Stolen Memories, Breaking the Silence Film Screenings at Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, May 29, 2012 – 6.00-7.00PM

Stolen Memories is a detective story about filmmaker Kagan Goh’s personal quest to return a photo album “stolen” from a Japanese Canadian family during the Japanese internment.

The filmmaker’s brother bought a photo album along with a framed photograph of a Japanese samurai warrior that once belonged to a Japanese Canadian family, at a garage sale for a mere $5 apiece.  When his brother asked the Caucasian man who sold him the album how he had come to possess such a precious family heirloom, he replied indifferently that he found it in the attic collecting dust and he just wanted to “get rid of it.”  The photographs are dated 1939.  Three years before the Japanese internment.

To attend this event, please visit our registration page.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1942, Japanese Canadians were ordered to turn over property and belongings to the Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a “protective measure only.”  Caught in the whirlwind of anti-Japanese hysteria and paranoia, all of the Japanese descendents living in Canada at the time were rounded from their homes and herded off to internment camps and declared “enemy aliens.”  They had no choice but to leave everything behind.  The album was left behind when the family was interned and their possessions were either seized by the Canadian government and sold for a pittance, or stolen by looters.

Kagan Goh, aided by Mary Seki, his 70-year old detective sidekick, embarked upon a quest to find the rightful owners, find out what happened to them and return their lost photo album to them.  Documenting the search as well as redressing the wrongs of the past is a symbolic “homecoming” – coming home in terms of returning to a place of self-acceptance, belonging, wholeness and healing.

Stolen Memories reflects deeply rooted issues of prejudice which have affected the Japanese Canadian community throughout the last one hundred years, experienced not just by the family but by the Japanese Canadians who helped in the quest to return the ‘stolen’ photo album.  The extraordinary story is a microcosm within the macrocosm of the Japanese Canadian legacy.

Breaking the Silence is a short documentary written and directed by Kagan Goh and produced by Imtiaz Popat.  The documentary is about Akihide John Otsuji, a Japanese Canadian who was imprisoned for defying a racist law called the Dispersal Campaign. After the Japanese internment, Japanese-Canadians were given the choice to either repatriate to Japan or move east of the Rockies, but not allowed to return to the West Coast. Aki returned to his hometown in Vancouver and was promptly imprisoned and labeled a criminal by the Canadian government. Mary Seki considers him to be a hero. “Breaking the Silence” is about Mary Seki’s quest to clear her brother’s name.

This event will take place at on May 29, 2012 at 6.00-7.00PM at the Dodson Room (Room 302) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.  1961 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1

To attend this event, please visit our registration page.

As part of ExplorASIAN, and in partnership with Kagan Goh’s Stolen Memories, Monkeyking Motion Pictures, and Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.

For more information, please contact Aleha McCauley or Allan Cho.

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