At the end of World War II, a young Japanese Canadian would stand trial and face execution for having committed war crimes and betraying his country.
One of the most bizarre stories to emerge at the end of the Second World War was that of Kanao Inouye. Born in Kamloops, B.C., in 1916, he had relocated to his ancestral homeland of Japan, and by 1942 was a translator for the Japanese army. He was assigned to the prisoner of war camp in Hong Kong where he became infamous as one of the “most sadistic guards” over the Canadian survivors of the Battle of Hong Kong. Scores of prisoners would attest to his brutality administered in revenge for the treatment he had received growing up in Canada.
His reputation was such that he was quickly apprehended after the war and faced charges of war crimes. But his subsequent trials became mired in questions as to who he really was. Was he a Canadian forced to serve in the Japanese military machine? Or was he a devoted soldier of his emperor obeying his superiors?