Kitagawa was born in Vancouver, BC, the daughter of a Japanese mill worker and a seamstress. As a Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Canadian), she felt the full weight of racism and devoted her energies to combatting discrimination against Japanese-Canadians as a journalist for The New Canadian, a Nisei bi-weekly newspaper. She was also active in the struggle to achieve the vote for citizens of Japanese ancestry. When people of Japanese descent were ordered interned on the Canadian West Coast during the Second World War, she avoided deportation by moving to Toronto with her husband. The house they owned in Vancouver was confiscated and sold, leaving them virtually penniless. Nevertheless, throughout this period, she continued to write in protest against the injustices committed against her people in the name of the war effort. This description of conditions at Hastings Park is taken from a letter to her brother, Wesley, in Toronto; this letter, and others from the same period were one of Joy Kogawa’s sources for Obasan (q.v.).
KeywordsWooden Floor Vancouver General Hospital Teddy Bear Japanese Ancestry Japanese Descent
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