Norman and Marion Takeuchi, interviewed by Josh Labove, 24 January 2016

Norman and Marion Takeuchi, interviewed by Josh Labove, 24 January 2016

Abstract
Norman Takeuchi, with the aid of his wife Marion Takeuchi, talks about his early childhood years, the friends he made during those times, as well as his mother and father’s humble beginnings raising him and his siblings in a shack in Westworld, BC. Norman then describes his high school experiences. For example, he had an Australian French-language teacher who, instead of teaching the class how to read, write, and speak in French chose to talk about his war experiences fighting the “Japs.” Norman moves on to talk about his decision to go to art school and the numerous jobs he undertook as a recent graduate leading up to his later years. When moving out to Ottawa for a job, he recalls feeling that he looked different because there were not many visible minorities in the capital during the 1960s. Near the end of the interview, Norman indicates that the primary factor influencing many of his art pieces is the prejudice and racism that one group has towards another.
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Labove Joshua (LJ)
It is January 24th, 2016. Josh Labove with Norman and Marion Takeuchi in Ottawa, Ontario. So Norman, why don't we begin at the beginning. Maybe just some of your earliest childhood memories and your upbringing.
Norman Takeuchi (NT)
Well, I was born in 1937 in Vancouver. I have two brothers. I don't remember an awful lot about my childhood. I've seen a few photographs of myself as a little kid on a tricycle. But apart from that, there's very little there that I can remember. I guess my memory would start much much later. I suppose when I started going to school. Up to that point, it's more or less a blank.
LJ
So what are your school memories? These are Vancouver school memories then?
NT
No this would actually be when we moved into the interior. It would have been, I don't know 1943 or something like that. So we moved to a little community called Westwold in the Okanagan, or just on the outskirt of Okanagan. I started school there with one of my brothers. If I remember, my mother held off sending me to school for a year because my birthday is in December. She thought that she should hold off sending me. I don't quite understand the logic. So I started off a little late and because I started late, I think my second brother came with me. So we went to this little school house down on the highway. It was a bit of a walk if I remember, it was a few miles. We usually ended up a number of us walking together, kids from other households to the school. As far as I remember we all seem to get along fairly well. There are the usual racial taunts occasionally but if I remember it was not too bad. Apart from that I can't remember what it was like in the classroom, I can't remember any of the teachers and I can't remember how long we went to this school before we eventually left Westwold. Oh, but there were some people that I guess we became quite friendly with. Nonna and Sherry Thompson, two sisters. And interesting thing is that this summer after many many years of not having any contact with these people. Nonna got in touch with my bother Bob in Vancouver and they have been exchanging stories about Westwold. So I must have been around twelve, thirteen, I can't remember what grade. Maybe ten. But the interesting thing I guess is that all of a sudden from the past, way way in the past, this person has suddenly surfaced and is in touch with Bob and they are exchanging emails or probably more like Facebook. Bob sends her images of my paintings and notices of my exhibitions and she posts them on Facebook laughs and I'm not on Facebook but it's really interesting for me to see what she does with these things and saying I'm a famous artist which I'm not laughs
Shotaro Takeuchi (ST)
Talk about the house you lived in.
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NT
Oh yeah. There were a number of other Japanese families there in Westwold. We lived in...I think the best word is a shack. I remember mom saying that when they first arrived in Westwold, it was an abandoned shack covered in dust and we all had to, the first night, had to sleep, as best we could, find places to sleep in this shack. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my parents, to be faced with this and three boys. Also I think my mother's parents and her brothers and sisters I don't know if we all spent the night in that shack, but it must have been a pretty horrible start to living in Westwold. We gradually, I guess, made it livable. We had to go some distances to get water I remember that. We had our galvanized tank on our wagon and we would pull that to the pump, and pump the water into the tank and take it back. We had an outhouse.
ST
No electricity.
NT
No electricity. Pretty basic. What else... oh yeah, my dad got a job at a section gang But I guess in order to supplement the income, he bought a few hundred chicks and I remember them being delivered and these little chicks were kept in boxes next to the stove in the kitchen. I guess eventually when it was time for them to go into the chicken pen, which my dad constructed out of, it looked pretty makeshift, out of chicken wire fencing and poles. I can still remember a photograph of my father in this pen feeding the chicks. He was wearing his brown boots and his cap which he always wore. It was part of our job I think to water and feed the chickens. As I said, there were a few hundred and with the eggs that he collected I don't know if he did it every day. It would be taken to a local chicken farmer who had quite a large operation going. My dad would sell the eggs to this man. In order to get there, we used this wagon. We loaded the eggs which were in these little cardboard forms that we are all familiar with, pilled on the wagon and we would walk down the highway to this chicken farm and I guess dad would do his business then we would walk all the way back. I can still remember feeling embarrassed I guess is the word, doing this. Especially if I ran into any kids that I knew. But you know we had no choice, we had to do that. Yeah, and mom spent a lot of time too, while dad was doing his job on the railway, mom would have to take care of the chickens during the day. There's a photograph of me and my two brothers and each one of us is holding a chicken laughs. It's a pretty funny photograph laughs so that was a part of our lives. As I said there were a few racial taunts, it wasn't too bad but one in particular comes to mind and I don't even want to say it. It was pretty nasty, but on the whole I think we got along fairly well with all the kids. I think my parents and the other Japanese families I think they managed to get along with the local community. I don't remember very much in a way of people mistreating each other of antagonism. So I suppose in the end it wasn't too bad. I'm not too sure why we left Westwold, but we did and I think we moved around a bit to different places wherever dad could find work.
