Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa (1912 – 1974)
Muriel was a prolific writer and editor known for her provacative and colourful writing. This Is My Own: Letters to Wes and Other Writings on Japanese Canadians, 1941–1948 is a published collection of letters and essays about the injustices of the Canadian governmental policies and the perceptions of Japanese Canadians during World War II.
Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa was born in Vancouver in 1912. As a Nisei (second generation Japanese Canadian) she was one of 21,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were interned or forced by the federal government to give up their possessions and leave the west coast of B.C. in 1942.
In 1932 she was a senior editor for The New Age, the first newspaper to honour the Nisei point of view. In 1938 she wrote under many pen names for the New Canadian. Muriel was a wife and mother to 4 children and in 1942 her and her entire family like every Japanese/Canadian family were uprooted from their normal Vancouver life.
Muriel recognized that the racism she experienced was important to write about and to fight against – since it affected every Canadian.
“That’s why the Nisei who had worked with the many co-operative committees to help their people now stress the need to work with other minorities across the country, to try and help solve jointly the ills that beset us. What happens to the Indians [sic] in Kashmir, the Negros [sic] in Georgia, the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, concerns us as much as the troubles in our own Canada concerning her minorities.”