Portrayal Of Japanese Canadian Racial Segregation In Joy Kogawa's Novel Obasan
People these days do not realise how the Canadian government was discriminating and taking actions against systemic racism during World War II. Obasan is a story written by the Japanese Canadian novelist Joy Kogawa that tells a story about how Japanese Canadians were treated by Canadian government and what they have been through during World War II.
This powerful and passionate novel is narrated through the eyes of a child, Naomi, who have been separated from her mother. She suffers as she and her family became enemy aliens, abused and detested on their own land. Through reading and understanding the story Obasan, the reader can realize the impact Kogawa put on the novel to show the world the consequences of racial differences and historical events.
Through the power of words, Kogawa strives to arrive at some truth by giving voice to those who are suffering by racial discriminations and not in a position of power. The novel Obasan discloses how the Japanese Canadians received cruel, racial segregation from Canadian society. Kogawa creates a vivid mental image of the cruelty and anguish that these very innocent Japanese endured, as a result of their ethnic origin. Naomi and her family experienced the horrific trauma, forced to their homes and live in an internment camp.
Also, Naomi was involved in the movement for reparations from the Canadian government for the forcible relocation and confiscation of property of Japanese Canadians during World War II. the huge amount of racial descrimnation Noami and her family went through as well as many other Japanese Canadians went through was so destructive and cruel. It allows Kogawa’s readers to somewhat understand their pain and anguish through these many difficult years.
In addition, historical events are one of the factors that had a big impact on Kogawa’s writing. Historical coincidence such as World War II have deeply influenced Kogawa’s writing. World War II was what caused everything to happen to all the innocent Japanese Canadians and made Kogwa’s writing more emotional because it was based on true historical coincidence. For example, Canada declared war against Japan, and the next day the canadian government confiscated all Japanese including the Canadian citizens. Japanese Canadians were stripped of their homes and businesses and sent to internment camps in British Columbia. They lost their jobs, houses, freedom because they were forced to stay in camp. Obasan Kogawa deeply speaks about the consequences of World War II had on her life and the lives of thousands of Japanese Canadians.
In conclusion, through reading and understanding the story Obasan, the reader can realize the impact Kogawa put on the novel to show the world the consequences of racial differences and historical events. Racial discriminations and historical events really influenced Kogawa’s writing. Kogawa made great effort to achieve truth by giving voice to those who are suffering by racial discriminations and to those who lost their position of power.
Also historical coincidence such World War II, influenced Kogawa’s writing because it is what causes everything to happen and Canada to declare war against Japan. Also, it was the reason why the Canadian government treated Japanese Canadian badly. Therefore, it surely would have been different for Kogawa if World War II did not happen and if she did not live in Canada.
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