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Japanese Racism in Canada

In: Historical Events

Submitted By mihirt06
Words 2490
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SL History Internal Assessment

Japanese-Canadian Internment Camps

To What Extent did the Pearl Harbor Attacks affect Political Discrimination Against People of Japanese Descent in Canada?

Mihir Thakkar Candidate Number: 000881-0043 May 2014

Word Count: 1,703

A. Plan of Investigation

This investigation will measure to extent to which the Pearl Harbor attacks affected the political discrimination against people of Japanese descent in Canada, including the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II. This investigation will be carried out through analysis of various documents about the Japanese-Canadian internment. A variety of sources will be used, from books by victims of the internment to scholarly sources about the war between Canada and Japan. Two of the documents will then be thoroughly assessed, which will provide evidence to properly and reasonably answer the question. This date range of this study is from 1887 until the official government redress, which took place in the 1970s. The question will be answered through factual evidence of the internment, as well as narrative evidence describing other forms of political discrimination.

B. Summary of Evidence
Racism before Pearl Harbor
• • Manzo Nagano, the first immigrant from Japan moved to Canada in 1877.1 In the 1920s, the Canadian Government limited the number of fishing licenses allowed for Japanese citizens.2 • In the Great Depression, the government of British Columbia denied logging licenses and the Japanese immigrants were only given a small amount of social assistance, when compared to the whites.3 • Until the late 1940s, Canadians of Japanese decent were not given the right to vote, even if Canadian-born.4 • The Japanese were not allowed to practice certain professions, including law and civil service. They were also restricted in terms of social assistance eligibility.5 • Many attempts were made to get the right to vote by the Japanese, they all failed.6

1 Ann Gomer Sunahara "Japanese Canadians -­‐ The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia Web 10 Jan. 2013 2 Ibid 3 Ibid 4 Ann Gomer Sunahara The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981.) pg 9 5 Ann Gomer Sunahara The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981.) pg 5 6 Ann Gomer Sunahara "Japanese Canadians -­‐ The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia.Web 10 Jan. 2013.

An Anti-Asiatic League was made in Canada, by wealthy white men, in order to prevent the Japanese from getting Canadian Passports and preventing them from getting certain jobs. A riot took place in Vancouver, started by the Anti-Asiatic League.7

Racism after Pearl Harbor • On December 8, 1941, Canada declared war on Japan after the Pearl Harbor
Attack, as a member of the Allies.8

• On February 24, 1942, the federal government was given the power to intern all
“persons of Japanese Origin.”9

• 13 areas around the Pacific coast of Canada were made prohibited for all persons of Japanese origin.10

• Between 1943 and 1946, all Japanese-Canadian owned property was sold by the federal government, including houses, farms, and personal property.11

• The War Measures Act affected over 21,000 Japanese-Canadians.12

7 Canadian Department of Labour. Losses Sustained by the Japanese Population of Vancouver, BC. W.L. Mackenzie King. Ottawa, ON. His Majesty’s Printing Office. 1908 8 "Canada Declares War on Japan" ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. (accessed October 10, 2012). 9 Ann Gomer Sunahara The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981) pg 27 10 Linda Di Biase "Japanese Canadian Internment -­‐ Information at the University of Washington Libraries and Beyond." University of Washington Libraries. 11 12 Ann Gomer Sunahara. The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981) pg 90

• In this act, all persons of Japanese descent were required to register with Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, a protected area was declared, Japanese-Canadians were restricted from buying land or growing crops, a curfew was given to the Japanese-Canadians, and more than 16,000 Japanese-Canadians were interned or sent to a work camp.13

• Starting on March 16, 1942, all Japanese Canadian Mail was subject to censorship, to check for any ties to the Japanese Government. 14

• There were ten internment camps in Canada.15 Redress after the end of World War Two • Japan surrenders after the Atom Bombs are dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.16 • All but one of the internment camps are closed after the surrender of Japan.17 • In the 1970s and 80s, the Canadian Government issued a formal redress, in which each internee was awarded $21,000 for compensation.18

