Books·Canadian

The Three Pleasures

Set in 1940s Vancouver, Terry Watada's novel is narrated by a young reporter working for the only Japanese-Canadian newspaper allowed to keep publishing during the war.

Terry Watada

In 1940s Vancouver, the Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbour and racial tension is building in Vancouver. The RCMP are rounding up "suspicious" young men, and fishing boats and property are soon seized from Steveston fishers. Internment camps in B.C.'s interior are only months away. Daniel Sugiura, a young reporter for the New Canadian, the only Japanese-Canadian newspaper allowed to keep publishing during the war, narrates The Three Pleasures.

The story is told through three main characters in the Japanese community: Watanabe Etsuo, Morii Etsuji and Etsu Kaga — the Three Pleasures. Etsu in Japanese means "pleasure"; the term is well-suited to these three. Morii Etsuji, the Black Dragon boss, controls the kind of pleasure men pay for: gambling, drink and prostitution. Watanabe Etsuo, secretary of the Steveston Fishermen's Association, makes a deal with the devil to save his loved ones. In the end, he suffers for it and never regains the pleasures of family. And there is Etsu Kaga, a Ganbariya of the Yamato Damashii Group, a real Emperor worshipper. His obsession becomes destructive to himself and all involved with him. He enjoys the pleasure of patriotism until that patriotism becomes a curse. The Three Pleasures is an intimate and passionate novel concerning an unsightly and painful period in Canada's history. (From Anvil Press)