The Soyokaze: A Gentle Wind That Weathered the Storm

  • Beth Boyce Museum at Campbell River

Abstract

The Canadian government confiscated 1,137 fishing vessels from Japanese Canadian fishing communities during the Second World War.  These boats were then sold for below market prices, while the fishers and their families were uprooted, detained, dispossessed and exiled. Of the 1,137 vessels taken from their owners, only one was successfully reclaimed following the war. This is the story of the Soyokaze, a cod-fishing vessel built in 1939 for Shigekazu Matsunaga. It was seized and sold in 1942, but was later found, reclaimed and fished again by the Matsunaga family until it was donated to the Museum at Campbell River where it rests today, overlooking its old fishing grounds. Its longevity is a testament not only to the fine craftsmanship of Japanese Canadian boat builders, but also to the resilience of a family in the face of imposed life-altering government policies fueled by racism and fear.

Published
2020-01-09