A portion of a hand drawn prisoner of war illustration found in the Nikkei National Museum collection. Artist unknown. See the full image below.
BURNABY — This object is a hand drawn illustration on a fragile piece of birch tree bark, depicting the prisoner of war camp located in Angler, Ont.
We do not know who the artist of the drawing is, nor the intention behind its creation. But we can use the illustration to draw inferences about the lives of those wrongfully incarcerated as prisoners of war during the Second World War.
For example, the relationships between guards and prisoners and the desire for freedom, both represented by the perspective of being on the outside and looking into the camp.
Since we know obtaining paper and pens was difficult for Japanese Canadians at this time, it is important to acknowledge the determination of the artist to create this piece, even deciding to draw on bark rather than paper.
It is a rare acquisition as it represents the perspective of a Japanese Canadian, rather than a narrative coming directly from the government.
Today, this object remains in Nikkei National Museum where we can ensure its preservation. Since it is constructed on birch bark, this fragile object requires careful conservation to ensure the bark does not continue to degrade.
We hope to use this special object to continue research regarding the lives of Japanese Canadians wrongfully incarcerated in these camps.
If anyone has any information regarding this object please contact our collections manager Lisa Uyeda at email@example.com or call 604-777-7000 extension 140.
Title: Hand drawn prisoner of war illustration
Collection: Found in the Nikkei National Museum Collection
Repository: The Nikkei National Museum
Accession Number: 2019.31.1
Year: Unknown, 1940s