Posted: May 11, 2011 in Quotes

Roy Ito, We Went to War. The Story of Japanese Canadians Who Served During the First and Second World Wars. 1984.

“The deep rooted fear and hatred of the Japanese that went back for half a century had climaxed in a manner that was perhaps inevitable. The animosity had been nurtured by many men, twisting facts and playing upon racial prejudice until the people of British Columbia perceived the distortions as the truth.” 

Angus MacInnes, Member of Parliament from British Columbia, 1943.

“I see no reason why we should deal with the population of Japanese origin among us any differently from the way in which we deal with those of German and Italian extraction. If we deal with them differently – and we have done so – we do it an account of racial prejudice.”

Prime Minister Mackenzie King, House of Commons, 1944.

“The sound policy and the best policy for the Japanese Canadians themselves is to distribute widely as possible throughout the country where they will not create feelings of racial hostility.” 

Kitagawa, Muriel. Letter to the Custodian of Enemy Property, 1943

“You, who deal in lifeless figures, files, and statistics, could never measure the depth of hurt and outrage dealt out to those of us who love this land. It is because we are Canadians that we protest the violation of our birthright.”

Kogawa, Joy. Naomi’s Road, 1986

“Every morning I wake up in a narrow bunk bed by the stove. I wish and wish we could go home. I don’t want to be in this house of the bears with newspaper walls. I want to be with Mommy and Daddy and my doll in our real house. I want to be in my own room where the picture bird sings above my head….But no matter how hard I wish, we don’t go home.”

Thomas Reid, Member of Parliament for New Westminster, January 15, 1942

“Take them back to Japan. They do not belong here, and here, and there is only one solution to the problem. They cannot be assimilated as Canadians for no matter how long the Japanese remain in Canada they will always be Japanese.”

Takashima, Shizuye. A Child in a Prison Camp, 1971

“I have to pay taxes, but have never been allowed to vote. Even now, they took our land, our houses, our children, everything. We are their enemies.”

Japanese Canadian Centennial Project, 1978.

“Let us break this self-damaging silence and own our own history. If we do not, estrangement from our past will be absorbed and driven deeper, surfacing as a fragmentation in ourselves and coming generations.”


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