Originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta, he is the son of a Japanese Canadian father, Stan Sakamoto, and a white Canadian mother, Diane MacLean. During World War II, his paternal grandparents were affected by the Japanese internment in Canada, while his maternal grandfather was captured by the Japanese as a prisoner of war. To write the book, Sakamoto interviewed his grandparents about how they forgave those formative experiences to embrace and connect with each other when their son and daughter fell in love and married. The book was a shortlisted finalist for the Edna Staebler Award in 2015.
Forgiveness was selected for the 2018 edition of Canada Reads, where it was defended by Jeanne Beker. It ended up winning the contest on March 29, 2018. Following its Canada Reads win, producer Don Carmody announced that he had optioned the book for development as a television miniseries.
Sakamoto worked on the political staff of former Liberal Party of Canada leader Michael Ignatieff. He went on to serve as an executive for Think Research Group, a medical software company, and serves on the boards of the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
- "How Mark Sakamoto's grandparents taught him the true meaning of forgiveness". CBC Books, January 30, 2018.
- "Mark Sakamoto’s Forgiveness: A family history that is also Canada’s". The Globe and Mail, July 18, 2014.
- "Hatter’s book named to top 15 list of CBC’s Canada Reads program". Medicine Hat News, January 22, 2018.
- "How a family was built on the basis of forgiveness". The Globe and Mail, May 30, 2014.
- "Laurier announces shortlist for the 2015 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction". Wilfrid Laurier University, July 30, 2015.
- "Meet the Canada Reads 2018 contenders". CBC Books, January 30, 2018.
- "Jeanne Beker, championing Forgiveness, wins Canada Reads 2018", CBC Books, March 29, 2018
- "Adaptation of Canada Reads 2018 winner Forgiveness in development with CBC and DCTV". CBC Books, April 11, 2018.
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