Ken Adachi

Region: Toronto Ontario
Nisei | Born 1928, British Columbia
Died 1989


Ken Adachi was the author of the seminal history of Japanese Canadians, The Enemy That Never Was (1976). A journalist by profession, Adachi was commissioned to write the book by the National Association of Japanese Canadians. He was born in British Columbia in 1928, and he and his family were forcibly removed from Vancouver to Slocan when Adachi was 13 years old. Adachi’s mother died in Slocan, and his father, formerly a business owner in Vancouver, worked only menial jobs after the war, never recovering from the government’s seizure of his small hotel and confectionary store.

Adachi was editor of The New Canadian* after the war, and later went on to study English at the University of Toronto, earning a BA and MA. He worked his way up in Toronto journalism in the 1970s, becoming the book pages editor for the Toronto Star in 1976 and later gaining respect as a literary columnist. He was briefly dismissed from his position in 1981 after an accusation of plagiarism, but upon returning to work continued to garner esteem and even a 1986 National Newspaper Award for critical writing. Adachi committed suicide in 1989 after a second case of plagiarism was called out.

The Enemy That Never Was was republished in 1991 in the wake of the success of the Redress movement. It continues to be a comprehensive and definitive source for information on Japanese Canadian history from 1877 to 1975.