Narrating Japanese Canadians In and Out of the Canadian Nation: A Critique of Realist Forms of Representation

Kirsten Emiko McAllister

Abstract: During World War II the Canadian government implemented a systematic plan to rid British Columbia of over 22,000 Japanese Canadians. Forty years later, Japanese Canadians mobilized in a movement to demand redress. To make their case, they used realism with its objective research methods to prove that the government's actions violated their rights. But while realism helped them win their case, this paper claims that there were ramifications. While realism made it possible to narrate Japanese Canadians into the history of the Canadian nation as fully assimilated citizens, this implicitly accepted the nation's hostile construction of racial others. Through an analysis of the Japanese Canadian film Minoru: Memory of Exile, this paper shows how difficult it is to shed realism once it is institutionalized, underlining the importance of developing a critical awareness of how it operates.

Résumé: Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le gouvernement canadien mit en place un plan systématique pour débarrasser la Colombie-Britannique de plus de 22,000 Canadiens japonais. Quarante ans plus tard, les Canadiens japonais s'organisèrent dans un mouvement pour demander réparation. Pour plaider leur cause, ils utilisèrent le réalisme, avec ses méthodes de recherche objectives, pour prouver que les actions du gouvernement avaient violé leurs droits. Mais, même si le réalisme les aida à gagner leur cause, cet article soutient qu'il y a eu des ramifications. Bien que le réalisme rendit possible d'inclure les Canadiens japonais dans l'histoire de la nation canadienne comme citoyens complètement assimilés, il marqua une acceptation implicite de la construction hostile par cette nation d'autres raciaux. Au moyen d'une analyse du film canadien-japonais Minoru: Memory of Exile (Minoru: Souvenir d'exil ), cet article montre combien il est difficile d'abandonner le réalisme une fois qu'il est institutionnalisé, soulignant l'importance de développer une conscience critique de son fonctionnement.

The reality of realism: Credibility in the eyes of the public

For historically persecuted groups seeking redress from governments or large corporations, representation is not just an aesthetic issue. The way they represent their experiences of persecution needs to have credibility in the eyes of the public. This means drawing on the established forms of representing "reality," forms of representation that have currency in political and legal venues.

This entails the use of realism. Realism is based on the supposition that there is one concrete reality. Trained professionals can supposedly re-present this reality as-it-actually-exists with the use of systematic, objective methods of data collection and analysis. These methods are designed to remove any vested interests or beliefs which threaten to distort the ability to apprehend how-the-world-actually-exists (Potter, 1996).

Realism offers historically persecuted groups a legitimate means to challenge how their experiences of persecution have been justified or obscured in the past, for example, in conventional histories. Its systematic, objective methods of data collection and analysis can produce evidence of the violations launched against them. This can lead to compensation, providing them with a means to ameliorate the damage that was incurred.

But it would be short-sighted to simply focus on the most efficient ways to make their case in a media scrum or court of law. There is more at stake than winning a "case." The process of representing the world contributes to its discursive formation. Representations make practical and moral claims about the nature of "reality." As such, they can contribute to either re-constituting or challenging the way in which our worlds are currently organized.

This paper argues that for those concerned with changing the circumstances which lead to their persecution, it is vital to assess the ramifications of using the established form of representing "reality." In the first section of this paper, I outline how poststructuralist historians, such as Hayden White (1992) and James Young (1988), claim that the particular requirements of realism, notably, the objective methods of data collection and analysis, have damaging effects. They force victims to turn their experiences into neutral facts that erase their historical and cultural specificity (Young, 1988). I argue that this erasure is part of the discursive mechanism through which racial others become assimilated into the racially homogenous populations of national communities. But this drive to assimilate is hostile to whomever are constructed as racial others.

Yet given that realist forms of representation command authority at a legal-political level, it is difficult for historically persecuted groups to simply abandon them.1 This poses a dilemma: a dilemma between recognizing the instrumental political power realism grants and acknowledging its damaging effects.

The solution is not simply to abandon realism. Nor is it simply a matter of developing strategic ways to use realism. This paper shows how difficult it is to develop new representational strategies once realism has been institutionalized as the way to represent what has come to constitute a group's "reality." Examining a specific case presents the complex nature of this problem. The next section gives an overview of how realism became institutionalized during the movement for Japanese Canadian redress. It shows how realism was used to produce evidence that proved they were not threats to national security, but in fact loyal citizens who contributed to the development of the nation. This helped Japanese Canadian activists develop a narrative which functioned to assimilate Japanese Canadians into the history of the Canadian nation. While at a legal-political level this aided them in their negotiations for redress, at a semiotic level it functioned to erase the specificity of their experiences. In the third section I examine how this narrative has been used in subsequent cultural texts, in particular the documentary film Minoru: Memory of Exile (Fukushima, 1992a). This film was produced at the tail-end of the redress movement. While it is a "documentary" it also incorporates subjective genres such as biography and animation, opening up the possibility of circumventing the problems of realism. To conclude, I argue that in order to assess the extent to which realism erases historical and cultural specificity, it is also necessary to examine its use in the wider context of the group's institutional practices. Do the established institutions advocate realism? Do they succeed in doing so? How strictly is the ideal form of realism maintained? All of these questions are asked with the intent to underline the importance for persecuted groups to critically assess the forms of representation they utilize.

Poststructuralist critiques of realism: Questioning the "facts"

James Young (1988) draws on the work of Hayden White to describe the dilemma people face when they use realism to represent their experiences of persecution. White claims that using realist historical narratives poses two painful quandaries for survivors of violence. Historical texts that produce officially recognized versions of "reality" rely on what White calls an objective "narrativizing discourse." He concurs with Emile Beneviste who holds that through this discourse "events are chronologically recorded as they appear on the horizon of the story ... no one speaks [and] the events seem to tell themselves" (White, 1992, p. 3). On the one hand, he notes that, for example, Holocaust writers "write [themselves] and [their] experiences into existence after the fact, by giving themselves both expression and textual actuality.... [But, on the other hand], in order to make [their] testimonies seem true, [they] find the need to simultaneously erase themselves from the text [by removing their subjective point of view because it denotes bias]" (Young, 1988, p. 10). As a result, their texts erase rather than elaborate the specificity of their experiences.

