As part of their new photographic exhibit Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank, the National Nikkei Heritage Center and Museum is holding photography workshops and guess who is teaching? Yep, Yours Truly!
I am holding two workshops: one for people who wish to learn and practice how take better pics with their digital point-and-shoot cameras (January 23), and one for those who want to learn and practice the fundamental skills necessary to master their Digital SLRs (February 20).
These are both beginner/intermediate classes with a limit of 20 students per class. Each 2 hour session is only $20. To learn more and to book a spot, please visit one of the links above for contact and booking information.
HONOURING OUR PEOPLE STORIES OF THE INTERNMENT CONFERENCE: filming stories of Canada’s internment of its Japanese citizens
Today I was a videographer at the Honouring Our People Stories of the Internment Conference at the National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre in Burnaby, BC. Since moving to Vancouver two years ago I have had many opportunities to reconnect with my Japanese-Canadian heritage; I jumped at the chance to be part of this event and I hope to bring my own family members from Alberta to participate next year.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, thrusting the Allies into a new front in World War II. One of Canada’s and the US’s reactions on the home front was to effectively declare war on their own citizens; anyone of Japanese descent – men, women, children and the elderly – were harshly discriminated against in what became one of the most shameful violations of civil liberties in our countries’ histories (this was recognized through formal redress by both the Canadian and US governments in 1988). The entire population of Japanese Canadians (20,000) and Americans (120,000) were promptly stripped of all of their property and rights; families were split up, and “evacuated” to internment camps in the interior of British Columbia. In Canada one of the only opportunities for families to stay together was to move to the prairie; due to a serious labour shortage in the sugar beet industry, whole families were permitted to move to Southern Alberta to live and work in the fields – backbreaking manual labour that was normally done by transient workers during the summer. My father was the youngest child in of one of these families.
My grandparents immigrated to Canada from Japan in 1917 and worked a confectionary store next to Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver, BC. In the early 1930’s they left Vancouver and settled near Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island to work in the lumber industry. In February, 1941 my father was born and one year later, after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the family avoided the internment camps by moving to the Raymond District of Southern Alberta to work the sugar beet fields. In 2007, sixty-five years after my family was forced from their home by their own government, I was the first to move back to the west coast of Canada.
At today’s event I was witness to a circle of seven people who shared their evacuation stories and what ensued afterwards in their lives. As much as I thought I knew about this period in my family’s history, I realized that I actually know very little. The more I learn, the more I am inspired to learn.
The videos I helped to shoot today will be added to the archives at the National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre in Burnaby, BC.