The Three Pleasures

The Three Pleasures

by Terry Watada
  • critically-acclaimed
  • diversity
  • from-british-columbia
  • historical

1940's 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.


Terry Watada, author

Terry Watada is the author of two 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.


  • "The Three Pleasures" memorializes those who endured the internment and offers a dispatch from past to present. In the wake of 9/11, Watada 'noted that the front page of the newspapers looked exactly like the front page of the newspapers back in 1941', after Pearl Harbor. The calls for internment of Muslims in America signaled to him that there was a need 'to repeat and repeat the message, that you just can’t do this. It’s the constant reminders that have to be there.' - The Georgia Straight Link to review
  • Like all good historical fiction, "The Three Pleasures" puts a human face on large-scale events and lets us see the unfolding events through the eyes of someone experiencing the uprooting firsthand. - Vancouver Bulletin
  • [...] Though fiction, "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. - The Globe & Mail


  • Finalist, 2017 Foreword Indies Historical (Adult Fiction)

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Anvil Press



rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 326

publication date: 10/01/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book