What About the Japanese Canadians?

King George reviews Japanese-American Soldiers in Italy

-Courtesy of “New Canadian”

By Howard Norman and the Consultative Council

(All rights reserved)


Published by the Vancouver Consultative Council for Co-Operation in Wartime Problems of Canadian Citizenship


Messrs. Norman F. Black, M.A., D.Paed,; W.H.H. Norman, B.A., S.T.M.;

A.J. McLachlan, B.A., B.D.; D.R. Poole; Hugh M. Rae, M.A., B.D.;

A. Stiernotte, B.Sc.; Hugh Dobson, B.A., D.D.; Bruce Yorke, B.A.;

Mesdames Laura Jamieson, B.A., M.L.A.; J.T. Mackay

The expenses for the publication of this pamphlet have been raised by members of the Consultative Council and their friends. Subscriptions for the work of the Council should be sent to the Treasurer, Mr. D. R. Poole, Room 813, Dominion Bank Building Vancouver, B.C.

Single copies of this pamphlet, 10c; 50 copies, $3.00. Orders, accompanied by remittances, should be addressed to Room 813, Dominion Bank Building, Vancouver, B.C., or to the United Church Publishing House, 299 Queen Street West, Toronto 2B, Ont.

ISSEI (rhymes with “this way”) – “first generation” – means Japanese born in Japan who are resident in Canada or the United States, and includes both Nationals, i.e., those that are Japanese citizens, and naturalized Canada citizens (kikajin).

NISEI (rhymes with “leeway”) – “second generation” – means persons of Japanese origin born in Canada or the United States.

KIBEI (rhymes with “leeway”) – return to American – means Nisei who have lived for a time in Japan and returned to Canada or the United States.


Shortly after the outbreak of the present war, a public meeting of members and delegates of a considerable number of religious, philanthropic and cultural bodies, broadly representative of all political parties and religious denominations, took steps for the organization of the Vancouver Consultative Council. Its special function is the serious and continuous study of problems of citizenship arising from or influenced by wartime conditions.

Among the problems to which most attention has been devoted is that incidental to the presence in Canada of Japanese-Canadians and Japanese nationals numbering, in total, some 8,000 workers and their dependents.

At the present time many questions are being asked regarding these people and many statements are being made that are not in correspondence with fact. Accordingly, the Vancouver Consultative Council has thought that it would be helpful to lovers of truth if as many as possible of such questions and allegations were assembled and briefly discussed in the light of very intimate knowledge.

The drafting of the manuscript was assigned to the Rev. W.H.H. Norman, B.A., S.T.M., minister of St. George United Church, Vancouver.

Mr. Norman resided for many years in Japan, speaks the Japanese language fluently and in other respects is qualified to discuss our Japanese problem with the authority of an expert. On various occasions and in connection with diverse matters, the governmental authorities of this Dominion have availed themselves of Mr. Norman’s special knowledge of Japanese affairs.

The Consultative Council will welcome help in the dissemination of this pamphlet and in financing the policies which it represents – notably a projected appeal to the courts to test the validity of discriminatory legislation against the Japanese-Canadians.

Norman F. Black,

President, Vancouver Consultative Council

Page Four


"Somewhere in B.C.,
     April 23, 1945.

"Dear -------- :

". . . We are in a state of nerves and anxiety about all this voluntary repatriation or go east (i.e., of the Rockies). Roy is interpreting secretary for the committee here and has to go to all meetings, interviews, etc., though we know it is useless to protest. So many have signed to go to Japan; about 95 per cent at Lemon Creek, because all that goes with signing that, is so much more advantageous than going east, but we have decided to go east. I would gladly go east except for one thing. The clause which says 'subject to relocation again after the war'. Do we have to move again then? Oh, Lord, when will this thing ever close! It means every time we move we have to leave all the improvements we have made and start all over again. The financial loss is considerable beside all the work we have put into it. Last year we made a new kitchen with new linoleum, large windows, even a door with glass and piped in our own water from quite a distance and now, less than eight months, and off we go again.

"Roy has a chance to go as a sawyer at $l.00 an hour, north of Kamloops, but he can't go unless he signs to go to Japan. If he signs to go east, X is waiting in the next room to push a job into your face. If you refuse to take it, you lose your job here and maintenance when Roy's not working .... If you have a big grown-up family who can all work, then farming is the best job, but where a baby and a mother can't do much and only one to do the work, it isn't very good.

"We sign tomorrow and I hope many will sign to stay. To sign to go to Japan is to make everything so fine for now, but after the war; what? To sign to go east may be hard now; but we hope for better later and I pray that I may be right in thinking so . . I never did so much useless thinking and worrying before. Our minds get buzzing fiercely after so much arguing without a very certain future to look forward to. But I guess millions are suffering more than us, so, why worry. We'll let you know what becomes of us as soon as we know ourselves."

"Yours sincerely,"

F. -

Page Five

I do not know the writer of the above letter, but I am informed by the recipient that she is a Canadian citizen, born in Canada. (Note that she values her Canadian citizenship, and is willing to make sacrifices for it). Her husband is a Canadian citizen born in Canada. Since it was written in confidence, and the writer had no idea it would be published, I have omitted some sentences and altered the names, but otherwise the letter is reproduced as it stands. . . .

As I write these words, Germany is almost out of the fight, but Hitler has won a victory in Canada. We have succumbed to his invidious doctrine of racism. Hitler’s first step was to single out the Jews for attack. When he had finished with the Jews, it was easy for him to proceed with the destruction of other groups within


-Courtesy “Canadian Girl”

Tashme Relocation Centre, British Columbia

Page Six

Germany on the grounds that they were a menace to the Reich, the Folk, and the Fuehrer.

