Video July 11, 2013
"I Think It's Miraculous:" Joy Kogawa Talks About The Legacy Of 'Obasan'

Author Joy Kogawa talks about the legacy of her novel 'Obasan', which tells the story of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War, and the impact the book has had.

She also talks about then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's public apology for the treatment of Japanese Canadians. Joy says that public acknowledgements help people cross over from being "stuck in the identity of the victim."

Kogawa is working on a memoir called 'Gently, To Nagasaki'.

In this clip, Joy talks about...

The legacy of 'Obasan'
George Stroumboulopoulos: What do you make of the legacy of 'Obasan'?...

Joy Kogawa: What do I think of it? Well, I think it's miraculous. I think that my life is just filled with all these unbelievably miraculous things that keep happening - like being here and talking to you. This feels miraculous to me.

What then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's apology to Japanese Canadians means to her
JK: What that means, that day, September 22, 1988, what that means to me is - there's a point in your life where you come to the crossover point, and you have to cross over at that point.

If you stay stuck in the identity of the victim, and if you therefore stay focused on how hurt you are, then you can do incredibly bad things to other people because then you're not aware of their suffering, you're only aware of yours. When you're a victim, that's what you are: you're aware of your own suffering.

So, recognizing that moment of crossover, and saying okay, I'm over here now - I mean, sometimes you get thrown back over here - but, it's so important. That's the moment of crossing over that matters.

That's why events like that are important, when there's an acknowledgement, when you are seen, when you know that you are seen.

Related:

THE BIO: Joy Kogawa

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