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Copy of The Japanese Canadian Immigration Experience

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Christian Goulet

on 14 January 2014

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Transcript of Copy of The Japanese Canadian Immigration Experience

Japan in the mid-1800's
Push Factors
Push Factors
Japanese Immigrants to Canada
At first only the higher classes such as merchants and students could travel “in order that they might acquire the knowledge and learn the techniques of the Western world” (Young, 4).
The Japanese government hoped that emigration would ease troubles with high population growth, overcrowding and unemployment (Omatsu, 55). The Japanese Government began allowing whole families to leave Japan which increased the likelihood of permanent emigration.
Push Factors
In the area now known as Hiroshima city, many suffered as a result of these rapid changes, from loss of markets for cash crops, destruction of cottage industries and environmental degradation affecting the fishing industry.
rapid industrialization led huge numbers of Japan’s population to suffer economic hardships as they transitioned from the feudal system to an industrialized worker based system. One major push to emigrate was that farmers were being taxed for land more than they could afford, losing their ancestral land to debt (Ayukawa, 58).
Who left Japan?
Japan resisted the colonization and occupation by Western nations that shaped many other Eastern nations, but her doors swung wide open to Western ideas when the American navy forced negotiations for peace and trade with Japan in 1853.
The Japanese immigration experience to Canada was one of repeated and daunting challenges. They faced overt prejudice and persecution for over century and had everything taken from them both in their homeland and again in their new land.
The Japanese-Canadian Immigration Experience
Canada was confederated into a dominion of four provinces determined to secure North American lands to the West of what is now Ontario, through the building of a national rail system that would stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans
1867 In Canada
Opening of Japan: Rapid Changes
It was not until private companies contracted Japanese labour in Hawaii that people left Japan permanently.
Push factors
Japan began a rapid transformation that embraced industrialization and technological advancement, with an emphasis on education, bureaucratic and political reform.
Travelers, not permanent emigrants.
Many of these landless farmers and poor fisherman turn to labour jobs, and the Japanese government realized that exporting these labourers was lucrative, and began relaxing strict emigration rules.
Pull Factors
Due to the rich natural resources and the jobs that came with them, North America was one of the most promising destinations for the Japanese working class.
Canada's West coast held immense natural resource potential. Burgeoning industries including logging, fishing, farming and mining beckoned immigrant labourers from all over the world.
By 1901 there were 4500 Japanese living in B.C.
European settlers made up the vast majority of the population. It was accepted in Euro-descended society that Japanese Labourers would be paid less, about half. This led to a natural problem because the Japanese would often get the unskilled labour jobs from businesses looking to save money.
NATIVISM: the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants.
The Province of B.C. opposed Asian equality, and made constant efforts to pass exclusion laws that would limit their rights to vote and work (Ward, 55). The Alien Labour Act was a comprehensive piece of restrictive legislation that would ban Japanese and Chinese employment on rail, telegraph, harbours, canals and dams (Ward 55).
Laurier nullified the Act. Ango-Japanese Treaty.
Settlers Fears: Japanese Isolation
Public pressure on government for exclusion laws.

Japanese form tight-nit communities, labour unions.

“Among whites the convictions grew that Japanese immigrants were gaining control of entire industries in the province” (Omatsu, 103).
1907 Vancouver Riot
-Labour companies
-US denial of 1000's
-Japan softened limits
combined to make largest wave of Japanese immigrants to date.
Praying on fears, anti-Oriental associations and labour leagues rallied more supporters. This culminated on September 7th with an “anti-Asiatic parade… complete with brass band” (ward, 67).
The riot grew from an angry mob that followed a series of speeches in the Labour Hall by the 500 plus member anti-Asiatic League. After the rally the mob spilled into China Town and Little Tokyo.

Property damage, looting, arson, armament.

European descended settlers sported “White Canada” ribbons to support ethnic homogeneity (Ward, 70). This move put pressure on the Federal Government to restrict Asian immigration to Canada, and it put pressure on the Japanese community to move toward solidarity and temperament
Japanese Women
In rural farm settings Japanese women were often very disconnected from their communities as a result of distances and sparse population. Women would often be left to work the land as men went off to logging camps. Mothers often delivered children with little or no medical care and no family or friends to assist them (Ayukawa, 64).

The Great War
-Relief from rampant discrimination
-Appreciation of Japan's naval protection in WW1
-Industries, employment thrived as material needs for war effort skyrocketed.

in 1916, 222 Japanese Canadians volunteered for
service over seas.
The Great War
After the Great War
European descended settlers returned to a state of fear over their own livelihoods, as the Japanese were seen as hard working in industrious.

No working on Sunday-

By the mid-1920's farmers all over BC were calling for laws banning land ownership by non-citizens.
Successful in California.

Tossed out in Canada by Growers Admin because Japanese negotiation skills - (goods pricing, labour restrictions, market sharing ).


Film: Enemy Alien, 11:28 - 15:26
December 7th, Sunday morning 1941: Pearl Harbour
World War II
many West coasters were genuinely afraid
an attack from Japan.
-Closing of businesses
-Newspapers shut down
-Property seized
-belongings (trunks at action $2.00)
-Japanese forced to travel to the interior
-Internment and labour camps
-humiliation (farmers selecting families)
-Land sold, billed to internment families

Canadian Actions in desperate times
-RCMP had no evidence of espionage, sabotage
-Government was soft toward Japanese at first
- Public outcry, not media or popular public leaders (Ward, 158) pushed for drastic measures.
Left with Nothing.
After the war Japanese Canadians had been stripped of almost everything they had worked so hard to earn.
They were demoralized, many chose to return to post war Japan.

Those that stayed began a lifetime of rebuilding amidst a Nation that had already demonstrated its ugly hatred, fear and mistrust of them.
Nearly forty years after WWII the Government of Canada publicly
admits wrong doing toward Japanese Canadians.

-Each survivor is be given $20,000 in 1988. No where near the value of land in the rich Okanogan valley of
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