In Canada, under the strain of war hysteria, we have singled out for persecution one of our smaller racial minorities, 75 per cent of whom are Canadian citizens, 61 per cent born in Canada-all innocent, on the declared word of our highest authorities, of any crime against Canada.  We have not, of course, descended to Nazi depths of infamy, but we have slandered, insulted and harried them. We now have two laws in Canada-one for non-Japanese citizens, and the other for Japanese-Canadians: we have established the ghetto principle. This is no exaggeration. They are the only citizens any municipal council may debar from residing within its borders. We have continued to pass laws that had nothing to do with military security, which necessitated their evacuation from the Pacific Coast. For example, one of these laws, Bill 135, passed in the House of Commons during July, 1944, affected those Japanese Canadians who were most thoroughly assimilated and most widely dispersed. It is nothing but a "spite" law, and cannot possibly be justified on grounds of wartime necessity.

We have stumbled, maybe unwittingly, the first step towards Nazism. The fact that we have not allowed the Japanese to starve, that we have given them excellent medical attention, paid relief to the dependents and so on, does not alter the danger of the principle we have established: Canadian citizens by law can be deprived of certain legal rights on the grounds of race. This is one of the cardinal points of Nazism.

The guarantee that we do not take the second step is the redress of the injustices we have committed against them, and the restoration of their rights as citizens. At the same time all disabilities affecting other racial minorities on the grounds of race should be removed.

I should like to acknowledge the generous assistance I have received from many friends (especially those of the Consultative Council) in the preparation of this pamphlet. We are indebted to Messrs. Tozier and Serwer of the Reports Division, WRA, Washington, D. C., for making several copies of "Nisei in Uniform" available to us, for permission to publish cuts, and for valuable information.

Most of this pamphlet is written in question and answer form .While the "questions" do not represent the views of the writer, they

Page Seven

Express honest misgivings and doubts on this problem, and also less responsible statements that have actually been made relative to the Japanese-Canadians. The index numbers refer to the notes at the end of the pamphlet.


Vancouver, B.C.,
            May 1, 1945


-Courtesy of WRA

Private Masao Okumura, U.S. Army

Wounded in active service in Italy.

Page Eight


1. "Once a Jap always a Jap."

This represents a theory upon which Nazism is based, and violates the experience and observation of many responsible persons who have had intimate contacts with the Japanese-Canadians . . .

For the past three years Japanese-Americans have been fighting in the United States armed forces in Italy and the Pacific. They are combat and intelligence personnel, not merely army service men in the rear. They have won numerous decorations for bravery and faithful performance of duty. In all essentials they are Americans, and so recognized by their officers and most of the American public. Japanese-Canadians are of the same quality as their cousins across the border.

2. "Are these 'Japanese' not traitors to be fighting against their own motherland?"

No more than George Washington, hundreds of Englishmen, and thousands of descendants of Englishmen were to rebel against the tyranny of George III and his ministers.

3. "The 'Japanese' came to Canada as a fifth column, planted by the Japanese Government."

Anyone who knows the Japanese-Canadians knows that 99 per cent came to Canada just as other immigrants came - to better their lot. The Japanese Government has shown no interest in the Japanese who settled on the North American Pacific coast, but it has utilized injustices against these Japanese to whip up imperialistic propaganda within Japan.

Many Japanese who have come to Canada have clearly shown that they wish to be Canadian citizens. I think of H--. T--., who settled in Prince Rupert, broke his ties with Japan, would not register his children at the Japanese Consulate, took out naturalization papers, has been a good member of the church, and whose son, because of his father's record, was accepted in the Canadian Army.

The behaviour of 160,000 persons of Japanese origin in Hawaii, who were in a much better position, due to the location of the islands, and their proportionally great numbers, to embarrass the United States military and Naval authorities, but remained loyal to the land of their adoption, is further evidence on this point.

Page Nine

4. "The 'Japanese' are treacherous."

We are discussing the Japanese-Canadians, and there has been no treachery committed by any of the 24,000 Japanese-Canadians. On August 4, 1944, in the House of Commons, Mr. Mackenzie King said: "It is a fact that no person of Japanese race born in Canada has been charged with any act of sabotage or disloyalty during the years of the war." The same holds true of 100,000 Japanese-Americans in the United States, and the 160,000 Japanese-Americans in Hawaii. Since unfounded rumours have been widely circulated concerning the latter, we quote Mr. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the FBI: "There was no sabotage committed prior to December 7, on December 7, or subsequent to that date."

5. "The 'Japanese' are a cruel race."

There is no evidence for it among Japanese-Canadians. In Japan the people have been brutalized by fascism, as they have in every other country in the world where it has prevailed.

But ordinary people all over the world are decent when left to themselves. Samuel Heaslett, Church of England Bishop in Tokyo, was arrested at the time of Pearl Harbour. After third degree inquisitions, he was released on April 8, 1942, thanks to the efforts of his Japanese friends. They could not be too kind to him when he returned to his home. They brought him gifts of tea, sugar and coffee, which, of course, were severely rationed. Not by any word did they remind him of the victories Japan was winning over British troops in Hong-Kong, Burma, or Malay. Among Canadians now in Canada who were in Japan after Pearl Harbour, and can testify to kindness they received from Japanese are Dr. and Mrs. Ernest Bott, Mr. George Grant, Misses Ella Lediard, Katherine Greenbank, May McLachlan, and Sybil Courtice.

We are not forgetting the atrocities committed by Japanese, and they will not be forgotten. The above instances of kindness merely show that cruelty is not a racial trait.