00:10:09.000
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NT
One of them being a place called Robins Range, which is as far as I know in the middle of nowhere where dad worked as a lumberjack with my mother. I can picture my mother with a bandana on her head at the other end of a crosscut saw and my mom and dad would be cutting down trees. My brothers and I guess we just played around in the bush. I don't remember too much of what we did but I think they took us with them. In Robins Range, I think it was a log cabin that we lived in. But I have no memories really of what it was like. From there, I'm not too sure where exactly we moved to, but eventually we ended up in a lumber camp called divine which was in the middle of nowhere again. But there were quite a large number of Japanese people working in the sawmill, and that's where my dad worked. His immediate boss was actually his older brother. My uncle, uncle C as we used to call him; Uncle Chisato. I have a feeling dad was not happy working under his older brother, didn't really get along laughs but that's how it was. I think uncle C got to the camp first, and he had a way of positioning himself so that he... I'm trying to be delicate about this laughs was always in a good position to boss people around and one of them ended up to be dad laughs. But I guess that it was an interesting place now that I think about it. There was nothing there, except a bunch of bunk houses where all the young men lived and my brothers and I called them the bunk house boys. My mother took in their laundry. There was a general store. A very basic railway station, just a shack on the Pacific Great Eastern Railway ran through the camp. It was the only connection with the outside. It would bring in all the supplies as well as a film. My uncle was in charge of setting up the movies in the school house. Oh there was a one room school house as well. So every Saturday, I can't remember if it was that often. He would arrange for a movie to be set up and the film came by the Pacific Great Eastern. So we would be standing around at the station waiting for the train to come in and see these reels of films come off in these canisters and knew that oh boy we're going to be in for another movie. And the westerns were the best. Just loved westerns. Our job, my brothers and I, our job was to set up all the benches in the school house. I can't remember if we were paid for that or whether we got in for free. We had the old projector which sometimes broke down of course. But that was one of the highlights I think of living there, was watching these movies. There was a school teacher there, she and her husband, I don't know what the husband did. For the longest time I remembered her name now I can't think of it. But she was Caucasian, and years later I wondered what made them move out to the lumber camp. Just the two of them, and she teaches school and he doing whatever I had no idea what it was. So it was kind of interesting, it would be interesting to know their story. Anyway, my dad worked in this sawmill. He drove a big log and truck. I remember the maker of the truck was Diamond T, which you don't see any more as far as I know. But it was a pretty impressive truck. I worked for a little bit in the sawmill. I remember one terrible accident. There were piles of lumber everywhere and my dad was on top of one of the piles. He was throwing lumber down for me to pick up and to put into another pile. For some reason, one of the pieces of lumber hit me right on the back.
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NT
It could have been really serious I guess but it just knocked me flat. My dad rather than, and this was typical of him, rather than, uh, um, trying to take care of me and making sure that I was not hurt. He berated me for getting hurt laughs and that's the way he was. I guess he just didn't know how to handle those situations. I remember another incident going back to Westwold. I got into a fight with this son of the family who owned the general store. So they had a certain standing because of that in the community. I got beaten up. When my dad found out, he beat me up and dragged me to the general store to apologize that I had gotten into a fight with their son laughs. Seems all very unfair doesn't it laughs but that's part of growing up with my family. short pause I can't think of anything else that I might have said to you.
ST
I'm just wondering when you went to the orchards.
NT
Oh, that was in Vernon. My parents got a job, or at least my father did although my mother worked in the orchard as well, picking apples. The thing I remember about that, well actually I remember a number of things. I remember the huge ladders that they used to climb up to get to the higher parts of the trees and the ladders had an interesting shape which I still remember. My dad and my mom had these canvas bags hanging from their shoulders and they would put the apples into that, walk over when it was full, walk over to the boxes and pull a string which opened up the bottom of the bag and the apples fell out. I thought that was fascinating. I guess my brothers and I, there was nothing much to do. We would play with the empty boxes, make them into a shape of a car or a place to sit and pretend we were driving, things like that. I sometimes thought much later that because we didn't have many toys, we had to make our own toys. I wondered if that has something to do with... later years wanting to be a creative person, to make things out of wood or later on make pictures which is what I do now. There might be a link. I think it would be interesting to somehow look into this. I don't know how you would do that but anyway. I think making our own toys was really... I remember being very satisfied with what we could make out of scraps of wood, making toy trucks, toy logging trucks, cutting large branches. What's the word, slicing with a saw large branches to make the wheels of these vehicles and we actually were able to make a logging truck that had... I forgot the name of the cross. The things that the logs rested on, and it had upright pieces that if we pulled the string it would release these upright pieces so they would fall down and the logs would roll off and we rolled them into little puddles laughs that's how it worked at the sawmill.
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NT
The trucks would come in and there was this huge pond, and they would unload the logs into the pond. It was great to see them falling down and splashing. It would be guided towards some sort of a chain mechanism that drew them up to the saws and then it would go through the saws and become lumber. So this is all very fascinating. short pause Gee I haven't covered much have I laughs done a lot of talking.
LJ
You're getting there.
NT
How about high school?
LJ
Yeah, did you move back to Vancouver for high school?
NT
We did, but before we moved back to Vancouver, I remember in divine in the lumber camp, a cousin of ours from Toronto showed up. He as our age and he talked about going to high school. That's when I thought that's what I should be doing. So I told my parents, maybe, it didn't quite work this way, but I think I talked to my parents and convinced them that I should be going to high school. At this point, my grandparents and my uncle were living in Kamloops, so arrangements were made for my brother Bob and I to go to Kamloops so I can attend high school there. So that's where I started high school. I think we were only there for a year or so. My parents moved back to Vancouver, so Bob and I moved to Vancouver and we continued our high school in Vancouver. So I went to Lord Byng. We all did.
ST
You told me about a teacher in Kamloops that was really prejudiced.
NT
Yeah...he was a French teacher. I remember distinctly that he was from Australia. Instead of teaching us French, he would stand in front of the class and he would talk about his war experiences. He would talk about fighting the Japs, and was pretty upsetting for us to be sitting there listening to this man talking about his war experiences. But...I don't know if that was typical of the time but that's one of the things I remember. One of the teachers I had in Lord Byng was an English teacher and he had a way of teaching English, that really made you want to read and it made you appreciate the English language and English literature. I remember Mr. McMillan one of the few teachers that I remember. He was a very good teacher. The art teacher, I was interested in art of course. The art teacher Ms. Shaw was another interesting person. She would stand in front of the class, not in front of the class, in front of the door as we all filed in, smiling very nicely. And when we were all in, she closed the door and that smile disappeared. She was really tough laughs she hardly taught anything in the way of art. She just sat at her desk, gave us an assignment and left us to do whatever we wanted. So I thought she didn't know anything about art. I remember one day I had to go upfront maybe to the blackboard or I can't remember why I was there. As usual she was doing something at her desk, she was writing or drawing. I thought she was writing. I happened to see what she was doing and it was this beautiful water color that she was working on. And I was shocked. She gave no indication in her teaching that she could do this. But she obviously could. I was really impressed so that changed my opinion of her. Still didn't like her, she was not a very nice person.
ST
Talk about your grandfather taking you for treats.
