How the Japanese Internment Camps Disrupted the Transfer of Values One of the darkest periods in Canadian history strongly revolves around the Second World War and the internment of Canadian-Japanese citizens. “Obasan,” a novel by Joy Kogawa, explores the internment of Canadian citizens of Japanese descent through Naomi Nakane, a thirty-six year old schoolteacher, and her family. The novel chronicles the life of Naomi, providing many perspectives from different parts of her life, beginning with her life as a youth and her first-hand experience with the Japanese internment camps. The Japanese internment camps disrupted the transfer of values between the three generations, the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei, by separating families. This separation occurs specifically in “Obasan,” through Naomi and Stephen, their father and uncle, as well as Naomi, her mother and Obasan. The three generations discussed in “Obasan” are the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei. The Issei are Canadian residents born or raised in Japan. Aya Obasan is most representative of the Issei in the novel. The children of Issei, born and raised in Canada, are called Nisei. The Nisei explored in this novel include Naomi’s mother, father, and Naomi’s aunt, Emily. Finally, the Sansei, children of Nisei who are born and raised in Canada, consist of Naomi and Stephen, her brother. All three of these generations have different experiences, traditions, and values, passed down from generation to generation. These values and traditions were disrupted in Canada during and after WWII because of Japanese internment camps.
The separation of the Sansei generation, Stephen and Naomi, and the Nisei, because of the Japanese internment camps, had a great affect on the disruption of transference of values. The father of Stephen and Naomi, Mark, was separated from them for a large portion of their childhood. This separation, due to the internment camps, lead to the Sansei generation missing out on such values as leadership, or...
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