The Internment of Japanese Canadians Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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Category: Pearl Harbor

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After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because of a dispute over trading oil between Canada and Japan, Canadians began to fear Japanese Canadians, were they friends or were they foes? The main fear was that the Japanese Canadians would become spies for Japan, leaking important information, giving Japan an advantage when it came time for an attack. The internment of Japanese Canadians, who lived in British Columbia, in 1942 during World War II, was very unfair and racist.

The Japanese Canadians had almost all of their personal possessions and rights taken away, they were harassed because of their race, and were transported to protective areas. Japanese Canadians lost almost all of their possessions during World War II. All boats, that belonged to Japanese Canadians were impounded. In 1941, around 1,200 fishing boats were impounded by the Japanese Fishing Vessel Disposal Committee (Masako Fukawa). The Canadian Government feared that if they did not take away the boats, the Japanese Canadians who were spies, would go back to Japan and leak the Canadian Governments secrets.

The Canadian Government had also promised to return all possessions, but the promises were soon forgotten and the property was never returned. On January 19th 1942, all possessions which were under protective custody were liquidated (Japanese Internment). When the Japanese Canadians were transported to the protective areas, they were told that the government would temporally take their houses. Once the Japanese Canadians were gone though, the government sold off all of the houses. The Japanese Canadians were also stripped of their rights.

They were denied the right to vote, teach or take jobs in civil service, as well as other professions (Linda Di Biase). The Canadian Government feared that if Japanese Canadians had any influence in society, they would try to subliminally enforce Japanese customs and beliefs and try to convince the people to join in a future attack. Japanese Canadians were cruelly harassed because of their ethnic background. They were forced to evacuate their homes. Persons of Japanese origin residing in Vancouver should terminate, not later than the 30th April, 1942 (Luc Guay).

This meant that even if the Japanese Canadians were born in Canadian, they would be treated as if they were immigrants straight from Japan who wanted to attack Canada. The Japanese Canadians also were treated unfairly during the evacuation. Each person was allowed to take two suitcases at the time of the evacuation (Luc Guay). Since the Japanese Canadians had to leave their homes in such a short amount of time and were only allowed two suitcases, most of their possessions were taken by the Government and were later liquidated. Japanese Canadians were also put into concentration camps, which actually were abandoned towns.

There the living conditions were so poor that the citizens of wartime Japan even sent supplemental food shipments through the Red Cross. (Linda Di Biase). Japanese Canadians were also put into work camps, the conditions were equally as bad and they were treated like animals. One of Canadas darkest moments, was putting the Japanese Canadians in the protective areas. Almost 21,000 Japanese-Canadians (75% of whom were Canadian nationals) were removed from their homes and shipped to road camps, internment camps and prisoner of war camps (Jennifer Baker).

Japanese Canadians were now seen as an enemy, and the government feared that if the Japanese Canadians were not in protective areas, they would become spies and leak information back to Japan. Men, women and families were generally separated when put into the camps. Construction camps at Lucerne, Rainbow, Red Pass, Albreda, and Tete Jaune Cache housed over 1,500 Japanese-Canadians, mostly single men (Jennifer Baker). The reason the men and women were separated was to ensure that there would be no chance of reproducing, and the separation of the families was to create fear, and establish who, was the significant party.

The conditions of the camps were inhumane and there was no running water to drink or bathe in. They were not concentration camps or even surrounded with barbed wire as were the camps in the US, but conditions were primitive. (Japanese Internment) Canadians feared the Japanese Canadians, and the Government felt, that if they were to give the Japanese Canadians luxuries such as running water, the Japanese Canadians would gain hope and build up a congregation, and try to take over.

The Japanese Canadians went through many hardships, they got their possessions and rights taken away, were harassed because of their race, and were put in protective areas with inhumane conditions. The internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II was very racist and unfair. After the tragic bombing of Pearl Harbor, Canadians grew to fear and hate Japanese Canadians, only to let go of their hatred, and publicly apologize in 1988.

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