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Light, laughter added to Japanese Internment production in Chilliwack

Artist Kunji Ikeda brings ‘Sansei: The Storyteller’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre
Kunji Ikeda uses dance, theatre, and humour to tell the story of one of Canada’s darkest decisions in ‘Sansei: The Storyteller’ on May 10 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. (Marc J Chalifoux)

“If the Japanese Internment of WWII didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be alive.”

Those are the words of artist Kunji Ikeda who will be bringing his performance Sansei: The Storyteller to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 10.

It may seem as though a light-hearted look at the Japanese Internment isn’t possible, but Ikeda uses dance, theatre and humour to tell the story of one of Canada’s darkest decisions.

On December 7, 1941, an attack on Pearl Harbour triggered the internment and dispossession of tens of thousands of Japanese Canadians.

On May 10, Sansei tells the poignant story of one Japanese family’s internment during the Second World War in a captivating piece of theatre that is illuminating and profoundly personal.

“It’s the most fun you’ll ever have learning about the Japanese Internment,” Ikeda said. “With such a dark topic, I knew I wanted to include some lightness, some fun, some laughter.”

He uses a wide variety of storytelling styles including comedy, dance, spoken word poetry, historical audio, and family interviews. Sansei unwraps how – with help from the audience – the story of racism doesn’t need to end in hate.

This award-winning performance offers Ikeda’s own discovery of where he came from, and how Japanese Canadians found peace.

Sansei: The Storyteller is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on May 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32 with discounts for those in the Patron Programs, and can be purchased at the Centre Box Office, online at, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).

Looking for more events taking place in and around Chilliwack? Check out What’s happening Chilliwack in our community section.