The Japanese Internment (Ages 12+)

The Japanese Internment (Ages 12+)

Themes & Subjects
-Civics/Citizenship History, History, and Citizenship Education

This playlist explores Canada’s shameful history when over 22,000 Japanese Canadians were exiled from their homes along the coast of British Columbia to internment camps east of the Rockies during the Second World War.

Films in This Playlist Include
Minoru: Memory of Exile
Enemy Alien
Shepherd's Pie and Sushi
Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story
Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie

  • Minoru: Memory of Exile
    1992|18 min

    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.

  • Enemy Alien
    1975|26 min

    This documentary tells the story of the frustration and injustice experienced by Japanese Canadians, who fought long and hard to be accepted as Canadians.

  • Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story
    2003|50 min

    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.

  • Shepherd's Pie and Sushi
    1998|45 min

    This documentary presents Mieko Ouchi, half Celtic, half Japanese... and all Canadian. In 1993, Mieko, an actor, began researching a documentary about her grandfather, Edward Ouchi, a Japanese immigrant to Canada. Then she was cast to star in The War Between Us, a film on the WWII internment of 22,000 Japanese Canadians--re-enacting a key episode in her own community's past. Part Canadian history, part autobiography and family chronicle, Shepherd's Pie and Sushi looks at complex questions of personal and cultural identity with a light touch.

  • Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
    campus 2010 | 1 h 32 min

    This feature documentary profiles the life and work of world-renowned Canadian scientist, educator, broadcaster and activist David Suzuki on the occasion of his last lecture in 2009—a lecture he describes as “a distillation of my life and thoughts, my legacy, what I want to say before I die.” As Suzuki reflects on his family history—including the persecution of Japanese Canadians during WWII—and his discovery of the power and beauty of the natural world, we are spurred to examine our own relationship to nature, scientific knowledge, and sustainability throughout modernity and beyond.