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Media Release
May 13, 2019
Halifax, NS

Forgiveness, Family and Canadian identity:
Mark Sakamoto in Conversation with Jeanne Beker

Woven together through interviews with his maternal grandmother, Mitsue Sakamoto, and paternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, Mark Sakamoto’s Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents shares wartime recollections from contrasting sides of a human tragedy to offer a unique perspective on the idea of a Canadian family. Released in 2014 to sweepingly glowing reviews, Forgiveness also won 2018 Canada Reads, as defended by Canadian fashion journalist, icon and entrepreneur Jeanne Beker.

In 2017, Jeanne Beker donated a special trunk to the Museum. This simple wooden crate had accompanied her parents, Holocaust survivors, and sister to Canada in 1948 to begin a new life. Along with the trunk, Jeanne also shared her parent’s story of survival and rebuilding. The symmetries between Mark and Jeanne’s family histories, as descendants of survivors and bearers of a family trauma passed down, are part of what will make this next edition of Pier 21 Reads so powerful.

On Monday, May 27th, beginning at 7:00 p.m., attendees will be privy to a revealing and thought-provoking conversation during which the two Canadian personalities will explore Mark’s memoir, the complexities of family, immigration and Canadian identity. A Q&A and book signing will follow the presentation.

This is a free event, presented in English. Space is limited. Those interested can reserve their place by visiting:

Both Jeanne and Mark are available to the media for interviews on site the day of the event. Jeanne is also available for phone interviews leading up to the event.

Quick Facts:

  • Jeanne Beker is one of the most influential women in the fashion industry—in Canada and around the world. A long-time celebrity, Jeanne rose to the top of arts and culture media as the iconic host of TV’s Fashion Television. Jeanne was editor-in-chief of FQ and SIR magazines from 2003 to 2008; she has authored five books; and since 2015 has been Style Editor for The Shopping Channel. In 2014, Jeanne was named to the Order of Canada. She also received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016, and an honorary doctorate from OCAD University in 2018.
  • Mark Sakamoto, a lawyer by training, has enjoyed a rich and varied career. He began by promoting live music, which led to work with several international acts. He has worked at a Canadian broadcaster and served as a senior political advisor. Both an entrepreneur and an investor in digital health and media, he chairs the board of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Mark’s family memoir Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents won CBC Canada Reads 2018 and once again became a number one national bestseller.


“We are pleased to welcome back Jeanne Beker to the Museum, and look forward to welcoming Mark Sakamoto alongside her. Their conversation is sure to be heart wrenching, inspiring and illuminating. Family histories are sometimes difficult, and as we often discover and reveal here at the Museum, so is Canada’s immigration history. Mark and Jeanne’s conversation will demonstrate the challenges of coming to terms with darker history, and the importance of moving forward together with compassion to build a brighter future of inclusiveness.” - Marie Chapman, CEO, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

“I’m thrilled to be back in Halifax. Pier 21 was the first place I visited when I moved to Halifax. Jeanne and I will be talking about how family history shapes your tomorrow. How it propels you forward. Pier 21 marked the first day of hope for countless Canadian families. The very hope that those newcomers felt in their hearts has made Canada the country that it is today.” - Mark Sakamoto

“As far as my family is concerned--and countless other families no doubt--Pier 21 was the glorious gateway for untold hopes and dreams. I'm both honoured and inspired to have been asked to speak at the Museum of Immigration, because this location was the original launching pad for my family's new life. It's a true gift to be able to share these personal stories of courage, faith and survival, and I very much look forward to discussing not only what it takes to move forward, but to see the world through a lens of love and compassion.” - Jeanne Beker


Media Contact
Beatrice Houston Gilfoy, Communications Specialist
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 264 C : (902) 430-3986