Canadian Land Trust Calls for Global Action in Saving Author’s Threatened Home

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Canadian Land Trust Calls for Global Action
in Saving Author’s Threatened Home

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA – A coalition of friends, writers groups and The Land Conservancy (TLC) are asking global citizens to help save the childhood home of Canadian author Joy Kogawa from demolition.

TLC and the Save Kogawa House Committee have until April 30 to save the historic Joy Kogawa House. The goal is to raise $1.25 million to purchase the house, fund restorations, and establish an endowment for a writer-in-residence program.

Phone calls, letters of support, and donations have been received from across Canada, but a call for help is being asked on an international level. To date, $217,000 has been raised from 340 donors.

“We’re calling on everyone who has been touched by the past treatment of the Japanese community during World War II,” says Bill Turner, Executive Director of TLC. “This house will stand as a symbol of the wrongs that were committed in the past, but also as a symbol of what an international community can achieve when it pulls together.”

The historic Joy Kogawa House is located in Vancouver. Kogawa and her family were removed from the home in 1942 as part of the Government’s policy of internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II. Over the years, the house has become a symbol of lost hope and happiness and a central image in Kogawa’s award-winning novel Obasan. The home is also featured in the sequel Emily Kato and the children’s story Naomi’s Road.

“This is a story that needs living symbols so people remember this happened in Canada,” says Kogawa. “We need to show the world that we are not afraid to hide from our history, and we can work towards reconciliation among our own citizens.”

The historic Joy Kogawa House first came to TLC’s attention in early 2005 through the Save Kogawa House Committee. On November 30, 2005, the City of Vancouver granted a 120-day delay on the demolition permit for the house. In early December, TLC announced they would spearhead the campaign. On February 8, 2006, the Kogawa House was listed on Heritage Vancouver’s 2006 Top 10 Endangered Sites. Mid March, TLC received a 30-day extension on the option to purchase the home.

Once protected, the historic Joy Kogawa House will be a used as a writing retreat, enabling emerging international writers to create new works focusing on human rights issues. It will also be open for public and school tours.

Donations can be made at or (604) 733-2313.


For more information, please contact (interviews in English):

TLC The Land Conservancy of BC:
Bill Turner, Executive Director, (250) 479-8053;
Heather Skydt, Communications Coordinator, (604) 733-2313;

Save Joy Kogawa House Committee:  
Anton Wagner, (416) 863-1209;
Ann-Marie Metten, (604) 263-6586;
Todd Wong, (604) 987-7124;

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