It Is Food That Calls Us Home: A Multigenerational Auto-Ethnography of Japanese Canadian Food and Culture


  • Shelly Dee Ikebuchi Okanagan College
  • Takara Ann Ketchell University of Alberta



The link between food and cultural identity is explored in this paper, through a multi-generational auto-ethnography of food. As mother and daughter, the authors explore their relationships with food and theorize their experiences of cultural loss, which they attribute to the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. They argue that although over seventy years have passed since the restrictions imposed by the War Measures Act were lifted, the effects of the internment continue to be felt in their family. Further, they contend that although their experiences cannot be understood as representative of all, or even most, Japanese Canadians, what they offer is a tentative and personal exploration of how their relationships with food have been shaped, both directly and indirectly, by their family’s history.

Author Biography

Takara Ann Ketchell, University of Alberta

Takara Ketchell holds a Masters degree from the University of Toronto (OISE) and is currently working on her PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta.