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Japanese Canadian internment

Japanese Canadian Internment refers to the detainment of Japanese Canadians following the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and Malaya and attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent Canadian declaration of war on Japan during World War II. This forced relocation subjected Japanese Canadians to government-enforced curfews and interrogations, in addition to job and property losses.[1] The internment of Japanese Canadians was deemed necessary by the federal Cabinet headed by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, largely due to existing racism. This was done so, despite evidence supplied by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defence that this decision was unwarranted.[2]

Beginning after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and lasting until 1949 (four years after World War II had ended) all persons of Japanese heritage were systematically removed from their homes and businesses and sent to internment camps. The Canadian government shut down all Japanese-language newspapers, took possession of businesses and fishing boats, and effectively sold them. In order to fund the internment itself, vehicles, houses and personal belongings were also sold.[1]

In August 1944, Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced that Japanese Canadians were to move east into prisoner of war [POW] camps and internment camps as had been previously encouraged. The official policy stated that Japanese Canadians must move east of the Rocky Mountains or be repatriated to Japan following the end of the war.[3] However, by 1947 many Japanese Canadians had been granted exemption to this enforced no-entry zone, and by 1949 legislation was enacted that allowed Japanese Canadians the right to vote provincially as well as federally, officially marking the end of internment.[4]


  • Prewar history 1
  • World War II 2
    • Mackenzie King 2.1
    • Japanese Canadians serving in the war 2.2
  • Internment camps 3
    • Camp conditions 3.1
  • Restriction of property rights 4
  • Resettlement and repatriation 5
  • Postwar history 6
  • Redress 7
  • Camp locations 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
    • Bibliography 10.1
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12
    • Comparative studies 12.1
    • Films online 12.2

Prewar history

Tensions between Canadians and Japanese immigrants to Canada existed long before the outbreak of World War II.

Starting as early as 1858, with the influx of "Orientals" during Oriental cultural and racial differences."[5] Both Japanese and Chinese immigrants were feared to be taking jobs from white Canadians and thereby impacting their ability to work. Due to this, many Canadians argued that "Oriental labour lowers the standard of living of White groups."[6] It was also argued that Asian immigrants themselves had a lower standard of living that they were perfectly content with. The argument was that many Chinese and Japanese immigrants in British Columbia lived in unsanitary conditions and were not inclined to improve their living space thereby proving their inferiority and their unwillingness to become truly Canadian. These ideas were often refuted with the argument that, while the Japanese and the Chinese did in fact often have poor living conditions, both groups wished to improve but were hindered by the difficulty they had in finding steady work.[7]

In reference to Japanese Canadians specifically, prior to the war, racism "had defined their communities since the first immigrants arrived in the 1870s".[8] Starting in 1877 with Manzo Nagano, a nineteen-year-old sailor who was the first Japanese person to officially immigrate to Canada, entering the salmon-exporting business, the Japanese were quick to integrate themselves into Canadian industries.[9] Some Canadians felt, while the Chinese were content with being "confined to a few industries," the Japanese were infiltrating all areas of industry and competing "with an aggressive efficiency" that overwhelmed white workers.[10] This was exemplified in the growing rate of Japanese fishermen. By 1919, 3,267 Japanese immigrants held fishing licenses, and 50 percent of the total licenses issued that year were issued to the Japanese. These numbers were alarming to Canadian fishermen who felt threatened by the growing number of Japanese competitors.[11] The Japanese were also accused of being resistant to assimilation into Canadian society, with Japanese-language schools, Buddhist temples, and low inter-marriage rates being cited as examples. It was claimed that the Japanese "have their own way of life,"[12] even going so far as to claim that many of the Japanese who had become Canadian citizens "was due to their desire to obtain fishing licensees rather than their wish to become Canadian."[13] These arguments were tied to the idea that the Japanese remained strictly loyal to Japan.