• The National Association of Japanese Canadians was created in 1947.19

13 Clootier, Edmund. War Measures Act. N.d. Canada Gazette, Ottawa. Library and Archives Canada. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. 14 Ann Gomer Sunahara The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981.) pg 75 15 Ken Adachi. The Enemy that Never Was: a History of the Japanese Canadians. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976. 16 Patricia Roy In Mutual hostages: Canadians and Japanese during the Second World War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990) pg 97-98. 17 "Japanese Internment Camps in Canada." Yukon Education Student Network. (accessed January 12, 2013). 18 Ibid 19 "National Association of Japanese Canadians." National Association of Japanese Canadians. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. .

C. Evaluation of Sources
1. Adachi, Ken. The Enemy That Never Was: a History of the Japanese Canadians. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976. The Enemy That Never Was is a book written in 1976 by Ken Adachi, an interned Japanese Canadian. His main focus his the Japanese-Canadian internment during World War Two. His purpose in writing this is to give a history of the Japanese community within Canada. He also wanted the world to recognize the racism towards the Japanese in Canada, as he was a victim and was personally affected by the racism. Being a primary source, the source gives great insight into the life of an internee, which is a value. The author, Ken Adachi, gives a valuable recollection of the internment that he himself faced. As any source does, this one does have limitations. Because his purpose is to show the racism against his own race, his source may be limited because he exaggerates the wrongdoing of the Canadian Government, as he was an internee. Another limitation is that Adachi was very young during the internment, and wrote the book 30 years after, so his recollection of the internment may have been very unclear. 2. Sunahara, Ann Gomer. The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Toronto: Lorimer, 1981. The Politics of Racism is a book written by historian Ann Gomer Sunahara, published in 1981. Her husband and his family were few of the many Japanese Canadians that were interned, sparking her curiosity for the reason of the internment. The purpose of the book is to tell about an unpopular and rarely talked about event in Canadian history, one that is different than most of other history in Canada, the racism against and internment of Japanese-Canadians. There is much value in this source, as it a historical book, not a

work of fiction, meaning that it gives facts, as opposed to opinion, reducing much predisposition. It is also told by the next generation of Japanese Canadians. Another value to the source is that it uses factual evidence to tell about the Internment, not to show why it was terrible, but to just tell about it. Also, the book was intended for a mass audience, so great detail may not have been used to achieve clarity, as said in the introduction.

D. Analysis
When looking at the history of the Japanese immigrants in Canada, the Japanese have always been subject to racism. From the first immigrant in 1877,20 most of the Japanese immigrants had moved to British Columbia, but were not very well received, and were treated as complete foreigners, even though many were Canadian citizens. Many British Columbians hated the fact that Japanese people had come into their home and were very racist towards the Japanese immigrants. The white people would blame anything bad on the Japanese, from a bad day at work to a car accident. Japanese immigrants were not even given the right to vote21, even though they were rightful Canadian citizens, because of this hatred towards the Japanese. Many white supremacists tried to make laws that would be very harsh towards the Japanese, with the intention to try and make them leave Canada to go back to Japan.22 One way to try and hold back the Japanese advancement in society was to restrict them in the job force, as many Japanese were denied jobs because of their race.23 With this political discrimination towards the Japanese, they started to form their own traditions and customs, and formed districts heavily populated with Japanese people.24 After the Pearl Harbor attacks in December of 194125, the British Columbians and others in Canada were given a reason to be racist and discriminate against Japanese immigrants, as many thought that they could be spies for the Japanese

20 Ann Gomer Sunahara "Japanese Canadians -­‐ The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia Web 10 Jan. 2013 21 Ann Gomer Sunahara The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981) pg 10 22 Ibid pg 23 23 Ibid pg 31 24 Ibid pg 73 25 "Canada Declares War on Japan" ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. (accessed October 10, 2012).

