University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
Headshot of Kerry Sakamoto taken outdoors
Kerri Sakamoto. Photo by Daniel Tisch

Hope Floats

U of T alumna Kerri Sakamoto’s new novel explores racism, architecture – and how to “dream and dare”

After learning that visionary architect Buckminster Fuller had a Japanese-­American business partner, Kerri Sakamoto’s imagination took off – inspiring a fable-like tale that isn’t intended to follow history as it actually happened, but “imagine a story that might have been.”

Sakamoto’s newest novel, Floating City, follows the story of Frankie Hanesaka who, after being displaced from his home time and again, rises to success as a property developer. Forced from his floating house off Vancouver Island to a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War, Hanesaka moves to Toronto after the war. He meets Fuller, who envisions building a floating community in Toronto Harbour – and who teaches Hanesaka that he “must dream and dare.”

“I wanted to detail the past, but also point to the future,” says Sakamoto (BA 1982 UTM), whose own parents and grandparents avoided talking about their time in internment camps while she was growing up in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Sakamoto wanted to explore Hanesaka’s experience of living through perpetual racism, and what it means to negotiate one’s manhood and dignity – as a husband, father and provider – in the face of persecution. The novel also examines what is gained and lost in the name of “progress,” both in the sense of urban gentrification and Hanesaka’s assimilation, says Sakamoto. “Floating City is a cautionary tale, but also one of utopic ideals.”

Recent Posts

Photo of front campus field and Convocation Hall with flower emoji illustrations floating above

Clearing the Air

U of T wants to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2050. It’s enlisting on-campus ingenuity for help

Abstract illustration showing a red-coloured body and face, with small black and white pieces flowing from inside body out of the mouth, and the U.S. Capitol Building dangling on puppet strings from one hand

The Extremism Machine

Online disinformation poses a danger to society. Researchers at U of T’s Citizen Lab are tracking it – and trying to figure out how to stop it

Prof. Mark V. Campbell with a beige background and red lighting

Charting Hip Hop’s Course

Professor Mark V. Campbell grew up during the early years of rap music. Now, he is helping preserve Canadian hip-hop culture for future generations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *