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.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.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.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.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.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.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.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.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

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read