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“Impact of World War II on Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians: Comparative and Contemporary Perspectives”

February 26, 2010 (Friday)   7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
2010 University of Washington -- Day of Remembrance Program
@ Kane Hall, Room 120, University of Washington

Program Chairperson:  Professor Gail Nomura

Welcome and Introduction:  Professor Tetsuden Kashima
Professor Stephen Sumida

Greg Robinson, Associate Professor, Universite du Quebec, A Montreal,

Masako Iino, Professor and President, Tsuda College, Tokyo, Japan

Reception: Light Refreshments

The lectures with question and answer session will conclude at 8:40.  Please join the speakers in the foyer of Kane Hall for light refreshments and conversation.

Speaker: Professor Greg Robinson, “Studying Japanese Canadian and Japanese American
Confinement during World War II”

Presentation Abstract:
Scholars of Executive Order 9066 and the incarceration of Japanese Americans have often passed over the wartime removal and confinement of Japanese Canadians.  Yet a study of the many principal similarities and differences in the experiences of Japanese ancestry persons across the 49th parallel is not only intriguing in itself but provides a greater and more balanced perspective on a number of questions relating to the treatment of ethnic groups in both countries. Perhaps most importantly, a comparative analysis of the two treatments reveals the character of law, society, and race relations in the two countries.  How do we explain the contrasts and what does it inform us about the basic nature of the two countries?

About the speaker:
Greg Robinson, a native New Yorker, is Associate Professor of History at l’Universite du Quebec A Montreal, a Canadian French-language institution.  An internationally recognized scholar of Japanese American and Japanese Canadians, he  is the author of By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment in North America (2001), A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America (2009), and co-editor of Mine Okubo: Following her Own Road (2008).  He is also known for his groundbreaking work on Japanese communities in Quebec and relations between Japanese Canadians and French Canadians.

Speaker: Professor Masako Iino, “Japanese American and Japanese Canadian Religions: World War
II and Contemporary Issues.”                              

Presentation Abstract:
A universal feature of any society concerns its religious and/or spiritual activities.  For Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans, an important religious institution brought and nurtured in the two countries was Japanese Buddhism.  Important as it was for the Issei, the Buddhist temples or churches (Bukkyokai) were the center of Nisei activities not only as a place of religious ceremonies but offering, as well, a variety of youth associations and Japanese-language schools.  Some scholars argue that with the Japanese Canadian World War II confinement, the mental trauma suffered from the humiliation of being treated as second-class citizens caused many to feel ashamed of their Japanese origins.  Many after the War tried to distance themselves from features that reminded others of their Japanese origins.  Religion’s role for Japanese Canadians, especially the Bukkyokai, served as a vehicle to generate confidence and self-esteem which was necessary to confirm their identity as Canadians.  What then are the contemporary and future concerns surrounding Buddhist and Christian Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans as they face the future?

About the Speaker
Masako Iino is President and Professor of Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan--  considered by many to be one of Japan’s most distinguished colleges for women.  She has the distinction of being the first woman and first scholar outside of North America to win the 2001 Governor General of Canada’s International Award for Canadian Studies. This award honors a living scholar who has made an outstanding contribution to scholarship and to the international development of Canadian Studies.  Professor Iino has authored or co-authored numerous important books in Japanese and English on Canadian and United States studies.  A partial list includes, Mutual Hostages: Canadians and Japanese during the Second World War (1990, co-authored, English); Ethnic America (1984, 1997, co-authored, Japanese); A History of Japanese Canadians: Swayed by Canada-Japan Relations (1997, Japanese, winner of the Canadian Prime Minister’s Award for Publishing); and Another History of US-Japan Relations: Japanese Americans Swayed by the Cooperation and the Disputes between the Two Nations (2000, Japanese).

Program Sponsors:
University of Washington American Ethnic Studies Department; Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle; and the University of Washington Canadian Studies Program, Jackson School for International Studies.

Program Co-Sponsors:
Seattle University School of Law, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality; Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle Chapter; Japan-America Society of the State of Washington