The situation was exacerbated when, in 1907, the United States began prohibiting Japanese immigrants from accessing Mainland America through Hawaii resulting in a massive influx (over 7,000 as compared to 2,042 in 1906)[14] of Japanese immigrants into British Columbia. Largely as a result, on August 12, 1907, a group of organized labourers formed an anti-Asiatic League, known as the Asiatic Exclusion League, with its membership numbering "over five hundred."[14] On the 7th of September, 1907, some 5,000 men in support of the League marched on City Hall, where they had arranged a meeting with both local and American speakers. By the time of the meeting, it was estimated that at least 25,000 people had arrived at City Hall and, following the speakers, riots broke out, culminating in a march on Chinatown and Japantown. Many windows were smashed, but the Japanese in Little Tokyo were able to push back against the mob without any serious injury or loss of life.[15] After the riot, the League and other nativist groups used their influence to push the government into an arrangement similar to the United State's Gentlemen's Agreement, limiting the number of passports given to male Japanese immigrants to 400 per year.[16] Women were not counted toward the quota, so "picture brides," women who married by proxy and immigrated to Canada to join (and in many cases, meet for the first time) their new husbands, became common after 1908. The influx of female immigrants — and soon after, Canadian-born children — shifted the population from a temporary workforce to a permanent presence, and Japanese Canadian family groups settled throughout British Columbia and southern Alberta.[16]

During World War I, opinions of the Japanese improved slightly. They were seen as an ally of Great Britain and some even enrolled in the Canadian Forces. On the homefront, many businesses began hiring groups that had been under represented in the workforce (including women, Yugoslavian and Italian refugees who had fled to Canada during the war, and Japanese immigrants) to help fulfill the increasing demands of Britain and its allies overseas. Businesses that had previously been opposed to doing so were now more than happy to hire the Japanese as there was "more than enough work for all."[17] However, at the end of the war, soldiers returning home to find their jobs filled by others, including Japanese immigrants, were outraged. While they had been fighting in Europe, the Japanese had established themselves securely in many business and were now, more than ever, perceived as a threat to white workers. "'Patriotism' and 'Exclusion' became the watchwords of the day."[17]

While many groups, like the [18] They saw the Japanese as being important partners in helping open businesses in British Columbia up to Japanese markets.

Others still worked to hinder the progress of Japanese immigrants in Canada. This was especially apparent in the fisheries industry of British Columbia during the 1920s and 30s. Prior to the 1920s, many Japanese were employed as pullers, a job that required them to help the net men row the boats out to fish. The job required no license so, for first generation Japanese immigrants who were not Canadian citizens, the job was one of the few they were able to acquire. In 1923, however, the government lifted a ban on the use of motorboats and also enacted a law that required pullers to be licensed. This had a large impact on the Japanese it meant that first generation immigrants, known as Issei were unable to get jobs in the fishing industry. This resulted in large scale unemployment among these Issei. Second generation Japanese immigrants, known as Nisei began entering the fishing industry at a younger age to compensate for this but even they were hindered as the increased use of motorboats resulted in less need for pullers and only a small amount of fishing licenses were issued to the Japanese.[19]

This situation escalated in May 1938 when the Governor General abolished the pullers license entirely despite Japanese protest of the move. This resulted in many younger Japanese being forced from the fishing industry leaving Japanese net men to fend for themselves. Later that year, in August, a change to the borders of fishing districts in the area resulted in the loss of license for several Japanese fishermen who claimed they had not been informed of the change.[20] While these events did result in reduced competition from the Japanese in the fishing industry, it created further tensions elsewhere.

The Japanese had already been able to establish a secure position in many businesses during World War I, but their numbers had remained relatively small as many had stayed working in the fishing industry. As the Japanese began to be pushed out of fishing, they increasingly began to work on farms and in small businesses. The result of this move was that white Canadian farmers and businessmen began having to compete with Japanese immigrants leading to increased racial tension.[21]

In the years leading up to World War II, there were approximately 29,000 Canadians of Japanese ancestry in British Columbia, of whom 80% were Canadian nationals.[22] At the time, they were denied the right to vote and barred by law from various professions. Racial tensions often stemmed from the fact that many believed that all Japanese immigrants, both first generation Issei and second generation Nisei, remained loyal to Japan alone. A professor of the University of British Columbia was quoted by Maclean's Magazine as saying that the "Japanese in B.C. are as loyal to [Japan] as Japanese anywhere in the world."[23] Others felt that tensions, in British Columbia specifically, originated in the fact that the Japanese were clustered together almost entirely in and around Vancouver. As a result, as early as 1938, there was talk of encouraging the Japanese to begin moving east of the Rocky Mountains,[24] an idea that became a reality during World War II.

