BOOK Kyowakai: Memory and Healing in New Denver

BOOK Kyowakai: Memory and Healing in New Denver

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By Anne Champagne; Nikkei Internment Memorial Center

The book tells the story of Japanese Canadian Internment in New Denver, the creation of the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (NIMC) by the Kyowakai Society, and the healing it inspired.

In the preface, Anne Champagne writes: “A constellation of events catalyzed a small group of volunteers in a tiny mountain village to create a memorial to their internment during the Second World War, to place their experience into the context of the more than 22,000 Japanese Canadian internees.”

With the NIMC, the Kyowakai Society members wanted to tell their story, partly to inspire Nikkei with the fact that they endured and to assure future generations that they too could tap into such inner strength. With racism recently being in the forefront of global and national news, the book’s theme is timely and highly relevant as it reminds us that racial and religious discrimination is an ongoing issue in Canada and abroad.

A National Historic Site, the NIMC became the only centre of its kind in Canada. Part history, part cautionary tale, part companion to the exhibits and gardens at the NIMC, this book explores the vision for the centre, elaborates on the interpretive signs that accompany displays, and unravels the symbolic meaning of the Peace Garden.

“The goal of the book project was to honour and record our local history and the importance of the work of the Kyowakai Society in New Denver,” says Mayor Leonard Casley. “Without the Kyowakai, the NIMC wouldn’t exist and the story would be lost”.

The book will be of interest to many, including historians, teachers and readers interested in the history of Japanese Canadian internment, and New Denver and Slocan Valley history from the 1940’s to present.

The 76-page book features colour and black-and-white photographs, including images from the NIMC collection, Nikkei National Museum Cultural Centre, BC Archives and various private collections.

Paperback, 2020