The second quandary is the way in which narrative discourse is driven to resolve violence by repressing it. "[Once] written, events assume the mantle of coherence that the narrative necessarily imposes on them, and the trauma of their unassimilability is relieved" (Young, 1988, p. 16). As a result, the violent event "seems to ... lose its particularity -- i.e., its facthood.... In an ironic way, the violent event can exist ... only as long as it appears to stand outside of the continuum, where it remains apparently unmediated, unframed, and unassimilated" (Young, 1988, pp. 15-16). Violence is implicitly defined here as something which is experienced as disorder, something that cannot be assimilated into the systems of meaning available at the level of the self or the social collective (Herman, 1992). The act of representing violence through an objective linear narrative imposes an explanation on it. It is drawn into a logic of cause and effect. This imposes a coherence that the violence does not in fact have. In this way, objective linear narratives function to repress the irrationality that is central to what we experience as violent.

If we follow the criteria used to make truth-claims, do we erase the specificity of the subject and then resolve /repress the violence we intend to make claims about? I would argue that it is not so simple. The significance of violent events is not just determined by the semiotic processes involved in their representation.2 There is a distinction between the process of representing an event and the fact that it has been represented. On the one hand, there is the meaning which semiotic processes work to secure through a text. But on the other hand, regardless of the meaning that is secured, there is the psychological and social impact of publicly re-presenting a violent event, especially for those implicated in it (Herman, 1992; Lifton, 1973). To analyze this impact, it is necessary to learn whether and how social institutions have dealt with the resulting damage and psychological trauma. The difficulty with representing violent events is that their horrific nature makes them beyond what is socially conceivable. In order to conceptualize what was previously socially inconceivable, a group must change how it understands the way in which the world operates. With respect to the survivors of violence, Judith Lewis Herman and Robert Lifton claim that the problem is acute. Any reference to the violent events can induce psychologically and socially traumatic reactions, especially in those who have not been able to acknowledge how the events have shattered their old conceptions of how the world operates (Herman, 1992; Lifton, 1973).

This leads to the following questions: In what circumstances, for what subjects, and in what manner do objective narratives resolve violence and erase cultural specificity? To ask these questions assumes that the semiotic processes in any one text or set of texts cannot in themselves completely control the effects incurred. So to ascertain the impact of representing violent events, it becomes necessary to consider whether, for example, those implicated have healed from their trauma, whether and how a particular event has been already represented, and so forth. These points do not dismiss poststructuralist critiques of realism. Rather, they call for a careful analysis of how realism operates in specific social circumstances.

Moreover, it is not a matter of abandoning realist forms of representation or restricting their use to negotiations with governments. This overlooks how "fact" and "fiction" are not so easily separated. In his articles, "Getting Out of History" and "The Value of Narrativity" (both in White, 1992), White attempts to dispel the epistemological distinction between the representation of "the real," otherwise known as history, and the construction of "the imaginary," otherwise known as fiction. He claims that "[the] difficulty with the notion of a truth of past experience is that it can no longer be experienced, and this throws specifically historical knowledge open to the charge that it is a construction as much of the imagination as of thought" (White, 1992, p. 147). As a result, he claims that its authority is no greater than the power of the historian to persuade their readers that their account is true.

But examining specific cases reveals that it is more complicated than White imagines. It is necessary to consider the venue in which a particular account of "history" is being represented, or, more accurately, contested. In each venue different accounts have more or less authority. So in a legal-political venue the authority of "truth" does not simply depend on the capacity of a historian to rhetorically persuade the "readers" or audience. Truth-claims are evaluated on the basis of how they are produced. The evaluations include not only the methods used to produce the evidence, but also the sources and their status. Government documents, financial records, and witnesses with social status have more credibility than oral accounts and diaries by "common folk." Gaining the authority of "truth" also rests on the certification and status held by the researchers and the institution conducting the research.

For example, the study Economic Losses of Japanese Canadians after 1941 (1986) was conducted by Price Waterhouse, a nationally recognized economic research institute using established methods of analysis and documentation. It worked as a legal document that aided the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) in their attempts to obtain redress from the Canadian government. In contrast, Shizuye Takashima's 1971 book, A Child in a Prison Camp, was a fictive account of a child's recollections of the internment of Japanese Canadians. Within the context of the Japanese Canadian community, it gave many sceptical Japanese Canadians who had attempted to forget their past a personal and emotional perspective which allowed them to identify with the movement for redress. But as a fictive account it did not rely on systematically deployed research procedures to generate findings, nor was it produced in association with a reputable research institute. Thus it was not a text that could be used directly to negotiate with the Canadian government.

While it is possible to distinguish the two texts at the level of production and context, it is possible to claim that at a semiotic level, fiction and historical truth are not easily differentiated. Film theorist Bill Nichols elaborates this problem in Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (1991). He claims that historical texts draw on textual strategies common to fiction. In order to convince their audience that they are depicting an event as-it-actually-occurred they rely on similar narrative structures, stereotypes, and techniques such as character development which are typical to fiction (see Bordwell & Thompson, 1980; Kuhn, 1985). Historical texts can use these conventions, for example, to underline the significance of events that the mainstream media would typically overlook or to convince audiences that certain witnesses are more credible than others. If used uncritically, these techniques can have unintended reactionary results. For example, in an effort to underline the gruesome experience that Canadian soldiers underwent in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps during World War II, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and National Film Board's film documentary, The Valour and the Horror: Christmas in Hong Kong (McKenna, 1992), drew on entrenched stereotypes of Asian men. These stereotypes suggested that under the façade of civilized decorum, Japanese war veterans harboured a primitive pulse of repressed violence which drove their insatiable appetite for cruelty.

Historical texts can also use techniques from fiction in order to challenge institutional assumptions specific to their genre, questioning, for example, what constitutes a valid truth-claim. In Canada, documentaries concerned with challenging conventional renditions of history have increasingly incorporated textual strategies that cross the real / fiction genre divide (Steven, 1993). This is evident in Linda Ohama's film The Last Harvest (1992), a documentary about her family's efforts to rebuild their lives as farmers after they were interned during World War II. While she uses a linear narrative to follow the development of the family's fortunes from their harsh beginnings to their successful farming business on the prairies, she diffuses the certainty of the narrative drive by the repeated use of intangible visual motifs. For example, she repeatedly uses a shot of her father sitting in a lawn chair wordlessly looking out across an empty wind-blown field; as well, an elusive kimono-clad woman appears and disappears throughout the film. Both motifs suggest a presence that is at odds with the conventional documentary format which seeks tangible facts and concrete evidence. It suggests something that continues to haunt this family who present themselves as fully assimilated in their small prairie town.3

Why is it important for political activists to be able to pay heed to issues of representation? Specifically, why is it important to identify the difference and similarity between historical texts and fiction? I would argue that it is too easy for political activists to become instrumental and dismiss topics and approaches that are outside the realm of "fact" and which seem antithetical to conventional notions of what constitutes valid research techniques and objects of analysis.

