Kogawa, World Literatures in English Course 2000
Chronology of Japanese Internment & Obasan's Time Line
Japanese Internment
1941, December 7--the bombing of Pearl Harbor

1942--evacuation of Canadian Japanese (Nikkei) from the Pacific Coast--the great mass movement in the history of Canada (Obasan 92-93)--21,000 people moved

1945 -- end of WW II, the Japanese given a choice between repatriation and second-time relocation 

1949--Nikkei allowed to return to B.C.

1980s--redress movement

1988--formal apology to Nikkei+ $21,000 (Cdn.) to the survivors

differences from the relocation of Japanese-Americans: --dispersal of Japanese-Canadian family members--men sent to road camps in the interior of B.C., sugar beet projects on the Prairies, POW camp in Ontario

Obasan is a novel about Japanese-Canadians' experience after Pearl Harbor during and after World War II. The Canadian government's internment or relocation of Canadians of Japanese descent broke up thousands of Japanese families, including that of Naomi's.

Time Line and Plot Summary

1893-- Grandpa Nakane arrived in Canada
August 9, 1972
Sept. 13, 1972;
Chap 1-- Naomi and her uncle's yearly ritual to the coulee (--1954 Granton ¡X1951 [the bombing of Nagasaki]¡X)

Chap 2--Naomi in her school; heard about uncle's death

Chap 3--back to Obasan's house, question about the mother; Obasan

Chap 4--memories of the family (stone bread) 

Chap 5--Obasan in the attic (memory as spider)

Chap 6-- first nightmare

Chap 7-- Emily's package and Naomi's talk with Emily

Chap 8 --Obasan, lady of the left-overs, including family photos

Chap 9 -- starts to remember- from the photo to memories of the house p. 50 ¡X 

Chap 10--Momotaro

Chap 11-- episode of the white hen and chicks, and of the Old Man Gower

Chap 12 -- separation starts, the mother first

Chap 13 --preparation to leave

Chap 14 -- bath with Obasan; Emily's diary (-110)

train to Slocan
Chap 15-- leaving for Slocan

Chap 16 -- the trip and arriving at Slocan; Stephen¡¦s reaction

Chap 17 -- Nomura-obasan's illness and old age, goldilock

Chap 18 -- Grandma Nakane's death and wake and cremation;

Chap 19 -- Uncle's return; no news about the father; Stephen out of his cast

Chap 20 -- growing vegetable garden; back to school, Rough Lock Bill Kenji and the red insect

Chap 21--Kenji's raft and glasses, Naomi's drowning experience

Chap 22 -- experience in the hospital, news about dad; death, chicken in school; kitten

Chap 23 -- bathing,

Chap 24 -- Father's back

Chap 25 -- prayer before departure



Chap 26 -- leaving Slocan (p. 179 --

Chap 27 -- Emily's package (last year of the present)¡Xfacts about not having a choice, documents that show racism (send them back home)

Chap 28 -- 1945 Lethbridge restaurant--Granton

Chap 29 -- experience of fly and dust-v.s. documents

Chap 30 -- Granton school p. 200

Chap 31 -- the swamp; a frog with a broken leg; revelation of father's death



Chap 32 -- start to talk about the mother -- must be dead, two government letters about admission,

Chap 33 -- Emily's first visit in 1954 (Stephen leaves for Toronto in 1952)  "Kodomo no tame"; "they should be told"

Chap 34 -- Mr. and Mrs. Barker's visit: their offensive sympathy; "Have you ever been back to Japan?"

Chap 35 -- nightmare

Chap 36 -- ought to tell  "Kodomo no tame"  

Chap 37 -- revelation, listening

Chap 38 -- presence without flesh; letters as bones, love sent through graves and underground roots

Chap 39 -- going to the coulie

Chap 40 -- the document