September 1940: Japan joins forces with Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact (promised mutual support against aggression) • Japanese expansion threatening US economic interests in Asia
December 7, 1941 • Japan strikes at the heart of the American Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
US immediately declares war against Japan • Germany declares war on the US four days later
Hong Kong • Fall 1941 – Japanese troops invade parts of China • British PM Churchill feared that Hong Kong (British colony in the Pacific) would be next – asked Canada to send troops to help with defence • December – over 50,000 Japanese troops invade Hong Kong, Allies forced to surrender
Canadian Prisoners of War in the Pacific • Soldiers captured as POWs faced harsh treatment • 1685 Canadians imprisoned in POW camps • Some tortured • Starvation diets • Some forced into labour • 267 died in POW camps
Internment of the Japanese Canadians • At the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, the population of British Columbia included around 21,000 Canadians of Japanese origin
WAR MEASURES ACT • An act to confer certain powers upon the Governor in Council in the event of War, Invasion, or Insurrection. • SHORT TITLE • I . This Act may be cited as the War Measures Act. • EVIDENCE OF WAR • 2. The issue of a proclamation by Her Majesty, or under the authority of the Governor in Council shall be conclusive evidence that war, invasion, or insurrection, real or apprehended exists and has existed for any period of time therein stated, and of its continuance, until by the issue of a further proclamation it is declared that the war, invasion or insurrection no longer exists.
POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL • 3. ( 1 ) The Governor in Council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace. order and welfare of Canada; and for greater certainty, but not so as to restrict the generality of the foregoing terms it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say: • (a) censorship, and the control and suppression of publications, writings, maps, plans, photographs, communications and means of communication; • (b) arrest, detention exclusion and deportation; • (c) control of the harbours, ports and territorial waters of Canada and the movements of vessels; • (d) transportation by land, air, or water and the control of the transport of persons and things; • (e) trading, exportation, importation, production and manufacture; • (f) appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof
Ian MacKenzie, the federal cabinet minister from British Columbia pushed the Canadian government to take action. • "It is the governments plan to get these people out of B.C. as fast as possible. It is my personal intention, as long as I remain in public life, to see they never come back here. Let our slogan be for British Columbia: No Japs from the Rockies to the seas."
A Report from A Royal Canadian Air Force security officer: • …because (a) the Japanese keep themselves very much to themselves; (b) they live to a great extent in isolated communities; (c) few white men speak Japanese and few Japanese will talk freely to white man; (d) the Japanese are naturally law-abiding; and also realize they will suffer if any individual Japanese irresponsibly jeopardizes the community; (e) espionage and subversive activity is largely carried on by a few key Japanese working under the Consul... (f) it is difficult to draw the line between Japanese nationalistic propaganda and organization and seduction of His , Majesty's subjects from their allegiance.
NOTICE TO ALL PERSONS OF JAPANESE RACIAL ORIGIN • Having reference to the Protected Area of British Columbia as described in an Extra of the Canada Gazette, No. 174 dated Ottawa, Monday, February 2, 1942: • EVERY PERSON OF THE JAPANESE RACE, WHILE WITHIN THE PROTECTED AREA AFORESAID, SHALL HEREAFTER BE AT HIS USUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE EACH DAY BEFORE SUNSET AND SHALL REMAIN THEREIN UNTIL SUNRISE ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, AND NO SUCH PERSON SHALL GO OUT OF HIS USUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE AFORESAID UPON THE STREETS OR OTHERWISE DURING THE HOURS BETWEEN SUNSET AND SUNRISE; • NO PERSON OF THE JAPANESE RACE SHALL HAVE IN IS POSSESSION OR USE IN SUCH PROTECTED AREA ANY MOTOR VEHICLE, CAMERA, RADIO TRANSMITTER, RADIO RECEIVING SET, FIREARM, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVE;
IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF EVERY PERSON OF THE JAPANESE RACE HAVING IN HIS POSSESSION OR UPON HIS PREMISES ANY ARTICLE MENTIONED IN THE NEXT PRECEDING PARAGRAPH, FORTHWITH TO CAUSE SUCH ARTICLE TO BE DELIVERED UP TO ANY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE RESIDING IN OR NEAR THE LOCALITY WHERE ANY SUCH ARTICLE IS HAD IN POSSESSION, OR TO AN OFFICER OR CONSTABLE OF THE POLICE FORCE OF THE PROVINCE OR CITY IN OR NEAR SUCH LOCALITY OR TO AN OFFICER OR CONSTABLE OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE.
Japanese Canadians were told to pack a single suitcase each and taken to holding areas, to wait for trains to take them inland. Vancouver's Hastings Park was one of areas where families waited, sometimes for months, to be relocated: • "Hundreds of women and children were squeezed into the livestock building," remembered YukiharuMisuyabu, an interned teenager. "Each family separated from the next by a flimsy piece of cloth hung from the upper deck of double-decked steel bunks. The walls between the rows of steel bunks were only five feet high, their normal use being to tether animals."
Muriel Kitagawa, a young mother of Japanese descent, wrote to her brother Wes, a medical student at the University of Toronto: "We have been tempered for the anti-Japanese feeling these long years. It has only intensified into overt acts of unthinking hoodlumism like throwing flaming torches into rooming houses and bricks through plate glass."
"B.C. is falling all over itself in the scramble to be the first to kick us out from jobs and homes ... it has just boiled down to race persecution, and signs have been posted on all highways ... JAPS ... KEEP OUT." • Muriel Kitigawa wrote to her brother. "We are tightening our belts for the starvation to come. The diseases ... the crippling ... the twisting of our souls ... death would be the easiest to bear."
1941 (December 8): 1,200 Japanese Canadian fishing boats are impounded. Japanese language newspapers and schools 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 the coast of British Columbia. • 1942 (February 26): Mass evacuation of Japanese Canadians begins. Some given only 24 hours notice. Cars, cameras and radios confiscated for “protective measures”. Curfew imposed. • 1942 (March 4): Japanese Canadians ordered to turn over property and belongings to Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a “protective measure only”. Eventually these assets were sold and proceeds used to pay for the interment • 1942 (March 25): British Columbia Security Commission initiates scheme of forcing men to road camps and women and children to “ghost town” detention camps.
YukiharuMisuyabu and his family went to Lemon Creek, where 2,000 Japanese lived in shacks: • "The walls of our shack were one layer of thin wooden board covered with two-ply paper sandwiching a flimsy layer of tar. There was no ceiling below the roof. In the winter, moisture condensed on the inside of the cold walls and turned to ice."
In January 1943, the Canadian government succumbed to more pressure from B.C. politicians and authorized the sale of all the properties seized from Japanese Canadians. The homes, cars, businesses and personal property left behind were sold for a pittance. The lives Japanese Canadians had built in Canada were erased. • "The bitterness, the anguish is complete," wrote Kitigawa. "You, who deal in lifeless figures, files and statistics, could never measure the depth of hurt and outrage dealt out to those of us who love this land. It is because we are Canadians, that we protest the violation of our birthright. "