The actions of Japan leading up to World War II were also seen as cause for concern. Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in 1934, began ignoring the naval ratio set up by the Washington Naval Conference of 1922, and, in 1936, refused to follow the Second London Naval Treaty and allied with Germany with the Anti-Comintern Pact. Being that many felt that resident Japanese immigrants would always remain loyal to their home country, the Japanese in British Columbia, even those born and raised in Canada, were often judged for these actions taken by their ancestral home.[25]

World War II

When the Pacific war began, discrimination against Japanese Canadians increased due to the aggression of the Japanese. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, as legalized under the War Measures Act, Japanese Canadians were categorized as enemy aliens.[26] On January 14, 1942, the government passed an order calling for the removal of male Japanese nationals 18 to 45 years of age from a designated protected area of one hundred miles inland from the British Columbia coast. Those displaced were removed to road camps in the Jasper area of Alberta. Three weeks later another order expanded that authority to allow the removal of "all persons of Japanese origin" [27] In all, some 27,000 people were detained without charge or trial, and their property confiscated. Others were deported to Japan.[28]

British Columbia had high Japanese immigrant population. In August 1941, the Navy requested that the government give them the authority to confiscate all fishing boats in the event of war.[28] Initially reluctant, Ottawa gave orders to seize boats 'owned and operated by Japanese nationals' in October of that year.[28] However, not all Canadians believed that the Japanese Canadians posed a threat to national security, including select senior officials of the RCMP, Royal Canadian Navy, Department of Labour and Fisheries, among other government agencies.[29]

Mackenzie King

William Lyon Mackenzie King served his last term as Prime Minister between 1935 and 1948, at which point he retired from Canadian politics. He had served previous terms as Prime Minister, but perhaps this period was his most well-known. His policies during this period included unemployment insurance, and tariff agreements with Great Britain and the United States.[30] Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King wrote daily in his diary throughout his life. These diary entries give us a sense for the thoughts and feelings King held during the war. "Though he undoubtedly considered himself a man of humanitarian outlook, he was a product of his times and shared the values of his fellow Canadians. He was – beyond doubt – an anti-Semite, and shouldered, more than any of his Cabinet colleagues, the responsibility of keeping Jewish refugees out of the country on the eve of and during the war."[31]

Prior to the dropping of the bomb, Prime Minister King was not considered a racist. He seemed concerned for humanity and was against the use of the atomic bomb and even its creation. When King found out about the estimated date of the bomb's being dropped he wrote in his diary: "It makes one very sad at heart to think of the loss of life that it [the bomb] will occasion among innocent people as well as those that are guilty".[32] Here, however, historians point to a specific diary entry when referring to King's racism toward the Japanese. On August 6, 1945, King wrote in his diary:

"It is fortunate that the use of the bomb should have been upon the Japanese rather than upon the white races of Europe".[33]

Japanese Canadians serving in the war

For many Japanese Canadians, World War I provided the opportunity to prove loyalties to Canada and her allies in hopes of gaining, through military service, citizenship rights that had been systematically denied to them. However, despite the large numbers of Japanese Canadians who volunteered, the Canadian government rejected their applications. Like other visible minorities at the time, such as Aboriginal peoples and Black Canadians, the Canadian Japanese Association's offer to create a battalion was rejected by Prime Minister Robert Borden and his federal cabinet. However, many Japanese Canadians were able to enlist individually by travelling to Alberta where their presence was deemed less of a threat, which in turn provided opportunities for recruitment in other provinces outside of British Columbia.[34]

Some of the interned citizens had been combat veterans of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, including several men who had been decorated for bravery during the fighting on the Western Front in the First World War. Despite the first iteration of veterans affairs association being established at this time, fear and racism drove policy trumping veterans' rights so that virtually no Japanese Canadian veterans were exempt from internment camps.[35] Small numbers of military age Japanese-Canadians were permitted to serve in the Canadian Army in the Second World War, as interpreters and in signal/intelligence units.[36] Canadian Nisei were already serving in the Canadian army in 1942 against the Axis. They served in the Far East attached to British units as interpreters and translators in January 1945. About 200 Canadian Nisei joined during World War II.[37]

Canadians of "Oriental racial origin" were not called upon to perform compulsory military service.[36] Japanese Canadian men such as Harold Hirose, however, chose to serve the Canadian army during the war, to prove their allegiance to Canada.[38] However, various Japanese Canadian men would be discharged from the war only to discover that they were unable to return to the coast of British Columbia or have their rights of Canadian citizenship reinstated.[39]