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NT
Yeah, back in Kamloops. One of the things that my brother and I will always remember, on really hot days grandpa would take us with him when he delivered tomatoes to the cannery. On the way home he would ask us if we wanted revello laughs , it turns out revello, which he couldn't say, was a name of a chocolate covered ice cream on a stick. It was so good. So this became a high point, wherever we went into town to Kamloops to deliver tomatoes. On the way home we would stop for revello laughs.
ST
You also had this story about your shoes, your basketballs shoes.
NT
Oh, that's right. Many humiliating moments in my life and this is one of them. Coming from a lumber camp into Kamloops which to me was a big city. I had no idea about gym classes for instance. My aunt who we were living with, she was looking after us, found out that I had to buy gym clothes. So she took us into town and we bought some shorts and running shoes. My first gym class I showed up and I noticed that my shorts came down to my knees, whereas everybody else all the other guy shorts were the basketballs shorts that were quite short. Then I noticed that I was wearing these running shoes that were low cut. They were I guess more like tennis shoes. Everybody else had these high sort of basketball running shoes laughs and I was pretty embarrassed with all this. You know when you're that age, you can really feel humiliated. I don't know if I ever exchanged, I probably didn't, there was no way I could. So I was stuck with these gym clothes laughs.
LJ
What was going to first Kamloops then Vancouver, what was going to the city like after all those years in quieter more remote locations?
NT
We didn't go into town very often. Bob and I stayed on the farm and helped out. Whenever we did go into Kamloops it was a really big deal. I really can't say very much about what it felt like, except I guess it was just a big city environment that we knew very little about. I think I remember once getting a haircut in Kamloops but...that was one of the first haircuts that I had in a barber shop. That was a scary experience laughs. I remember seeing a Gene Autry movie in Kamloops. That was fun. But we rarely went into town so I guess my experience with the town of Kamloops is pretty slim.
LJ
And then when you moved back to Vancouver, you're at Lord Byng now... what was that like?
NT
I think by this time I really felt that I wanted to be active in doing things that the school offered and there were all kinds of different clubs and of course there were lots of sports. I was very interested in sports. I loved playing baseball. I learned to really like basketball. But I was never good enough to be on any team, but I enjoyed them anyway. I played a lot of basketball on the outdoor blacktop courts and lot of pickup ball. I also after a couple of years at Lord Byng, I started joining clubs and I remember being a part of a jazz club and short pause maybe that's the only club now that I think about it. In my last year at Lord Byng, I was a part of the group that put together the high school annual. I was the art editor on that. That was a really interesting experience and I learned a lot of about how these magazines are put together. It was a good time of dating and going to parties.
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ST
Making a lifelong friend.
NT
Yeah I made a very good friend. Henry Hawthorne, who used to come and pick me up every morning, so all though our high school years he did this. By picking me up I meant that, in order to go to high school from his house he had to go past our home which is actually a dress making shop, we lived at the back. He would pick me up and we would walk to school together. And we are still in touch after all these years. He was a really bright guy. His father I think was a Professor of Anthropology at UBC and his mother was ... I can't remember now. But again the whole family was very very...what is the word
ST
well-educated and wealthy compared to your family
NT
Yeah, very well educated. So through Hank I learned an awful lot about other kinds of life and other things that are in the world that you could really get interested in. I guess I learned about music and literature through Hank. And art...I guess it was a time when I really started getting interested in art. I used to draw all the time but it was just something that I just played around with. But as I grew more interested in art... I think I'm getting ahead of myself. When I was in high school, my plan was to go to university to study architecture. So there is a connection there to art, but architecture was what I thought I wanted to get into. What happened was when I graduated from high school, my father insisted that I work with him in the gardens, he was a gardener. For one year, and then I can go to university. I don't know what his thinking was behind that but I remember him saying something like if you do this you can do anything or something to that effect so this was what I had to do, I had no choice. He was a really hard man to work for but I survived the year. But during that time I thought I would, because I was so vaguely interested in drawing, I would go to art school and take night classes in drawing. No that's wrong. I decided to go to art school to take a design course at night. I'm not too sure how I got interested in design. It was, at the time, called commercial art. But anyway that's what I did. In going to these classes, I realized that what I really should be doing is going to art school and not to university. Art school was where I thought I belonged. When my year was up with my dad, I enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art. I guess I have to say that thanks to dad, I got on the right track in terms of where my future was going to go. So I started art school and I went for four years. Loved every minute of it, it was the best decision I have ever made. Four really great years, met some great people and a friend of mine who now lives just outside of New Denver in Silverton Kokogo is still a very good friend and we're still in touch. So that's where my art career started. Then I got a scholarship, went to England, painted for a year. But before that happened, right after I got out of art school I got a job in an advertising agency. I worked there for about nine months and then I got a scholarship from the art school. So I quit my job, and went to England and lived in London for a year and all I did was paint. I had an exhibition there, which was a stroke of luck and then I came back to Canada. I had contacted my former employer about a job and he said “there's nothing going here for Vancouver, but why don't you try Ottawa, they're looking for people to work on Expo 67.” So that's how I ended up here and that was in '63. I never left laughs I'm still here.
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LJ
Do you remember telling your folks that you were going to art school or maybe even more severely that you were moving to Ottawa to pursue it professionally?
NT
I'm not too sure how I broke the news to my parents that I was going to go to art school. But it must have been okay because... my plan was to study commercial design. Of course that meant then that I was getting ready to go into this career as a commercial designer or graphic artist. So I guess they thought I was more or less setting myself set up for that. As it turned out, once I starts art school I became much for interested in the fine arts, so I graduated in painting instead of commercial design. We never really talked, I never really talked very much to my parents about my plans of what I was going to do. But I did get this job at the design agency so I guess they thought that was okay. When I decided I wanted to go to England that must have been a pretty big shock. Years later, my mother told me that she was really afraid for me. And I had never left home so this would have been the first time that I was leaving home. Not only was I leaving home, I was going across the country and across the ocean to another country. I was very green. I had very little experience living on my own but I survived... I think in the end, I'm sure my dad wondered why I was doing what I was doing. Although, he never said it. But I think they realized that I was pretty serious about it. And that I was making a life for myself as a fine artist. Well maybe that's not quite accurate. I did get jobs as a designer on different Expos and for the Canadian government, so I did have a job yeah. So I guess that was fine. I didn't really start my fine art career until after I took early retirement from these jobs.