6. "Why should we treat 'Japanese' here well when they have treated our soldiers and civilians so brutally?"

They are Canadian citizens. Moreover, to do as Japan does is to sink to Japan's level. How can we hope for a better world if we imitate fascists?

Page Ten

7. “Japanese’ have criminal tendencies.”

The following figures, taken from the 1931 census, show that the Japanese-Canadians are among the most law-abiding citizens in the Dominion.
Japanese and Other Inmates of 35 Canadian Corrected Institutions Released June 1, 1931, or During 1930.

Nationality or race


Percentage of All Inmates

Percentage of Dominion Population





















8. “White men could not own property in Japan. Why should we let ‘Japanese’ own it here?”

What was done in Japan has nothing to do with the scandal of denying Canadian citizens the right to buy real estate in Canada now. Japanese-Canadians are citizens by law, but are unable to buy land in the Dominion. Theoretically, they can do so on receipt of a licence from the Minister of Justice, but since P.C. 1457 was passed in February, 1942, “there have been sixty-nine applications for a license, either to purchase or lease. Of these applications only two to purchase have been granted, and in both those cases, the reason for granting the license was to permit the Japanese-Canadian in question, who had previously purchased the land, to obtain the title in order that he might convey the land to a non-Japanese to whom he had sold it.”

(However the eighth question is based on an incorrect premise. Foreigners were able to own land in Japan. My father, who was a Canadian citizen all his life, owned house and land in Japan. In August, 1940, I sold, on behalf of the United Church of Canada, a piece of land it owned in Toyama Prefecture. Those interested in the matter are referred to “Alien Land Tenure in Japan”, by Robert K. Reischauer.”

Page Eleven


9. "The 'Japanese' cannot be assimilated."

This question is based on a misunderstanding of the word "assimilation," which does not necessitate intermarriage. An oriental can be perfectly assimilated without marrying a white. The physical differences of the oriental-skin, features, hair, stature are superficial. "Japanese" blood when taken from a donor is indistinguishable from "English" blood; it falls into the same four types. The chief organs of assimilation are social, spiritual and intellectual-commerce and industry, schools, churches, clubs. The chief vehicle of assimilation is language, which conveys ideas and ideals, songs, poetry, religion, law. First generation Japanese as a rule do not become perfectly assimilated for this reason; neither do first generation central Europeans. Second generation Japanese-Canadians are usually well assimilated because they have been educated in our schools and speak English easily. Read "The New Canadian", a newspaper published by Japanese-Canadians, and note that their ideals are Canadian. They write, feel, argue and persuade as Canadians. It should be remembered, however, that assimilation is a twofold process. There is the person who is assimilated and the community which assimilates him. If some of our oriental Canadians are imperfectly assimilated, the fault is frequently ours. We hold them at arm's length.

10. "But the difference in colour between oriental and white is insuperable."

Here we are up against the inveterate racial prejudice of the white, evidenced, for example, in prejudice against the negro in the southern United States. Prejudice of this sort cannot be justified on any Christian, scientific, humanist, rationalist, liberal, socialist or Marxist basis. .

11. "Marriage between white and oriental is impossible."

The facts are that successful marriages do occur. Though they are not common, they occur often enough to prove they can be successful. I think of a naturalized Japanese, at present in Canada, who has been happily married to a white woman for thirty years.

Page Twelve

Their son is in the Canadian Army, and their daughter is married to an occidental.

12. "Intermarriage between occidental and oriental brings out the worst in both racial strains."

This is denied by sociologists. See "Race-Crossed Children" in the magazine "Asia", September, 1942, for one study of this. Of the dozen or so mixed marriages I have known personally, the marriage,

(photo caption)


(February 26, 1944) 


 . . . on combat service

Bdr. James Oshiro of Kenora, Ont., is believed 'to be the first Canadian-Japanese to see combat service in the Mediterranean area. He is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Oshiro of Kenora, who are oldtimers in that district. Born and educated in Kenora, he was an active athlete, playing hockey and basketball for the school team. A Kenora high school grad, he was s popular member of the local Young People's Society.

-Courtesy of ''New Canadian"

and the children born of the union, if any, turned out well whenever the factors for success were present. In all marriages the success hinges on the character and compatibility of the principals, and the attitude of relatives and society toward the marriage. We insist that if a young white wants to marry an oriental Canadian, that is his own business; he should be free to do so in a democracy. Racial prejudice of outsiders should not be permitted
to ruin a marriage that otherwise would be happy.

13. "What about the dual citizenship of the 'Japanese'?"

If dual citizenship were such an offense to us, why have we not treated better many hundreds of Japanese who did not register their children at the Japanese Consulate, and those Japanese-Canadians who cancelled their registration? We whites run this country. Why did we not demand, as does the United States in such cases, that at twenty-one a man must declare his loyalty and renounce any other allegiance he may have? During the past three years why have we not given Japanese-Canadians who are loyal to Canada a chance to declare themselves? Dual citizenship, however, is not confined to persons of Japanese race in Canada. It is to be found in several countries. For example, British persons who are permanent residents of Brazil, or their children, have dual citizenship. It is a legal status and cannot be used to prove or disprove a person's loyalty.


14. "The 'Japanese' birthrate is so high they will outnumber white Canadians."

In connection with this, the Department of Labour, which is entrusted with administration of Japanese-Canadian affairs, states: "During the period between the wars the average Japanese family in British Columbia was approximately four persons and the birthrate was at or below the occidental level.”

15. "The 'Japanese' work for such cheap wages that they drive the whites off the market."