Internment camps

The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor spurred prominent British Columbians, including members of municipal government, local newspapers, and businesses to call for the internment of the ethnic Japanese living in Canada under the Defence of Canada Regulations. In British Columbia, there were fears that some Japanese who worked in the fishing industry were charting the coastline for the Japanese navy, acting as spies upon Canada's military. British Columbia borders the Pacific Ocean, and was therefore believed to be easily susceptible to enemy attacks from Japan. 22,000 Japanese Canadians (14,000 of whom were born in Canada, including David Suzuki) were interned in the 1940s for political expediency. Prime Minister Mackenzie King decided to intern Japanese Canadian citizens based on speculative evidence, because both the RCMP and defence department lacked proof of any sabotage or espionage.[2]

On February 24, 1942, an order-in-council passed under the Defence of Canada Regulations of the War Measures Act gave the federal government the power to intern all "persons of Japanese racial origin."[40] A "protected" 100-mile (160 km) wide strip up the Pacific coast was created, and men of Japanese origin between the ages of 14 and 45 were removed and taken to road camps in the British Columbia interior or sugar beet projects on the Prairies, such as Taber, Alberta. Despite the 100-mile quarantine, a few Japanese Canadian men remained in McGillivray Falls, which was just outside the quarantine zone; however, they were employed at a logging operation at Devine (near D'Arcy in the Gates Valley), which was in fact inside the quarantine zone but without road access to the Coast. Japanese Canadians interned in Lillooet Country found employment within farms, stores, and the railway.[41] Tashme, on Highway 3 just east of Hope, was notorious for the camp's harsh conditions and existed just outside the protected area. Other internment camps, including Slocan, were in the Kootenay Country in southeastern British Columbia.[42] Leadership positions within the camps were only offered to the Nisei, or Canadian-born citizens of Japanese origin, however excluding the Issei, the original immigrants from Japan.

The Liberal government also deported able-bodied Japanese Canadian labourers to camps near fields and orchards, such as the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The Japanese Canadian labourers were used as a solution to a shortage of farm workers.[43] This obliterated any Japanese competition in the fishing sector. During the 1940s, the Canadian government created policies to direct Chinese, Japanese, and First Nations into farming, and other sectors of the economy that "other groups were abandoning for more lucrative employment elsewhere".[44]

Camp conditions

Internment camp, June 1944
A road crew of interned men building the Yellowhead Highway.

Many Canadian citizens were unaware of the living conditions within the internment camps. The Japanese Canadians who resided within the camp at Hastings Park were placed in stables and barnyards, where they lived without privacy in an unsanitary environment.[45] Kimiko, a former internee, attested to the "intense cold during the winter" and her only source of heat was from a "pot-bellied stove" within the stable.[46] General conditions were poor enough that the Red Cross transferred fundamental food shipments from civilians affected by the war to the internees.[47]

Some internees spoke out against their conditions, often complaining to the British Columbia Security Commission directly whenever possible. In one incident, fifteen men who had been separated from their families and put to work in Slocan Valley protested by refusing to work for four days straight. Despite attempts at negotiation, the men were eventually informed that they would be sent to the Immigration Building jail in Vancouver for their refusal to work.[48] Their mistreatment caused several of the men to begin hoping that Japan would win the war and force Canada to compensate them.[49]

In early March, all ethnic Japanese people were ordered out of the protected area, and a daytime-only curfew was imposed on them. Various camps in the Lillooet area and in Christina Lake were formally "self-supporting projects" (also called "relocation centres") which housed selected middle- and upper-class families and others not deemed as much threat to public safety.[41][50][51]

Restriction of property rights

Those living in "relocation camps" were not legally interned – they could leave, so long as they had permission – however, they were not legally allowed to work or attend school outside the camps.[52] Since the majority of Japanese Canadians had little property aside from their (confiscated) houses, these restrictions left most with no opportunity to survive outside the camps.[52]

Prime Minister King issued a ruling that all property would be removed from Japanese Canadian inhabitants. They were made to believe that their property would be held in trust until they had resettled elsewhere in Canada.[53] In 1943, the Canadian "Custodian of Aliens" liquidated all possessions belonging to the 'enemy aliens'. The Custodian of Aliens held auctions for these items, ranging from farm land, homes and clothing. Japanese Canadians lost their fishing boats, bank deposits, stocks and bonds; basically all items that provided them with financial security.[54] Japanese Canadians protested that their property was sold at prices far below the fair market value at the time.[55] Prime Minister King responded to the objections by stating that the "Government is of the opinion that the sales were made at a fair price."[56]