This paper aims to underline the importance of assessing the implications of how groups represent their experiences of persecution because, as James Young (1988) points out in the case of Holocaust literature, there is a tendency for people to oppose the investigation of hermeneutic issues. He describes how this opposition

stems from a well founded fear that too much attention to critical method or to the literary construction of the texts threaten to supplant not only the literature, but the horrible events at the heart of our inquiry. That is, if Holocaust narrative is nothing more but a system of signs merely referring to other signs, then where are the events themselves? (Young, 1988, p. 3)

But, as Young argues, while it is important to refrain from reducing texts to sites simply for theoretical abstraction, it is also important to identify what types of hermeneutic issues are central for research on political violence. In particular, he states:

Because we are now dependent on mediating texts for our knowledge ... does not make these texts alone the object of our study, or make the meanings generated in these versions less valuable.... [The] significance and value of events created in these texts often reflect the kind of understanding of events by victims at the time; and as these "mere" interpretations led to their responses, the interpreted versions of the Holocaust in its texts now lead us to our actions in the world in light of the Holocaust. (Young, 1988, p. 3)

He points out that "it was not the `facts' in and of themselves that determined the actions taken by the victims of the Holocaust -- or by the killers themselves; but it was the structural, mythological, and figurative apprehension of these facts that led to action taken on their behalf" (Young, 1988, p. 4). As such, he argues that his aim is to "understand the way in which historical actuality and the forms in which it is delivered to us may be intertwined: it is to know what happened in how it is represented" (Young, 1988, p. 5) and thus how the understandings generated by the texts inform our actions.

Narrating Japanese Canadians in and out of the nation:
The case for redress

The use of realism became institutionally entrenched in the Japanese Canadian community during the movement for redress. This is not to say that Japanese Canadians did not record, reflect, and debate issues and events that shaped the social and economic development of their communities before the redress movement. While most records were destroyed during World War II, it is still possible to find a wide range of documents in public archives, libraries, and personal records. Before 1941 many community institutions, such as churches and farm co-operatives, kept archives; they published books that described the social and economic activities of Japanese "pioneers" in Canada; there were English- and Japanese-language newspapers that covered both international and local events and included debates on topics such as democracy and arranged marriages. As well, many families kept photograph albums that included records of community and family life; haiku clubs articulated diverse experiences before, during, as well as after World War II (Kobayashi, 1980, 1992); and individuals wrote diaries and letters that recorded their views and experiences.

Very little work has been done on the forms of representation and genres used in these texts. Yet by looking at the written texts available in English, as well as those in Meiji-era Japanese, it is evident that realism was not used widely. My point here is that there is nothing "natural" about realism. It constructs a "reality" that is specific to certain socio-political ways of organizing "populations." This section gives an overview of how realism became institutionally entrenched in Japanese Canadian institutions. And it critiques the discursive repercussions: narrating Japanese Canadians into the Canadian nation as assimilated individuated citizens.

In the early 1970s, young Japanese Canadians began to question what had remained a dark secret in their community's past. Many sansei4 did not know that their parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents had been interned, dispossessed, and forced to leave British Columbia by the Canadian government. But influenced by the period's grass-roots activism as well as the Black Power and U.S. civil rights movements, they began to explore their "roots" (Mayu Takasaki, Japanese Canadian National Museum and Archives, oral history interview, 1990).

Through interviews and archival research they discovered that Mackenzie King's Cabinet used the War Measures Act in 1942 to remove the civil rights of all persons of "Japanese racial descent." Japanese Canadians were categorized as "enemy aliens." Their gender, their age, their record of public service, or whether they were Canadian by birth, naturalized citizens, or Japanese nationals was irrelevant. The government removed 22,000 Japanese Canadians from a 100-mile zone along British Columbia's coastline. Families were initially broken apart with the women and children being placed in interment camps and the men in road camps. The Nisei Mass Evacuation Group, a group consisting of around 200 young nisei5 men, publicly protested this move. Fearing an escalation in protests, the government presented the option to send entire family units to beet farms on the prairies where they could work as labourers. This was not an option open to the members of the Nisei Mass Evacuation Group. They were sent to prisoner-of-war camps in Ontario along with other men who criticized the government's actions and a few Japanese nationals suspected of pro-Japanese sentiments. Families were further broken down as the government removed young adults from their families and sent them to work in central Canada, for example, as domestics in Toronto and farm hands in southern Ontario. The government sold their properties and possessions which it supposedly held in trust. And, finally, when Japan was defeated in 1945, they were forced to choose between relocation east of the Rocky Mountains or being shipped to war-torn Japan6 (Adachi, 1976; Miki & Kobayashi, 1991; Oiwa, 1991; Sunahara, 1981).

Through this process, the prewar Japanese Canadian settlements in British Columbia were systematically broken up as physical, economic, and socio-psychological entities. The diverse complexes of farm co-operatives, Nihon-machis, Buddhist and Christian "churches," cannery row houses, prefecture associations, baseball tournaments, intergenerational struggles, English- and Japanese-language newspapers, watch repair shops, bakeries, Japanese-language schools, jive clubs secretly organized by teenagers -- all integrated into the economic and social landscape of British Columbia's urban and rural settlements -- were destroyed (Kitagawa, 1986).

During their internment, Japanese Canadians re-organized themselves as best they could, setting up groups such as the New Denver Kyowakai Society to represent and protect their interests, for example, legally contesting their "repatriation" to Japan. As well, in 1943 the Japanese Canadian Democratic Committee formed in Toronto to restore the civil rights of Japanese Canadians. In 1945 they helped set up the Cooperative Committee on Japanese Canadians, a national coalition which included major labour, professional, and church organizations. This committee protested the "repatriation" policy and pressured the government to remove all restrictions placed on Japanese Canadians. The government ceased shipping Japanese Canadians to Japan in 1946. By then, over 4,000 found themselves overseas in what was a foreign country to most. And it was four years after the defeat of Japan in 1949 when all restrictions on Japanese Canadians were removed and they were free to vote in all elections (Adachi, 1976; Miki & Kobayashi, 1991; Sunahara, 1981). But by now, separated from kin and community groups, stranded in Japan or dispersed across Canada, Japanese Canadians were isolated from each other and afraid to re-associate. Facing economic, social, and emotional devastation, most now coped by trying to leave the past behind and integrate into the mainstream.

