BURNABY — Over the past decade, I have heard and read countless stories of personal treasures ‘lost’ as a result of the Canadian government’s forced uprooting and dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s.
The bottom of the tea set, with the “Made in Japan” stamp. Title: “Tea Set.” Collection: Anonymous. Repository: Nikkei National Museum. Accession Number: TD 1409. Year: 1942.
These are emotional stories of items that will always be remembered by those who had no choice but to leave them behind and the betrayal of the promise that these belongings would be safeguarded. Everyday items, such as this tea set, are part of Canada’s history of dispossession.
This delicate tea set consists of a small teapot with a bamboo handle and five matching cups with lids. The set is painted in a rich orange with three light blue blossoms, likely plum blossoms. On the bottom is a maker’s mark, a red seal overlaid with a faded “Made in Japan” stamp in black ink. One cup and two lids have cracked but the glossy finish still shines over 75 years later.
This beautiful set was acquired by a non-Japanese Canadian family who once lived in the Marpole neighbourhood of Vancouver, B.C., and worked at the Boeing Aircraft plant on Sea Island in Richmond, B.C. Descendants of the family donated the tea set to the Nikkei National Museum in January 2021 and hope to return it to the original owners. If the tea set is familiar to you, please contact Lisa Uyeda, Collections Manager at email@example.com or 604-777-7000 ext 140.
THIS ARTICLE WAS REPRINTED FROM NIKKEI VOICE’S MARCH 2021 ISSUE. SUBSCRIBE OR DONATE TODAY TO HELP SUPPORT OUR NEWSPAPER.