Japanese-Canadian Internment During WWII

Japanese-Canadian Internment During WWII

After more than sixty years, it seems difficult for most Canadians to comprehend the reasons behind the internment of Japanese-Canadian during World War II. They were innocent Canadian citizens, mostly resided in British-Columbia, many of them even born in Canadian soil, yet they were stripped all their constitutional rights as a citizen. They were detained without trial to isolated internment camps in the interior until the end of the war. Their houses, cars, boats, and other property were confiscated and sold with unbelievable prices. After the war was over, they had to relocate to other parts of Canada or risked being repatriated to Japan. It is easy to dismiss this tragedy as abnormality of the history. Others try to explain it as the side effect of wartime hysteria. It is not uncommon to hear the stories of soldiers during the war doing some sorts of war crime due to the mental fatigue and battle hysteria. However, it deserves deeper explanations when a society, not battling soldiers, decides to send their neighbors of certain race to the intern camps. We need to understand the historical background of race-relation in British-Columbia in order to understand the issue better. In my opinion, the real objective of the internment was not to isolate the Japanese-Canadian into the camps to secure Canada from potential Japanese spies, but to exclude them from the white-dominated society. It was a part of systematic attempt to exclude the “yellow”?peril.” Japanese-Canadians as well as other Asian-Canadians were visible minorities within predominantly European-Canadians. At that time, they were second-class citizens with limited rights. For the European-Canadians, especially the blue collars, the existence of Asians laborers was something to be endured and hated. This was not a symptom unique to BC, but we could probably say that the whole world had yet to understand the concept of equality in humanity. Asians were viewed morally inf…


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