It must be remembered that white employers in the search for cheap labour were largely responsible for bringing orientals into the country. The Minimum Wage Laws worked out in such

Page Fourteen

a way that orientals were not covered by its clauses and employers were permitted to hire them at lower rates of pay.* Our orientals are not to blame for this. It should be noted, however, that this problem is not limited to Japanese immigrants. Forty years ago, for instance, there was such an influx of central Europeans to the coal mines of Pennsylvania that American-born miners were thrown out of work. The European immigrants did not join the trade unions, which in many cases collapsed. But the sons of these Europeans wanted the same wages as native Americans, and aspired to the same standards of living. They became good unionists. The same process takes place among Canadian-born Japanese. 61 per cent of our Japanese-Canadians were born here. They make good unionists. The name of Buck Suzuki, for instance, is known to many fishermen as a good Japanese-Canadian unionist. Isolation and segregation makes cheap labourers of the Japanese-Canadians. When they are accepted into our social groups, it becomes impossible to use them as a supply of cheap labour.

16. "The 'Japanese' have a lower standard of living than the whites."

No section of the community adopts a low standard of living by choice. However, the standard of living of the Japanese-Canadians has risen steadily since their coming to Canada. Isn't that why so many whites hate them? "That the standard of living of the Japanese will at least equal that of the white groups is indicated by the rapid progress already made."  What is our standard of living anyway? According to the 1941 census, the majority of the Canadian people have incomes of $1500 or less. Others must struggle along on $5000 or more.

17. "The 'Japanese' monopolized the fishing industry on the British Columbia coast!'

This was never true. According to the "Monetary Times," October, 1944, page 34: "Before December, 1941, Japanese interests held less than 14 per cent of the total fishing licenses issued in British Columbia; supplied probably less than 10 per cent of the

Page 15

labour, and not more than 5 per cent of the capital required in the industry."

A good many people in British Columbia, consciously or unconsciously, attribute their sufferings during the depression to Japanese and other oriental Canadians. These hardships, however, were largely due to the functioning of our society. The fishermen of Newfoundland and the farmers of Ontario, where there were no Japanese, also suffered.

18. "If the 'Japanese' are all right, why are they the objects of hatred in British Columbia?"

One will be sufficient. After three years' experience of a large number of Japanese-Canadians in their midst, Greenwood Council declared: "We have watched them and may say that their record has been very good. They have been law-abiding under very difficult conditions. Their homes and property were taken from them, many of them lost the savings of a lifetime, and they were herded around more or less like cattle. In spite of this they have been cheerfully waiting for the end of the war. . . and we feel that, given an opportunity, they would be loyal citizens of Canada." "The sentiment of the people of Greenwood is common to those of Kaslo, New Denver and Slocan City, other centres which have sheltered the Japanese since their expulsion from the coast." In the fall of 1944, when the British Columbia Security Commission planned to close Kaslo as a relocation centre, the white citizens petitioned that the Japanese-Canadians be allowed to stay there. The dislike of many people in British Columbia for the Japanese-Canadians has been cultivated for the past fifty years, and includes, to a lesser degree, other orientals. For instance, the British Columbia Legislature defeated in its 1945 session, against the protest of its more enlightened members, a proposal to enfranchise 1200 East Indian-British citizens that are thinly scattered through six large white communities in the province. Many of these East Indian Canadians, like other orientals, were born and educated in British Columbia. Much of the dislike of orientals in British Columbia is synthetic; it is whipped up by political rabble-rousers or less reput…

Page Sixteen

[reputable] publicists. It is similar to Hitler's use of the Jews as a political bogey.

-Courtesy of “The New Canadian”


POe. Aida, Japanese-Canadian, lights up for Pte. Lee, Chinese-Canadian.


19. "The 'Japanese' knew the British Columbia coast better than the whites and had mapped it thoroughly."

This is one of the scaremonger cries of British Columbia. The writer would be glad of any first-hand evidence that Japanese fishermen mapped the British Columbia coast. When excellent maps can be bought at any ship-chandler's in the world, why should fishermen bother to make their own maps? We do not deny the possibility of Japanese spies having been in British Columbia, just as Great Britain and the United States doubtless had their agents in Japan. Obviously, out of several. . .

Page Seventeen

thousand Japanese born in Japan who came to Canada some might be dangerous to the Dominion. Yet altogether only 178 were interned by the R.C.M.P. shortly after December 7, 1941, as being "dangerous aliens."12 Our whole contention in this pamphlet is that since the R.C.M.P. have interned the disloyal, and are competent to handle cases of treachery, we should dispel the poisonous fog of vilification, suspicion, and prejudice which persists against 99 per cent of the Japanese-Canadians without reason, and remove the legal disabilities against them.

20. "There are 6000 former British Columbia Japanese now fighting the Allies."

A typical rabble-rousing cry without evidence to support it, made by politicians anxious to secure votes. It is impossible to deal in detail with this charge. I have made inquiries of four Canadian authorities, official and unofficial, and they have all informed me that they do not have this information. These authorities include Professor Forrest LaViolette, probably the greatest authority in Canada on the Japanese-Canadians, who has had access to official documents. They all agreed, however, on the basis of such information as they had, that 6000 was greatly

21. "What have the 'Japanese' done to help our war effort?"

They would have done a great deal more if we had let them help us. Hundreds of Japanese-Canadians volunteered for the Army in 1939, but we refused all except a handful. The record of the Japanese-Americans has proved our mistake. The Japanese-Canadians, according to Mr. Humphrey Mitchell, "have materially increased the production of lumber, fruit and sugar. They have helped railway repair, tanning, dry cleaning, hospital work and domestic serving."13 In other words, they have done what we allowed them to do. If we had treated them intelligently their part in the war effort would have been much greater. They have contributed to the Red Cross, bought Victory Bonds and acted as blood donors at Red Cross clinics.

