2018 Thomas Shoyama Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Joy Kogawa

An accomplished poet, playwright, and author. Joy Kogawa is celebrated for her work as a novelist and her influential contributions in the Canadian Japanese Redress Movement to obtain compensation and reparation from the Canadian government for the incarceration of Japanese Canadians during WWII.

As one of Canada’s most celebrated authors, Joy is best known for her 1981 award-winning novel Obasan, which chronicles the experience of the Japanese Canadian internment during WWII from the perspective of a thirty-six year old woman who recounts her experiences as a young child. Regarded as a seminal work of literature, it is utilized in classrooms across Canada and the USA because of its successful integration of political understanding with literary artistry.

Joy became a member of the Order of Canada in 1986 and a member of the Order of British Columbia in 2006. In 2010, she received the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government for her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history. She has also received numerous honorary doctorates from Canadian universities – most recently from the University of Victoria in June 2017.

Henry Wakabayashi


Gordon Kadota
Arthur S. Hara
Dr. David Suzuki