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Article

Vancouver Asahi

The Asahi was a Japanese Canadian baseball club in Vancouver (1914–42). One of the city’s most dominant amateur teams, the Asahi used skill and tactics to win multiple league titles in Vancouver and along the Northwest Coast. In 1942, the team was disbanded when its members were among the 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were interned by the federal government (see Internment of Japanese Canadians). The Asahi were inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Interview

Interned in Canada: an Interview with Pat Adachi

Pat Adachi was born and raised in Vancouver, the daughter of Japanese immigrants. She grew up in the heart of the city’s Little Tokyo neighbourhood, within walking distance of the local grounds where her father would take her on Sundays to watch her favourite baseball team, the Vancouver Asahi. Adachi and her family lived normal lives, until she and her community were uprooted in 1942, when the federal government ordered Japanese Canadians to internment camps in rural British Columbia (see Internment of Japanese Canadians).

In this interview, Adachi shares her story and relates the experiences of the 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were interned in Canada during the Second World War.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Article

Hide Hyodo Shimizu

Hide Shimizu (née Hyodo), CM, educator, activist (born 11 May 1908 in Vancouver, BC; died 22 August 1999 in Nepean, ON). The daughter of Japanese immigrants, Shimizu was instrumental in organizing education for interned Japanese Canadian children in British Columbia during the Second World War. For this, she was awarded the Order of Canada in 1982. She was also an activist, lobbying the Canadian government for the enfranchisement of Japanese Canadians in the 1930s and, in the 1980s, for redress for the suffering and loss of interned Japanese Canadians.

Article

Internment of Japanese Canadians (Plain-Language Summary)

In 1942, the Canadian federal government forced about 21,000 Japanese Canadians to leave their homes. They lived on the West Coast of British Columbia. They lost almost everything they had. They lost their homes. They lost their cars. They lost their boats. They lost their possessions. They were deported and forced to live in camps in small towns. Most of the towns were in British Columbia. They are often called internment camps. Japanese Canadians were not allowed to return to their homes until 1949. Many of them never got their homes or their possessions back. In 1988, the federal government apologized for what it did. It also gave $21,000 to the survivors. This action is called redress. Redress means to right the wrongs of the past.

(This article is a plain-language summary of Internment of Japanese Canadians. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see the full-length entry.)

Article

Masumi Mitsui

Masumi Mitsui, MM, farmer, soldier, Canadian Legion official (born 7 October 1887 in Tokyo, Japan; died 22 April 1987 in Hamilton, ON). Masumi Mitsui immigrated to Canada in 1908 and served with distinction in the First World War. In 1931, he and his comrades persuaded the BC government to grant Japanese Canadian veterans the right to vote, a breakthrough for Japanese and other disenfranchised Canadians. Nevertheless, Matsui and more than 22,000 Japanese Canadians were displaced, detained and dispossessed by the federal government during the Second World War (see Internment of Japanese Canadians).

Article

New Denver

New Denver, British Columbia, incorporated as a village in 1929, population 473 (2016 census), 504 (2011 census). The village of New Denver is located near the northeastern end of Slocan Lake, 100 km north of Nelson. The site was first called Eldorado, then New Denver (1892), after Denver, Colorado.

Article

Ukrainian Canadians

Ukrainians first came to Canada in the 19th century. The initial influx came as the Canadian government promoted the immigration of farmers (see Agriculture in Canada). During the First World War, thousands of Ukrainian Canadians were imprisoned as enemy aliens due to their origins in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. According to 2016 census, Ukrainian Canadians number 1,359,655 or 3.8 per cent of the country's population and are mainly Canadian-born citizens.