22. "How could Japanese-Canadians, if enlisted, make any appreciable difference in our war effort?"

They would be invaluable as intelligence personnel. The United States has used Japanese-Americans, teamed with white

Page 18

Americans, as interpreters in Pacific combat areas. Obviously they are needed now in Burma and Malay by the British forces, for even if most Japanese soldiers commit suicide rather than surrender, one prisoner taken alive is sufficient to reveal valuable information. In answer to a question by Mr. Angus McInnis, Mr. Mackenzie King revealed in the House of Commons that "Canadian-born Japanese have been recruited for war purposes at the request of Britain and other Commonwealth governments."  Why are they being enlisted?

If the Canadian Army authorities are planning to participate in the war with Japan, they must be training white Canadians to use the Japanese language. But no matter how hard our boys may study, they cannot expect in a short time to speak fluently and understand readily so difficult a language as Japanese. The only reason Japanese-Canadians have not been taken into our army with a few exceptions-is race prejudice: if we take them into the army, we have to give them full rights as citizens.

The military minds of Great Britain and United States are neither concerned at the moment with racial problems, nor are they obscured by race prejudice. They are intent on winning the war, and they are using Japanese-Canadian and Japanese-American soldiers because the results have been justified.

Incidentally, it speaks pretty well for the loyalty of those Japanese-Canadians who are entering British armies abroad that the treatment they have suffered the past three years has not made them unwilling to fight for the Empire.


23. "Have we not treated the 'Japanese' pretty well since Pearl Harbour?"

No, we have not. We have evacuated them from the Protected Area of the British Columbia coast, and left other enemy aliens there. We informed them that their property would be protected by the Custodian, and then shortly after they had been evacuated, we started to sell it. In the United States the Japanese-Americans were evacuated, but their property was not sold. We passed Orders-in-Council prohibiting them from obtaining hunting licenses and sporting and commercial fishing licenses anywhere in Canada.

Page Nineteen

They must have police permits to travel certain distances-not unlike the yellow passports that Jews had to carry in Tsarist Russia. None of these restrictions has applied to other enemy aliens, much less their children born in Canada. Yet most of the Orders-in- Council specify "persons of the Japanese race," making no distinction between Japanese nationals and second or third generation Canadians of Japanese stock.

24. "The greatest pains have been taken to see that they received a fair price for their property."

Farms and houses deteriorate very rapidly if left untended, and Japanese-Canadian property was left untended. In many cases the houses were broken into and robbed. Then--except for a block of farms in Fraser Valley that was bought by the Veterans' Board-the property was bought up by speculators. But when whites have to hand over their property for government purposes, it is expropriated and the owners are paid the full assessed value by the government.

25. "We housed them well, built hospitals for them, paid their dependents relief, and educated their children."

If housing two families that did not know each other before, in tarpaper houses, eighteen feet by twenty-four, is good housing, we did. (This has happened in many cases.) Making dependents of our most industrious racial minority is not a praiseworthy performance.

The children have been the greatest sufferers. The segregation of the relocation centres has meant a maximum of Japanese family influence, and a minimum of contacts with white, especially white children. For three years these children, born in Canada, have been denied chances that other Canadian children have enjoyed. Educational facilities have been inadequate and in some cases unbearably expensive. In Grand Forks, for instance, the Japanese children were at first denied admittance to the local school. Later they were admitted on the payment of fees. From 1944 the financia1 assistance lent by the British Columbia Security Commission was withdrawn, and the fee has been $5 per child per month. If the fee were overdue, the child was not allowed back. One father had four children, and had to pay $20 monthly. On December 22nd the School Board presented a bill for $185 for 37 public school . . .

Page Twenty

pupils only to the Japanese Parents' Group. Most of these parents are evacuees whose financial resources have been exhausted. In this matter I do not blame Grand Forks only; we are all to blame. Neither the provincial nor the federal government has assumed responsibility for secondary education. Three leading denominations have struggled to do this for high school children. They have had to use the "public school" rooms after the usual school hours.

26. "If life in British Columbia Relocation Centres is so unattractive, why do they not move east?'

It should be remembered that 8000 of the 24,000 formerly in British Columbia have moved east of the Rockies; most of these are fairly well settled. But they never will take roots in the east unless we allow them to purchase house and land. Of the others, many are fearful under compulsion, and have had cause to distrust the government. They feel they have been made a political football, and that the Canadian government has no real concern for them as human beings, but yields to whatever political pressure is applied. They are afraid of entering the unknown world of Canada east of the Rockies. When Lethbridge, Edmonton, or Chatham expels a dozen or so Japanese-Canadians who have been working there, or refuses to allow a Japanese applicant to enter, this is reported in the papers. The evacuees would "rather bear those ills they have, than fly to others they know not of." Living herded up against one another, the prey of the worst gossip-mongers, cut off from wider social contacts, unable to imagine a reasonable future, they are badly demoralized.

Many of them are too old to start life anew.

27. "Then why not send them all back to Japan, first, second and third generations?"

Canada's discrimination against them on racial grounds already sufficiently resembles Hitler's treatment of the Jews. To send them all back would indelibly stain Canada's name. By our law 75 per cent of them are Canadian citizens; 61 per cent were born here, and have citizenship as a birthright. We cannot legally deport Canadian citizens innocent of any crime. It would be unjust to deport the . . .

