On January 28, 2016, Project Director Jordan Stanger-Ross presented a lecture based on the letters of protest written by Japanese Canadians in response to the forced sale of their property.

This lecture was part of the Uvic Continuing Studies In Pursuit of Knowledge Lecture Series.

Reading Japanese Canadian Letters of Protest to the Forced Sale of their Property, WWII

Mrs. Toshiye Hoshiko wrote the Custodian of Enemy property, the body of federal government responsible for the sale of her home and belongings, on October 22, 1944 from Montreal, where she found refuge after her uprooting. “I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the sale of the property,” she wrote, “it was my home for over twenty years. It was the work and hard work of two decades toiling. It was where my children were born and raised. And now you tell me that the property was sold?” Hoshiko was one of more than 200 Japanese Canadians who responded in written protest when the federal government informed them that, despite prior assurances to the contrary, all of their property had been sold without their consent. In this talk, Dr. Stanger Ross will draw upon recent theorizations of value, to explore economic, temporal, experiential, and relational expressions of ownership and belonging in the letters of Japanese Canadians to the federal state. The sales came as a shock to owners and prompted them to articulate powerful and sophisticated claims to their possessions, homes, and lands. The protests of Japanese Canadians illustrate the profound impacts of these policies, reveal the complex relations among ownership, citizenship, and belonging, and belie any notion that Japanese Canadians accepted the policies without voicing forceful dissent.