Canada Reads

5 things to read, watch and listen to after you've read Forgiveness

Inspired by the memoir that won Canada Reads, here are some books, movies and music to check out.
Mark Sakamoto's memoir Forgiveness was successfully defended by Jeanne Beker on Canada Reads 2018. (CBC)

Writing helped Mark Sakamoto cope with the past. His memoir, Forgiveness, deals with the internment of his Japanese-Canadian family and his grandfather's time as a prisoner of war in Japan  — events that have taken him nearly a lifetime to understand. 

The memoir, defended by Jeanne Beker, was the winner of Canada Reads 2018.

If you've read Forgiveness, here are five books, films and albums you should check out. 

Read: Obasan by Joy Kogawa

Obasan by Joy Kogawa is based on her experiences during the Second World War and the displacement of Japanese Canadians during that period. (Joy Kogawa/Penguin Random House)

In Joy Kogawa's celebrated novel, Japanese-Canadian teacher Naomi Nakane digs up a painful family past. She reconstructs the events her relatives endured during the Second World War and begins to wonder up to what point a nation can be forgiven for its injustices. 

Read: After the Bloom by Leslie Shimotakahara

For her debut novel, Leslie Shimotakahara encases the story of her family's time in a Japanese internment camp within a mystery about her missing mother. (Dundurn Press)

Fragile memories complicate a daughter's quest to discover her mother's past in Leslie Shimotakahara's debut novel. Rita Takemitsu tries to find out why her sick mother fled her Toronto home and begins to uncover family secrets about a troubled past at an internment camp that haunts her mother.     

Watch: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 

Nagisa Oshima's film explores what happens when you begin to sympathize with your enemy. The story, featuring David Bowie as a rowdy New Zealander, documents the workings of a Japanese PoW and the friendship that begins to emerge between prisoners and their captors, toppling over hierarchies and taboos in the process.

Watch: Nostalgia for the Light

Patricio Guzmán's documentary asks: how far into the past do we have to look to find answers? The film weaves interviews with astronomers with the stories of women who scour the Atacama desert, searching for relatives who disappeared under the Chilean dictatorship — each exploring the past on different, but related scales.

Listen: UZU by Yamantaka // Sonic Titan


With members from mixed heritages and music that gleans from different genres, UZU approaches psychedelia from different angles. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan incorporates Japanese musical traditions in their album, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.


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