The Discriminatory Actions Of The Japanese Internment Camps

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Racism towards Japanese goes way back to 1877 when white settlers excluded the first Japanese man Manzo Nagano in BC, 65 years before the Japanese Internment during WWII. Not to mention, the Provincial Government of British Columbia passed laws that made it hard for Japanese Canadians to work and it got worse until WWII. Racist movements toward the Japanese started in 1877 when the first Japanese immigrant came to BC and got excluded by the white settlers in BC. Years went by and the Provincial Government of British Columbia passed laws making hard for Japanese to work and got more worse until the dawn of the Pacific War during WWII. Anti-Japanese movements continued in British Columbia until December 7th, 1941. These movements included not providing employment of Japanese or if did employed they would be payed a pittance of there hard work. But on December 7th 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Hong Kong where British and Canadian troops were stationed. This led to fears of an occupation of the West Coast of BC by the Japanese Army. 

This caused mistrust of the innocent Japanese Canadians due to alleged possibly of spying which led to many arrests by the RCMP while the Royal Canadian Navy seized fishing boats owned by Japanese people. “[I] was a prisoner of my own country of birth [..] we were confined inside the high wire fence of Hastings Park just like caged animals” said Tom Tamagi, a 22-year-old Japanese citizen. Most of the Japanese were put on trains to ghost towns in the interior. After the war, the Canadian Government gave the Japanese people two options. They could move to the provinces east of the Rocky Mountains. 4,000 of the detainees decided to sail back to a bombed-out-Japan. For 4 decades, there was no true apology from the government. In 1984 however, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau didn’t apologize but gave out a regret for what happened when he said, “I do not see how I can apologize for some historic event to which we… were not a party.”

In 1988 though, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney stood up and gave symbolic apology of the government’s mistreatment of the Japanese prior and during WWII along with address and payments to victims or victims families/future generations. Later in 1988, the War Measures Act, which persecuted the Japanese at the time and was replaced with the Emergencies Act that has fewer powers then previous war act. In conclusion, racism towards Japanese people goes back to 1877 when the first Japanese immigrant arrived, Internment of the Japanese during WWII and finally ended when the Brian Mulroney apologized in 1988 on the government’s wrongdoing toward the Japanese before and after the war. 

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