Sakura in the Land of the Maple Leaf: Japanese Cultural Traditions in Canada.


196 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 978-0-660-19703-6
DDC 971'.004956




Edited by Hoe, Ban Seng
Reviewed by Karen F. Danielson

Karen Danielson, Ph.D., is a research consultant at Laurentian
University who specializes in leisure, textiles, family life, and Japan.


Editor Ban Seng Hoe concludes this book with the suggestion that Japanese cultural traditions are among the most dynamic forces in the emerging Canadian culture and identity. The kind of information he has included in this book will likely facilitate this dynamism.


For those who wish to understand their own Japanese heritage and how their culture has been lost, recovered and changed in Canada, this record is likely to be helpful. In particular, the book introduces many points of difference between culture in Japan and the culture of Japanese Canadians.


Hoe has edited the work of three academics—Dr. Carlo Caldarola, Dr. Mitsuru Shimpo, and Dr. K Victor Unimoto—to assemble this profile of the life of Japanese Canadians in southern Alberta, Greater Vancouver, and Metropolitan Toronto, respectively. The original data was collected in the 1970s as Japanese Canadians celebrated having lived for 100 years in this country. The authors describe challenges faced by early immigrants, such as poverty, isolation, and language problems. They also discuss discrimination, the war years, and assimilation. There are accounts of the efforts many individuals made to recover and develop cultural assets. Food, clothing, Buddhism and Christianity, folktales, gambling, marriage, celebrations, many art forms, and sports are among the topics covered.


Since the original research was done, many of these aspects of Japanese culture have become important within the mainstream Canadian culture. As a result, many Canadians are likely to be interested in learning about Japanese culture and how it has been adapted to life in Canada. For example, Canadians who wonder why Japanese wear kimonos may be interested to read that tatami mats replaced stools for seating in Japan and, in turn, the use of mats stimulated a change to more comfortable one-piece garments.


Many subheadings provide easy access to the information about selected cultural activities, and the book includes lists of resource people and a bibliography from the time when the initial documents were published.


Caldarola, Carlo, Mitsuru Shimpo and K. Victor Ujimoto., “Sakura in the Land of the Maple Leaf: Japanese Cultural Traditions in Canada.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,