It’s a question that documentary filmmaker Ken Galloway has been asking himself for years.
As someone who has lived in both Japan and Canada, Ken has a unique perspective on what is really means to be Japanese Canadian in 2013.
“I remember asking people, ‘Why is there no Japantown? There’s a Chinatown and a Koreatown, why is there no Japantown?’ I never really got a definitive answer,” Ken says.
Ken Galloway, on right, stands with Lindsay Tsuji and Jessica Whitehead, left and centre, in front of the giant Japantown mural painted on the side wall of the Sanko Japanese store on Queen St. west. Photo courtesy: Mel Tsuji
Returning from Japan, Ken found himself wanting the little things from his second home. The food and soft drinks were small things he missed, but there was something a lot deeper that struck him, which was the origin story of this:
As Ken began to research for this documentary on Japantown in Canada, he found there were more than just a few reasons why one has yet to appear in many Canadian cities.
“As I grew older, I grew to learn the political and historical factors that lead up to it,” he says referring to the internment of the Japanese Canadians.
“This new generation needs a new reason to get involved because they weren’t alive during the struggle or weren’t old enough to know anything about it they lack a connection,” he says. “I think that I went through it and a lot of young Japanese Canadian I’ve talked to have gone through it.”
As a filmmaker, Ken has worked on numerous projects from a documentary about a quadriplegic graffiti writer called Way on Wheelsnarrated by George Stroumboulopoulos to directing various music videos with Canadian artists.
Ken’s experience with film has given him a medium through which to tell stories to both older and younger generations to create a age-defying bridge, which is one of his main goals with with this documentary.
While older generation of Japanese Canadians can still tell the stories of the Redress, internment, and the great wars, many young Japanese Canadians lack a critical connection to these events.
Ken wants his film to help draw a connection between all generations of Japanese Canadians to help bridge the gap.
The Japantown Mural near Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto is just one way Ken and others are trying to bridge the generation gap.
“It’s more so just explaining and connecting the past, present, and future. Why is it today that there are no Japantowns? I think it’s important to draw that connection and look forward,” says Ken.
Be sure to check out the full article in the Holiday Issue of Nikkei Voice. Until then be sure to check out the Indiegogo Campaign for Ken Galloway’s Japan Town film.
The campaign has a $20,000 goal and has fifteen days to go!