The Japanese-Canadian Internment

Brief History

“I was a 22-year-old Japanese Canadian, a prisoner of my own country of birth. We were confined inside the high wire fence of Hastings Park just like caged animals.” - Tom Tamagi, former member of internment camp.

Japanese-Canadians from WWII were treated poorly due to the fact that they were Japanese, who, at the time, was considered the enemy. Japanese-Canadians, as well as their belongings, were removed from their homes and enlisted into internment camps. During their stay, they were used for hard labour that was often considered extremely hazardous and were paid with incredibly low wages.

Major Players


While Canadians of Ukrainian and Slavic descent were also victims, Japanese-Canadians were the main victims of forced internment during the years after WWII. Twenty-thousand Japanese-Canadians were Interned in camps, which is about 90% of the Japanese-Canadians living in Canada at the time.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens were very discriminant towards Canadians with Japanese, German, Ukrainian, and Slavic descent. Canadians expressed distrust and were very racist towards these people, especially during the years of and following the Second World War.

Mackenzie King

Mackenzie Lyon King was the Prime Minister of Canada during the internment of Japanese Canadians. He permitted the sale of the detainees' belongings in order to pay for his camps. He also sold their possessions in an attempt to make it easier for the Canadian government to deport any Japanese-Canadians. He never expressed regret or guilt about his actions.

Brian Mulroney

Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister of Canada between the years of 1984-93. Brian Mulroney gave an apology speech for all Japanese-Canadians for their internment in 1988. To express the sincerity of his apology, he replaced the War Measures Act with the Emergencies Act, which puts limitations on the governments jurisdiction when it comes to national emergencies.

Barriers that needed to be overcomed

The war measures act

The War Measures Act was the factor that gave the government and Mackenzie King the jurisdiction to put Japanese-Canadians into internment camps in times of war. The War Measures Act was enforced between the years of 1914 and 1988.


Racism towards the Japanese-Canadians was based off of the years in the Second World War and long before that. Due to the racism of Canadians, Japanese-Canadians were restricted access to jobs in the public sector and were unable to vote.

How these Barriers were overcome

Created By
Tristan Coombs


Created with images by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives - "Eugene Hattori, first child of interned Japanese parents, and his sister Susan, Lethbridge, Alberta / Eugene Hattori, premier enfant né à Lethbridge, en Alberta, de parents japonais en camp d’internement. Il est photographié avec sa sœur Susan" • Wilson Hui - "Pearl Harbor - USS Arizona and Battleship Missouri" • Bobolink - "Hamilton International Air Show 1997 04" • Arapaoa Moffat Photography - "1.1 - Spitfire" • alexaleutians - "Gropu photo of VP-62 servicemembers"

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