Page Twenty-one

nationals only, for many of them have been resident in Canada fifteen years or more, have applied for naturalization papers, and been refused them. (There is the case of E. 0. who arrived in Canada with his parents when he was six months old. He is now in his late twenties, and is known to several occidental Canadians as a leader among his people in assimilation to Canadian ways. He has tried to secure his naturalization papers more than once without success). Only a few of the hundreds who applied for naturalization since 1923 have received it. It would be an act of social cruelty to send Japanese-Canadians to live in Japan. Prior to the war those who visited Japan, either for a short period, or with the intention of staying, were usually unhappy, and returned to Canada. They were accustomed to Canadian ways, and could not adjust themselves to a life that was lacking in social and political freedom. Japanese employers would not hire them; Japanese police, suspicious of dangerous (democratic) thoughts, hounded them; relatives were annoyed at their slips in Japanese language and thought their manners boorish.


-Courtesy "Canadian Girl"

Two Kindergarten Helpers, Somewhere in British Columbia

Page Twenty-two

Some of them, of course, smarting under the discrimination they had suffered on this continent, stayed on in Japan, but large numbers returned here. Incidentally this is further proof of their assimilation. And we want to exile little children, born in Canada and knowing no other country, to a Japan prepared for them by the butchers of Nanking from within, and American Superforts from above!

28. "Send them to Japan as missionaries of democracy."

The hypocrisy and cynicism of this proposition, made more than once by public men in British Columbia, is shocking. What democracy could they tell of? One that had always denied them the franchise in British Columbia, sold their property by public tender, denied them civil rights, and then exiled them from the country of their birth? . . . How can a man be a missionary of democracy unless he goes willingly?

29. "Will not the 'Japanese' flock back to the coast if the restrictions on them are lifted?"

What is happening in the United States, where the property of Japanese-Americans on the Pacific Coast was not sold, and where the ban on their return was lifted on January 2, 1945, leads us to believe that this will not happen. Give them a reasonable job, a chance of striking roots--and they will go where we send them. On account of racial prejudice the Japanese-Canadians need the right to acquire property to safeguard themselves. Their purchase of property could be supervised by duly appointed officials to prevent their congregating in communities.

30. "The eight provinces east of the Rockies say they will not keep the 'Japanese' who have been relocated there after the war is over."

Since the policy enunciated by the government is the only practical humane policy, it is up to you and all good Canadians to see that each province takes a proportion of Japanese-Canadians. National unity, seriously strained by the stresses of war, will be weakened still further if a town or city is permitted to refuse the entrance of Canadian citizens on the grounds of race. Every municipal body should co-operate in the settlement of this wartime

Page Twenty-three

national problem-it is not merely a British Columbia problem just as they do in other wartime problems.

The Japanese-Canadians are so few in relation to the total population of Canada that we do not even need to allocate them in strict proportion to population. Our total population is a little less than twelve million. Persons of Japanese race in Canada men, women and children number less than 24,000, and of this number 61 per cent were born in Canada. That is less than one-half of one per cent of Canada's population. There are twice as many Chinese in Canada, but they do not constitute as serious a problem -apart from the war line-up of China and Japan-because they are fairly well dispersed across the Dominion.

31. "What is the significance of the Government order issued to British Columbian Japanese on March 12, 1945?"
While the Order in question consists of seven parts, its outstanding features are embodied in the three extracts here following:

(1) The first informs "those who will be returning to Japan that provision has been made for their return." (Particulars in this connection are set forth in another notice issued on the same date and "HAVING REFERENCE TO MAKING APPLICATION FOR VOLUNTARY REPATRIATION TO JAPAN".)
(2) "Japanese-Canadians who want to remain in Canada should now re-establish themselves east of the Rockies as the best evidence of their intentions to co-operate with the Government policy of dispersal."
(3) "Failure to accept employment east of the Rockies may be regarded at a later date as lack of co-operation with the Canadian Government .in carrying out its policy of dispersal." High officials have stated that these provisions do not necessarily imply a compulsory exodus of all persons of Japanese stock residing in British Columbia, but the official bulletins have in many cases been interpreted in some such terms as: "For God's sake go
back to Japan--or else!" The certainty of continued jobs or government support for the immediate future if they signed for return to Japan was no small consideration in the case of middle-aged men who have already been once uprooted and have seen the fruits of years of labour vanish. Furthermore, many of them were bewildered and alarmed

Page Twenty-four

by the formal verbiage of the official documents. Many were moved by intolerable anxieties associated with the disruption of families, the uncertainty and inadequacy of protection against discriminatory treatment if they went east, and the failure of the Government to make evident just how far it is willing to go in assisting the re-establishment of evacuees who act upon the Government order to migrate eastward. Would they be relieved of present restrictions upon the purchase or lease of real property necessary for economic security and the establishment of permanent homes? Was there any guarantee that this second evacuation would be the last?

The terms of the proclamation and the circumstances attending registration reduced to despair not only the older people-mostly Japanese nationals-but many of the younger Japanese-Canadians as well. The experiences of the last three years have left painful impressions of a Canada that seems intent upon denying to them an opportunity to attain things so supremely important to youth: equal chances in the educational field, a good job, fellowship, hopes for the future, the establishment of real homes. These unfortunate young people think in terms of the Canada that they themselves have known in the past three years. They are embittered or sick at heart, and inclined to welcome transfer to Japan as at least providing a change!

