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Reference Timeline

The Pre-World War II Years
1877
Manzo Nagano, first Japanese individual known to land and settle in Canada. Abandoned ship in New Westminster and subsequently ran a gift shop, Japanese food store and hotel in Victoria, BC.
1887
Kuno Gihei, visits Canada and returns to Wakayama-ken to recruit fellow villagers to settle in the village of Steveston. Steveston becomes the second largest Japanese-Canadian settlement before WWII.
1890s
Issei, Japanese immigrants, establish stores, boarding houses and other businesses along the streets adjacent to Hastings Mill, especially along Powell Street. This neighbourhood becomes the major settlement of Japanese Canadians until WWII.
1895
Government of British Columbia denies franchise to citizens of Asian descent.
1902
Tomekichi Homma, a naturalized Canadian citizen, applies to be included on the voters' list. After refusal by the Collector of Voters, a BC judge declares ultra vires a clause barring Asians from voting but this decision is overturned by the Privy Council of Britain. Loses the fight for the franchise and cannot vote, hold public office or become lawyers, pharmacists, architects, chartered accountants or teachers.
1904
Japanese Canadian farmers begin to settle in the Fraser Valley and establish themselves as successful berry farmers.
1905
The first Buddhist temple in Canada opens at the Ishikawa Hotel on Powell Street, Vancouver.
1906
The first Japanese language school is established in Vancouver by the Japanese Consulate.
1907
Anti-Asian riot in Vancouver.
1908
The Hayashi-Lemieux "Gentlemen's Agreement" further restrict Japanese immigration to 400 male immigrants and domestic servants per year, plus returning immigrants and their immediate family. "Picture bride" system of marriage becomes widespread. In 1928, the limit is reduced further to150 per year.
1914
Outbreak of World War I.
1916
After being rejected in BC, approximately 200 issei volunteers travel to Alberta to join battalions of the Canadian expeditionary force and are shipped to Europe. In 1917, surviving veterans are promised the right to vote.
1919
BC reduces the number of fishing licenses to "other than white residents". Over the next five years, licenses to Japanese continue to be reduced.
1920
Japanese-Canadian mill-workers form the first Japanese-Canadian union.
1921
Asiatic Exclusion League is formed.
1924 & 1928
Amendment to the "Gentlemen's Agreement". Japanese immigrants not to exceed 150 per year.
1927
Gains affiliation with the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada. First agricultural producers' cooperative, the Maple Ridge Berry Growers Co-operative Exchange is organized by YasutaroYamaga.
1929
Jun Kisawa, an Issei fisher, wins a court battle to overturn restrictions against Japanese Canadians using motorized fishing boats.
1931
Remaining WWI veterans finally receive the right to vote and become the only Japanese Canadians to be enfranchised.
1936
Japanese Canadian Citizens League is formed and sends a delegation to Ottawa to petition for the franchise. The petition is unsuccessful.
1938
The New Canadian is established as the first English-language Japanese Canadian newspaper. It becomes the only Japanese Canadian newspaper allowed to publish during the years of uprooting.
1938-40
RCMP kept surveillance on the Japanese community. However, they recorded no subversive activity.
1939
Canada declares war with Germany.
World War II and the War Measures Act
1941 Jan. 7
A Special Committee of the Cabinet War Committee recommends that Japanese Canadians not be allowed to volunteer for the armed services on the grounds that there is strong public opinion against them.
Mar. to Aug.
Compulsory registration of all Japanese Canadians over 16 years is carried out by the RCMP.
Dec. 7
Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. Canada declares war on Japan. Under the War Measures Act, Order in Council P.C. 9591, all Japanese nationals and those naturalized after 1922 are required to register with the Registrar of Enemy Aliens.
Dec. 8
1,200 fishing boats are impounded and put under the control of the Japanese Fishing Vessel Disposal Committee. Japanese language newspapers and schools closed. Insurance policies are cancelled.
Dec. 16
P.C. 9760 is passed requiring mandatory registration of all persons of Japanese origin, regardless of citizenship, with Registrar of Enemy Aliens.
1942 Jan. 16
P.C. 365 designated an area 100 miles inland from the west coast as a "protected area".
Feb.7
All male "enemy aliens" between the ages of 18-45 are forced to leave the protected coastal area before April 1. Most are sent to work on road camps in the Rockies. Some are sent to Angler.
Feb. 24
P.C. 1486 empowers the Minister of Justice to control the movements of all persons of Japanese origin in the protected area.
Feb. 26
Notice is issued by the Minister of Justice ordering all persons of "the Japanese race" to leave the coast. Cars, cameras and radios confiscated. Dusk-to-dawn curfew is imposed.
Mar. 4
B.C. Security Commission is established to plan, supervise and direct the expulsion of Japanese Canadians.
