Home » The Japanese Internment

The Japanese Internment

Wars though-out history have sprung suspicions upon one group of people or another. The Japanese-Canadians internment in Canada during World War 2 for being suspected spies was one of these cases. Was the internment of Japanese-Canadians justified? No, this internment of Japanese-Canadians was unjustified. The Japanese-Canadians were being punished for a crime they did not commit, and Canadas only defense was the Japanese-Canadians were not white and there was a little chance that they could be Japanese Spies.

Innocent Japanese Canadians were stripped of their rights, became subject to harassment, thrown behind barbwire fence, and forced to do manual labor. The first reason of the Japanese internment was unjustified is the legal and physical rights of the Japanese-Canadians. They were all Canadian citizens and they had the rights that any other Canadian citizen would have received. More than half of the Japanese-Canadians that were interned people whos mothers and father, grandmother and grandfathers were of Japanese decent but they themselves were born in Canada.

Since they were born to Canada they were automatically given Canadian Citizenship. As Canadians they had every right to their physical freedom. But they were not given this right, but instead it was stripped. These were Canadian citizens that had done nothing wrong in any way. They had shown no sign of supporting Japan, but were interned anyway for the actions of Japan. They were interned on the suspicions of others. But they were mostly interned on the prejudice against the Japanese more than anything else.

As true Canadian citizens they had not only had the right to freedom but they also had the right to clean water, good and nutritious food, and the right to a good place to live. The Japanese-Canadians were stripped of this right as well. When the Japanese-Canadians were interned they were given dirty, unclean water, very little food, and the cabins they were forced to live in were in horrible condition. They had poor insulation, no heat, no running water and were small, cramped and cold.

This also falls under the right to freedom. This right to freedom gives them this right to food, water and good living conditions which they were obviously also stripped of. The second point and reason why the internment of Japanese-Canadians was unjustified is the suffering that the Japanese-Canadians went through. When the decision to intern the Japanese-Canadians was made, it was made on the agreement that one of them might be a spy for Japan. This was fair enough and not too bad of a crime because it was possible.

However the things the Canadian government forced the Japanese-Canadians to have to live with and though was not. When the Japanese-Canadians were taken from the British Columbias coast they were being taken away from everything that they had known as home in the past. The Canadian government took all their worldly possessions from them. They were soon auctioned off to the public for next to nothing, often starting at around 5 dollars per item. The government did all this without the permission of the Japanese-Canadians.

The Japanese-Canadians recieved none of the money gained from any of the auctions on their possessions. Many of these possessions were family heirlooms that had great sentimental value for the Japanese-Canadians. The suffering for the Japanese- Canadians did not end there. Many families were split apart and separated from each other. So many Japanese-Canadian families went to work on beet farms in Alberta or Manitoba because there the families were allowed to stay together. But for the Japanese-Canadians who went to the internment camps it was a nightmare.

The families were often separated. Women and children were separated from the men. They were all forced to live in poorly built and insulated cabins with almost no heat. They had very little good food and even less clean water. Their incomes were greatly hours at the internment camps for almost nothing. They had jobs here and there but the majority of them worked building a railway. The Japanese-Canadians on the beet farms were not fairing much better, but their families were allowed to stay together but it was an extremely hard life on these farms.

Every family member had to work long tiring hours on the farm. These Japanese-Canadians too received very little money even after all their efforts. And the suffering of Japanese-Canadians became even more obvious. When the war finally came to an end the Japanese-Canadians were still not released from their prison. Then the government told the Japanese-Canadians that they could either stay in the internment camps or return to Japan. Most of the Japanese-Canadians stayed in the internment camps. However some did return to Japan.

Eventually the Canadian government did let the Japanese-Canadians leave the internment camps but they were not allowed to return to the coast and had to start all over again with any businesses and work that they may have once had. The third and final reason the interment of the Japanese-Canadians was unjustified is the lack of evidence against the Japanese-Canadians. All the suspicions against Japanese-Canadians were unjustified and had no proof or evidence to support its truth. Many of the Japanese-Canadians interned had fought in World War 1 on Canadas side.

They had put their lives on the line for the Canadian nation. Yet they too were interned. What were these war heros interned for? Because they fought for our nation and showed true loyalty towards it? When the government took immediate action against the Japanese-Canadians they arrested many of them knowing very well that every single one of the Japanese-Canadians arrested had previously compiled by the RCMP. The government didnt even have any evidence to support that the Japanese-Canadian had done anything wrong at all. More than half of these so- called spies were people born into Canada.

They were all Canadian citizens. The Canadian government took the internment even further when they forced all Japanese-Canadians to register as enemy aliens. The RCMP, military, and the Mounties all knew that the Japanese-Canadians were no where near to being a national security risk. When the government came to them they told them that the Japanese-Canadians were not a security risk and that they presented no threat at all to the nation. Of course the Canadian government did not listen to this and interned them despite the military and Mounties warnings about the Japanese-Canadians presenting no threat.

None of anyones suspicions had anything to do with truth or justice. They were all made from the fear and confusion of the war and that they could be the enemy, not that they actually were. After all these were peoples neighbours that had not acted out of the ordinary in any way. How could any of them have possibly been a spy? The legal and physical rights of Japanese-Canadians, suffering endured by Japanese-Canadians, and lack of evidence against them are all arguments that prove the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War 2 were unjustified.

However the Japanese-Canadians did get compensation from the Canadian government for their actions against Japanese-Canadians. The government gave all Japanese-Canadians that were alive who had survived and lived though the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War 2, 21 000 dollar compensation. They also gave the Japanese-Canadians their sincere apology upon their actions towards Japanese- Canadians during World War 2. This was an important occasion not only for the Japanese-Canadians but also for all of Canada since it promoted cultural diversity within Canada.

But after all the Canadian government forced the Japanese-Canadians to go though is this compensation of 21 000 dollars truly enough? After all the suffering endured by them is it truly enough? The world must learn from history to try to prevent something as horrible as this from ever happening again. Prevent this tragedy from ever re-occurring. Or is the world forced to live in this vicious deadly circle for the rest of its life?

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.