This Is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians, 1941-1948


302 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88922-231-2





Edited by Roy Miki
Reviewed by Ellen Pilon

Ellen Pilon is a library assistant in the Patrick Power Library at Saint
Mary’s University in Halifax.


Japanese Canadian life from 1941 to 1948 is graphically portrayed by Muriel Kitagawa and Roy Miki in this collection of letters and other writings. Muriel Kitagawa (1912-1974) was a second-generation Japanese Canadian (Nisei) who lived in British Columbia with her husband and four young children during the War. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Japanese Canadians living in British Columbia were treated harshly. As a “security measure,” they were uprooted, dispossessed, and interned. Muriel Kitagawa’s letters to her brother Wes, living in Toronto, vividly depict the family’s experiences. Roy Miki has added an informative introduction, “The Life and Times of Muriel Kitagawa,” which provides an in-depth background to the letters. Miki, a third-generation Japanese Canadian (Sansei), indirectly experienced the uprooting; he was born six months after his parents were shipped from B.C. to a sugar farm in Manitoba.

Muriel Kitagawa was a regular contributor to the New Canadian from 1940 on, sometimes using pseudonyms such as Sue Sada or Dana or her initials T.M.K. The section “Other Writings” contains statements, essays, and manuscripts relating to the Japanese Canadian experiences during and after the War. The book as a whole, including the 23 pages of photographs (many of them showing Hastings Park), is an unforgettable portrait.


Kitagawa, Muriel, “This Is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians, 1941-1948,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,