FascinAsian - Bitter Sweet Trail

Director: Kenji Dyck
Runtime: 22 Minutes 59 Seconds
Language: English

Year of Release: 2020
Country of Origin: Canada

Description: Bitter Sweet Trail follows a group of multi-generational Japanese Canadians on a bus tour to rediscover their roots of injustice, pain and perseverance in Alberta sugar beet fields. The film documents the history of Japanese Canadian sugar beet farmers of Southern Alberta, their early pioneer years and their experiences of internment and dispossession during and after World War II, directly from those who lived it. Reflecting on such experiences years later, Bitter Sweet Trail reinforces the importance of remembering such stories of determination for future generations.

Writer: Kenji Dyck
Producer: David Iwaasa
Composer: Matsuoka Hiroaki

FascinAsian - Kenji Dyck

Kenji Dyck

Kenji Dyck is a Japanese Canadian filmmaker and freelance videographer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Director Statement: When I agreed to make “Bitter Sweet Trail” for the Nikkei National Museum and the National Association of Japanese Canadians, I went into the project not only knowing little about the history of the film’s subject matter but also felt a sense of disconnection with my cultural heritage. As a fifth-generation Japanese Canadian who knows little to no Japanese, I have struggled to find meaningful ways to connect with my cultural background in the past. However, creating this film, with the incredible help of producer David Iwaasa, allowed me to gain a greater understanding of my Japanese Canadian identity by documenting the experiences of Japanese Canadian sugar beet farmers, who make up a small but significant part of Japanese Canadian history. Listening to these specific stories of great struggle and perseverance amid racial injustice was, for me, as educational as it was formative. I hope those who watch this short documentary will learn just as much as I did while making it.