Obasan, By Joy Kogawa Essay

1195 words - 5 pages

Many if not most, considered World War II the most atrocious act of all time. It was viewed as a war of beliefs and ideals. One side, vouching for domination, while another for freedom; One slaughtering and discriminating due to nationality, race, and religion; the other fighting for freedom, sovereignty, and peace. In reality, the war was not as black and white as that. Though the Axis Powers committed heinous crimes against humanity (I.E Holocaust, Murder of millions, Attempt at world domination etc.), the allies also had their own dark moments. Joy Kogawa displays the horrors of the allies’ dark side accurately in the book “Obasan”. The book talks about the impact of a loathing society and internment on Japanese-Canadians during and after World War II. A Japanese woman named Naomi narrates the book, and recalls the horrors that befell her and her family. The book affirms that the internment of Japanese-Canadians during and after World War II didn’t just restrict them physically, but also had deep psychological and economic impacts.
The most obvious barriers that were put on the Japanese were the physical restrictions. The efforts of the People and the Canadian Government, to separate the Japanese-Canadians from the rest of the people were swift, and aggressive. Due to:
“Japan's entry into World War II on December 7th, 1941. Japanese Canadians were removed from the West Coast. “Military necessity” was used as a justification for their mass removal and incarceration despite the fact that senior members of Canada's military and the RCMP had opposed the action, arguing that Japanese Canadians posed no threat to security. And yet the exclusion from the west coast was to continue for four more years until 1949” (Japanese Canadian History).
Many were forced from their homes, deported from “protected zones”, areas 160km and closer from the Ocean. These zones were created so that no Japanese-Canadians could do any spying or communicating with Japan. Furthermore, all Japanese newspapers and businesses were shut down. In Obasan the same events occurred as Naomi and her Family were evicted from their home, separated and sent to various places across western Canada. This barrier also had an adverse psychological and economical impact, as people were stripped of their possessions, jobs, and families. It had such an impact, that people like Naomi in real life still are haunted by it (Japanese Canadian History).
The Psychological impacts put upon the Japanese-Canadians, weren’t just the horrible experiences, or the separation of family and friends. Rather, the impact due to their discrimination by the government and the rest of society had a deeper impact. The hatred of against the Japanese by the Government and the people had an Enormous impact on the people’s well being, and the way they viewed themselves. The government after the relocation sold most of the properties and confiscated possessions of the Japanese. They also removed all of the Japanese...

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