The Murakami Women of Saltspring Island

  • Brian Smallshaw Department of History, University of Victoria

Abstract

After Pearl Harbor during World War Two, the Murakami family of Saltspring Island was forcibly removed to the BC interior together with about 22,000 other Japanese Canadians. Almost uniquely, they chose to return to the place from where they had been uprooted and some members have lived on the island ever since. Back on Saltspring they were unable to buy their farms back, and in the face of hostility and racism were forced to begin anew, much as they had done half a century earlier on the island. This article focuses on the Murakami women, who have been a driving force on a number of levels: the operation of the family farms; surviving and surmounting incarceration during and after the war; and in the struggle to reestablish themselves on Saltspring and raise awareness of the history of Japanese Canadians on the island.

Published
2020-01-09