By Mark Sakamoto
“Forgiveness,” by Canadian author Mark Sakamoto, is part family memoir, part history book. Sakamoto’s mother, Diane MacLean, married his father, Stan Sakamoto, in 1973. They had two sons and settled down in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Their family was a merger of two different and equally harrowing sides of the Canadian experience of World War II.
Mark’s maternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, enlisted in the Canadian military as a rifleman in 1940. Ten months short of his 19th birthday, he had to lie about his age to join. Months later, he got the news that he would be deployed to Hong Kong with another roughly 2,000 Canadian troops. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, life in Hong Kong for the Canadian soldiers changed drastically. They prepared for war, and war they fought, but they were heavily outnumbered and soon were captured by the Japanese and taken to a camp housing prisoners of war. Mark describes the horrific and cruel conditions th