P.C. 1665 Property and belongings are entrusted to the Custodian of Enemy Alien Property as a "protective measure only".
Mar. 16
First arrival at Vancouver's Hastings Park holding center. All Japanese Canadian mail is censored from this date.
Mar. 25
B.C. Security Commission initiates a program of assigning men to road camps and women and children to ghost town detention camps.
June 29
P.C. 5523 - The Director of Soldier Settlement is given authority to purchase or lease farms owned by Japanese Canadians. He subsequently buys 572 farms without consulting the owners.
Oct.
22,000 persons of whom 75% are Canadian citizens (60% Canadian born, 15% naturalized) have been uprooted forcibly from the coast.
1943 Jan. 23
Order in Council grants the Custodian of Enemy Alien Property the right to dispose of Japanese Canadian properties in his care without the owners' consent.
1944 Aug. 4
Prime Minister King states it is desirable that Japanese Canadians are dispersed across Canada.
Applications for "voluntary repatriation" to Japan are sought by the Canadian government. Those who do not must move east of the Rockies to prove their loyalty to Canada. "Repatriation" for many means exile to a country they have never seen before.
1945 Jan.
150 second generation Japanese Canadians (nisei) are accepted into the Canadian Intelligence Corps after pressure from the British government.
Sept. 2
Japan surrenders. Atom bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
All internment camps, except New Denver are ordered closed and settlements of shacks bulldozed. B.C. Security Commission office in New Denver closes in 1957.
The Post-World War II Years
1946 Jan. 1
On expiry of the War Measures Act, the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act is used to keep the measures against Japanese Canadians in place.
May 31
Boats begin carrying exiled Japanese Canadians to Japan.
Dec.
The Privy Council upholds a Supreme Court Decision that the deportation orders are legal.
1947 Jan. 24
Deportation orders are cancelled. 4,000 Japanese Canadians have already been "repatriated".
Apr.
The Citizenship Act extends the franchise to Canadians of Chinese and South Asian origin, but excludes Japanese Canadians and aboriginal peoples.
July.18
The Bird Commission is formed to inquire into losses though sales by the Custodian at less than market value and through theft of property in the case of the Custodian.
1949 Mar. 31
Restrictions imposed under the War Measures Act are lifted and franchise is given to Japanese Canadians.
1950
Bird Commission findings awarded about $1.2 million and rejects the National Japanese Canadian Citizens Association appeal that further claims be considered as well as an indemnity for general losses.
Order-in-Council P.C. 4364 revokes an order prohibiting immigration of "enemy aliens", and provides for some of those deported to re-immigrate to Canada.
1967
Canadian government announces a point system for new immigrants. "Race" is no longer a criterion for immigration.
1977
Japanese Canadian centennial is celebrated across Canada.
Redress Efforts in the 80s
1984 Jan.
The National Association of Japanese Canadian Council meeting in Winnipeg unanimously passes resolutions seeking an official acknowledgement and redress for the injustices committed against JC during and after World War II. The Council also calls for a review of the War Measures Act to ensure that no Canadians will ever again be subjected to such wrongs.
Mar.
The Special Committee on Participation of Visible Minorities in Canadian Society (Task Force) an all-party parliamentary committee, publishes Equality Now. They recommend that "The Parliament of Canada should officially acknowledge the mistreatment accorded to the Japanese in Canada during and after World War II and the Government of Canada should undertake negotiations to redress those wrongs."
1985 Jan. 28
Toronto City Council unanimously passed a motion urging the Government of Canada to re-open negotiations with the NAJC towards a full and just redress settlement for the treatment of JC during and after WWII.
1986 May 9
Price Waterhouse Associates assesses income and property losses at not less than $443 million in 1986 dollars.
1987 July 12
The NAJC appeals to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to intervene personally to resolve the Redress issue.
Sept. 17, 1987
The U. S. House of Representatives passes the Civil Liberties Act of 1987, offering an acknowledgement and $1.37 billion in Redress to Japanese Americans interned during World War II - $20,000 to each of the estimated 66,000 survivors and $50 million fund to educate the American public about the uprooting.
Oct. 1987
Public support for the NAJC is mobilized in the birth of the National Coalition for Japanese Canadian Redress. The Coalition consists of a broad cross-section of individuals, ethnic organizations, unions, professional associations and cultural groups.
Oct.
Rally on Parliament Hill, Ottawa by supporters of Redress.
1988 Sept. 22
Acknowledgement, apology and compensation.
1996
The Census of Canada shows a Japanese Canadian population of 77,130, of whom approximately one third indicate multiple ethnic backgrounds, indicating an intermarriage rate of over 90% in recent decades.
2002
125th anniversary of the first Japanese to arrive in Canada.