PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

The Murakami Family in Greenwood in BC’s Interior: (MURAKAMI, KIMIKO, RICHARD, MARY, ROSE, VIOLET AND ALICE) (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) 2004-005-038. Image courtesy of Salt Spring Island Archives.
Two children look into the window of a Japanese store, closed after the forced relocation of Japanese nationals. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) Credit: Jack Lindsay, City of Vancouver Archives.
Confiscated boats of Japanese Canadian fishermen, Bamfield Harbour, BC. Japanese Canadian boats from the west coast of Vancouver Island were rounded up by the Canadian Navy immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Although most cameras were confiscated, no one paid attention to the child who took this photo as she rowed around the fleet to pick up the family’s daily supply of goat’s milk. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) NNM, 2001.20.3.6. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
The image shows an older man in a vest and tie with his arm out, leaning against a storefront that has “397 K Saito Tailor” painted on it. Powell Street, Vancouver, c. 1920. (Not featured in current exhibit) NNM, 2011.16.1.2.5. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
A registration certificate, numbered 10333, issued to Hiroshi Okuda of 306 Jackson Avenue, Vancouver, on June 7, 1941. The certificate reads “Canadian Born” and includes Hiroshi’s photograph. (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the NNMCC on Sept. 26, 2020) NNM, 2018.3.1.1.6. Image courtesy of Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
This scroll is part of an important donation to the NNMCC from the family of Eikichi Kagetsu, a lumber baron whose property was forcibly dispossessed in 1943. The collection was in banker boxes bagged and ready to be placed in an off-site freezer to destroy any mold or insects that may have made its way into the material while it was stored in the Kagetsu family’s North Carolina basement. Photo was taken in 2016 at NNMCC. Photo credit: Kaitlin Findlay with archival materials from the NNMCC.
Displaced Japanese Canadians leaving the Vancouver area (possibly Slocan Valley) after being prohibited by law from entering a “protected area” within 100 miles of the coast in BC. (l-r: woman holding book is Nobuko Morimoto; woman in dark cardigan is Tei Terashita; young woman leaning out of train is identified as Kazuyo Kawabata) (This archival photo is featured in the “Broken Promises” exhibit opening at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre on Sept. 26, 2020). Image provided courtesy of NNMCC.
Thousands of visitors came to Canada’s first Japanese garden and teahouse, run by brothers Hayato and Kensuke Takata, until their internment in 1942. (Photo, c. 1914/15, not featured in current exhibit) Toyo Takata Fonds, v986.18.6. Image courtesy of the Esquimalt Municipal Archives.

The University of Victoria will soon be sharing the untold stories of more than 22,000 Japanese Canadians, as part of a new national exhibition exploring Japanese Canadian internment in the 1940s.

The university announced the new exhibit Tuesday (Sept. 22), called ‘Broken Promises.’

The gallery will be officially launching Sept. 29 at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby.

A website was also released today sharing the findings from the Landscapes of Injustice.

In a news release, UVic historian and project director Jordan Stanger-Ross says the gallery will portray the lesser known period of Canadian history through previously unreleased photographs, personal interviews, official documentation and letters of outrage.

“This exhibition launches in the midst of long overdue conversations about racism in Canada,” he said. “It is a time for excavating how our present realities are shaped by past inequalities.”

Exhibit organizers say the gallery is intended to share the untold truths of Japanese Canadians who suffered a profound loss of their homes, personal possessions and livelihoods, along with their civil and human rights.

Japanese Canadians who are now facing multi-generational trauma as a direct result that was initiated by the Canadian government eight decades ago.

“Broken Promises” will be on display at the centre through next spring. It is scheduled to travel to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto in May 2021, and to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria in early 2022, with dates in Halifax and other regional locations yet to be announced.

The public is also invited to the Sept. 26 live-streamed celebration launch. Visit the Facebook event page or watch live on YouTube.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Royal BC Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for Stikine candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

BC Liberal Party candidate for the North Coast Roy Jones Jr. will hold virtual face-to-face meetings for North Coast communities on Oct. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
BC Liberal Candidate Roy Jones Jr, will meet constituents virtually

Face to face conversations will be held on Oct. 18 for North Coast communities

Kelly Lynn Whitney has been acclaimed as the successful candidate on Oct. 16, in the Village of Port Clements by Election. Seen in photos Kelly Whitney-Gould is pictured putting finishing touches on “Ms. Gnomer’s Home 4 Wayward Folk.” (Kelly Whitney-Gould/Submitted photo)
Kelly Lynn Whitney acclaimed in By Election

Village of Port Clements By Election success

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for NDP candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Six Mile Beach outside Nelson is known for its perfect sand, clear water and unique sand spit. But the drowning death of a man in July has residents asking if the dangerous spot has become too popular. Photo: David Grantham/Kootenay Drone Services
Dangerous oasis: The fatal history of a popular Kootenay Lake beach

Six Mile Beach near Nelson is known for its unique sand spit. But locals have feared it for decades

In this photo illustration, a provincial election mail-in ballot sealed in an Elections B.C. return envelope is seen before being deposited in a Canada Post mailbox, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The final result of British Columbia’s provincial election won’t be known for at least two weeks because more than 700-thousand mail-in ballots have to be counted by hand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s snap election means 700k ballots will be counted manually, delaying results

Elections BC spokesman said employees in 87 electoral districts will count mail-in ballots one by one

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam takes part during a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. As parts of Canada face a new round of COVID-19-related restrictions, Canada’s chief public health officer is urging Canadians to continue making a “collective effort” to tackle the pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Chief public health officer calls for continued ‘collective effort’ against COVID-19

Canada continues to climb toward the 200,000 mark for COVID-19 cases

Most Read