It was the hope of the Canadian government that by selling all personal possessions and property this would deter Japanese Canadians from wishing to return to British Columbia. The Canadian government also viewed this as an opportunity to settle veterans returning from World War II in the area previously home to thousands of Japanese Canadians. In all 7,068 pieces of property, personal and landholdings alike, were sold for a total of $2,591,456[35]

As one contemporary points out, there were economic benefits to be made with the internment of the Japanese. More precisely, white fishermen directly benefited due to the impounding of all Japanese owned fishing boats. Fishing for salmon was a hotly contested issue between the white population and Japanese population. In 1919, the Japanese had received four thousand and six hundred of the salmon-gill net licences, representing roughly half of all of the licences the government had to distribute. In a very public move on behalf of the Department of Fisheries in British Columbia, it was recommended that in the future the Japanese never again receive more fishing licences than they had in 1919 and also that every year thereafter that number be reduced. These were measures taken on behalf of the provincial government to oust the Japanese from salmon fishing. The federal government also got involved. In 1926 The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Fisheries put forward suggestions that the number of fishing licences issued to the Japanese be reduced by ten percent a year, until they were entirely removed from the industry by 1937. The fact that any Japanese people were still fishing in British Columbia at the outset of World War II is amazing due to the pressure they faced from the province, country, and other fishermen. Yet the reason the government gave for impounding the few remaining and operating Japanese fishing boats was that the government feared these boats would be used by Japan to mount a horrific coastal attack on British Columbia.

Many boats belonging to Japanese Canadians were damaged, and over one hundred sank.[52] A few properties owned by Japanese Canadians in Richmond and Vancouver were vandalized, including the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

As well, robberies against businesses in Japtown rose after Pearl Harbor was bombed. At least one person died during a botched robbery.[57][58]

A Royal Canadian Navy officer questions Japanese-Canadian fishermen while confiscating their boat.

Confinement in the internment camps transformed the citizenship of many Japanese Canadians into an empty status and revoked their right to work.

Resettlement and repatriation

British Columbia politicians began pushing for the permanent removal of Japanese Canadians in 1944. By December, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had announced that Japanese Americans would soon be allowed to return to the West Coast, and pressure to publicize Canada's plans for their interned Japanese was high. Officials created a questionnaire to distinguish "loyal" from "disloyal" Japanese Canadians and gave internees the choice to move east of the Rockies immediately or be "repatriated" to Japan at the end of the war. Some 10,000, unable to move on short notice or simply hesitant to remain in Canada after their wartime experiences, chose deportation.[16] The rest opted to move east, many to the city of Toronto, where they could take part in agricultural work. By 1947, most Japanese Canadians not slated for deportation had moved from British Columbia to the Toronto area, where they often become farmhands or took on similar labour jobs in Toronto.[60] Several Japanese Canadians who resettled in the east, wrote letters back to those still in British Columbia about the harsh labour conditions in the fields of Ontario and the prejudiced attitudes they would encounter.[61] White-collar jobs were not open to them, and most Japanese Canadians were reduced to "wage-earners".[61]

When news of Japan's August 1945 surrender reached the camps, thousands balked at the idea of resettling in the war-torn country and attempted to revoke their applications for repatriation.[16] All such requests were denied, and deportation to Japan began in May 1946. While the government offered free passage to those who were willing to be deported to Japan,[56] thousands of Nisei born in Canada were being sent to a country they had never known and where they would still feel quite alienated. Families would be divided, and they were being deported to a country that had been destroyed by bombs and was now hunger-stricken due to the war.[62] Public attitudes towards the internees had softened some since the start of the war, and citizens formed the Cooperative Committee on Japanese Canadians to protest the forced deportation. The government relented in 1947 and allowed those still in the country to remain; however, by this time 3,964 Japanese Canadians had already been deported "back" to Japan.[16][63]

Postwar history

Following public protest, the order-in-council that authorized the forced deportation was challenged on the basis that the forced deportation of the Japanese was a crime against humanity and that a citizen could not be deported from his or her own country. The federal Cabinet referred the constitutionality of the order-in-council to the Supreme Court of Canada for its opinion. In a five to two decision, the Court held that the law was valid. Three of the five found that the order was entirely valid. The other two found that the provision including both women and children as threats to national security was invalid. The matter was then appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain, at that time the court of last resort for Canada. The Judicial Committee upheld the decision of the Supreme Court. In 1947, due to various protests among politicians and academics, the Federal Cabinet revoked the legislation to repatriate the remaining Japanese Canadians to Japan.[64] It was only in April 1949 that the all restrictions were lifted from Japanese Canadians.