Almost 30 years later, armed with the knowledge of these events, community activists began to mobilize during the late 1970s in a movement to demand redress from the Canadian government. On September 22, 1988, after eight years of struggle, the NAJC and the Canadian government finally came to an agreement on the conditions for redress.7 The ability of the NAJC to impel the government not only to acknowledge but also grant redress for the violation of the rights which it committed over 40 years ago was a landmark, both for contemporary Japanese Canadians and other human rights organizations. It recognized that as long as the political body responsible for the violations continues to exist, regardless of whether the individual actors have changed, it remains accountable not only to the survivors but to whoever has been affected under its jurisdiction today.

When Japanese Canadians mobilized to demand redress they realized that it was politically necessary to write themselves into the nation's public sphere. They needed to be seen as Canadian citizens whose parents and grandparents were also Canadian as opposed to new immigrants, Asians, Japanese, or the Yellow Peril. To do so they wrote books and pamphlets, gave public lectures, toured schools, talked on radio programs, got coverage in the mainstream media, used community newspapers to write articles and engage in debates, and held public information sessions for other Japanese Canadians. Some of the key non-fiction texts produced during this time were: Ken Adachi's book, The Enemy that Never Was (1976), the Japanese Canadian Centennial Project's A Dream of Riches: The Japanese Canadians, 1877- 1977 (1978), Ann Sunahara's The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (1981), Toyo Takata's Nikkei Legacy: The Story of Japanese Canadians from Settlement to Today (1983), and the NAJC's pamphlet, Democracy Betrayed: The Case for Redress (1984). In these texts, it is possible to identify a narrative that integrates them into the history of the Canadian nation as citizens who contributed to the social and economic development of the country. What follows is a general overview of how this narrative operates. I argue that it was central to the success of the redress movement.

To narrate Japanese Canadians into the nation, activists used a linear narrative propelled by the logic of cause and effect (Lapsley & Westlake, 1989; Silverman, 1983) that chronologically mapped the stages of the Japanese Canadian community's development. For example, it started with the first "pioneers" and "adventurers," proceeded to "settlement" with the entry of wives and the birth of children, and so forth. This narrative epitomizes the linear narrative of Western progress which, for example, identifies men as the key agents of history and hierarchically values the development of society in terms of its "evolutionary" stages towards the final attainment of modern society. Activists underlined the important role Japanese immigrants played in constructing British Columbia's economic infrastructures; how, in addition to working in the fishing, lumber, and mining industries, they also cleared many acres of old growth forest from the Fraser Valley (Nakayama, 1984; Takata, 1983), turning it into the province's most productive farmland. This discursive strategy functioned to underline their status as "pioneer" Canadians. Successfully identifying Japanese Canadians as pioneers made the validity of branding them as "enemy aliens" who were a "threat to national security" questionable. Once this was established, the redress movement could then define the actions of the government as a violation of their civil and human rights.

The ability to command the attention of the government and media depended on the legitimacy of their "truth claims": whether their research procedures, analysis, and institutional affiliations had the legal-political authority. Without this level of legitimacy, the NAJC demands could have been dismissed on the basis that they lacked the necessary and sufficient evidence. Using well-established research techniques and recognized sources of information, such as archival records, legal documents, and oral testimonials, Japanese Canadian activists produced a historical account that re-wrote official Canadian history. It became recognized as a legitimate depiction of "the truth" by the government and the media. It allowed them to demonstrate that the "logic" used to justify the government's actions was racist. It also quantified the economic and social effects in terms that the government and public could recognize: for example, the loss of property and internment without conviction.

While effective at a legal-political level, the historical narrative Japanese Canadian activists used was fundamentally rooted in the ambivalent relation between racialized people and the Canadian nation. In his book, Nations and Nationalism, Ernest Gellner states that if

it is the case that a modern industrial state can only function with a mobile, literate, culturally standardized, interchangeable population ... then the illiterate, half-starved populations sucked from the erstwhile rural cultural ghettos into the melting pot of shanty-towns yearn for incorporation into some [modernized society], with the subsequent promise of full cultural citizenship, access to primary schools, employment, and all ... [poor] newcomers are of course, almost always spurned. The question is whether they will continue to be slighted.... This will depend on whether [they] possess traits which its members and their offspring cannot shed, and which will continue to identify them: genetically transmitted or deeply ingrained religious-cultural habits which are impossible or difficult to drop. (1991, p. 46)

As Gellner suggests, in the linear progress of the modern nation there is a drive to assimilate, or, more specifically, eradicate what is constructed as different in order to produce equal atomized citizens with a new history free from the past. But at the same time, the effort to eradicate necessarily constructs its object of destruction: the other as a threat to the nation. Thus it reproduces difference in a way that continues to ensure the production of its implicit and privileged opposite: the modern nation, the master, the colonizer, civilization. In the case of settler societies, discourses such as scientific racism have marked particular peoples as "racially other" to the dominant white order. The nature of this "racial" difference is rooted in the nation's displaced anxiety about the actual violence on which it is founded and maintained: invasion, colonization, forced labour, genocide, incarcerations, the appropriation of land. While the nation attempts to repress the knowledge of its violent nature, the presence of those marked by racial difference calls up the fact of genocide, exploitation, and land appropriation, and looks the master -- the progenitors of civilization -- in the face with the sentience of living human beings, evoking anxiety about what the nation has repressed. In reaction, the nation displaces its anxiety back onto racialized others. It identifies them in terms that the nation as a supposedly democratic society most dreads: violent, irrational hierarchies based on blood relations (Balibar & Wallerstein, 1991; Lyotard, 1990).

Japanese Canadians are examples of racialized others who could not, as Gellner states, "shed" what were constituted as marks of their difference. Until 1949 the Canadian nation officially regarded the "Japanese" as unassimilable. For example, Ken Adachi cites an article entitled "Canada and Japan" from a 1907 edition of the newspaper Living Age that describes how unrestricted immigration from Japan was perceived as threat to the nation in that it meant the planting of

a vast alien colony, exclusive, inscrutable, unassimilative, bound together in a secret offensive and defensive organization, with fewer wants and a lower standard of living than their neighbours, maintaining intact their peculiar customs and characteristics, morals, and ideals of home and family life, with neither the wish nor the capacity to amalgamate with or even conform to the civilization upon which they have intruded, and gradually, by the mere pressure of numbers, undermining the very foundations of the white man's well-being. (Adachi, 1976, p. 78)

Considered as a threat to the progress of modern civilization, public authorities and institutions worked symbolically and physically to write Japanese Canadians along with other racialized groups -- most notably the people of the First Nations -- "out of" the Canadian nation. Until the formation of the redress movement, the economic and social contributions by Japanese Canadians to the development of Canada, their mass uprooting, internment, and exile were excluded from the public sphere. They were absent from history books, school curricula, museums, literature, and commemorative events. Their exclusion at a political level was poignantly symbolized in the refusal to grant them full franchise until 1949 and the refusal to acknowledge that their rights had been violated. And the attempt not just to exclude but to physically get rid of Japanese Canadians materialized in the solution envisioned by the government after Japan was defeated in 1945: over 10,000 Japanese Canadians were signed up to be "repatriated" to Japan.