ST
Your dad did often wonder when you were coming back to Vancouver.
NT
Oh yeah he would wonder that. I think also my dad didn't really know what I did. I don't think he understood the profession of being a designer. I think maybe he understood being an architect, which is what my youngest brother became. But what he understood most was my second brother who had an auto body repair shop. I think dad was really proud of him, my brother Bob. Bob had a very good business and I think he developed somewhat of a reputation in the city as being a good craftsman and doing good work. I remember going into his shop. He had a shop on Kingsway I think it was, I can't remember. It was spotless. You would expect a shop like that to be oily and greasy and grimy but every night he would wash it down. His courtesy cars were immaculate. I think about some of the courtesy cars that I have driven when my cars were in the shop, it was pretty grungy. Bob took great care and he was extremely meticulous in everything. Dad understood all of this, dad was more or less the same way. He was fussy. So he would go to Bob's shop and cut the front lawn in front of Bob's shop. I guess he would do whatever he could to help out. Because he understood what Bob was doing. short pause Dad never talked very much to us so I never really knew how he felt about what I was doing. But I suspect it was a big mystery to him.
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LJ
What about your mom?
NT
We talk to her mostly. She...I suspect that she had a good idea of what sort of things...well maybe she didn't really understand what I did but I think she knew, she had an inkling that it was a good profession to be a designer. I think she was interested in the fact that I worked in Japan for instance and Montreal, Ottawa, and was doing okay.
ST
She's a wonderful lady.
NT
Yeah, she was a very gentle person and she always acted as a mediator between my brothers and dad because dad could be really strict. He didn't hesitate to punish us with a stick if he felt that we did something wrong or banish us into...we didn't have a basement at the time in Westwold. There's a name for these sort of underground space...cold storage I guess where food was kept. We would get banished into that space, locked up and mom would have to... plead with him to let us out laughs. So dad was pretty strict. Now, I don't know if that was good or bad in the end. Nowadays, I think it would be considered yeah maybe child abuse, that he would have gone too far. But I think it did have...it did form us in a certain way. I hope it was for the positive. Hard to say laughs but mom was completely the opposite. In fact, the whole family, the whole Ueda family was completely different to the Takeuchi's. I think my dad had a very rough upbringing when he was a kid. His father was a very strict man as well. The Ueda side they were very gentle, thoughtful people. Hardly ever raised their voices as far as I could remember. I remember grandpa, if he did get annoyed with us, angry at us, and he did raise his voice which was very unusual. It would really hurt and that made me think you know...if you don't overdo things...if you overdo things it becomes too commonplace and loses meaning. If you're careful about...if you do things in a gentle way and somehow you lose control for a moment, it can be I think much more effective as a ...in terms of the message that you're trying to send out.
ST
They're also way more optimistic than the Takeuchi's
00:45:00.000
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NT
Yeah... there's a story that I'd like to tell about the difference between Ueda's and the Takeuchi's. I was visiting Vancouver once and I was with my mom and my uncle. I talked about him earlier, uncle C, my dad's older brother invited us out for lunch. So mom and I met up with him and after lunch we were walking down the street, and they both looked up at the sky and uncle said, “looks like it's going to rain” at the same time my mother says “I think it's going to brighten up.” And that said everything right there about the difference between the two families laughs yeah that was mom, she was good.
LJ
So you came out to Ottawa and you were working on Expo.
NT
Expo 67, yeah.
LJ
What were some of your early memories of Ottawa, early work, your own professional genesis living out in a new part of the country?
NT
Well, one of the things I remember most of my early years here is feeling like I looked different. There were very few people from other countries living in Ottawa or so it seemed at the time.
ST
other races
NT
other races yeah. I felt I was very much a visible minority. Another story that I tell sometimes about this is back in the 60s where the Beatles were really starting to make it big. I guess I adopted a Beatles haircut and this is after I met Marion. We were walking down the street one day. This mother and a little kid walked past us and the kid said “mommy look a Chinese Beatle.” Ottawa at the time was not like it is now, there were very few visible minorities. So I was very aware of that. On the other hand, when I started work at the Exposition Commission which was a government department. No, not a department, it was part of a government department. We were doing trade fairs for different parts of the world for the federal government. I was assigned to the Expo 67. Anyway, I met a lot of wonderful people there. It was a fantastic place to work. Lots of designers, a lot of creative work being done, and a lot of work that I didn't even know was being done. You never really think about... When you go to a trade fair, you don't often think about who made these exhibitions, who made the displays. The exhibition commission was one of the places where this work was being done. I learned an incredible amount. I got the job with a portfolio that I presented at the interview to this man and all I had in the portfolio were slides of paintings and a few illustrations. There were no indications at all that I could design. In fact, I didn't even know anything about design at that time. But I got a job because the man who hired me was also a painter and I guess he liked my work and so on the basis of that he hired me.
ST
his name was Tom Wood
NT
actually this was Gordon Strengths and he was a war artist. So that was an incredible lucky break for me. As I said, I knew nothing about design so I had to learn as I went along but there were all these great people working there who taught me a lot. I really got into it and I started to really enjoy working in three dimensions, making displays and graphic panels and different kinds of structures.
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NT
So it was a great learning experience and when I ended up in Montreal, I was working under a senior designer, I was a junior designer and there too I learned a lot. It was a very good time for me. By this time we were married, so Marion and I were living in Montreal together. I guess I was working some pretty long hours because there's always these last minute pressures of getting the work done on time. So by the time the job was finished and the Expo opened, I was thoroughly fed up with the job. I just couldn't wait to get away and so on the day that it opened, Marion and I were on a plane flying over the site on our way to England laughs. In a way I regret that because I hardly saw anything of the site. All I saw was the inside of this federal pavilion and later I found out that it was one of the best Expo's up to that point that had ever been put together, with some incredible new technology from different countries. I missed all that laughs but on the other hand, we had a fantastic time in England. I set up a studio and painted every day.
ST
it was a Canada council grant
NT
It was a Canada council grant, that's right. One of the people who sponsored me was Roy Kyuko. He was teaching at the art school, although I never had him as an instructor. I needed someone to sponsor...is sponsor the right word?
