This documentary tells the story of the frustration and injustice experienced by Japanese Canadians, who fought long and hard to be accepted as Canadians.
The bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor thrust 9-year-old Minoru Fukushima into a world of racism so malevolent he would be forced to leave Canada, the land of his birth. Like thousands of other Japanese Canadians, Minoru and his family were branded as an enemy of Canada, dispatched to internment camps in British Columbia and finally deported to Japan. Directed by Michael Fukushima, Minoru's son, the film combines classical animation with archival material. The memories of the father are interspersed with the voice of the son, weaving a tale of a birthright lost and recovered.
This feature-length documentary tells the story of the Asahi baseball team. In pre-World War II Vancouver, the team was unbeatable, winning the Pacific Northwest Championship for five straight years. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, all persons of Japanese descent in Canada were sent to internment camps. The former Asahi members survived by playing ball. Their passion was contagious and soon other players joined in, among them RCMP officials and local townspeople. As a result, the games helped break down racial and cultural barriers. This remarkable story is told with a combination of archival footage, interviews and dramatic re-enactments.
This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne's father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father's involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia's Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne's father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than reveal an important period in Canadian history. It pays moving tribute to a father's quiet heroism.
This documentary introduces us to Italian-Canadians whose lives were disrupted and uprooted by seclusion in internment camps during the Second World War. On June 10, 1940, Italy entered WWII. Overnight, the Canadian government came to see the country's 112,000 Italian-Canadians as a threat to its national security. The RCMP rounded up thousands of people it considered fascist sympathizers. Seven hundred of them were held for up to three years in internment camps, most of them at Petawawa, Ontario. None were ever charged with a criminal offence. Remarkably, the former internees are not bitter as they look back on the way their own country treated them.
Karen Cho, a fifth-generation Canadian of mixed heritage, discovered that half her family wasn't welcome in the country they called home. While Canada encouraged and rewarded immigration from Europe, it imposed laws that singled out the Chinese as unwanted and unwelcome. Cho's film, In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, takes her from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last living survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. This dark chapter in our history, from 1885 until 1947, plunged the Chinese community in Canada into decades of debt and family separation. At the centre of the film are personal accounts of extraordinary Chinese Canadians who survived an era that threatened to eradicate their entire community. Through a rich melding of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations, with deeply moving testimonials, it reveals the profound ways this history still casts its shadow.
This film is part of the Valour and the Horror series, three controversial films on Canadian involvement in World War II. In the autumn of 1941, nearly 2,000 inexperienced Canadian soldiers were sent to Hong Kong at the request of the British government as a symbolic show of strength that would deter a Japanese attack on the colony. Canada's soldiers found themselves in the midst of a desperate battle they could not hope to win. On Christmas Day, 1941, the British colony of Hong Kong officially surrendered to Japan. The surviving defenders became prisoners of war. Over the next three and a half years, many of them would come to envy the dead.
Filmmaker Karen Cho travels from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, a set of laws imposed to single out the Chinese as unwanted immigrants to Canada from 1885 to 1947. Through a combination of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations.
The NFB's 2nd Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film examines the Japan that emerged at the beginning of the 1900s and was firmly established as an industrialized nation by the outbreak of World War II. Facing the greatest threat in their history, the democracies of the Pacific took careful stock of this new Japan and its strength, and erected a vast system of defence across the world's greatest ocean.
This documentary celebrates the vibrant culture and tenacious struggle of the Canadian Gypsy and introduces a new generation of Roma who claim their roots with pride. They call themselves by their rightful name, the Roma. Almost 80,000 call Canada home. Meet Julia Lovell, a passionate defender of Roma human rights, whose father is slowly gaining the confidence to reveal his heritage; and Karen Gray Boothroyd, a flamenco dancer just beginning to reclaim her Gypsy roots.
This feature-length documentary looks at German POWs from the WWII who were housed in 25 camps across Canada. Filmmaker Eva Colmers follows her father's story - Theo Melzer - who spent three and a half years in a POW camp in Lethbridge, Alberta. Growing up in Germany, she had always been puzzled by her father's fond memories of his POW life, so when she moved to Canada, she set out to rediscover this story. What she found surprised her. Watch as Theo Melzer, along with other POWs, recount how their lives were changed by the unexpected respect and dignity they received at the hands of their Canadian captors.
This short documentary examines the strength of the enemy forces in Japan towards the end of World War II. The mobilization of Japan's people and the consolidation of her fleets and armies along the front are weighed against the Allied Forces preparations for increasing attacks.
Ages 14 to 17
Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Diversity - Diversity in Communities
History - World War II
Social Studies - Social History
viewing, students brainstorm ideas about Japanese in Canada, including WW2.
After viewing, have students create a timeline of Japanese immigration in
Canada. Outline the War Measures Act. Does it resemble any other legislation
today? (ex: US Patriot Act, Canada Anti-terrorism Act.) Who might be targeted
by this legislation? Research statistics on Japanese Canadian population
growth and economic status. What other
have endured similar treatment in Canada or throughout the world? Have
students write historical impact statements as victims of persecution.