There can be no denying the political significance of narrating Japanese Canadians into the nation. Yet it is important to identify the cost. To produce a historical account that the government would accept, the NAJC needed to gather information from community members which could be turned into "data," which would be recognized as "evidence" for the violation of human rights. In doing so, Japanese Canadians shaped their experiences into terms defined by the government. It meant that certain factors rather than others were presented as the relevant, such as loss of property and being interned without being convicted of any wrongdoing. While activists recognized the psychological trauma as an important factor, they did not secure any measures to help with the long-term process of healing in the redress agreement.

As described above, the information had to be objective and without bias. This depended, as Young claims, on erasing the specificity of Japanese Canadians from the text: reducing the lives and accounts of Japanese Canadians into sociological and legal constructs, for example, as victims, witnesses, and hard facts. So narrating Japanese Canadians into the nation as citizens simultaneously required their effacement as historically and culturally specific subjects. As Gellner claims, this produces the "culturally standardized, interchangeable population" of the modern nation-state.

For people who are marked as unassimilable, the process of struggling for legitimacy as social citizens is a fundamentally violent process. It requires the erasure of not only traits denoting cultural and historical specificity, but traits that "can not be shed": bone structure, hair texture, skin pigmentation, the way an eyelid folds. These traits become reified as immutable differences. Procedures aimed at erasing difference end up reproducing it as otherness. These procedures are not only "implemented" by the government, but also internalized by racialized citizens (Fanon, 1967).

With regard to the violence specific to the internment of Japanese Canadians, the linear narration of progress identified particular causes: the government's racist actions. And it identified particular effects: the destruction of prewar communities, social and economic devastation, "internalized self- hatred," the desire to assimilate. This gave the violence a coherence which made it seem like it was possible to address. But the complexity of the violence and its specific effects cannot be apprehended in a narrative that relies on the logic of cause and effect. This narrative measures the "violence" of the internment in terms of the way in which it violated established definitions of human rights (National Association of Japanese Canadians, 1984). In the human rights approach, there is a tendency to reify racial processes. Racism is viewed, on the one hand, in terms of unequal or inadequate access to social amenities such as housing, education, and policing. As such, racism becomes framed as a problem of resource allocation, a matter for which the government is responsible. Or, on the other hand, racism is viewed as irrational hatred which is aimed at certain groups who have been falsely identified as inferior. Here, racism is framed as a problem of social conflict. Again it is viewed as a matter under the jurisdiction of the government which can be rectified through, for example, education and increased intervention. In both instances, the solution is conceived in terms of gaining social legitimacy and formal citizenship rights. While important, this overlooks the ways in which the problem is rooted in the foundation of the nation on the construction of a "racial other." And it cannot address how the internment encompasses a complex of violations and violences. To assess these violations and violences it would be necessary to examine how measures implemented to rip apart the lifeworld of Japanese Canadians affected, for example, gender and intergenerational relations, self-identity, and prewar institutions including the extended family and kin groups.

Minoru: Memory of Exile -- From father to son. . .
"what's best left unspoken"

The previous section gave a critical analysis of the historical narrative formed during the movement for redress. The paper now turns to cultural texts that were produced after this narrative became institutionally entrenched in the Japanese Canadian community. The purpose is to examine to what extent the narrative was subsequently reiterated or challenged once redress was realized. The focus is on cultural texts aimed at a general audience, rather than a specialized "art" audience.8 The analysis focuses on Michael Fukushima's documentary film Minoru: Memory of Exile (1992a, 1992b). Minoru tells the filmmaker's father's story of exile in Japan, a story that is driven by Mackenzie King's attempt to expel all people of "Japanese racial origin" from British Columbia.9 The film was produced and is distributed by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). It received some funding from the NAJC. Due to its association with the NAJC, it has been viewed at numerous national and regional Japanese Canadian events, such as the "HomeComing" conference in 1992 where there were over 800 Japanese Canadian participants. As well, it has been regularly viewed in public schools.

The film was conceptualized during the last stages of the NAJC's effort to negotiate an agreement for redress. It was completed in 1992. This was a period when many of the community's organizations were geared towards the redress movement. By this time, the redress movement had formulated its version of Japanese Canadian history with its linear narrative. This meant that the objective narrative of Japanese Canadian history was circulating throughout these community venues, newspapers, historical books, speeches, pamphlets, and oral histories. As such, the filmmaker had access to this ready-made cause-and-effect narrative which could easily be adapted to the mainstream documentary film format predominately used by the NFB. In fact, the NFB pressured the filmmaker to use a conventional realist format. For example, NFB representatives were opposed to using the speaking voice of Fukushima's father with what they considered his atypical manner of speech. They wanted a voice they thought would be easier to comprehend (Michael Fukushima, personal communication, November 19, 1993). But in addition to being influenced by what was a widespread and meaningful narrative for Japanese Canadians during this period, it also drew on subjective genres such as biography and animation.

The mix of animation and biography challenges the institutional strictures established for objective historical texts: of what constitutes a legitimate representation of "the real." These three genres have differing degrees of "truth value." Animation is conventionally regarded as a genre belonging to children's fiction. The status of biography, while it is the reconstruction of a real individual's life, remains somewhat suspicious in that it can be "subjective." Documentary, on the other hand, is a recognized "discourse of sobriety," a system of representation which assumes its discourse has instrumental power. Produced by economic or political institutions, it assumes that it "can and should alter the world ... [by effecting] action and [entailing] consequences. . . . [Though, at the same time, the status of documentary film is a little dubious because it relies on images rather than on words]" (Nichols, 1990-91, p. 15).