Moreover, parents who decided to return to Japan naturally wanted their young people to go with them. As might be expected, pressure, ranging all the way from the appeal based on family ties, to browbeating, scolding and nagging has been brought to bear upon the younger folk who wished to remain in Canada. It is not surprising that in these circumstances many of the young people have signed up to go to a land that most of them have never even seen and in which they will again find themselves to be foreigners! In this pamphlet the writer has avoided all party politics. However, at the present time, when wartime passions are aflame and when the imminence of a general election provides temptation to make partisan issues out of matters upon which good citizens should stand shoulder to shoulder, it is perhaps inevitable that the Government orders will be employed for election purposes. Voters who hate all orientals, and particularly the Japanese-Canadians, will rejoice in the fact that a very considerable number of these Japanese-Canadians are choosing deportation to Japan; other citizens, who are concerned that public policy should accord with …

Page Twenty-five

the traditional principles of "British Justice" will be asked to find similar cause for satisfaction in the fact that the people to be deported have chosen to go "voluntarily". There is no doubt that many evacuees in British Columbia have signed to return to Japan voluntarily. But we believe that many who have signed have done so because the "choice" was presented in such way that tolerable life in Canada seemed impossible to them.


Other statements that are frequently made relative to this subject could be included, but we must consider two aspects which are very important in the world of 1945-its international and commercial implications. Many Canadians are frankly incredulous when it is said that our treatment of the Japanese-Canadians is one of the seeds of a future war. They should be wiser. The war between England and Spain in 1739 had more than one cause, but historians are agreed that it was the indignity offered to one Englishman, Robert Jenkins, which whipped up the war, and it is still known as the War of Jenkins' Ear. . . . In the summer of 1943 the government of the Union of South Africa introduced a law extending to Natal the practice of racial segregation as it existed in other states of the Union. Indignation ran high in India, and when it was finally passed, the Government of India passed through both houses an amendment to the Reciprocity Act, by which the same treatment is meted out to white persons resident in India from the Dominions in which there is any discrimination on grounds of race against Indians.

The western coast of Canada and the United States forms an integral part of the Pacific basin. On the other side of that basin are the peoples whom we call orientals. If we are to live and trade with them for our common good we must realize that they are human beings.

Our treatment of the Japanese-Canadians augurs ill for the future. The preceding pages have indicated the handicaps that have been imposed on them on racial grounds. No mention has been made of the insults in the press and on the platform. A typical . . .

Page Twenty-six

jeer is the sentence written by a Vancouver columnist when the Japanese-Canadians were assembled in the manning pool at Hasting Park preparatory to their relocation: "Stanley Park has its monkey cages," he wrote; "now Hastings Park has its monkeys, too." Read again "The Merchant of Venice" to see how Shylock felt about Antonio's insults, and then imagine ex-Japanese-Canadians taking their bitterness back to Japan.

Their departure will not be unnoticed by other orientals. Our racial prejudice is applied to East Indian Canadians and Chinese-Canadians in our midst-though to a lesser degree at present. China knows about it; India knows about it, and they, with the other countries of Asia, with all the vast store of raw materials in the Orient, with their increased technological skill, with their hatred of the white man, will join Japan against us if we continue in our present attitudes. Do not think we can forever keep them in subjection; they outnumber us three to one.

The matter of trade with the Orient is of special concern to British Columbia, and indirectly, with all of Canada. Prior to the war this trade bulked large in the prosperity of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. "War prosperity" has made many of its citizens forget that when war industries fold up, and rehabilitation abroad is well started, they must again trade with the Orient. With Russia thrusting south in the Pacific for new trade, with the United States emerging from the war as the colossus of the Pacific, Canada will meet keen competition in its Asiatic markets. The use of the boycott by China against western nations over past years should remind us that trade is not merely a matter of dollars and cents. Justice and goodwill to orientals, both citizen and alien, within Canada and abroad, will pay dividends.

In a world gone mad with war, appeals to religious and secular ideals fall on cynical ears. But if the teaching of the New Testament and the future of the universal Christian church mean anything to Christians; if our precious British heritage of freedom and justice mean anything to conservatives; if personal dignity and tolerance mean anything to liberals and humanists; if the brotherhood and equality of man mean anything to socialists and communists- we will unite to see that, amidst the much greater problems which confront Canada today, the problem of the Japanese-Canadians is justly solved.

Page Twenty-seven

STUDY THE PROBLEM. Get the facts; don't believe rumours. The Consultative Council will be glad to send further material to speakers and study groups.

STAND FOR JUSTICE. Let the candidates in your riding or your Member of Parliament know that you want a square deal for all Canadian citizens, Japanese-Canadians included. When the subject of the Japanese-Canadians is raised, speak a good word for a helpless minority. If your friends are stubborn, don't argue; give them this pamphlet.

STAY WITH IT. We are building a new world, and we cannot build it in a day.


1. The Declaration of Loyalty. Since the R.C.M.P. have a file on every person of Japanese race in Canada, it is not necessary that each one should appear before the Loyalty Tribunal. Only nationals and those whose loyalty may be in question should be obliged to do this, and in each case the person should have a lawyer or interpreter if he so desires. For most Japanese-Canadians a form to be sworn before a J.P. would be sufficient. The disaffected and those who wish to go, of course, will be sent to Japan.

2. Removal of Restrictions. With the declaration of loyalty to Canada, restrictions should be lifted and disabilities removed. The Dominion and provincial franchise in all provinces should be granted to all oriental Canadian citizens now deprived of it, subject to the customary formalities.

3. Rehabilitation. The Japanese-Canadians are social casualties of the war, and in some cases need rehabilitation. Where necessary financial assistance should be given until self-support is attained. Many of them, like white dependents, will require social assistance till their death. To rehabilitate Japanese-Canadians who are capable of self support but in need of temporary assistance is good economy. At present the taxpayer is footing the bill for the administration of Japanese-Canadian affairs.

There is little danger of the Japanese forming "little Tokyos" again if the rehabilitation is administered wisely. If two or three families are convinced that they will be given rehabilitation if necessary, a fair job, and the chance to establish a home in a certain locality, they will go there. That confidence is lacking at present.

