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BC MUSEUMS & GALLERIES: The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre

BC MUSEUMS & GALLERIES: The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre

August 10, 2016

By Alex Lausanne

“The uprooting, internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians is this experience that was shared by thousands of people, but it’s also a highly individual experience,” said Jordan Stanger-Ross, a University of Victoria professor and the director of the Landscapes of Injustice project. “In some sense, the dispossession was as diverse as the people who lost their property.”

The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, in Burnaby, is a multi-use facility that honours, preserves and shares Japanese Canadian history. It not only serves as a museum, but also as a community centre and a Japanese Canadian garden. The Globe and Mail highlighted the Nikkei Centre and the multimillion-dollar research project on Japanese dispossession during the Second World War. During this time, many Japanese Canadians had their property seized and sold by the Canadian government. Many people were also wrongly incarcerated. These procedures were especially rampant on the West Coast. In British Columbia, complete Japanese-Canadian neighbourhoods were destroyed.

The first wave of Japanese immigration to Canada began in 1877. From 1907 onwards, the Canadian government starting imposing immigration limits on Japan. By the Second World War, Japanese immigration to Canada was completely ceased.

Through photos, documents and recovered items, the Landscapes of Injustice research project aims to illustrate and remember the diverse stories of the many people affected by these federal decisions. The Landscapes of Injustice project will create an educational exhibit that will tour across the country in 2021.
In 1988 the Government of Canada issued a formal apology for the incarceration, dispossession and uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

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