The Canadian government also launched a Royal Commission (led by Justice Henry Bird) in 1947 to examine the issue of compensation for confiscated property. By 1950, the Bird Commission awarded $1.3 million in claims to 1,434 Japanese Canadians; however, it accepted only claims based on loss of property, refusing to compensate for wrongdoing in terms of civil rights, damages due to loss of earnings, disruption of education or other issues.[52]

Issues surrounding the internment of Japanese Canadians also lead to changes to the Canadian immigration policy, with the legislation gaining momentum after a statement made by the Prime Minister himself on 1 May 1947:

"There will, I am sure, be general agreement with the view that people of Canada do not wish, as a result of mass immigration, to make a fundamental alteration in the character of our population. Large-scale immigration from the orient would change the fundamental composition of the Canadian population...The government, therefore has no thought of making any changes in immigration regulations which would have consequences of the kind.[65]

This reform to the immigration policy was deemed necessary on two grounds: the inevitable post-war crisis of displaced persons from Europe, and the growing number of Canadians who wished to bring family to Canada following the war--the large number of war brides being the chief concern on this front. Mackenzie King believed that Canada was under no legal obligations to make such accommodations, only a moral obligation. During this time, the Canadian government also made provisions to begin the repeal of the discriminatory Chinese Immigration Act.[65]


In the postwar years, Japanese Canadians had organized the Japanese Canadian Committee for Democracy, which later became the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC). "In 1977 during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to Canada, discussions of redress began to have effect. In meetings in basements and coffee houses, Japanese Canadians began to be angry again, and the sense of shame was gradually replaced by one of indignation"[28] This sparked the Japanese Canadians to want to fight for rights and to fight for compensation for what they were put through during the war.

In 1983, the NAJC mounted a major campaign for redress which demanded, among other things, a formal government apology, individual compensation, and the abolition of the War Measures Act.[52]

To help their case, the NAJC hired Price Waterhouse to examine records to estimate the economic losses to Japanese Canadians resulting from property confiscations and loss of wages due to internment. Statisticians consulted the detailed records of Custodian of Aliens, and in their 1986, valued the total loss to Japanese Canadians totalled $443 million (in 1986 dollars).[52]

On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered an apology and the Canadian government announced a compensation package, one month after President Ronald Reagan made similar gestures in the United States. The package for interned Japanese Canadians included $21,000 to each surviving internee, and the re-instatement of Canadian citizenship to those who were deported to Japan.[67] The agreement also awarded $12 million to the NAJC to promote human rights and support the community, and $24 million for the establishment of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to push for the elimination of racism. Nothing was given for those that had been interned and died before compensation was given out.

Not only did the redress help the Japanese Canadians, but it also helped to reform the Canadian society. "The first step to recognition of Japanese-Canadian redress as an issue for all Canadians was recognition that it was an issue for all Japanese Canadians, not in the interests of retribution for their `race', nor only in the interests of justice, but in recognition of a need to assert principles of human rights so that racism and other forms of discrimination might be challenged."[67]

The Nikkei Memorial Internment Centre in New Denver, British Columbia, is an interpretive centre that honours the history of interned Japanese Canadians, many of whom were interned nearby.