Page Twenty-Eight

Appendix A

Persons of the Japanese Race in Canada

(Figures obtained from Canada Year Book and British Columbia Security Commission)

June, 1941: Resident in British Columbia, 22, 274;
In other parts of Canada, 950
As at March 31, 1945:


Japanese Nationals

Naturalized Canadians

Canadian Born

United States Citizens

Married to Whites, and their Offspring


British Columbia

4, 097
















































Yukon & N.W.T.


















British Columbia




























Yukon & N.W.T.








(“Children” are all those under sixteen. On reaching the age of sixteen they must register with the R.C.M.P. and are listed as adults).

Page Twenty-nine



(A summary of only the most important measures taken. The writer acknowledges his indebtedness to the excellent study, "The Wartime Legal Status of Persons of Japanese Race in Canada", by Kunio Hidaka).


January- Order-in-Council P.C. 11 7. Voluntary registration of persons of Japanese race in Canada.

December 17 - P.C. 9760. Compulsory registration of same.

P.C. 9761. Immobilization of all Japanese-Canadian vessels; later, impounding of same. Suspension of licenses issued to Canadian citizens of Japanese race. Government sale of these vessels begins.


February 5-Government order: all male enemy aliens must leave the Protected Area (west of the Cascade Mountains, British Columbia) before April 1, 1942, and may not return without R.C.M.P. permission.

All enemy aliens to surrender cameras, radios, firearms, etc., in their possession. . . . This is later amended to include all persons of Japanese race, whether naturalized or Canadian-born, and is not enforced in regards to other enemy aliens. (It was found impossible, of course, to evacuate the Japanese-Canadians by April 1; this was not completed till August 31).

Adults are permitted 150 pounds, children 75 pounds, per person. If beds, etc., are taken, evacuees must pay freight.

February 24 - P.C. 1457. No person of Japanese race permitted to acquire land. See Point 8 in the body of the pamphlet.

February 26- Government order. Dusk to dawn curfew is enforced on all persons of Japanese race in the Protected Area. Anyone breaking curfew is liable to 30 days' imprisonment. (Exceptions were made for doctors and certain individuals).

February 27- Creation of the British Columbia Security Commission to superintend the evacuation of persons of Japanese race. Commissioners are appointed early in March.

March 4-Persons of Japanese race to live only in places approved by the B.C.S.C. (This order was aimed at some Japanese

Page Thirty

Canadians who, sensing coming events, had already moved into the interior in British Columbia). B.C.S.C.  in control of the life and movements of persons of Japanese race. All property must be registered with the Custodian prior to evacuation.

June 29 -  P.C. 5523. Survey of real estate of persons of Japanese race is carried out for purposes of appraisal. This forecasts the forced sale of such land for "the security, peace, order. and welfare of Canada", which is authorized, and proceeds from November 13, 1943.


July-Bill 135 became law. (Persons of Japanese race born in British Columbia, i.e., citizens by birthright, have never had the vote in British Columbia. Since there was no racial franchise disqualification in the other eight provinces, these Japanese-Canadians would have had the vote when they crossed the Rockies to be relocated. Bill 135, while not depriving citizens of Japanese race already established east of the Rockies of the vote, prevented the evacuee Japanese-Canadians from exercising it).


1 See "Nisei in Uniform", published by U'RA and the War Department, Washington, D. C. This can be obtained from the Consultative Council at 2c to cover mailing charges.

2 A Challenge to Patriotism and Statesmanship; Norman F. Black. Christian Council of Canada, Toronto, 1944. p. 7. An excellent stud\ on this problem. 10c at the Consultative Council.

3 From a Japanese Prison; Samuel Heaslett. Morehouse Gorham Co., New York, 1945.

4 The Japanese-Canadians; Young, Reid and Carrothen. University of Toronto Press. 1939. p. 92.

5 Figures obtained from the Department of Justice, Ottawa, April 4, 1945.

6 Transactions of the Asiatic Society in Japan; Second Series, Vol. 13. 1936. Kegan Paul, London.

7 Report of the Administration of Japanese Affairs in Canada, 1942-44; Department of Labour, Ottawa. 1944. p. 3.

8 The Japanese-Canadians. p. 44.

8 Vancouver Daily Province, April 14, 1945. p. 3.

10 The Japanese-Canadians. p. 73.

11 Both paragraphs from the Vancouver News-Herald, March 26, 1945. p. 4.

12 Prejudice. Japanese-Americans: Symbol of Racial Intolerance; Carey McWilliams. Little, Brown Sc Co., Boston. 1944. p. 150.

13 Vancouver Daily Province. loc. cit.

14 Ibid, April 10, 1945. p. 12.

Page Thirty-one

15 From a letter written by the Japanese Parents' Group, Grand Forks, February 22, 1945.

16 The writer has been unable to secure figures for this. The estimate is based on the statements of a Vancouver lawyer who has handled large numbers of Japanese applications for naturalization the last thirty years; the Japanese minister of the former largest Japanese church in Vancouver, who himself, resident in Canada for twenty-five years or more, has been unable to secure naturalization, and others. The Secretary of State can refuse naturalization with no reason for refusal stated.

17 See Prejudice, by Carey McWilliams for similar experiences of the Japanese-Americans. p. 314 ff.

18 "Between January 2, 1945, when the lifting of the mass exclusion orders (announced on December 17) became effective, and April 14, about 1870 evacuees returned to the West Coast from WRA centres. During the same period about 3940 went eastward from centres." Letter from Arnold M. Serwer, Acting Chief. Reports Division, WRA, Washington, D. C.


A Japanese-American wounded soldier and his pal.

-Courtesy of WRA

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