When Canada declared war on Japan in 1941, the country’s Japanese Canadian citizens were suddenly faced with suspicion and fear from the primarily white population. Within months, Japanese Canadians were put through a variety of humiliations based solely on their race. In January 1941, the government began by excluding Japanese Canadians from military service. They then registered all people of Japanese descent and required all Japanese Canadians to carry registration cards with their thumbprint and photograph.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Canadian fishing boats were impounded, Japanese-language schools and newspapers were shut down, and male Japanese immigrants began to be removed from coastal areas. By March 1942, mass evacuation of all Japanese Canadians began. Curfews were imposed and property and belongings were confiscated. Men were separated from women and children and sent to detention camps away from the coast, often to camps in Ontario and on the prairies like this one in Dundurn, Saskatchewan. These actions continued well past the end of the war and culminated in many Japanese Canadians being "repatriated" back to J Read More
When Canada declared war on Japan in 1941, the country’s Japanese Canadian citizens were suddenly faced with suspicion and fear from the primarily white population. Within months, Japanese Canadians were put through a variety of humiliations based solely on their race. In January 1941, the government began by excluding Japanese Canadians from military service. They then registered all people of Japanese descent and required all Japanese Canadians to carry registration cards with their thumbprint and photograph.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Canadian fishing boats were impounded, Japanese-language schools and newspapers were shut down, and male Japanese immigrants began to be removed from coastal areas. By March 1942, mass evacuation of all Japanese Canadians began. Curfews were imposed and property and belongings were confiscated. Men were separated from women and children and sent to detention camps away from the coast, often to camps in Ontario and on the prairies like this one in Dundurn, Saskatchewan. These actions continued well past the end of the war and culminated in many Japanese Canadians being "repatriated" back to Japan, in 1946. It was not until 1949 that Japanese Canadians were finally free to move anywhere in Canada.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Prisoners

Prisoners Of War in formation at Dundurn, Saskatchewan, 1943.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives

© Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canadians in the World War II.
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated on the home front during World War II.
  • Identify key locations in which Canada’s military operated during World War II.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans