UBC Undergraduate Research

Commemorating with (in)visibility : the case of the Japanese Canadian War Memorial Kwok, Perry

Abstract

Interrogation of the histories and symbolisms embedded in the Japanese Canadian War Memorial, located in Stanley Park, Vancouver, revealed a narrative of not only the disempowerment of Japanese Canadians, but also empowerment through proactive financial and institutional support against the climate of discriminatory politics in British Columbia. The "national memory" of Canadian war remembrance has embraced the dissemination of Anglo-centered narratives by mainstream memorials like the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France and the Ottawa National War Memorial. As such spaces displaced "other" narratives like visible minority war efforts in WWI, the "national memory" embedded in current commemorating practices of Canadian war remembrance is not representative to the actual realities of Canadian history. Japanese Canadian disenfranchisement and (dis)empowerment were essential factors driving Japanese Canadian volunteers to enlist and serve on the Western Front. The paper argues for a major extension of public attention and knowledge regarding the symbols and narratives "bled" within the Japanese Canadian War Memorial for a more legitimized practice of Canadian war remembrance.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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