The core of the Japanese experience in Canada lies in the shameful and almost undemocratic suspension of human rights that the Canadian government committed during World War II. As a result, thousands of Japanese were uprooted to be imprisoned in internment camps miles away from their homes. While only a small percentage of the Japanese living in Canada were actually nationals of Japan, those who were Canadian born were, without any concrete evidence, continuously being associated with a country that was nothing but foreign to them. Branded as "enemy aliens", the Japanese Canadians soon came to the realization that their beloved nation harboured so much hate and anti-Asian sentiments that Canada was becoming just as foreign to them as Japan was. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Canadians lost almost everything, including their livelihood. Their dignity as a people was being seriously threatened. Without any proper thought, they were aware that resistance against Canada's white majority would prove to be futile. Racial discrimination had its biggest opportunity to fully reveal itself while the Japanese silently watched the civil disdain take action, the time slip by throughout the evacuation and internment, and their daily lives simply fall apart at the seams.
The term "Canadian" offered no redemption as the Japanese Canadians were involuntarily regarded as potential treats to national security by their own fellow citizens. In a country they knew only as home, the "yellow" race was a culture many felt they could never accept with open arms. In essence, as the prejudice impelled the Japanese to enclose themselves in a separated society, they were decidedly doomed to remain a permanently alien, non-voting population. As visible minorities, the Japanese were easy targets for discrimination in every social aspect of their lives. In 1907, a race riot took place in a district called "Little Tokyo" in Vancouver. There, an estimated five thousand...
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