Forgiveness is not a transaction but a way of life, says Mark Sakamoto

Mark Sakamoto tells Jian that he used to think forgiveness was a transaction. Now he believes it's a way of life. (Fabiola Carletti/CBC)


He was a Canadian private incarcerated as a prisoner of war in Niigata, Japan. She was forced into a Canada's Japanese internment camp in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Although their traumas took place on opposite sides of the oceans during the Second World War, Ralph MacLean and Mitsue Sakamoto eventually ended up in the same family. Now they've inspired their grandson, Mark Sakamoto, to share their hard-won lessons in his new book, Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents

"I sort of thought forgiveness was a transaction...but in fact forgiveness really is a way of life. It has nothing to do with the past, in many ways. It has everything to do with the future."

The true meaning of 'Shikata Ga Nai' 

Sakamoto tells Jian he used to dislike the Japanese expression Shikata Ga Nai -- which he translated as "it can't be helped" -- because he thought it was a passive expression. Now he believes that statement is about focusing on the future by letting go of things one can't control in the past. 

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