Japanese Canadian History


Arrival of Manzo Nagano, first Japanese person known to land and settle in Canada.

British Columbia government denies franchise to citizens of Asian origin.

Anti-Asiatic Riot in Vancouver conducted by the Asiatic Exclusion League.

Hayashi-Lemieux Gentlemen’s Agreement: Japan voluntarily agreed to
restrict the number of passports issued to male labourers and domestic
organisation with servants to an annual maximum of 400.

200 Japanese Canadians volunteer for service with Canadian
army in France (WWI). 54 are killed and 92 are wounded.

Japanese fishermen control nearly half of the fishing licenses (3,267).
Department of Fisheries reduced number of licenses issued to
“other than” White residents, British subjects and Canadian Indians.
By 1925 close to 1000 licenses stripped from the Japanese.

Japanese Labour Union (later Camp and Mill Worker’s Union)
formed under Suzuki Etsu.

Gentlemen’s Agreement: Number of Japanese male immigrants
(same categories as in 1908) not to exceed 150 annually.

The labour union newspaper The Daily People [Minshu] begins publication.

Gentlemen’s Agreement amendment:
Wives and children now included in the annual quota of 150.

Surviving veterans are given right to vote.

Delegation from Japanese Canadian Citizens League goes to Ottawa
to plead for franchise. They are unsuccessful.

1941 (January 8)
Despite citizenship, Japanese Canadians are excluded from military service (WWII)

1941 (March 4)
Registration of all Japanese Canadians.

1941 (August 12)
Japanese Canadians are required to carry registration cards
that have their thumb print and photo.

1941 (December7)
Japan attacks Pearl Harbour.

1941 (December 8)
1,200 Japanese Canadians fishing boats are impounded.
Japanese vernacular newspapers and school close.

1942 (January 16)
Removal begins of Japanese immigrant males from coastal areas.

1942 (February 24)
All male Japanese Canadian citizens between the ages of 18 and 45
ordered to be removed from 100-mile-wide zone along British Columbia.

1942 (February 26)
Mass evacuation of Japanese Canadians begins. Some given only
24 hours notice. Cars, cameras, radios confiscated for protective
measures. Curfew imposed.

1942 (March 4)
Japanese Canadian ordered to turn over property and belongings to
Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a “protective measure only”.

1942 (March 16)
First arrivals at Vancouver’s Hastings Park pooling centre.
All Japanese Canadian mail censored from this date.

1942 (March 25)
British Columbia Security Commission initiates scheme of forcing men
to road camps and women and children to “ghost town” detention camps.

1942 (April 21)
First arrivals at detention camp in Greenwood, British Columbia.

1942 (May 21)
First arrivals at camps at Kaslo, New Denver, Slocan, Sandon
and Tashme, British Columbia.

1942 (June 29)
Director of Soldier Settlement given authority to buy or lease confiscated
Japanese Canadian farms. 572 farms turned over without consulting owners.

1943 (January 19)
Federal cabinet order-in-council grants Custodian of Enemy Alien Property
the right to dispose of Japanese property without owners’ consent.

1945 (January~May)
150 Japanese Canadians volunteer for service with the Canadian army in the Far East.

1945 (April 13)
Beginning of intimidation campaign towards Japanese Canadians living in
British Columbia to be moved to Eastern Canada or be deported to Japan.

1945 (September 2)
Japan surrenders after atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (WWII).

1946 (May 31)
“Repatriation” begins; 3,964 go to Japan, many of whom are Canadian citizens.

1947 (January 24)
Federal cabinet order-in-council on deportation of Japanese Canadians repealed
after protests by churches, academics, journalists and politicians.

1947 (June 15)
Federal franchise extended to all Japanese Canadians.

1949 (April 1)
Removal of last restrictions;
Japanese Canadians are free to move to anywhere in Canada.

Canadian government announced new immigrant regulations –
a point system for selection. It no longer used race as a category.

1988 (September 22)
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces the Canadian Government’s formal apology
for the wrongful incarceration, seizure of property and the disenfranchisement of
thousands of Canadians of Japanese ancestry. A redress settlement was also
announced which included individual compensation for all survivors.

National Nikkei Heritage Centre Society is incorporated.
Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation grants $3.0 million
for heritage centre project.

Japanese Canadian National Museum & Archives Society is incorporated and begins
planning for museum and archives facility in the National Nikkei Heritage Centre.


UBC recognizes and honours Japanese-Canadian students disrupted from their studies during World War II and interned in 1942.