The main narrative draws on two different voice-overs. In an impartial, even voice typical of the voice-over narration in conventional documentary films, the filmmaker presents a chronological series of events that lead to the exile of his father to Japan. Like the factual account of Japanese Canadian history produced for the redress movement, he identifies the main dates, actors, and government decisions which resulted in the "exile" of Japanese Canadians. This is counterpointed to his father's biographical recollections.

We follow the father from his childhood when he "was just having fun, you know, being a kid, being a regular nine year-old Canadian kid ... growing up over my parent's grocery store ... 477 Powell Street"; and briefly to the period when he and his family were interned in New Denver. When Japan was defeated in 1945, along with every other Japanese Canadian, Minoru's father was forced to decide whether to relocate his family east of the Rocky Mountains to unknown and potentially hostile towns or to be shipped to Japan. He chose the latter. Most of the film's story occurs in Japan. Minoru recounts how they "ended up in my grandfather's village ... small, real poor, the middle of nowhere." Finally, in 1950 Minoru Fukushima explains why he readily joined the U.N. multinational armed forces: Japanese Canadian men who served in Korea were promised that they would be returned to Canada.

In contrast to conventional historical depictions, it is not clear whether the factual account of history in this film is the main narrative. If this was the case, the factual account would have operated as the "structure" that determined the supposed event: Minoru Fukushima's life. Minoru Fukushima would have been reduced to an example of the main argument, as a "victim" of circumstances or a "hero" who finally takes charge of his situation by joining the U.N. multinational force. The factual account is given some narrative weight by illustrating it with documentary evidence, such as archival photographs. Yet the film works to incorporate this "evidence" visually into the animation, the realm of fiction. For example, the photographs are washed with colours that fade them in and out of the animation scenes, in effect, moving them into the handcrafted imaginings of the watercolour animation, drawing them out of the concrete tales of photographic truth.

The animation techniques primarily focus on illustrating the father's recollections. This emphasizes the personal over the factual account. Specifically, the animation draws out the expressive dimension of the father's story. For example, it captures the existential quality of the father's life with the use of chunky childlike figures, which, though vibrating with internal movement, are profoundly isolated in shifting watercolour landscapes. The animation is able to draw out the nuances and meanings that are implicitly packed into the father's recollections. These meanings cannot be deduced from the semantics of his utterances. For example, when the father gives a sparse description of his efforts to continue with school, his account could be taken as diffident and nonchalant if the listener does not attend to the understated use of description and the significance of the pauses and intonations. For example, consider this description of going to school in Japan: "So I went to school to learn Japanese. I had grade eight from New Denver, but only spoke English, so I was in a school with the grade one kids, and I was fourteen.... I stayed in school about a year, just a year. Then back to the rice fields." To express the implicit meanings in this statement, the film portrays the father as an oversized, fumbling, and self-conscious teenager amongst a class full of curious, giggling grade one students. The scene begins with a claustrophobic close-up of the father, emphasizing his internal discomfort. The camera then pans out to the younger students, showing how he was a large, older student out of place in the classroom. This is followed by a medium shot of the father working in the rice fields, alone, amidst the constant downpour whose melancholy textures his stay in Japan visually, and audibly with the pensive flute music and taiko drums of the Japanese Canadian band, Uzume Taiko. In these scenes, the animation expresses the father's painful sense of being locked in a hollow isolated fate in the bleak landscape of his "grandfather's village ... small, real poor, middle of nowhere."

Animating the meanings imbued in the tones, pauses, and rhythms of the father's voice means the film circumvents the problem that Linda Ohama faces in her film, The Last Harvest (1992). In this film, the use of conventional documentary techniques constructs her family as "witnesses" who give accounts that reinforce the main narrative. When they are interviewed, instead of getting candid descriptions of their lives, in many cases what is documented is their unease with being asked to perform in front of the camera. Their apparent discomfort is accentuated by framing their heads in tight close-ups where their facial expressions record their tension as they are being interviewed. It is as if the physical proximity and probing questions of the interview violates and intrudes into their socially defined personal space. The framing techniques used by documentary film to record the emotional reactions of the witnesses seems to crowd them. In fact, several members of her family seem to resist telling Ohama "the story" of her family's relocation. Against the expectations of anyone who has "been through redress," the story they tell does not interpret the events laid out in the redress narrative in the expected manner. As one member of the family claims, the story of Ohama's family becomes one about how the "relocation" was "a blessing in disguise" insofar as it helped Japanese Canadians assimilate. This helped them gain access to what they had previously been denied. The use of the intangible motifs, as discussed above, such as the elusive kimono-clad woman, suggests that the story is much more complex. But nevertheless, the story ends up not being about "injustice." In fact, as the film progresses, it becomes more and more about a family farm struggling to survive on the prairies in the 1990s. This is confirmed when the written message to "support the family farm" scrolls across the screen at the end of the film.

In contrast, Minoru does not use conventional documentary film techniques that turn the father's accounts into evidence for the central narrative. Nor does it force the father to express himself in a format belonging to conventional documentary films. Instead the film elaborates the father's account, expressing rather than editing out /cleaning up his particular rhythm of speaking, long pauses, and idioms.

But in following the father's life story, the film runs the risk of introducing humanist assumptions endemic to the genre of biography. For example, biographical narratives clearly identify the different life stages through which an individual passes as she or he matures into an adult. It assumes that the individual has the capacity to control her or his destiny (Davies, 1992; Kaplan, 1992; Rosaldo, 1976). Clearly the film has these tendencies, especially with the reconstruction of different life stages that lead to Minoru Fukushima's manhood when he gets his first chance to make his own choice: to enlist in the U.N. army. Moreover, the filmmaker, speaking as "the son," introduces heroism in his concluding remarks. He states: "My father affirmed his [Canadianness] in the face of hatred and oppression." And he introduces patriotism by claiming: "I am Canadian because [my father] struggled to remain Canadian." The heroism and especially the patriotism seems to well up in a crescendo when the son proclaims that the NAJC and the Canadian government finally reached a resolution for the injustices: "On September 22, 1988, the Canadian Government acknowledged the injustices committed against Japanese Canadians during and after World War II."

But the impending glorious closure is disrupted with a cold twist. The film ends with the statement: "my grandmother, widowed for twelve years, died one year earlier in August of 1987 [before the resolution for redress was reached]." This is a surprise because it is the first time the grandmother, and in fact a woman, enters the narrative.10 In the art of animation, surprises are not unusual. Animated film, especially Canadian animation, is a carefully crafted art form that organizes its formal elements into compact parables. As a result, the cumulative meaning of what seems to be the natural linear progression of a story is often sharply interrupted with a sudden intervention near the end of the narrative and a larger, more potent principle about life is revealed (Dorland, 1983; Evans, 1991; Hookey, 1982; Johnson, 1988; Martin, 1983; Thompson, 1988; Wintonick, 1987).