Camp locations

See also


  1. ^ a b Sugiman (2004), p. 360
  2. ^ a b Omatsu (1992), p. 12
  3. ^ Roy (2002), p. 70
  4. ^ Roy (2002), p. 76
  5. ^ La Violette (1948), p. 4
  6. ^ Young (1938), p. xvi
  7. ^ La Violette (1948), pp. 5–6
  8. ^ Kobayashi, Audrey (Fall 2005). "The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians and Japanese Americans during the 1940s: SECURITY OF WHOM?". Canadian Issues: 28–30. 
  9. ^ Roy (1990), p. 3
  10. ^ Young (1938), p. xxii
  11. ^ La Violette (1948), p. 17
  12. ^ La Violette (1948), p. 8
  13. ^ La Violette (1948), p. 18
  14. ^ a b Young (1938), pp. 8–9
  15. ^ Roy (1990), p. 9
  16. ^ a b c d e Izumi, Masumi. "Japanese Canadian exclusion and incarceration". Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Young (1938), p. 13
  18. ^ Young (1938), p. 124
  19. ^ Shibata (1977), pp. 9–10
  20. ^ Shibata (1977), pp. 16–17
  21. ^ Young (1938), p. 123
  22. ^ Summary of Memorandum, Maj. Gen. Maurice Pope, Vice Chief of General Staff (VCGS) to Chief of General Staff (Permanent), 13 January 1942, extracted from HQS 7368, vol. I, Defence Records, 322.009(D358), DND. in The Politics of Racism by Ann Gomer Sunahara
  23. ^ Young (1938), p. 175
  24. ^ Young (1938), pp. 188–189
  25. ^ La Violette (1948), p. 24–25
  26. ^ Fujiwara, Aya. "Japanese-Canadian Internally Displaced Persons:Labour Relations and Ethno-Religious Identity in Southern Alberta, 1942–1953. Page 65
  27. ^ Sugiman, Pamela. "Life is Sweet: Vulnerability and Composure in the Wartime Narratives of Japanese Canadians". Journals of Canadian Studies. Winter 2009: 186-218, 262.
  28. ^ a b c d Kobayashi, Audrey. "The Japanese-Canadian redress settlement and its implications for ‘race relations’" Canadian Ethnic Stuies. Vol. 24, Issue 1.
  29. ^ Paolini, David. "Japanese Canadian Internment and Racism During World War II" The Canadian Studies Undergraduate. 23 March 2010.
  30. ^ World Leaders of the Twentieth Century. Pasedena,CA: Salem Press. 2000. p. 425. 
  31. ^ Dreisziger, N F. "7 December 1941: A turning point in Canadian wartime policy toward enemy ethnic groups?" Journal of Canadian Studies. Spring 1997: 93-11
  32. ^ Johnson, Gregory A. "An Apocalyptic Moment: Mackenzie King and the Bomb". Pg 103
  33. ^ King Diary, 6 August 1945.
  34. ^ Dick, Lyle (2010). "Sergeant Masumi Mitsui and the Japanese Canadian War Memorial" (PDF). Canadian Historical Review. 3 91: 442–43.  
  35. ^ a b Neary, Peter (2004). "Zennousuke Inouye's Land: A Canadian Veterans Affairs Dilemma". Canadian Historical Review 85 (3): 423.  
  36. ^ a b "Will Register B.C Japanese to Eliminate Illegal Entrants," Globe and Mail (Toronto: January 9, 1941)
  37. ^ "National Association of Japanese Canadians". Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  38. ^ Omatsu (1992), p. 77
  39. ^ Omatsu (1992), p. 78
  40. ^ Wild Daisies in the Sand: Life in a Canadian Internment Camp, Tsuneharu Gonnami, Pacific Affairs, Winter 2003/2004.
  41. ^ a b My Sixty Years in Canada, Dr. Masajiro Miyazaki, self-publ.
  42. ^ The Dewdney Trail, 1987, Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd.
  43. ^ "Propose Japs Work in Orchards of B.C," Globe and Mail (Toronto: January 16, 1942)
  44. ^ Carmela Patrias, "Race, Employment Discrimination, and State Complicity in Wartime Canada, 1939-1945," Labour no. 59 (April 1, 2007), 32.
  45. ^ James (2008), p. 22
  46. ^ Omatsu (1992), pp. 73–74
  47. ^ Japanese Canadian Internment, University of Washington Libraries
  48. ^ Nakano (1980), p. 41
  49. ^ Nakano (1980), p. 45
  50. ^ Explanation of different categories of internment, Nat'l Assn. of Japanese Canadians website
  51. ^ Map of Internment Centres in BC, Nat'l Assn. of Japanese Canadians website
  52. ^ a b c d e f Establishing Recognition of Past Injustices: Uses of Archival Records in Documenting the Experience of Japanese Canadians During the Second World War. Roberts-Moore, Judith. Archivaria: The Journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists, 53 (2002).
  53. ^ Omatsu (1992), p. 73
  54. ^ Forrest E. LaViolette, "Japanese Evacuation in Canada," Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 11, No. 15 (Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942),165.
  55. ^ "Jap Expropriation Hearing May Last 3 Years, Is Estimate," Globe and Mail (Toronto: January 12, 1948)
  56. ^ a b "Retreat Under Pressure," Globe and Mail (Toronto: January 27, 1947)
  57. ^ Merciful Injustice, Facebook page of Merciful Injustice documentary
  58. ^ Vancouver Sun series Merciful Injustice
  59. ^ Japanese Internment – CBC
  60. ^ Uprooted Citizens Living New Lives, Seem Contented in Toronto Area," Globe and Mail (Toronto: September 20, 1947)
  61. ^ a b Carmela Patrias, "Race, Employment Discrimination, and State Complicity in Wartime Canada," 36.
  62. ^ Omatsu (1992), pp. 82, 83
  63. ^ James (2008), p. 23
  64. ^ James (2008), p. 24
  65. ^ a b Vineberg (2011), p. 199
  66. ^ Toronto Star, Sept. 24, 1988
  67. ^ a b Apology and compensation, CBC Archives


