Japanese Canadians to Seek Redress from BC Government in 2020

Redress efforts seek not only recognition of historic injustices against Japanese Canadians, but also future actions to benefit B.C. society as a whole.

Click the image to read the Recommendations for Redressing Historical Wrongs Against Japanese Canadians in BC. This 36-page long report contains several key suggestions to the BC Government about ways to redress past discrimination and mistreatment of Japanese Canadians. It is not only about the past, but about our continuing responsibility to address racism and hate speech.

Since the early 1900’s, for over 60 years, racist legislation and discrimination in BC culminated in the province’s critical role in the forced removal, internment, confiscation of property, and forced exile of 22,000 Japanese Canadians during 1942 to 1949. Recent research shows the BC government and its officials were complicit directly and indirectly in the unjust actions leading to the devastation of the Japanese Canadian community.

The Government of British Columbia’s official Apology Motion to Japanese Canadians in 2012 was issued without prior community-wide participation. It did not formally assume responsibility for past injustices and was not followed by redress or legacy initiatives at the time, which many saw as a missed opportunity for meaningful follow-up and healing.

In June 2019, the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) will conduct a series of Japanese Canadian community consultation meetings across BC to provide community members a voice in offering recommendations for redress and legacy initiatives to the Government of British Columbia.

The consultations have identified new opportunities to make visible the history of injustice, support the sustainability of the Japanese Canadian community, and highlight the contributions of Japanese Canadians to creating a just and prosperous society for all. (from the NAJC newsletter)

The following five themes emerged from the community consultations, ranked in order of importance:

1. Enhance Public School Education in British Columbia. Japanese Canadian history should be embedded in the mandatory core public elementary and high school curricula and be available online.

2. Take Concrete Steps to Combat Racism and Discrimination. We encourage the BC Government to create an independent body to review and assess the BC Government’s existing anti-racism strategy in consultation with affected communities and service providers.

3. Raise Public Awareness through Memorialization. Funding should be provided to sustain the maintenance and operations of new and existing museums (especially the Nikkei National Museum), historic sites, and monuments, and to reclaim historic community spaces.

4. Create a Japanese Canadian Community Legacy Fund. Establish a fund administered by the Japanese Canadian community to support community development programs, activities, and needs such as: seniors’ care and housing, community wellness and healing programs, community gathering programs to rebuild fragile communities.

5. Deliver a Formal Apology Acknowledging the BC Government’s Role. We seek a formal acknowledgement of the wrongs committed by former BC Governments that led to the injustices faced by Japanese Canadians who suffered in mind, body, and spirit, and a sincere apology to those surviving Japanese Canadians directly affected by the injustices.

Following is link to an article published in the Vancouver Sun on December 29th. 2019.

Dan Fumano: '2020 is the time' for Japanese Canadians to 'grab' redress


More good reads on the subject:

Following is the links to the six part in-depth articles about the history of Japanese Canadians in BC written by John Price, Professor Emeritus (history) University of Victoria. The articles were published in Times Colonist during November and December 2019. John Price is the author of Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific and, recently, A Woman in Between: Searching for Dr. Victoria Chung.

Part 1: Our History: Righting a historical wrong for Japanese Canadians


Part 2: Our History: After Pearl Harbour, province lobbied for displacement of Japanese Canadians


Part 3: Our History: B.C. went out of its way to make life miserable for Japanese Canadians


Part 4: Our History: Young people paid high price for B.C.’s exile of Japanese Canadians


Part 5: Dispossession: How B.C. stole the lives of 22,000 Japanese Canadians


Part 6: The final straw: Japanese Canadians offered an impossible choice




Japanese-Canadians weigh a harsh WWII experience — one that surpassed their U.S. cousins

This is a link to an article published by the Japan Times in September 2018 about how Japanese Canadians in BC were treated compared with their US counterpart.


Charcoal Pit Kiln Research Project

Galiano charcoal kiln

Kiln on Galiano on Bluff Park

We are very pleased to announce the launch of an exciting project to conduct research on the Japanese Canadian charcoal kilns of the Gulf Islands. We have received a one-time $24,000 grant from the BC | Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada Fund offered by the BC Museum Association, and a one-time $2,500 grant from the Endowment Fund of the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

Continue reading “Charcoal Pit Kiln Research Project”

Uprooting Presentation at the Library

Uprooting Presentation Post 2017

2017! This year is Canada’s 150th birthday and also the 75th anniversary of the uprooting of the Japanese-Canadians from the BC Coast.

The Japanese Garden Society will be holding a month-long presentation about the history of the Japanese-Canadians, focusing on the uprooting that happened during WW II. You may find some parallels to what is going on in the present world.

The Uprooting
1942: The War Measures Act and Japanese-Canadians
Location: Salt Spring Library Program Room
Date: February 1st to 27th
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5am
(When the Program Room is not in use for the other event) Continue reading “Uprooting Presentation at the Library”

Japanese charcoal pit kilns located

Japanese charcoal pit kilns have been located in Mouat Park

The Japanese Garden Society is launching a new project in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission – the Restoration of the Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns. As PARC has been such a great partner, we are feeling very hopeful about the project.

The society has started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to get the project moving. We recently received some good news that we’ve been chosen to receive grants from the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Salt Spring Foundation.

Go to Japanese Charcoal Kiln Restoration on our website for more details.

Japanese Pioneers Honoured

Graves of several members of the original Japanese-Canadian families have been restored, with hand-cut marker stones created by Salt Spring artist Warren Langley shown here with Rose and Richard Murakami.

Japanese Canadian grave salt Spring

To read the article originally published in the Driftwood newspaper July 11, 2013 issue, please click here”Driftwood“.