But what is the significance of this disruption? It is necessary to examine how "the woman" disrupts what seems to be the narrative drive towards a culmination in patriotism. The fact that the grandmother died one year before the agreement for redress was reached, places the weight of "meaning" on the fact that the "repatriation" happened rather than on the fact that redress was granted. For those who died without being redressed, and for those who remember them, the violence of internment and exile with all its untold effects can never be "resolved." Without resolving the violence, the complete assimilation of Japanese Canadians into the Canadian nation is impossible.

Why is a woman used to reveal this larger, more potent principle of life? To answer this question it is necessary to examine her symbolic role. Nira Yuval-Davis & Floya Anthias argue that women have a particular role in the ideological reproduction of national and ethnic collectivities. Not only do they "teach and transfer the cultural and ideological traditions of ethnic and national groups ... [but] very often they constitute the actual symbolic figure: the nation as a loved women in danger or a mother who has lost her sons in battle" (Yuval-Davis & Anthias, 1989, pp. 9-10). The grandmother functions to underline the fact that the violation of Japanese Canadians cannot be resolved, implying that Japanese Canadians cannot be assimilated with the logic of erasure. She seems to operate as an emotional symbol that signifies the experiences of the Japanese Canadian collective.

Yet the grandmother is not the sole means by which the impossibility of assimilation is presented. Thus as a symbol she is not responsible for the enormity of this task alone. For example, the story running alongside Minoru's story of exile is an account of how the Canadian government refused to recognize Japanese Canadians as legitimate citizens: how it branded them as unassimilable. And throughout the film, the way in which the Canadian government refused to recognize the rights of Japanese Canadians is underlined. Notably the film begins with a 1945 quotation from Ian Mackenzie, Liberal M.P.: "Let our slogan be for British Columbia.... No Japs from the Rockies to the sea" (Ian Mackenzie, Liberal MP, 1945). And when the Canadian government is forced to recognize Japanese Canadians as part of its citizenry, the film underlines the irony. For example, after Minoru recounts the offer made to Japanese Canadian men if they joined the U.N. army in Korea, he reflects, "I must have wondered, you know, how come they forced us to Japan, and now they were recruiting us to fight. I mean, Canada only ever saw me as Japanese, but I'd always been a Canadian." Moreover, while the father's recollections fit into a linear chronological narrative typical of a biography, his narrative does not completely resolve the violence he experienced. Specifically his narrative does not make the "repatriation" comprehensible by identifying its causes and effects. This is due in part to the fact that Minoru's recollections constantly show how the government has attempted to position Japanese Canadians outside of the Canadian nation: for example, legally, by refusing to recognize their rights; and physically, through exile. His narrative does not resolve the violent exclusion through a story line that ends with his inclusion -- his assimilation.11

Nevertheless, the urge to invoke closure at the conclusion of the film is strong due to the linear structure of biographical and factual narratives. This is especially the case with the continuity demanded by the intergenerational story line where agency is passed from grandfather (the decision to be sent to Japan) to father (the decision to return to Canada) to son (the decision to narrate their story). Is the violence of Minoru's "repatriation" resolved through the filmmaker's narrative where he recounts how the father manages to return to Canada not only to claim his "Canadianness," but to pass it on to his son? Here a patrilineal lineage becomes patriarchal insofar as agency is passed through the male members of the family. The patriarchy becomes married to a patriotic identity. This seems to be reinforced at the end of the film. The filmmaker stops speaking as the impartial narrator and speaks as Minoru's son. He states: "My Canadianness is complete, totally natural, immutable." Yet it is not clear if closure is reached when he goes on to say, "my father came home and built his life. In the process, many things were left, best forgotten and unspoken. Those silences are a large part of my identity, my other heritage." Thus while his father passed on the possibility of being Canadian, he also passed on the "silences": things best left forgotten. Does this include the violence of events like internment and exile which are "best left" repressed? Yet the things best left forgotten are what the animation refuses to forget: expressions of discomfort, isolation, and pain. It is the "large parts of his identity" that he begins to approach in Minoru: Memory of Exile. Yet while the expressive dimensions of animation, the spoken words of Minoru, and the interweaving biographical story line emphasize the significance of experiences which are not expressed in the realist representation of Japanese Canadian history, Minoru is still structured by the linear narrative that inserts Japanese Canadians into the linear narrative of the modern Canadian nation.

Conclusion: Multiple strategies

The purpose of this paper is to underline the importance for historically persecuted people to assess the ramifications of using realist forms of representation. I argue that realist forms of representation pose a difficult dilemma: between commanding legal-political authority and erasing the historical and cultural specificities of their experiences. To examine this dilemma, I turned to the case of the Japanese Canadian redress movement. By using realism to represent their case, Japanese Canadians were able to open up negotiations with the government which eventually resulted in redress. But it also meant that Japanese Canadians were forced to frame their internment and exile in terms defined by the government. At a semiotic level, this meant narrating themselves into the Canadian nation and embracing the narrative of assimilation, a narrative specific to the modern nation which requires a standardized, homogeneous population. This narrative represses the violence Japanese Canadians experienced by making it comprehensible within a logic of cause and effect. While the narrative works to erase the cultural specificity of Japanese Canadians, it also reifies what is represented as their immutable differences: marks of their otherness.

This is a condemning critique of realism. But in order to assess the actual semiotic damage incurred, it is necessary to examine the extent to which it is reiterated or challenged. I chose Michael Fukushima's documentary animation Minoru: Memory of Exile as an example of a cultural text that was produced soon after redress was realized. While the film draws on the realist narrative formed during the movement for redress, it does not erase the specificity of its main subject: Minoru. By incorporating subjective genres, such as animation and biography, the film presents Minoru Fukushima's story of "exile" without completely reducing him to a structurally determined "event." This would have made him into "evidence" for the documentary. But the film nevertheless structures Minoru's life with the chronological narrative endemic to biography. The film follows an evolutionary series of "life stages" culminating in Minoru's ability to take control of his life by joining the U.N. army. The intergenerational aspect of this story follows a patriarchal lineage where agency is passed from grandfather to father to son. This culminates in the son's patriotic identity at the film's closure.

