Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)

B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

The B.C. government is providing $2 million to develop health and social programs for seniors affected by the internment of Japanese people during World War II and the years that followed.

Announcing the project Wednesday, Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh noted that while the war ended in 1945, Japanese people were not allowed to return to B.C. until 1949, where they continued to face hostility after losing their property and possessions and reporting to camps with a day’s notice. Survivors told stories of being held in horse barns at Vancouver’s Hastings Park before being transferred to remote camps in the Kootenays, Shuswap, the Fraser Canyon and other locations.

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when the Pacific war broke out, and 22,000 Japanese-Canadians were rounded up.

“Talking about our incarceration, the stress is put on the loss of material things, such as land, homes, boats, businesses and personal belongings,” Kitagawa said in a video conference May 5. “With one stroke of the pen, the government stole all of what the Japanese-Canadians owned in 1942, and sent them off to suffer brutal conditions, to live in barns and shacks not fit for humans, to be enslaved on sugar beet farms, to be imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp, or be deported to war-torn Japan.”

RELATED: George Takei visits Hope internment camp museum

RELATED: Japanese Canadian recounts camp life in Shuswap

Family and social connections broken during the war are the focus of the project, to be directed by the Burnaby-based Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society and other community groups via the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

Susanne Tabata, the association’s B.C. representative, said the funds will allow expansion of services for intergenerational trauma, dementia care, community care and an online “wellness hub” to reach people during the COVID-19 pandemic.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politics

Just Posted

Reflective number or design on hoodie. Police are seeking help in identifying three youth involved in an incident on Soderholm Road early June 12. Photo courtesy Campbell River RCMP
Do you know where your kids were at 1:24 a.m.?

Campbell River RCMP seeking help identifying three youths

John Hart Dam near Campbell River, B.C. BC Hydro photo
Campbell River watershed forecasts improve with rainfall

BC Hydro projects slightly higher resevoir levels and river flows after rainy May and June

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Heather Gordon Murphy (l-r) and Jan Wade, chair and executive director, respectively, of the Downtown Campbell River Business Improvement Association, are working to make the city’s core a safer and more welcoming place.
Downtown Campbell River BIA working to change perceptions

Downtown Campbell River BIA is establishing nighttime security patrols and targeting beautification

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Campbell River

Pro-forestry and preserve old growth supporters argue and debate in front of MLA’s office

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read