During the Second World War, approximately 4,000 Japanese-Canadians were "repatriated" to Japan. Among those Canadians sent back to were members of author and poet, Sally Ito's family. As a Japanese Canadian child growing up in the suburbs of Edmonton, Alberta, Ito's early life was a lone island of steamed tofu and vegetables amidst a sea of pot roast and mashed potatoes. Through the Redress movement of the late 80s, the eventual Parliamentary acknowledgment of wartime injustices, and the restoration of citizenship to those exiled to Japan she considers her work as an author of poetry and prose, meditating on themes of culture and identity.
Later as a wife and mother of two, Sally returns to Japan and re-lives the displacement of her family through interviews, letters, and shared memories. Throughout her journey Ito weaves a compelling narrative of her family's journey through the darkest days of the Pacific War, its devastating aftermath, and the repercussions on cultural identity for all the Emperor's Orphans.
About the author
Sally Ito was born in Taber, Alberta and grew up in Edmonton and the Northwest Territories. She studied at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta, and travelled on scholarship to Japan, where she translated Japanese poetry. Her first book of poems, Frogs in the Rain Barrel (Nightwood, 1995) was runner-up for the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award. Her second book, Floating Shore (Mercury Press), won the Writers Guild of Alberta Book Award for short fiction, and was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize and the City of Edmonton Book Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals such as Grain, Matrix and the Capilano Review and in the anthologies Breathing Fire: Canada's New Poets and Poets 88. Ito lives in Edmonton with her husband and son.