Salt Spring Reads is an online book club/review. For this column I try to find books that you might love to discover, books with a Salt Spring connection. Reviewed books are available at the Salt Spring Library and in local bookstores. Feel free to share your comments to discuss this book with others.
Ganbaru, the Murakami Family of Salt Spring Island by Rose Murakami
This small booklet might only be 40 pages long, but it tells a big story, an important part of our island’s history. Author Rose Murakami traces her family’s history and shows its ties to the community. This is the story of how Japanese-Canadians were among the first non-native settlers to Salt Spring.
Hard work and dedication enabled them to be successful settlers and farmers, producing some of the finest tomato crops anywhere. They also grew asparagus and ran chicken and berry farms on what is now the edge of Ganges, produce that was readily bought by mainland and Vancouver Island stores.
However, as Japanese involvement in World War II progressed, Japanese Canadians faced the anger and hostility of fellow Canadians, even when they were born and raised here. It is a dark chapter in Canadian history when their homes and possessions were confiscated and the people themselves were forced to live in internment camps.
To read about the Murakami’s history in a first hand account, drive home a dark chapter in Canada’s history, one that took place even here on our own island. Illustrated with many historic photos, the book brings awareness of a part of history that is often neglected.
Follow up the reading of this account with a visit to the Heiwa Japanese Garden in front of Art Spring to see plagues with photos of what used to be Japanese greenhouse gardens near Booth Canal. And pay a visit to the newly reconstructed and preserved charcoal pit in Mouat Park. It has great interpretive signings to teach more about this important piece of island history.
For more details and to purchase this book, go to: saltspringjapanesegarden.com - The book is also available from the Public Library. Ganbaru, the Murakami Family of Salt Spring Island by Rose Murakami - ISBN 0-9737814-0-8
About Margriet Ruurs
Margriet Ruurs is a Salt Spring Island author of over 30 books. Her latest book was one of five finalists for the TD Canada Book Award. She runs Between The Covers, Booklovers’ B & B.