Japanese Redress in Canada

When the Second World War began on September 1st, 1939, approximately 21,000 Canadians with Japanese origins lived in British Columbia.1 In a span of fifty years during the late 19th to early 20th centuries, a large number of Japanese people flocked to Canada. They came with hopes of working for a short period of time to make enough money to be able to return to Japan and live comfortably. When they arrived in Canada, a majority of the new immigrants were poor; some were peasants without land, others fishermen without any gear.2 The original European settlers in British Columbia, however, were not happy about this influx of new citizens. They were “[…] proud of their British origins” and did not welcome these new citizens with open arms.3 As a result, the Japanese were forced to confront “[…] xenophobia, racism and discrimination.”4 They were targeted through “Laws [that] excluded them from certain professions.”5 In addition, “they had no voting rights, and they could not get fishing permits.”6 The intended result of these laws was to reroute the Japanese back to their home country.

This website aims to follow in the footsteps of historians such as Ann Gomer Sunahara, who “paved the way for a re-examination of the uprooting” of Japanese Canadians.7 In this blog, we hope to enlighten you, the reader, about the injustices Japanese Canadians faced both during and after the Second World War, as well as their efforts to seek compensation for these injustices. Primary sources, including National Association for Japanese Canadians (NAJC) documents from the McGill University archives will be used, as well as a number of secondary sources. This blog will cover the following sections: a historical leadup to Japanese Canadian internment, the redress process and the apology from the Canadian government. In addition, the NAJC will be explored in detail, as well as their part in the redress process.


[1] “From Racism to Redress: The Japanese Canadian Experience,” CRR.ca, http://www.crr.ca/divers-files/en/pub/faSh/ePubFaShRacRedJap.pdf.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

           [5] Ibid.

           [6] Ibid.

[7] Ann Gomer Sunahara, The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War (Lorimier, 1981), 60.



To learn more click the following links:

Historical Lead-up to Japanese Internment

War and Japanese Internment

Brian Mulroney’s Apology to Japanese Canadian’s

National Association of Japanese Canadians

America Blazes Trail for Canadian Redress Movement

Cleansing the Past: A Closer Look at Mulroney’s Apology to Japanese Canadians

Related Redress Movements