Across Canada, people commemorate the lives of fallen soldiers by wearing red poppy flower pins for Remembrance Day on November 11. Japanese Canadians also wear these poppies. The Second World War, however, marked a turning point for the identity formation of second generation Japanese Canadians who were interned in the “relocation camps” during these war years. This talk will describe a present-day Remembrance Day service held in a Japanese Canadian Christian congregation in Ontario, in which its veterans are remembered, while presenting the identity formation of second generation Japanese Canadians as deeply rooted in the experience of the internment. The talk argues that this ritual of remembrance reverses the historical and social location of the Japanese Canadians from those who were the victims of the war to those who are the contributors to it, enabling Japanese Canadians to assert their rightful position in Canadian society. This talk also includes a discussion of my personal transformation of the historical consciousness about the Second World War and being Japanese in Canada during this research.
Dr. Omori was educated in Japan and Canada, receiving her PhD from McMaster University in Canada. She is currently a JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Postdoctoral Fellow at Meiji Gakuin University, conducting her new project on child protection institutions (orphanages), foster parents, and adoption in Japan.