Memoir, opera explore trauma, healing

Joy Kogawa sits at a table and signs a book.
Author Joy Kogawa signs her latest book.
 on December 1, 2016
Michael Hudson

Reconciliation discussed

Joy Kogawa, acclaimed author and lifelong Anglican, joined Bishop Patrick Yu and politician Olivia Chow on Oct. 28 in a public conversation about reconciling the relationships between people of Chinese, Japanese and other Asian heritage. Speaking at the University of Toronto’s Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, the three participants discussed how their communities can learn to love and forgive as they emerge from their shared history of trauma.

The conversation echoed themes from Gently to Nagasaki, Ms. Kogawa’s recently released memoir, in which she explores both her family’s private trauma and the collective historical trauma of Japanese-Canadians. The Toronto launch of Gently to Nagasaki was held on Nov. 10 at Holy Trinity, Trinity Square. Ms. Kogawa, a member of Holy Trinity, was joined on stage by Mary Jo Leddy, and both authors spoke about their experiences of forgiveness and reconciliation in personal and cultural relationships.

Fans of Ms. Kogawa’s work also had the opportunity to experience her writing musically this fall. Tapestry Opera, a contemporary opera company, began its season with the Toronto premiere of Naomi’s Road. An adaptation of Ms. Kogawa’s novel Obasan, Naomi’s Road tells the story of a young Japanese-Canadian girl sent to an internment camp during the Second World War. Performances were held from Nov. 16-20 at St. David, Donlands, home of the St. Andrew, Japanese Anglican congregation.

Ms. Kowaga’s books, including Gently to Nagasaki and Obasan, are available from major booksellers in Canada.


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