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WATARI DORI: A Bird of Passage
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EPISODE 8: "Watari Dori: A Bird of Passage"
Directed by Linda Ohama


A touching story about a Canadian woman of Japanese origin who suffered internment during WW II, and another Canadian woman trying to right that wrong.


  • The internment of citizens
  • The role of education in internment camps
  • The rights and privileges of citizenship


  • Issei
  • Nisei
  • Internment
  • Enemy Alien
  • Repatriation


  • To understand why the Japanese were interned
  • To know the attitudes of the Canadians toward the Japanese in the 1940s
  • To appreciate the contribution of Japanese Canadians to Canada


  1. Look at the various headlines to the articles from the newspapers that are shown in the film. Explain what they tell us about the Canadian attitudes toward the Canadians of Japanese descent during this time period.

  2. You have been told you have 48 hours to pack and you can only take essential items. What possessions of yours would you classify as essential? What would you classify as a luxury? If you could only take one suitcase, what would you put in it?

  3. Write a series of journal / diary entries describing your experiences, thoughts, and feelings during your journey from Vancouver to Tashme.

  4. Irene has a wealth of experiences. Some of these are:
    • Living in freedom in Vancouver;
    • Being forced to give up her home and move to an unknown internment camp;
    • Living in the camp;
    • Hearing about the end of the war;
    • Returning to Japan;
    • Returning to Canada;
    • Meeting Winifred Awmack after 50 years.

    Play the role of Irene. Choose one of the above experiences and write a personal essay explaining your thoughts and feelings.

  5. Winifred Awmack believed that Canada's internment of Japanese Canadians was unjust. Her convictions led her to teach the interned children. In essay form, explore three issues where you think government policy is unfair. Explain what legal means you would use, like Winifred Awmack, to correct some of the wrong.

  6. Debate the following: Canada was justified in its treatment and internment of the Japanese Canadians during WWII.

  7. Research the contribution that Canadians of Japanese ancestry have made to Canada.

  8. Go to the A Scattering of Seeds web site and find the Forum section for this film. Have a round table discussion on the question posed in the Forum: "Does a country have a duty to pay for it's past?"

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