Hatsumi: One Grandmother’s Journey through the Japanese Canadian Internment premiered at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre on Sunday, April 1. It was part of a larger conference hosted by the centre to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Canadian Internment.
The film by Osgoode grad Chris Hope (JD ’04) offers a moving account of Japanese Canadian detention during the Second World War, as seen through the eyes of his grandmother, Nancy Okura. Hope spent more than ten years working on the film, which he also produced. Osgoode alumnus Anwar Deeb (JD ’04) composed the film’s original music.
“Most people my age have the beginning of a pension,” said Hope, whose day job is as director of business and legal affairs for Alliance Films Inc. “I have a film; a massive debt, and, thankfully, a very patient wife.”
Hope was able to attract community support to raise about 25 per cent of the overall budget, which allowed him to complete the film by the April 1 gala date. The film is now ready for distribution and broadcast.
His goal is to screen the film in schools across Canada. “The Japanese Canadian Internment story is one in which Canadians are painfully under-versed,” he said. “Hopefully, by presenting it in the first person with my grandmother, it will resonate on a more personal level than the few paragraphs in a history textbook that most of us experienced, and probably quickly forgot.”
Hope says the universal message contained in his film is that everyone needs to take the time to learn the history of those closest to them, and not hesitate in the sharing that history.
“By openly discussing such stories, we may collectively learn from our past, regardless of racial, cultural, religious or political boundaries,” he said. “Knowledge and familiarity with ‘the other’ is the enemy of discrimination, so it is critical that that knowledge is constantly nurtured and encouraged.”
For more information, visit the Hatsumi: One Grandmother’s Journey through the Japanese Canadian Internment website.