To the Editor
I was deeply disappointed not to see any Japanese Canadian story in the Vancouver Sun’s An Immigrant’s Journey: 150 Years of Newcomers to BC last year. As expected, Chinese and Indians had their stories featured, and even someone from The Philippines, whose people have come to Canada only since 1965, had his story included. Yet there wasn’t any from the Canadian Nikkei community who have been in Canada since the turn of the century.
It could be that Japanese Canadians don’t want to talk about their families. This could be a Japanese cultural value since I remember that my Issei mother used to tell us children not to talk about our family in public as if we had some deep, dark secret to conceal. But if it was just a matter of inability to write, then this problem should be addressed.
In Southern California there are workshops for Nisei in helping them write about their prewar and postwar experiences. Some of the better stories were published in a soft cover book. Here in Seattle, there is a class for Nisei to also write about their past experiences. All the stories are then photocopied, then put together in a small booklet.
Something similar could be done in the Vancouver area with classes in writing about the Japanese Canadian experience being offered at Nikkei Place as one of the continuing education programs. Many Nisei are aware that their speaking and writing skills were rather deficient in high school and that they could use some honing, developing and assistance. These writing workshops may be the key to some noted improvement.
Ed Suguro Seattle, WA USA