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Japanese Canadians object to war museum's portrayal

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The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, still reeling from an assault by Royal Air Force veterans who object to its depiction of their role in the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, has quietly been enduring a barrage from another quarter.

Ever since the museum opened two years ago, the National Association of Japanese Canadians has pressed it to change the way it depicts their community's suffering - and their volunteering, despite that suffering, for active combat.

Frank Moritsugu, now 84, is among those leading the charge. The retired journalist says that the war museum's version of what happened to his family and others - confiscation of property and internment in isolated labour camps - is disturbing because "the emphasis is weird."

The museum dates anti-Japanese sentiment in Canada from Japan's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor; in fact, he says, Japanese Canadians were ostracized for decades, because they worked for lower pay (not by choice) and therefore took jobs from white folk.

"That's the kind of crap that was going on," Moritsugu says. "It was racist and economic."

But more important to Moritsugu and the NAJC lobbyists is what the museum does not say: that 150 or so Japanese Canadians volunteered to don uniforms and fight for Canada.

Read entire article at The Globe and Mail (Canada)

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