The resettlement of Japanese Canadians in Manitoba, 1942-1948

Thumbnail Image
Dion, Louis.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Much of the literature on the removal of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War is preoccupied with British Columbia and Ottawa; and little detailed research has been done on the fate of Japanese communities resettled in other provinces. Between 1942 and 1948 some 1,180 Japanese evacuees were relocated in Manitoba. The task of this thesis is to examine why the Japanese families were relocated in Manitoba, and how they were treated by federal authorities, the Manitoba government and the province's residents. The establishment and evolution of the Japanese community in Manitoba during the period will also be discussed. The thesis will accomplish this by examining the complex inter-relationship among the British Columbia Security Commission (BCSC), a federal agency associated with the Department of Labour, the Manitoba Sugar Beet industry, the Manitoba government, the Japanese evacuees and concerned citizens amongst the province's rural and urban population. The people of Japanese origin resettled in Manitoba represented a cross section of British Columbia's Japanese community. First (Issei) and second (Nisei) generation Japanese Canadians, born or naturalized, as well as Japanese Nationals (citizens of Japan), arrived in Manitoba together. From the correspondence between the BCSC and provincial governments as well as among Security Commission officials, it is clear that the evacuees were viewed as one community. Japanese Canadians and Nationals were accorded the same treatment whether under the jurisdiction of the BCSC, or later, the Japanese Division within the Department of Labour. Of the 1,180 relocated in Manitoba, 220 were Japanese Nationals. While Japanese Nationals elected a representative who dealt with the Spanish Consulate monitoring the treatment of enemy aliens, in actual practice any changes in regulations by the authorities were applied to all evacuees. Thus for the purpose of this discussion, references such as evacuees, Japanese families, Japanese community and Japanese Canadians will include all persons evacuated to Manitoba, unless otherwise specifically stated.