I Know We'll Meet Again - Transcripts

Correspondence and the forced dispersal of Japanese Canadians

Yoshio Nakamura

Magrath, AB on September 19, 1945

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: Magrath, Alta.
: Sept. 19/45
: Dear Joan;
: I am really at a loss as to how I should apologize for the long silence. I have to apologize to a number of other people too, cause I did not write for so long. e.g. Masao, May Ohama, May Webb, Bob Inouye, Dott Kan etc.
: This summer we had to work such long hours and nearly all the Sundays. We worked from 12 to 14 hours a day in the busy times. Now we work between 10 to 12 hours. All summer I only had 2 Sundays off. I really loathe to work on Sabbath day, but it was work that had to be done—irrigating. I am glad, so very glad, that we have finished with it now. After we finish
: topping the beets I’ll be happier still.
: Had I really wanted to write and made myself write, I could have done so, but in the hot sweltering heat when one works for so long it just drives the energy from your body and after you have supper at anytime between 7.30 and 9 P.M.—sleep and rest is all you think off.
: I really should have written long ago but another reason is plain laziness. Shall I come back and start writing a letter? Okay.
: First of all, how are you Joan? I hope you are in the best of health. Are you going to normal school now? I am still working on the Farm. I do not know if I will work in the store this winter or not.
: Yesterday I went to the dentist in Lethbridge and suffered from 11 AM till after 3 PM. I did not have dinner so I got a bite to eat & ran to the bus terminal to catch the bus. Since yesterday morning we have had snow and later rain till this morning. The sun is out now for a change.
: On Sunday we played a baseball game against a Raymond team and won 8—0. I got hit on the nose when I slid into a base. It’s healing now. On the end of August I had my Summer holidays and I went up to Waterton Lakes again. I had a grant time fishing, boating and biking. Gee! Joan, it’s really wonderful to be there for a few days. Even tho’ it’s only once a year.
: The air is fresh and so—well it seems to be free of dust.
: What have you been doing all summer Joan? Have you seen Betty and Margaret lately?
: Over a month ago I wrote to a Lieutenant C. Thomas ‘cause he’s the one that was recruiting us Niseis for the Can. Army. He was supposed to come to Alta but he did not so I wrote to him over a month ago telling him that I wished to volunteer in the Army Intelligence Corps. I have been awaiting answer a long time not receiving a reply, I wrote again after hearing that they needed Niseis for the army. I still have no answer yet.
: Since V.J. day I gave up hope but when I read that Japanese-Canadians are still needed for Intelligence I wrote a second time and as yet no answer. Even tho’ the war is finished now, I may be of use if they do accept me. For years now I have been waiting for the war to end, but now that it has ended I am at a loss as to what to do. It seems I have a war to fight from now. A sight that does not need physical energy but mental. Our fight for our freedom as Canadians. We have to fight to make up our minds where we should move to. At present we are not allowed to move to B.C.
: As far as we know now we are free to move to points East from the 15th of November. Even if we do move east on the 15th we are subject to relocation again. It’s all so funny, so complicated. If I were just a lone ranger I would not worry so much but as it is I am a member of a family of 6. So far we have no decided on any place to move. I think we will be on this farm till next fall anyway as far as we know now.
: Gee, Joan, I’d give anything to go back to a place near Westminster. I wonder
: how it is back there. I’ll bet the Maple leaves are red, yellow brown and all colours; Leaves falling down everytime a breeze comes blowing.
: I wish that I was in the East when I first moved—then I might have been in the army intelligence and would have been to Vancouver for advanced training.
: Some more of the Japanese-Canadians who have finished their basic training in Ontario have gone to Vancouver on Sept 5 for advanced training—Gee! Joan it makes me almost cry right now—the time is 9:15 and the radio is just bringing forth
: the swellest song “Home Sweet Home.” All the verses too. Golly—it makes a guy feel pretty lonely after not having a real home for 3 ½ years.
: I’m sorry I ran off the subject. Thanks very much for the Q.E. Vue. It was swell. I was really interested on the two views on the Japanese question. One boy really spoke from a democratic point of view and the other from the general point of view of people who are more or less leaning towards the “expulsion league.” If you can—I’d like to write a friendly letter to both—I’d like to have their addresses. I have a few copies of the pamphlets
: Showing what (1)—The Japanese-Americans did for the war effort. (2) Japanese-Canadians—This pamphlet was written by a Mr. Norman. It answers a lot of questions that are in the minds of the general public. At present I have not any but I’ll get some and send you a copy of each. I want to send a copy to each of those two boys. I think those two boys will appreciate getting true facts on a question they themselves did not know very well. Although what they both wrote, there was a lot of truth in it, yet there were other things that were not.
: A lot of the people such as doctors, Bishops, and well-to-do farmers do not favor us or take our side (and I think that they are really swell) but they do express the democratic point of view, which Canada is following or is supposed to be in regards to the Japanese Canadians.
: I, like hundreds of other Canadian born boys, am officially a citizen of Canada for which I was willing to serve as she wanted me to. I have done nothing bad, yet I am treated as I am.
: I am hoping that some day, justice and true democracy will come to me.
: Racial prejudice and discrimination are two things that are certainly not a part of democracy.
: President Roosevelt made that clear in one of his later speeches. He is my ideal of “Democracy.” He was very fair but stern to the enemy, he was fair and equal to all Americans—be they Negros, Japanese, Chinese or Caucasians. I think that he was the greatest man ever to watch over a nation. Abraham Lincoln ranks with him for he was the father of Democracy.
: There I went off again. The hanky I am enclosing is a souvenir of Waterton Lakes Park. I’ll send some pictures soon.
: Once again I am sorry that I did not write to you more sooner. Please forgive my not writing. Hoping that I will hear from you sometime. I am
: As ever
: Yosh.
: P.S. The program that is on right now certainly is bringing a lot of swell songs.
: P.S. The radio is playing “I dream of you”. I do really, and of the rest of the old gang. Some day, even tho’ we be almost strangers, I will visit that way.

Preferred Citation

Nakamura, Yoshio. Correspondence from Yoshio Nakamura to Joan Gillis. 19 September 1945. RBSC-ARC-1786-02-51. Joan Gillis fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.