Gently to Nagasaki is a spiritual pilgrimage, an exploration both communal and intensely personal. Set in Vancouver and Toronto, the outposts of Slocan and Coaldale, the streets of Nagasaki and the high mountains of Shikoku, Japan, it is also an account of a remarkable life. As a child during WWII, Joy Kogawa was interned with her family and thousands of other Japanese Canadians by the Canadian government. Her acclaimed novel Obasan, based on that experience, brought her literary recognition and played a critical role in the movement for redress.
Kogawa knows what it means to be classified as the enemy, and she seeks urgently to get beyond false and dangerous distinctions of "us" and "them." Interweaving the events of her own life with catastrophes like the bombing of Nagasaki and the massacre by the Japanese imperial army at Nanking, she wrestles with essential questions like good and evil, love and hate, rage and forgiveness, determined above all to arrive at her own truths. Poetic and unflinching, this is a long-awaited memoir from one of Canada's most distinguished literary elders.
Joy Kogawa, one of North America's most celebrated writers, is the award-winning author of three novels, seven collections of poetry and two books for children. Obasan, which the New York Times called "a tour de force? brilliantly poetic in its sensibility," continues to be taught across North America, and the opera based on her children's book Naomi's Road has toured in Canada and the United States. Kogawa has worked to educate Canadians about the history of Japanese Canadians and is a long-time activist in the areas of peace and reconciliation. In 2010, the Japanese government honoured her with the Order of the Rising Sun.