Terry Watada

Terry Watada is a Toronto writer with many publications to his credit including two novels, The Three Pleasures (Anvil Press, Vancouver, 2017) and Kuroshio: the Blood of Foxes (Arsenal Press, Vancouver, 2007), four poetry collections, two manga, two histories about the Japanese Canadian Buddhist church, and two children’s biographies. He looks forward to seeing his third novel, The Mysterious Dreams of the Dead (Anvil Press), and fifth poetry collection, The Four Sufferings (Mawenzi House Publishers, Toronto), released in 2020. He also maintains a monthly column in the Vancouver Bulletin Magazine.

Updated May 2019

community en

The Summer of the Gun

Many decades ago (more than I care to count), I and my parents were watching evening television in our eastend Toronto home when a knock came at the front door. My parents were not expecting anyone, so it was a curious event.

I answered the door and was met by two police officers in full uniform. Extraordinary. They asked if “Dick Watada” lived at this address. I said yes of course. They then asked to see him.

I wonder to this day if my parents were reminded of 1942 when the RCMP came to their Vancouver apartment looking for my ...

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identity en

Back Where I Belong

As I watched the circus of race and denigration that is the White House, Congress, and American society in July, I tried to remember how some Democrats are at times politically expedient and opportunistic and how most Republicans are hypocritical and cowardly. Why can’t right-wing politicians just call the man in the White House a racist? Either they are racists themselves or maybe it takes decades. I mean, Woodrow Wilson is only recently being identified as a racist. In any case, present-day Washington has put me in mind of an incident during my youth, when I was in my ...

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community en

Community Centre vs Cultural Centre

Back in the day, when the brain trust of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) in Toronto was arguing about a new building, the question of whether the organization was to be a Cultural centre (as it was identified) or a Community centre for what was left of the Japanese Canadian (JC) community. When first thought about, the Nisei decided that the JC community was dwindling and would soon be gone, eradicated by indifference and out-marriage. They thought they saw the writing on the wall. David Suzuki once told an audience of mostly Nisei that the “community” only had 100 ...

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media en

Yoko Tani: the Mysterious Life of a Nikkei Actor

Yoko Tani, an Asian actor working primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, was born Itani Yoko. Though both her parents were Japanese, she was described, from time to time, as Eurasian, half-French, half-Japanese and as a surprise Italian-Japanese. These labels persisted probably because of WWII or the producers, agents or managers wanted to make her “exotic”, like Nancy Kwan, and thus “acceptable” to white audiences. The “facts” reveal that both her parents worked in the Japanese embassy in Paris, France. Yoko was conceived on board the ocean liner that brought the family to Europe; she was born in Paris. Hence ...

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culture en

David Toguri: An Appreciation

Not much is known about David Toguri’s early life. He’s also not well-known in the Asian North American communities, especially in Canada, his birthplace—which is surprising since he is so famous in Europe. I suppose his anonymity is a testament to this talented yet humble artist.

I met David Toguri at a Japanese Canadian community banquet sometime in the late 1990s. Can’t remember what the occasion was, but I was impressed that he was a guest. He was in point of fact invited by a family member and not by the organizers. He was Nisei, tall ...

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