduate, she used to be recruited to change proper into a trainer within the neighborhood. One amongst her stale college students, Yoshiye Suyama, 90, now lives within the the same Scarborough prolonged-time length care residence, and wasn’t apprehensive telling her stale trainer what she concept of her.

“Oh, you faded to be this kind of strict trainer,” Kai recalled being steered. “Correctly, I didn’t understand it. However, I mediate or not it’s higher to be strict, and we constantly possess a absolute best snigger.”

“I used to be neutral a limited brat,” Suyama acknowledged.

Yoshie Suyama used to be forced out of the Vancouver spot to Kaslo, B.C., when she used to be 14 years stale. She says she doesn’t undergo in mind necessary about the time other than not eager to run away her residence. (Handout)

Suyama used to be 11 when she used to be forced to transfer to Kaslo. Whereas she acknowledged she has some chuffed memories of living within the city and taking half in within the woods, she remembers not eager to run away her Fresh Westminster residence.

“We left everything,” she acknowledged. “All I undergo in mind is ‘I don’t are eager to run.'”

“We absolute best moved because they kicked us out.  ‘Js out!’ when the war began,” she acknowledged, the expend of a racist time length that used to be many times faded against Japanese folks at the time. “We had to run away. We might not articulate ‘certain’ or ‘no.'”

Debbie Katsumi has learned bits of data about her mother Yoshiye Suyama’s existence within the internment camp, and is soundless studying from other young folks whose of us live in Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

Suyama’s daughter, Debbie Katsumi, says her mother didn’t talk necessary about that time. However now she is studying extra about the experiences from other households at her mother’s prolonged-time length care residence.

“I fancy to be taught as allotment of the chit chat,” Katsumi acknowledged.  “Or not it’s enriching.”

Too painful to relive

Herb Sakaguchi, 97, also didn’t discuss his internment along with his young folks. He used to be 17 when he used to be despatched to Slocan, B.C., an hour east of Kaslo.

Sakaguchi lost bigger than his freedom — he lost his family residence in Kitsilano. The Canadian government sold the properties and companies of interned Japanese Canadians, including the contents of their properties. 

Herb Sakaguchi’s family lost their residence in Vancouver’s now dear Kitsilano neighbourhood when the Canadian government moved them and sold the property. (Handout)

“What can you carry out? One guy against a total government,” Sakaguchi acknowledged, slumped in his wheelchair. “Or not it’s exact accomplished. They did it. We obtained evacuated. I’m soundless spherical. Mad as hell, but what can I carry out? Or not it’s completed now.”

It used to be not something that we talked about,” acknowledged his daughter, Jane Zielinski. “I exact mediate that it used to be per chance too painful for them to relive these memories.”

“Or not it’s painful for me to mediate about what they are going to need to possess long passed via. If I do myself in that set up and mediate, ‘how would I even possess felt?’ Factual being steered to run away, pack a secure, run away everything within the abet of and relocate with lots of folks,” she acknowledged.

Herb Sakaguchi shares tales of his existence as he and his family look for via stale photos. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

In 1988, Canada formally apologized and compensated internment camp survivors $21,000 every.

“It used to be in actuality exact a token because they lost cars, everything they owned, because they may perchance per chance well absolute best carry so necessary,” Brian Kai acknowledged.

“The family obtained a in actuality limited amount for proudly owning a a part of property in downtown Vancouver, which seemingly is price tens of millions of greenbacks now. Or not it’s extremely not easy to do a assign on it since it used to be a residence that my grandfather built along with his be pleased palms.”

Starting over

No matter the total loss they skilled, Sue Kai, Sakaguchi and Suyama spoke widely about how chuffed they are with how the lives they had to rebuild grew to change into out after the internment ended.  All three are pleased with the households they raised.

Whereas Kai laments not going to school on account of the internment, she is proud that both her sons and all her grandchildren possess college degrees and were ready to develop what she might per chance additionally not.

And, Sakaguchi believes had it not been for the internment and his forced migration to Toronto, he might never had met his spouse.

“Or not it’s the true thing that came about,” he joked. “Some guys would articulate, ‘you nut!'”

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