Army. The government was then forced to side with the majority of the population, adding to the discrimination against the Japanese immigrants. With Canada being a commonwealth of the United Kingdom, they joined the war on the side of the Allies, and Japan was an enemy of the Allies. Because of this, all persons of Japanese descent had to be more than 100 miles from the Pacific Coast, to prevent any suspicious activity.26 After this point in the war, the racism towards the Japanese was justified in the minds of the whites in Canada, as well as the government, as the Japanese were the enemy in the Pacific. The Canadian people felt that they were now allowed to be racist against the Japanese because they were the enemy. With the opening of the internment camps, not only were the people of Canada racist towards the Japanese, but the government of Canada had also become racist towards the Japanese immigrants, as many civil rights were taken away from the 21,000 people that were placed in the internment facilities.27 Approximately 16,000 of these 21,000 people were Canadian citizens, either naturalized or born.28 After the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered, causing for the close of internment camps in Canada. It took about 30 years for the Canadian government to recognize their faults in the internment of the Japanese. This occurred on the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrant to Canada, as the NAJC, or the National Association of Japanese Canadians, wanted to fight for their rights

26 "Japanese Internment Camps in Canada" Yukon Education Student Network. (accessed January 12, 2013). 27 Ibid 28 Ann Gomer Sunahara. The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Toronto: Lorimer, 1981.) pg 32

and for proper compensation for what had happened in the war. While fighting for redress, Ken Adachi, an interned Japanese Canadian said, "Born in Canada, brought up on big-band jazz, Fred Astaire and the novels of Henry Rider Haggard, I had perceived myself to be as Canadian as the beaver. I hated rice. I had committed no crime. I was never charged, tried or convicted of anything. Yet I was fingerprinted and interned."29 This shows how every Japanese Canadian was subject to internment, even though many had considered themselves a Canadian first, then a Japanese.

E. Conclusion
From the very first immigrant from Japan in 1877, almost every Japanese immigrant subject to racism from many of the white people that lived in Canada, with many of the immigrants living in British Columbia. To answer the question, ‘To what extent did the Pearl Harbor attacks affect the political discrimination towards the Japanese?’ the attacks on Pearl Harbor decreased the amount of rights that the Japanese immigrants were given, while also causing the internment of many thousands of Japanese people. Although the amount of racism did not significantly increase, a justification was given to the Canadians, through the acts of the Canadian Government. The racism towards the Japanese had been there since the first immigration, but it escalated quickly after the Pearl Harbor attacks. The political discrimination has mostly ended since, as the Canadian Government has made a formal redress, and given compensation to the many victims of the internment. There is also a government-recognized association of Japanese Canadians.

29 Ken Adachi The Enemy that Never Was: a History of the Japanese Canadians. (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976.) pg 342

F. List of Sources
Adachi, Ken. The Enemy that Never Was: a History of the Japanese Canadians. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976. "Canada Declares War on Japan." ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. (accessed October 10, 2012). Canadian Department of Labour. Losses Sustained by the Japanese Population of Vancouver, BC. W.L. Mackenzie King. Ottawa, ON. His Majesty’s Printing Office. 1908 Di Biase, Linda. "Japanese Canadian Internment - Information at the University of Washington Libraries and Beyond." University of Washington Libraries. (accessed October 10, 2012). Fukawa, Masako, and Pamela Hickman. Japanese Canadian internment in the Second World War. Toronto: James Lorimer and Co., 2011. "Japanese Internment Camps in Canada." Yukon Education Student Network. l (accessed January 12, 2013). McInnes, Tom. Oriental occupation of British Columbia. Vancouver, Can.: Sun Pub. Co., 1927. "National Association of Japanese Canadians." National Association of Japanese Canadians. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. .

Roy, Patricia. In Mutual hostages: Canadians and Japanese during the Second World War. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990. Sunahara, Ann Gomer. "Japanese Canadians - The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia. (accessed January 10, 2013). Sunahara, Ann Gomer. The Politics of Racism: the uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Toronto: Lorimer, 1981.…...

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