  • James, Kevin (2008). Seeking specificity in the universal: a memorial for the Japanese Canadians interned during the Second World War. Dalhousie University. 
  • La Violette, Forrest E. (1948). The Canadian Japanese and World War II: a Sociological and Psychological Account. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. 
  • Nakano, Takeo Ujo (1980). Within the Barbed Wire Fence: a Japanese Man's Account of his Internment in Canada. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.  
  • Omatsu, Maryka (1992). Bittersweet Passage: Redress and the Japanese Canadian Experience. Toronto: Between the Lines. 
  • Roy, Patricia E. (1990). Mutual Hostages: Canadians and Japanese during the Second World War. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.  
  • Roy, Patricia E. (2002). "Lessons in citizenship, 1945–1949: the delayed return of the Japanese to Canada's Pacific coast". The Pacific Quarterly 93 (2): 69–80.  
  • Shibata, Yuko (1977). The Forgotten History of the Japanese Canadians: Volume I. Vancouver, BC: New Sun Books. 
  • Sugiman, Pamela (2004). "Memories of internment: narrating Japanese Canadian women's life stories". The Canadian Journal of Sociology 29 (3): 359–388.  
  • Vineberg, Robert (2011). "Continuity in Canadian immigration policy 1947 to present: taking a fresh look at Mackenzie King's 1947 immigration policy statement". Journal of International Migration and Intergation 12 (2): 199–216.  
  • Young, Charles H. (1938). The Japanese Canadians. Toronto, Canada: The University of Toronto Press. 

Further reading

  • Adachi, Ken. The Enemy that Never Was: A History of the Japanese Canadians (1976)
  • Bangarth, Stephanie. Voices Raised in Protest: Defending North American Citizens of Japanese Ancestry, 1942-49 (UBC Press, 2008)
  • Caccia, Ivana. Managing the Canadian Mosaic in Wartime: Shaping Citizenship Policy, 1939-1945 (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010)
  • Daniels, Roger. "The Decisions to Relocate the North American Japanese: Another Look," Pacific Historical Review, Feb 1982, Vol. 51 Issue 1, pp 71–77 argues the U.S. and Canada coordinated their policies
  • Day, Iyko. "Alien Intimacies: The Coloniality of Japanese Internment in Australia, Canada, and the U.S." Amerasia Journal, 2010, Vol. 36 Issue 2, pp 107–124
  • Dowe, David. "The Protestant Churches and the Resettlement of Japanese Canadians in Urban Ontario, 1942-1955," Canadian Ethnic Studies, 2007, Vol. 39 Issue 1/2, pp 51–77
  • Roy, Patricia E. The Triumph of Citizenship: The Japanese and Chinese in Canada 1941-1967 (2007)
  • Sugiman, Pamela. "'Life is Sweet': Vulnerability and Composure in the Wartime Narratives of Japanese Canadians," Journal of Canadian Studies, Winter 2009, Vol. 43 Issue 1, pp 186–218
  • Sunahara, Ann Gomer. The Politics of Racism (James Lorimer and Company, 1981)

External links

  • The New Canadian, a newspaper published by interned Japanese Canadians
  • CBC Archives – Relocation to Redress: The Internment of the Japanese Canadians
  • Co-operative Committee on Japanese Canadians v. Attorney-General for Canada, [1947] A.C. 87 – Privy Council decision, 2 Dec. 1946
  • "Kimiko Murakami: A Picture of Strength" by John Endo Greenaway
  • "The Politics of Racism" by Ann Gomer Sunahara 1981 book in PDF and HTML formats.
  • Canada's Human Rights History

Comparative studies

  • "Italian Canadians interned in Canada. Italian Canadians as Enemy Aliens: Memories of WWII

Films online

  • an animated NFB documentaryMinoru: Memory of Exile
  • , an NFB documentarySleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story
  • , an NFB documentaryEnemy Alien
  • , a documentary by Chris HopeWalking Through Pictures
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