What is innovative about Minoru is the way in which the film uses animation to sustain the narrative weight of the father's voice against the tendency to subsume it within the factual narrative of realism: the "discourse of sobriety." It draws out the nuances and implicit meanings that are packed into the father's recollections. As such, the film draws out the presence of what remains silent in the face of objective narratives: the "large parts of his identity," the "other heritage" that still remain to be explored in the contemporary Japanese Canadian community. At the same time, this analysis shows how difficult it is to resist established forms of representing "reality." It underlines the importance of becoming aware of how these forms of representation operate.

To assess the extent to which a particular narrative becomes established, it is necessary to ask how extensively it is used; or, more pertinently, its operation in the larger political and social context. This does not just involve a question of producing an inventory of what work has or has not used realism. It is also necessary to examine the institutional work required to maintain a narrative amongst a group of people. For example, the NAJC needed a massive mobilization of resources to narrate Japanese Canadians into the nation as citizens. Without a continual allocation of resources to secure this narrative, we need to ask whether it would have been possible to maintain it in Canada's national public sphere. Was the public apology from the government enough to secure the inclusion of Japanese Canadians, as just one of many racialized groups, within the Canadian nation? If so, there should be a commonly held recognition of Japanese Canadians as Canadian pioneers who contributed to the development of the Canadian nation. If not, it can be expected that they will be viewed as "Japanese," Asians, immigrants, exotic Orientals, or worse.

With regards to the Japanese Canadian community, the pertinent question is perhaps "What sorts of representation have been legitimized by organizations with the capacity to financially support and promote work that examines, critiques, and explores the community's contradictions, experiences, political struggles, social configurations, and dreamy imaginings?" It could be argued that there is a tendency for the work circulating in the post-redress community's public venues to utilize realist forms of representation.12 But evidence seems to show that there is also an increase in non-realist works as the community reorganizes itself after the redress movement as a collective of diverse groups. These groups have different concerns and issues as well as affiliations with a wide range of institutions and groups outside the community, such as artist-run galleries, universities, and federal funding programs for the arts such as the Canada Council. In either case, I would argue that community-based organizations need to encourage, promote, and fund multiple strategies.

Acknowledgments

This paper was written with the support of a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada; an Ontario Graduate Scholarship; and funding from the National Association of Japanese Canadians' Endowment Fund. I would also like to recognize the thoughtful feedback that José Arroyo and Benham Behia provided.

Notes

1
This is not an impossible feat, as peoples of the First Nations have demonstrated. For example, in land claims negotiations, the Gitkan-Wet'suwet'en have successfully used traditional oral testimonies which command authority within their political and social systems. Until their intervention, the Canadian legal system did not recognize traditional oral testimonies as an admissible form of evidence.
2
I would like to thank Behnam Behnia for underlining this.
3
Likewise there are works of fiction that use textual strategies which mimic textual forms that are specific to the methods of collecting and depicting actual events particular to, for example, newsreel footage, which is characterized by continuous shots and rough framing. This mimicry can be used to increase the work's feel of verisimilitude, as in the case in films such as Schindler's List and JFK. In these cases, fiction uses textual strategies that mimic the textual forms that arise from methods of documentation. But unlike many of the documentary texts that cross the fiction / fact divide, these fiction films do not cross this divide in order to necessarily challenge the institutional assumptions implicit in their genre. Though these textual strategies can also be used to upset the naturalized gaze of the camera in fiction films, as in the case of Woody Allen's The Manhattan Murder Mystery (1994).
4
Third-generation Japanese Canadians.
5
Second-generation Japanese Canadians.
6
While the Cabinet referred to the policy to get Japanese Canadians to leave Canada as "voluntary repatriation" to Japan, in fact, this was not repatriation as the majority were not Japanese nationals. The majority were Canadian citizens either by birth or through the process of naturalization.
7
It included an "acknowledgment that the treatment of Japanese Canadians during and after WWII was unjust and violated the principles of human rights as we understand them today"; a "pledge to ensure, to the full extent that its powers allow, that such events will not happen again"; as well as symbolic redress to individuals and the community (Miki & Kobayashi, 1991, pp. 138-139).
8
Predating the redress movement, there is a rich vein of work that explored the issues encompassing representation, experience, and identity. This work has received more attention in the cutting-edge art world than in the community. And while some work is performed in community venues, thus far it has had relatively little influence on texts more widely distributed amongst Japanese Canadians, for example, through local NAJC offices, newspapers, and community events. There are films, for example, by Jesse Nishihata, Fumiko Kiyooka, Midi Onodera, and Troy Suzuki; videos by Ruby Truly; there is Kokoro, the butoh dance troupe co-founded by Jay Hirabayashi; dancers such as Denise Fujiwara and Aiko Suzuki, and musicians such as Leslie Komori, Eileen Kage, and John Endo Greenaway (the dancers and musicians have been followed quite faithfully by Japanese Canadians); there are works of poetry, painting, theatre, and multimedia art by Alan Itakura, Roy Miki, Roy Kiyooka, Haruko Okano, Tsuneko Kokubo, Nobuo Kubota, and Gerry Shikatani (Suzuki, 1994).
9
There are only a few texts that describe the experiences of exile that Japanese Canadians underwent. Most are in film or video format. For examples, see Ruby Truly's video documentary, The HomeComing Conference Workshops: Panel on Exile in Japan and CBC's 1995 Fifth Estate production, Throwaway Citizens, with Japanese Canadian Gabrielle Nishiguichi as the central researcher.
10
While Fukushima's mother figures prominently in postwar photographs of the Fukushima family (with Minoru, Michael, and mum), she does not speak / have a voice in the film. For more information on the conventional role of women in the Japanese Canadian community and their absence from public records, see Audrey Kobayashi's 1994 article, "For the Sake of the Children: Japanese / Canadian Workers / Women."
11
This is the resolution in Mark de Valk's film, The Pool: Reflections on the Japanese Internment (1992), and the Massey Brothers' film on Japanese Canadians, Call My People Home (1989).
12
For example, there is Nancy Tatabe's film, Momiji: Japanese Maple (1994); Linda Ohama's film, The Last Harvest (1992); Maryka Omatsu's book, Bittersweet Passage (1992); and the book edited by Keibo Oiwa, Stone Voices (1991). Though there are also a growing number of books and films referring to the history of Japanese Canadians that do not rely on realism, but which also circulate in the community, such as Hiromi Goto's novel, A Chorus of Mushrooms (1993); Katherine Shozawa's audiovisual history project, Educational Travelling Exhibit (1995); Roy Miki's publication of poetry, Random Access File (1995); and Sally Ito's publication of poetry, Frogs in the Rain Barrel (1996).

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