They who part the grass: the Japanese government and early nikkei immigration to Canada, 1877–1908
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This paper provides an account of early Japanese immigration to Canada in the years between 1877 and 1908 from the point of view of the Japanese Imperial government of the time. Drawing on Japanese diplomatic correspondence uncovered by Toshiji Sasaki in his 1999 work "Nihon-jin Kanada imin-shi" and accounts from Japanese-language newspapers published in Vancouver during the period, I examine the Japanese experience in Canada and describe how Japanese officials and emigrants responded to Canadian efforts to restrict Japanese emigration to Canada, culminating in the Vancouver Riot of 1907. I show how, when faced with this diplomatic crisis, Japanese officials reacted only reluctantly and, for the most part, ineffectually to limit emigration to Canada. The result of such restrictions as ultimately were imposed on the emigration of Japanese workers was not the end of Japanese emigration but the beginning of permanent settlement by Japanese families in Canada.