マリカ・オマツ

(Maryka Omatsu)

In 1993 Maryka Omatsu was the first woman of East Asian ancestry appointed a judge in Canada. A sansei, she was a member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ strategy and negotiation team that won Redress in 1988 for her community. Her book, Bittersweet Passage: Redress & the Japanese Canadian Experience published in 1992 won several awards and is published in Japan.

Updated June 2013 

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Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Lessons From the Japanese Canadian Experience - Part 3 of 3

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LESSONS FROM THE JAPANESE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE 

Amateur volunteers working on a shoestring, we Japanese Canadian activists were armed with resolve and blessed with lucky timing. Post redress, other communities and struggles have examined the Japanese Canadian Redress victory to learn from our mistakes and successes. Of course, our experience is not necessarily transferable to other issues or locales.1


1. Determination

Famed 16th century Japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote, “Combat makes apparent something that already exists. A battle is always won before it begins, since it is won in the mind.”2 Having decided to challenge the ...

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Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Lessons From the Japanese Canadian Experience - Part 2 of 3

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The Redress Campaign 

In 1980, the community’s long-time political voice, the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) decided to investigate redress possibilities. By 1984, the campaign began in earnest. The issue became national front page news, when then leader of the opposition, the Progressive Conservative leader Brian Mulroney challenged the Liberal Party leader, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, to do the right thing by Japanese Canadians.

Initially within the Japanese Canadian community there were factions who needed to be won over [a topic that I go into in my book]1 outside our community, however, there were ...

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Speaking Up! Democracy, Justice, Dignity

Lessons From the Japanese Canadian Experience - Part 1 of 3

I will begin with a story. Over a century ago, Japanese immigrants landed on North America’s shores brought by the warm waters of the “Kuroshio,” or Black Current, which travels a perpetual circle from Japan south to the Pacific Islands and then up along North America’s west coast and back again. Transplanted adventurous peasants from a feudal island, we helped to clear the forests, to harvest the seas, and to develop a virgin country.

In those days, Japanese fishermen attached clear glass balls the shape of grapefruits or small watermelons to their fishing nets to keep them afloat ...

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