By Terry Watada
1940s Vancouver. The Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbour and racial tension is building in Vancouver. The RCMP are rounding up “suspicious” young men, and fishing boats and property are soon seized from Steveston fishers; internment camps in BC’s interior are only months away.
Daniel Sugiura, a young reporter for the New Canadian, the only Japanese-Canadian newspaper allowed to keep publishing during the war, narrates The Three Pleasures. The story is told through three main characters in the Japanese community: Watanabe Etsuo, Morii Etsuji and Etsu Kaga, the Three Pleasures. Etsu in Japanese means “pleasure”; the term is well-suited to these three. Morii Etsuji, the Black Dragon boss, controls the kind of pleasure men pay for: gambling, drink and prostitution – the pleasures of the flesh. Watanabe Etsuo, Secretary of the Steveston Fishermen’s Association, makes a deal with the devil to save his loved ones. In the end, he suffers for it and never regains the pleasures of family. And there is Etsu Kaga, a Ganbariya of the Yamato Damashii Group, a real Emperor worshipper. His obsession becomes destructive to himself and all involved with him. He enjoys the pleasure of patriotism until that patriotism becomes a curse.
The Three Pleasures is an intimate and passionate novel concerning an unsightly and painful period in Canada’s history.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE THREE PLEASURES: “Terry Watada’s literary tour de force, The Three Pleasures, lifts the Japanese Canadian internment experience beyond passive victimization by giving life to a host of historical figures – heroes, villians and tragic characters – in a fascinating yet little-known resistance movement within the camps. An absolute page-turner and worthy read.” — Jim Wong-Chu, Asian Canadian Writers Workshop Founder
“A tale of duplicity, betrayal and loss, this thought-provoking political novel sheds new light on the internment of nearly 24,000 Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Shrouded in moral ambiguity, the book elucidates little-known details about a few resistance groups and powerful individuals within the Japanese communities of Vancouver and Steveston, B.C. It delineates the nature and extent of their roles before and during the internment.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“The Three Pleasures sticks close to this historical record, giving a strong sense especially of community life and divisions within Vancouver’s Japantown in the early 1940s.” — Globe and Mail
Terry Watada is the author of two previous novels, The Three Pleasures and The Blood of Foxes, a collection of short fiction, Daruma Days, four books of poetry, two children’s books, the nonfiction title Bukkyo Tozen: A History of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in Canada 1905 – 1995, and two manga style comic books. Terry is also a musician and recording artist. Mr. Watada lives in Toronto.