Article

David Suzuki

David Takayoshi Suzuki, CC, OBC, geneticist, broadcaster, environmental activist (born 24 March 1936 in Vancouver, BC). A Japanese Canadian, David Suzuki was interned with his family during the Second World War. He later became one of Canada’s most popular scientists and media personalities. He is best known as the host (1979–2023) of the longest-running science show on television, CBC’s The Nature of Things, and for his work as an environmental activist. He has received ACTRA’s John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence and the Canadian Screen Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he has also received the Order of British Columbia and been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

timeline event

War Measures Act Adopted by Parliament, Leading to Internment of Ukrainian Canadians

During the First World War, approximately 80,000 people, most of them Ukrainian Canadians from provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were forced to register as “enemy aliens,” report to the police on a regular basis and carry government-issued identity papers at all times. Those naturalized for less than 15 years lost the right to vote. The Canadian government also imprisoned 8,579 Ukrainian Canadians — men, women and children — in internment camps across the country. (See Ukrainian Internment in Canada.) Many of the men were used as labour in the country’s frontier wilderness, particularly in national parks such as Banff. Personal wealth and property were confiscated.

Article

War Measures Act

The War Measures Act was a federal law adopted by Parliament on 22 August 1914, after the beginning of the First World War. It gave broad powers to the Canadian government to maintain security and order during “war, invasion or insurrection.” It was used, controversially, to suspend the civil liberties of people in Canada who were considered “enemy aliens” during both world wars. This led to mass arrests and detentions without charges or trials. The War Measures Act was also invoked in Quebec during the 1970 October Crisis. The Act was repealed and replaced by the more limited Emergencies Act in 1988.

Editorial

Japanese Canadian Internment: Prisoners in their own Country

Beginning in early 1942, the Canadian government detained and dispossessed more than 90 per cent of Japanese Canadians, some 21,000 people, living in British Columbia. They were detained under the War Measures Act and were interned for the rest of the Second World War. Their homes and businesses were sold by the government to pay for their detention. In 1988, Prime Minister  Brian Mulroney apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for the wrongs it committed against Japanese Canadians. The government also made symbolic redress payments and repealed the War Measures Act.

Article

Irene Uchida

Irene Ayako Uchida, OC, geneticist (born 8 April 1917 in Vancouver, BC; died 30 July 2013 in Toronto, ON). Dr. Uchida pioneered the field of cytogenetics in Canada, enabling early screening for chromosomal abnormalities (i.e., changes in chromosomes caused by genetic mutations). She discovered that women who receive X-rays during pregnancy have a higher chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. She also discovered that the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome may come from either parent, not only the mother.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

timeline event

Justin Trudeau Apologizes for Internment of Italian Canadians

In a speech in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized for the federal government’s internment of Italian Canadians during the Second World War. Around 600 Italian Canadians suspected of sympathizing with fascism were placed in internment camps during the war, while 31,000 Italian Canadians were registered as enemy aliens and were forced to report to officials once a month.

timeline event

100th Anniversary of War Measures Act is Recognized

On the 100th anniversary of Parliament’s adoption of the War Measures Act, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the federal government unveiled 100 commemorative plaques about internment across the country. In 2013, Parks Canada opened a permanent exhibit — Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Canada's First World War Internment Operations, 1914–1920 — in Banff National Park to increase public awareness of internment.

Article

Muriel Kitagawa

Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa (née Fujiwara), writer, political activist, (born 3 April 1912 in Vancouver, BC; died 27 March 1974 in Toronto, ON). In the 1930s and 1940s, Kitagawa was variously an editor or regular contributor to The New Age, The New Canadian, and Nisei Affairs, publications founded with her fellow second-generation Japanese Canadians to advocate for the political rights of Canadians of Japanese ancestry. She is most well known for her 1941-42 letters to her brother, Mitsumori Wesley “Wes” Fujiwara, which contained her firsthand accounts of the Japanese Canadian community in Vancouver in the months following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor (December 1941) and as the Canadian government gradually implemented orders for the community’s forced removal from the coast (see War Measures Act; Internment of Japanese Canadians). Her letters were published posthumously in 1985 as This is My Own: Letters to Wes & Other Writings on Japanese Canadians, 1941-1948. Kitagawa’s writings were an important source for the Japanese Canadian Redress movement.