ST
well, write a letter of recommendation
NT
yeah, and I thought of Roy. In fact, at one point in art school, I had a studio right next to Roy Kyuko and I shared a studio with a friend of mine and I would see Roy occasionally coming out of his studio. I was too shy to talk to him, he had this reputation and status as a major Canadian artist and I was so in awe of him that I missed a chance to talk to him and maybe have some discussions. Later on I found out that he loved talking to young people and students, it would have worked out I'm sure but because I was so shy, I missed that chance. But years later, when I needed someone to recommend me for the Canada council, I wrote to Roy and I said “I don't know if you remember me” and he wrote back and I told him why I was writing and he wrote back and said “of course I remember you, and I'd be very happy to put in a word for you” which he did, and I got the grant. I painted, it was a great time. London was a fantastic place. Concerts, art galleries, museums, you could do something different every day if you wanted to for a whole year. So I came back with a bunch of paintings and had an exhibition in Ottawa. I couldn't interest anyone in London to show my work, it's a humiliating kind of thing to do, to put together some work that you spent so much time on and put so much of yourself into it to go to galleries and have people look at them and say “oh that's very nice, but no thanks” that sort of stuff. I think we only went to about two or three galleries and I couldn't take it anymore laughs. But they were major galleries, maybe I should have started at a lower level laughs but I thought my work was good laughs oh well. Things like that really bring me down a few notches. But I did a show in Ottawa, which was very nice.
00:55:00.000
00:55:00.000
ST
And then Expo 70 was next.
NT
When we came back to Ottawa, it was for...I think we were still in London when I contacted someone here who I knew was working in exhibitions. He asked me if I would be interested in working on Expo 70 in Osaka, and of course I was. So we came back and Frank hired me. Again, fantastic job, by this time I was a more experiences designer and I worked with a couple of other really good designers. In preparation for Osaka, we spent many hours working together coming up with designs and producing. Six months before the opening, a whole team was sent over to Japan made up of all the different people who put an exhibition together. The design staff, which I was on, went over there and we spent six months in Osaka. I worked on the site every day. Marion did a lot of sightseeing. On the whole, it was just an amazing, fantastic experience. I couldn't speak Japanese, so that was a problem. They of course would expect me to speak Japanese. There were a lot of Japanese workmen on site. I had a lot of embarrassing moments because I had to... I didn't work closely with them because they were mainly electricians, carpenters, and so on and I was on the design end of things and so worked in our little design shop. But occasionally I would have to go on site and do something, and it was awkward trying to communicate. I guess they must have thought I was some kind of a dummy. Although I imagined they knew enough that Japanese from Canada don't all speak Japanese laughs. But as I said, it was an incredible experience. I guess we learned a lot about Japan.
ST
your parents came over
NT
Yeah my parents came over, it was right around Christmas time I think. And my dad had not been back to Japan since he had immigrated to Canada and he would have been in his teens I think. So he was really out of it, he had no idea, well no I shouldn't put it that way. I think he felt that he was out of touch with modern Japan and it probably became pretty clear to him fairly quickly. I think he was actually quite embarrassed to talk because some of the words used were archaic, they were out of fashion. I'm just guessing at all of this, because of course he didn't say.
ST
when I took them shopping, I did more of the talking than he did.
NT
Yeah, that's true. Marion got to be able to speak well enough in Japanese to order things. One of the things Marion took on when we first moved there was to help out other guys from our department who came over later. Some of the English speaking people from other countries, we all lived in the same apartment block and Marion would take them out shopping and she would order things for them in Japanese and took care of them laughs that was pretty funny. So yes, my parents came for a little while. We went to Shikoku with them, that's where my father is from originally. I met some distant relatives there. They really took to Marion. They dressed up Marion up in a kimono, and dressed me up in I don't know what the proper word is for the male equivalent. They were wedding garments weren't they?
ST
I'm not sure
NT
anyway, Marion and I walked down the street wearing these things and we went to a temple. It was great, and the women really enjoyed dressing Marion up in the kimono, fussing over her and making sure everything was just right. And because Marion is on the small side, it fitted her perfectly laughs , that was fun.
01:00:25.000
01:00:25.000
LJ
And that was your first time to Japan?
ST
Your mom's first time to Japan
LJ
Oh, well okay.
NT
First and only time. I don't know if we'll ever get back there. But I'm glad we had that experience. In addition to the job being really interesting, this is an added bonus being able to go there and to experience it. I remember the first night that we arrived in Osaka, at the airport we were met with a couple other people who were on the design team. They had been there already for some time. They took us back to the hotel, and I remember coming out of the hotel and seeing all these people walking around on the street. So I said “what's going on, what's the occasion” and they said “oh, it's like this every night.” It was really something, it was a culture shock for us.
ST
Another interesting thing for you is that you weren't a minority.
NT
Yeah, all of a sudden, everyone around me looked like me. That was quite a different experience. I guess we slowly learned certain things that you had to for instance in a restaurant. One of the first boo boo's that I made in a restaurant was when we were sitting there, the food was fantastic, the waiters came around with a bottle of beer. She offered it to me, both hands holding the beer bottle, and I held out my glass and I attempted to take the beer bottle from her hands, because I was going to pour it myself. But she wouldn't let go and there was this little tug of war just for a fraction of a second and my friend next to me said “she's supposed to pour it for you” laughs so that was pretty embarrassing. Going into Inn's was embarrassing. The Ryokan was a terrific place to sleep in and we really enjoyed that, but the initial embarrassment of being offered the registration, not being able to read it and not being able to fill it out, and having to explain that I couldn't do it. I guess after the first couple of times, I explained that I'm from Canada, and then they seemed to understand. So I got into the habit of doing that, just to avoid all these awkward moments. Still, there were enough of them that made it difficult for me to feel comfortable going around as a tourist but I enjoyed it; wonderful experience.
LJ
Maybe you could talk a little bit about the themes that your art picks up on. You got a show now at the Ottawa School of Art, what motivates you in your own work?
NT
To explain that, I should go back a little bit and say that when I left art school and was painting, my work didn't reflect at all who I was. I made a big effort to present myself as a North American, as a Canadian artist. So I was going along with a lot of the trends that were taking place in the art world. I painted that way for many years. It all had to do with the fact that at in earlier years in high school for instance, I didn't want to be Japanese. I guess that feeling just continued on through later years. At some point, this was in Ottawa, there was an exhibition of kimonos from Japan by this man who I think was considered a living treasure and he made all these incredibly beautiful kimonos.
