Japanese people were blamed for everything from a bad crop to a flat tire” (Biase). Japanese Canadians claimed they were given many dirty and hateful looks, and overheard “people cursing at Japanese for their car troubles” (Biase). The Japanese Canadians were being punished for a crime they did not commit. Canada’s only defence for its actions was that, “Japanese people were not white and they ‘could’ be spies” (Biase). This meant people were suspicious and literally afraid of Japanese for being spies sent from Japan.
As a result, Japanese Canadians had to deal with being blamed for things they did not deserve, thus resulting in being treated unjustly as a human being. This notice was distributed throughout British Columbia. If any Japanese were found in the prohibited areas listed, they would be incarcerated. Thirdly, the Japanese Canadians were sent to internment camps across Canada against their will. In Canada, there were 10 internment camps where, “3 were road camps, 2 were prisoner of war camps (POW) and 5 were self-supporting camps” (Robinson).
Internment camps is a “large detention center created for political opponents, enemy aliens, people with mental illness, members of specific ethnic or religious groups, civilian inhabitants of a critical war-zone, or other groups of people, usually during a war” (Dictionary). In this case, internment camps in Canada at the time were designed for only Japanese Canadians. Internment camps were labour/work camps, which required heavy-duty work for the 22,000 imprisoned Japanese Canadians to do.
Since World War II caused a large shortage of farmers, especially sugar beet farmers, the Security Commission Council organized, “Sugar beet projects to combat the labour shortage. This gave Japanese males a choice. The choice was to work in road camps as slaves or go to the beet camps and be with their families. Working in the beet camp was the choice taken by the majority of Japanese married men” (Biase). Considering the Japanese Canadians had to live inside the camps, the living conditions inside the internment camps were poor. They were crowded and were primitive with no electricity or running water.
A story from Hideo Kukubo tells what life was like during the war: “I was in that camp for four years. When it got cold the temperature went down to as much as 60 below. The buildings stood on flat land beside a lake. We lived in huts with no insulation. Even if we had the stove burning the inside of the windows would all be frosted up and white, really white. I had to lie in bed with everything on that I had… at one time there were 720 people there, all men, and a lot of them were old men. ” This is just one of the many horrible stories the Japanese Canadians experienced.
Therefore, the Japanese Canadians were treated unfairly when they were forced to work and live in internment camps. In conclusion, the Japanese Canadians suffered during the period 1929 to 1945. They had their property and rights taken from them, they were blamed for unnecessary things and forced into camps where labour was the only thing you did all day. Therefore, when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced a historic redress settlement for the Japanese Canadians on September 22, 1988, it truly was the best thing to do, even though it was long overdue.