Surviving Nikkei Veterans

Surviving Nikkei veterans from the War 1914-1918 are given the right to vote.

Image : Founders of the Japanese Canadian Association at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial, Stanley Park, Vancouver, ca. 1925

Sanmiya Family fonds, Japanese Canadian National Museum
c. 1925
© Japanese Canadian National Museum

Japanese Canadian Citizens League

A delegation from the Japanese Canadian Citizens League goes to Ottawa to plead for franchise (the right to vote) for Japanese Canadians. They are unsuccessful.

Image : Japanese Canadian Citizens’ League sends a delegation to Ottawa to lobby for franchise for Japanese Canadians, 1936.
L-R: Samuel I. Hayakawa, Minoru Kobayashi, Hide (Hyodo) Shimizu, Edward Banno.

Tatsue Okamoto Collection. Japanese Canadian National Museum
© Japanese Canadian National Museum

The New Canadian

The New Canadian is established as the first English-language Nikkei newspaper in the country. It bills itself as “The Voice of the Second Generation.”

Image : Front page, first issue of the New Canadian newspaper, November 24, 1938

Courtesy of University of British Columbia Library
Rare Books and Special Collections
© University of British Columbia Library

Japan Attacks Pearl Harbour, Canada Declares War on Japan

Japan attacks Pearl Harbour. Canada declares war on Japan. Under the War Measures Act, Order-in-Council P.C. 9591 requires all Japanese nationals to register by February 7th with the Registrar of Enemy Aliens. The light atop the War Memorial is extinguished.

Image : Round up of Japanese fishing boats, 1942

Vancouver Public Library

© Vancouver Public Library

Mass expulsion of Nikkei

Mass expulsion of Nikkei begins. Some are given only 24 hours notice. Cars, cameras and radios are confiscated for “protective measures.” A curfew is imposed. Nikkei are ordered to turn over property and belongings to the Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a “protective measure only.”

Image : Japanese Canadian relocation – Seized vehicles at Hastings Park, 1942

Vancouver Public Library

© Vancouver Public Library

Internment Camps

The government announces a program to disperse Nikkei throughout the country or “repatriate” them to Japan. Internment camps are closed by 1946.

Image : Leaving Slocan - the Second Uprooting, 1946

Tak Toyota Collection, Japanese Canadian National Museum
© Japanese Canadian National Museum

The Nikkei Allowed to Enlist

At the request of the British government, Nikkei are allowed to enlist. 150 volunteer for service with the Canadian army in Asia.

Japan surrenders after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Image : Second day in uniform, April 1945. L-R: Goro Suzuki, Akio Sato, Elmer Oike, Bill Sasaki, Harold Hirose, Jim Matsuo. All were Winnipeg residents at the time they enlisted.

Gift of Akio Sato. Japanese Canadian National Museum

© Japanese Canadian National Museum

War Measures Act Restrictions Lifted

Restrictions imposed under the War Measures Act are lifted. Nikkei gain full rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, and are now free to move anywhere in Canada.

Image : New Canadian news clipping, June 30, 1948, "History Was Made."

New Canadian

© New Canadian

Immigration Point System Announced

The government announces new immigration regulations with a point system for selection. Race is no longer used as a category. As a result, new immigrants from Japan start arriving in Canada.

Image : "Ottawa Broadens Immig. Regulations With New Rules for 3 Categories," New Canadian news clipping, September 16, 1967.

New Canadian
© New Canadian

Japanese Canadian Centennial

Japanese Canadian Centennial is celebrated by Nikkei communities all across Canada. The first Powell Street Festival takes place at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, the pre-war home of the Japanese Canadian community.

Image : Odori at the first Powell Street Festival, Oppenheimer Park, Vancouver, B.C., 1977.

Tamio Wakayama, photographer
From Tamio Wakayama, Kikyo: Coming Home to Powell Street, Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 1992, p. 31
© Harbour Publishing

Japanese Canadian Redress

Japanese Canadian Redress is achieved on September 22nd. The Prime Minister of Canada formally apologizes for the wrongful incarceration, seizure of property and the disenfranchisement of thousands of Canadians of Japanese ancestry. The Redress settlement will include individual compensation for the survivors.

Image : Art Miki and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney sign the Japanese Canadian Redress agreement, Ottawa, Ont., September 22, 1988

Gordon King, photographer.
Roy Miki Collection. Japanese Canadian National Museum

© Japanese Canadian National Museum

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and discuss the social conditions of the Nikkei in Canadian society;
  • Describe the influence of Asahi on Canadian population;
  • Explain the positive aspects of such a sport organization;
  • Deduct, from the information given in the exhibition, an overview of Canadian society before the Second World War.

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