01:05:13.000
01:05:13.000
NT
What he was doing was creating a series of kimonos which represented the different seasons. He had accomplished three seasons. The kimonos were all presented side by side and there was quite a number them. If you looked at it, you could see that the landscape and the imagery on the kimonos blended from one kimono to the next. So you could see the continuation of a scene, except that it would change from winter to spring to summer, and I guess maybe it was fall that he still hadn't done it. By this time, he was fairly old, so I don't know if he ever completed it. But the effect was so incredibly beautiful, I was really taken with it and I think it was the first time that I thought “boy, Japan has really produced some wonderful things.” I knew about Japanese wood block prints from art school, and I have always admired them. But apart from that, I didn't know a lot about what Japan produced. This is when I started getting some idea that amazing things are coming out of that country. So, I started taking more notice. I think it was a few years later, when I was getting a little tired of what I was doing and a little frustrated that my art didn't seem to be, I felt that it wasn't really progressing very far. I started thinking about myself and who I was and my background. I think way back in my brain there were these images of the kimono and I thought well maybe I should...think about my heritage and incorporate some of that into my art. I started doing a series of kimono paintings and that's where I first started. It was very tentative at first, but then I guess the more I worked on it the more I got into it and I started doing more research on Japanese wood block prints and began to use parts of some of these prints in my kimono shapes. I guess I spent a couple of years or maybe more on this theme. And people began to call me the “kimono man” and at that point I thought maybe it's time to move on to something else.
ST
Tell them about that time when she came to that show.
NT
That's right. This is actually a major milestone I suppose in my career. This person, Maureen Corp, who's an independent curator, happened to see some of my kimono paintings at the Japanese embassy where I was showing with four other Japanese artists. She really took to them, and at that time she was working on an exhibition called “Without a Passport” and it was quite a political theme. In essence, I think what it was about the problems that people in certain situations can run into, some dire problems if they don't have the right papers and identification. She collected together artists of different nationalities and when she saw those kimonos she thought of me. I don't know if she thought about the internment at that point. I guess she saw something there that she thought my work could fit in. So she called me and introduced herself to me. I had no idea who she was, and then she showed up here to look at my work. When I agreed to be a part of the show, I had to think about what I was going to do. Thinking about the theme, I decided that this is my chance to do something about the internment. So I produced a series of five large paper kimonos which were painted on images of the camps and some words from a poster saying that the Japanese had to leave the West Coast.
01:10:24.000
01:10:24.000
NT
There's some other documents that I copied. I also did six small drawings of things that I thought that Japanese families would consider important to take with them. As you know, they were allowed to take so little that I guess they had to really choose carefully. So I did drawing of things like soya sauce bottle, towels, rice bowls, tea pots, I had a baseball glove in there as well. I showed this at the Karsh Masson Gallery here in Ottawa. What I did was I created a space using panels. There are removable panels in this gallery that an artist could make use of if they wanted to, so I created a small space and inside it I put all of my art work. I wanted to sort of replicate the space inside a shack. It was tight, but that was the whole idea. Maurine, the curator really took to this installation and she thought it was important enough that it would go on the road. So she started the whole ball rolling about with this idea making this into a travelling show. So then it actually happened. It was first shown in Burnaby at the Nikkei Centre, and then it went to different places in Canada. It went to a place in Texas, and now it's at the Canadian War Museum. That was more or less my Japanese Canadian theme, so to speak.
LJ
Well, before we talk about going to Texas, which is kind of amazing. Were any of these things in this collection of panels and rice bowls, soy sauce, were any of these autobiographical for you? Or were any of these drawings from your own memories, is there one in particular that you feel a certain attachment to?
NT
You know when I decided to do this theme, I actually had to do a lot of research because I didn't know a lot about it. So I read Ken Adachi's book, The Enemy That Never Was, Ann Sunahara's book, The Politics of Racism, and there were a couple of other books, I can't think of the titles now. I did an awful lot of reading and collected some images that I could use. I guess the images that I used in this installation were really not based on my personal experiences. Except I suppose the chopsticks, rice bowls, soy sauce, the rubber boots, I could say they were a part of my experience. But in terms of the internment camps, no, because we were not in a camp. We were in a small community, we were a self-supporting family. I had to try and think what it would have been like in Hastings Park, Tashme, or Lemon Creek.
ST
The big paper kimonos were named after the different camps.
NT
Yeah. Or Angler, what was it like in Angerl?. Sounds pretty horrific.
LJ
But it wasn't like times were easy for you and your family.
01:15:00.000
01:15:00.000
NT
Well, no it wasn't. It was quite difficult. Well, I have to look at it from two points of views. One, it must have been extremely difficult for my parents. On the other hand, for us kids, we had no idea what was going on. I think we had on the whole, a good time, playing as kids and able to run around and enjoy the outdoors. As I said, a lot of what went into my art work had to be what I imagined it was like. I also after doing a lot of reading became more and more angry about the way the Japanese were treated. The injustice of the War Measures Act, of being rounded up and families separated and living in these horrible conditions. So I became very angry and I guess I put a lot of this anger into my work. The colours are pretty bleak. The paper kimonos are pretty rough, deliberately rough and maybe even crude. It's all a reflection of how I felt about what had happened
ST
and what you called the exhibit
NT
well I called the exhibit a “Measured Act” and it's pretty obvious where that's from. It caught some interest in different...the Nikkei Centre put out calls for different museums that they thought might be interested and a number of them answered saying that they would like to take the show. So it did get around, which I really felt good about. I hope that people got something out of it. But, I suppose in the end I didn't really find out much about how people reacted to it. There was very little feedback. Still, it got around and it was important to me.
LJ
It got to Texas.
NT
That was very very strange. There's a museum...
ST
Fredericksburg
NT
Do you remember what the museum was called?
ST
It's a war museum dedicated to the Pacific War, the Pacific Rim War, Second World War.
NT
Yeah, and somehow they heard about my show through Calgary. You know the war museum in Calgary is called the Military Museum, I think it's a part of the University, I'm not sure. They had shown A Measured Act, and I guess it was through them that the museum in Texas found out about the show and so they took it. I was delighted, just the thought of my show being way down there in Texas.
ST
Now the National War Museum in Ottawa has taken it into their permanent collection.
LJ
Yeah, that's right. So it's part of the permanent collection here in Ottawa at the War Museum. What was that like?
NT
Well, it was just fantastic. Again, it was Maurine who initiated all of this. She's good at contacting people and passing the word around. I guess she ran into some people from the War Museum and made a pitch about my work. They were very slow to react, and I thought they wouldn't really be that interested in it. It took about a year, I guess, of emails back and forth. Maurine constantly reminded them and finally they said “Yes, we would love to take it.” At this point it was in Calgary so I arranged for the work to be shipped back here. It did arrive in Ottawa, although they didn't tell us.
01:20:02.000
01:20:02.000
NT
I contacted them wondering what had happened, if there were any progress on this, and they said “oh didn't we tell you, it's here in Ottawa, it's in our museum” laughs. So we made arrangements to go over and have a look at it because I was worried that because a lot of it is paper and it's been around so much and handled so much, it would be in bad shape. But it fact, it was almost in perfect shape, I couldn't believe it. The people at the museum seemed so delighted to have it. When we were over there looking at it, they gave us a little tour of the workshop and their storage space, and it's pretty impressive. They have a fantastic shop there, the storage space was really state of the art. I ran into some works by a couple of my art school teachers who were war artists. I knew that Orville Fisher was a war artist when I was at the art school. The other guy...Tom Wood, he was not my teacher, he was one of my bosses but his work was there as well. So that was great to see their work there and to see how good they were.
ST
And now you're a part of that collection.
NT
Now, I'm a part of it.
LJ
Would you call yourself a war artist?
NT
No, definitely not. I guess my inclination as an artist doesn't go in that direction. Even though my latest work, you could say, is war related, it's not because of that, it's more about how badly people treat each other. It manifests itself in these kinds of situations that's happening in the Middle East. Czechoslovakia and parts of Africa, there's all this conflict. A lot of it seems to be based on religion. But what really upsets me is that people just do not seem to be able to get along, to make any efforts to understand each other, to make allowances. And to continue some of the conflicts over centuries, I can't believe how far back some of them go. Generation after generation, they keep up these feelings of hate towards another group of people. I don't understand it, so that's really when I do the kind of work I'm showing, that's more of what it is about than a specific war. So the interment fits into that. I think I'll continue to make references to it. Although, I think I have gotten a lot of it off my chest, with The Measured Act. But, it's still something that bothers me. Occasionally, I think of ways that I could make reference to it without overdoing it. I sometimes get concerned that I'm using this theme a little too much and overworking it and maybe repeating myself and people roll their eyes thinking “he's saying that again.” I think it's an event in our lives that cannot be forgotten. It needs to be brought up every once in a while, and mentioned. We need to bring up certain reminders that Canada has this history...towards a certain group of people.
LJ
There's certainly no shortages of the internment and the war that could be bothersome to put it mildly. What is it for you? When you say the interment is something you had to work to get off your chest, what do you think it was specially that was on your chest?
01:25:16.000
01:25:16.000
NT
Well, I think specifically it would be the injustice of it all. Also, the fact that racism was such a big part of what happened. I know that the racial prejudice against the Japanese started way before World War II. When the Japanese started coming in and doing well in fishing and farming, making people feel...people becoming angry that their jobs were being taken over by the Japanese people. And then when the war came along, it was a perfect excuse to get rid of them, get them out of the fishing industry, get them out of farming, and even farming too I can't remember. Oh yeah, the lumber industry. I guess the racial prejudice, and it doesn't matter to me what group is being maligned...the prejudice and the racism that a group of people, one group of people have against another really bothers me. I think that's probably at the root of why I do certain things with my work. There doesn't seem to be an end to these kinds of feelings. The problem of racism in the states just continues and goes on and on and on. Similarly, in other parts of the world. Even in Japan, when I found out about the prejudice against the Koreans, it really shocked me. I had no idea. I thought, “well, these kinds of feelings involve everybody. It will probably never be fixed.” I have a very pessimistic view of what people are like. We're made up of different emotions, we can hate just as easily as we can feel love. And I imagine that animals, other animals don't feel this. If the world was made up only of animals, it would probably be a better place. We complicate things and we mess things up. This business of hating is part of being human, so it will always be there. There will always be something that we will hate, some group of people that we will not be able to ... don't tolerate.
LJ
Do you think so? Do you think it's inevitable?
NT
I think it is. I think that because if we didn't have the feelings of hate, the world would be a different place. But as I said, it's a part of being human.
ST
But there are people who don't hate.
NT
There are and, you know, that's great. Maybe those people will become the majority. But it doesn't take much, only a small group of people can start something like that short pause start a war against another group, I don't really mean war but conflict.
01:30:24.000
01:30:24.000
NT
It sounds pretty grim I know and I'm not too sure why I've come to feel this way. I guess I think a lot about it and when I read the papers, and the reports on TV. I think there it is again, it's happening all over again. It's because we're people, and we will continue to do this. I hope I'm wrong.
LJ
Who helped you, or where do you think you honed your moral compass?
NT
That's a good question. I'm not so sure. I imagine some of it has to do with feeling that we as the Japanese...were badly treated. Growing up feeling that we were inferior, that we have a lot to be ashamed about and it's hard to let go of these feelings as you get older and they sort of hang on in maybe a different way, but it's always there. After a while, rather than feeling ashamed I suppose it turns to being resentful and maybe anger. So you start to develop a kind of a philosophy about people. I'm not sure. Somewhere along the line, I started thinking like this. But I'm not really a miserable person, am I? laughs
LJ
I also have this hunch that you wouldn't be doing the art you were doing if you believed if everyone was terrible. But...maybe that's just me throwing my cards here laughs
NT
You're right, because I know so many good people and I know the world is filled with good people. Maybe it's because the media zeros in on all the bad things that happen and all the good things that are taking place, done by good people don't get the coverage that it should. But still, when I think about art, I think about the fact that art is a reflection of the world we live in and you can either paint flowers in a vase in a living room table or the Gatineau landscape and not look beyond that. But the fact is that there is another side to the world we live in, apart from flowers and nice landscapes, and that is that there are people doing very dark things. If art is a reflection of the world we live in, then I think it's important to show that side of it as well and I have chosen to do that. My work is not as grim or as horrific as some other artist who are maybe angrier than I am or braver. I want some of that side of our world to be a part of my work because I think it needs to be brought out in some way. Even if I do it do it in a very gentle kind of way.
01:35:00.000
01:35:00.000
NT
You've never heard me say this have you laughs well, I think a lot about it and I feel that I guess it's a part of who I am. I'm a Takeuchi, we're pessimists. Although a lot of people say I'm like my mother, but I don't think I am.
