The word immigration means an “action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country” . The people of China started their immigration to Canada before Canada joined confederation; various factors forced the people to leave their country such as wars, floods, and tsunami while many people were attracted because of “shortage of workers” in new Canadian industries and even “new settlement” attracted them . After Canada was officially announced as a country, Canadian Pacific Railway and the gold rush in British Columbia were the main factors that motivated Chinese and other Asian people to immigrate to Canada . During the “Fraser River” gold rush and Canadian Pacific Railway many workers were required for constructing roads, cutting down trees, mountains and clearing the area, making the railway lines; Chinese workers agreed to work at low wages and consequently were hired . The Chinese are Canada 's “oldest” community of Asian immigrants and they played a historical role in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was a key to Confederation . Despite of Chinese workers contributions to building and completing the Canadian Pacific Railway, they faced racial discrimination, especially in the form of the Chinese Head Tax, which was enforced to prevent and discourage Chinese immigration to Canada, and it was a complete racism.
To be a Japanese immigrant in the early 1900s was difficult but after December 7, 1941 things only got worse. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the United States naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. “Although conflict had been underway in both Europe and Asia for years, the United States did not formally enter the hostilities until December 8, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously declared the attack on Pearl Harbor ‘a day which we live in infamy’ and asked Congress for a declaration of war” (Wu and Izumi). After the attack on Pearl Harbor “race became increasingly associated with loyalty in the United States” (Harth 254). “What Japan had done was blamed on Japanese Americans” (Wu 2). On February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Executive Order 9066 granted the secretary of war and his commanders the power “to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded” (Executive Order 9066). “Although the text of Executive Order 9066 did not specifically mention Japanese Americans, it was intended to apply to them exclusively” (G. Robinson and G. Robinson 4).
The Japanese Americans sustained many injustices during the pre-World War Two era, including exclusion from traditional establishments and occupations. It was noted, “the [economic] argument and the discriminatory measures are plain contradictions” (Goto 105-106). Although the stated goal of Californians was to have a unified population, their actions belied their true motives. The colossal nature of the assimilatory feats performed by Japanese dictated that “even Californian agitators themselves, in their moments of private reflection, admit the wonderful power of adaptability of Japanese,” but, “in public they do everything to prevent the process of assimilation from running its natural course” (Goto 106). Often, the bigoted owners of white establishments barred people of Japanese
Japanese immigrants and the following generations had to endure discrimination, racism, and prejudice from white Americans. Two months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the United States government to forcibly removed thousands of Japanese-American citizens who lived on the West Coast. They would relocate them to concentration camps in remote parts of Arizona, California, Idaho, and other states in the West because of an unfair reason from white Americans due to fear and ignorance. The relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps was one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history. Approximately, 130,000 Japanese immigrants were relocated to these interment camps, lost their businesses, forced to give up their homes and assets in addition to their freedom. Most of the population were long-standing immigrants (Issei) who arrived before 1924 or American-born children of immigrants (Nisei) who were solid members of the community and loyal to their country.
The Japanese living in Canada during World War II (WWII) faced one of the harshest and inhumane living conditions in Canadian history. One unidentified woman remembers, “it was terrible, unbelievable. They kept us in the stalls where they put the cattle and horses.” Before WWII, the Japanese were targeted for their culture. An example is the Anti-Asiatic League that was created to limit the number of Japanese men that could immigrate to Canada. Canadians did not want the potential competitors in farming and fishing. 22,000 Japanese Canadians were interned during WWII, even though 14,000 had been Canadian born citizens. This was because the Japanese had bombed Canada’s ally, the United States. With this in mind, the Canadians viewed the
Japanese immigrants left their homelands for destinations in the United States as early as the 1790s. More than 100,000 people filtered into employment in the sugar cane fields of Hawaii, where the pull of work and good wages offered promising economic opportunity. By 1860, many Americans owned sugar plantations, who - aided by the United States military, attempted colonialization of Hawaii, against their will – and in an 1887 treaty, established a naval base at Pearl Harbor. On the mainland, immigrants arrived in numbers surpassing 200,000 during the period between 1900 – 1920. While the Japanese competed with “native-born” or immigrant residents in both locations, especially in California, they faced distrust and discrimination in seeking profitable livelihood.
The Japanese immigrants worked on mainly the Northeast coast, slowly moving across the states, and diligently saved money to send back home to families. The sugar beet industry took off in the 1920’s, due to new irrigation advancements, the Japanese immigrants took their labor in the farming market as hope for establishing their own farmsteads and independence (Mercier). Of course, as many minorities unfortunately realized, this was extremely limited by racial tension and discrimination from local landowners and state government. The limitations were so potent, Japanese immigrants could only rent or lease land for their own crops, and the tension between the countries—American and Japan—led to a so-called “Gentleman’s Agreement” between the countries. After 1908, immigration from Japan was extremely limited but American government stated that wives and bridges of the male immigrants were granted access to the states
In the 1880’s, America began seeing the first Japanese immigrants arrive in the Pacific Northwest. The Japanese came to this country searching for a better life. Many hoped to begin a new life in America where they could raise their families. There were others who came here merely to earn and save money only to return to Japan later on. The Japanese people who began their lives in America experienced little racism and discrimination, that is, before December 7th, 1941 when the country of Japan bombed the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. After this event, the Japanese-American people’s lives would change dramatically.
All across the West, relocation notices were posted on April 30, 1942. All people of Japanese ancestry – including those with only 1/16th Japanese blood – were given one week to settle their affairs. Farmers desperately looked to neighbors to help take care of their crops, but like many Japanese-American business owners, they faced financial ruin. Families lost everything, forced to sell off homes, shops, furnishings, even the clothes they couldn’t carry with them, to buyers happy to snap them up for next to
The Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 is a deal conducted between President Theodore Roosevelt and Japan in an attempt to soothe rising tensions, through the limit of immigration by both countries, and the United States additionally repealing the allowance of segregated school for Asian children.
The history of Canadian immigration highlights that the immigration policies has been selective about the immigrants coming to Canada. The basis of the choice of immigrants and corresponding policies and laws were motivated and shaped by the political, social and economic position of Canada throughout the decades. Through the historical records the Canadian immigration policies had been heavily influenced by ethnicity, race and religion factors.
Before looking further, the historical context of Japanese Americans being marked as the “model minority,” must be explained to better understand the establishment of the East Winds. Bob H. Suzuki brings to light the transition from Yellow Peril of Japanese Americans being depicted by dehumanizing stereotypes,” to the “model minority,” myth (Suzuki 23). The thesis of the “model minority” formulates from the wake of World War II, as “ the limited upward mobility of Asian Americans was achievable because of the demand for workers to fill lower-echelon white-collar jobs” along with training and socialization Asians had acquired through both home and extended schooling” (Suzuki 43).
Migration of Japanese people to America began in mid-1800s as they searched for peace and a mode of payment to improve their family conditions, and escape from unstable home conditions in Japan. Migration resulted in a life of great hard work and severities of hostility in the workplace. In addition, Japanese immigrants had to face multiple legislative attacks from Americans and endure poor working conditions because of their presence in a foreign land.