With the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 and the Pacific region becoming a part of the War, in 1942 the Japanese were forced from the west coast of Canada. The government thought they might pose a threat to Canadian security, even though many of them were born in Canada. They took with them with them only what they could carry. Most of their property was confiscated. “We were all really nervous when the Second World War broke out. The Japanese had to leave during the war, and that was sad because we had grown up with them, and they were no different from us. We all went to Millside school together. Some of the people felt very bad because the Japanese had to sell their personal belongings and they could hardly get anything for them … they just had to take a train and they were sent to the Interior or Alberta.”4 Lloyd Hiroshi Kumagai was born in Burquitlam in the 1930s. He attended Mountain View School and was considered “one of the boys”,
until the war. His family was told to pack up and go to Hastings Park and eventually they were shipped out to Slocan and Lemon Creek, where the Matsushitas were as well.5 Once the Japanese families moved out of their houses in the mill, some other family would move in, keeping the furniture and goods that were left behind.6 Even after the war, the Japanese, many of them born in Canada, were asked to move east of the Rockies. Some of their property had been left with a trustee but most of them never received anything back. It was not until 1949 that the Japanese were allowed to return to the west coast of Canada and they were given the right to vote. The federal government offered an apology and monetary compensation in 1988. In 2002, Japanese Canadians celebrated the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first immigrant from Japan. ‘Things” Japanese have become part of Canadian society.”7
The Immigrants : Japanese, South Asian, Chinese and one family’s story
for the right to vote.
Published on Mar 3, 2017