ST
You are in some ways, you're nowhere near as hash as your father was, and you've got her gentleness about you
NT
I wonder what mom thought about people. I wonder what she would say if I told her the things I'm talking about now. She'd probably be shocked. But I guess I've come to the conclusion that there are certain parts of me that just needs to say there are beautiful things in this world but there are also some pretty awful things and we need a certain balance. As an artist, I don't really feel that there's an obligation for me to do that but at the same time, I feel like I need to search for truth. Truth and balance in how I see the world. I've actually tried to make beautiful paintings. Most of the time I think I fail...I don't know why. I can't bring myself to paint pretty pictures.
LJ
Well they are pretty. Some of them are very aesthetically pleasing.
NT
Yeah I guess that's part of aesthetics to make things look pleasing. I think I use pleasing colours. It's mainly in the colours that the pleasing aesthetic show up in. There's always an element of, I'm hoping, of darkness in my work. It seems to be important to me that I do this. My kimonos by the way sold really well. Which means, I guess, people found them pleasant to look at. They wanted to have them in their living room. I eventually stopped doing that because they were just so successful that I felt that I was losing my way, as the kind of artist that I want to be.
LJ
They weren't meant to hang over the mantle?
NT
I didn't mean them to be that and yet at the same time I suppose I did. It's funny you know being an artist, you're so torn between pleasing people and being not controversial but something like that short pause wanting to make people a little uncomfortable, to disturb. Which makes me think there's a saying and it has the word disturb in it, but I can't remember what it was now but it summed it up perfectly. As an artist, that's important to me. I try to avoid making work that is too accessible and yet I seem to have done that. At that point when I realized what was happening, I decided to change gears and do something that again I feel people would feel uncomfortable with.
01:40:13.000
01:40:13.000
NT
I think I started off by saying to be an artist...it's a problem because you want people to accept your work, to understand you, to appreciate it, but at the same time you don't want to be too easy. I don't think that I've expressed myself very well there. I find myself when I'm working on a painting, looking at it and in painting you're constantly faced with problems, you're constantly solving problems of colour, shape, texture, message and if I find myself facing a problem and I think of a solution. If the solution comes very easily, then I'll say that's not really the solution. It comes easily because either I've done it before or someone else has done it. So the problem is to find a solution that is different, is unusual, but at the same time gets across what it is that you want to say. So I look for solutions that put people off balance. As a result, I worry about my pictures because in doing that I'm doing things that I haven't seen before and so I don't have a measuring stick about as to whether it is good or not. I'm constantly asking myself, “is this any good?” Still, yeah. I have some paintings downstairs now that are unfinished because I don't know if I'm on the right track. I don't know what the next step is, because I can't think of any solutions for certain problems. I don't know how to finish them. So when that happens, I pick up another canvas and start a new one laughs I guess in a way I'm a procrastinator. I procrastinate on all kinds of things and I do that in my art work. I face a problem and if I can't solve it within a certain length of time, I'll set it aside thinking the answer will come to me eventually. Which it does, I've obviously finished a lot of paintings, it's because eventually I've been able to solve the problems. But I guess the whole point is I'm looking for my way of making people uncomfortable. As with the kimonos, they were very popular and sold very well. It was not doing what I wanted it to do. Even some of the kimonos that turned out nicely, I thought what I was doing was creating shapes that would make people uncomfortable. But I guess I didn't, I guess they were nice shapes laughs
ST
Or maybe they like being uncomfortable
NT
Maybe, yeah.
LJ
Comfortably uncomfortable?
01:44:17.000
01:44:17.000
NT
Laughs yeah, maybe. So this black and white series that I did that I'm showing right now is called “Hard Street.” I guess it has a lot to do with me reaching out in a direction that I really want to go in for a while. To satisfy this feeling that I need to say that the world is not, that parts of the world is not all that great. There are some pretty rough spots, pretty bad places and some pretty awful things that people do. My kimonos don't say that but I tried to do that with A Measured Act. I guess that it helped a lot for me to do that and I suppose a lot of it I was able to get it off my rest with that series. But, I find myself thinking again about the interment. Having done these black and white works, I might just go back to that instead of these colours which look on the brighter side of life. Maybe I'll start doing some paintings that go back to mainly the interment. I have some images in my head that I want to use. So I don't know, it might happen. I have a show coming up in October which I'm working on now. It's a mixture of Canadian themes and Japanese themes, so along with fragments of wood block prints, there's a moose or a rain elevator or an Orca. I find myself, with the last couple of years, going back to being a Canadian or emphasizing, maybe not emphasizing but making references to the Canadian side of me with these Canadian images. But I know that, that will slowly fade and I will probably go back to the interment theme because I feel like there's still a bit more that I want to say about it. There are pieces there that need to be put in place.
LJ
Well...I think that's a good time to pause. I want to thank you both for your time today. Thank you for reflecting and being charitable with your memories and thoughts.
NT
Well, thanks for the opportunity to say these things. You heard a lot from me today that you haven't heard before. And I've never really talked about it before. So I appreciate the chance to do this.
01:47:32.000

Metadata

Title

Norman and Marion Takeuchi, interviewed by Josh Labove, 24 January 2016

Abstract

Norman Takeuchi, with the aid of his wife Marion Takeuchi, talks about his early childhood years, the friends he made during those times, as well as his mother and father’s humble beginnings raising him and his siblings in a shack in Westworld, BC. Norman then describes his high school experiences. For example, he had an Australian French-language teacher who, instead of teaching the class how to read, write, and speak in French chose to talk about his war experiences fighting the Japs. Norman moves on to talk about his decision to go to art school and the numerous jobs he undertook as a recent graduate leading up to his later years. When moving out to Ottawa for a job, he recalls feeling that he looked different because there were not many visible minorities in the capital during the 1960s. Near the end of the interview, Norman indicates that the primary factor influencing many of his art pieces is the prejudice and racism that one group has towards another.

Credits

Interviewer: Josh Labove
Interviewee: Norman Takeuchi
Interviewee: Marion Takeuchi
XML Encoder: Stewart Arneil
Publication Information: See Terms of Use for publication and licensing information.
Setting: Ottawa, Ontario
Keywords: Westworld; Okanagan ; Visible Minority; Ottawa ; Montreal ; Ottawa School of Art; Heritage; Japan ; Internment; War Measures Act; National War Musium; Racism; Prejudice; 1930s – 1960s

Terminology

Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.