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Third point: Japanese-Canadians of this generation joined Christian churches in non-trivial numbers. The United Church had and still has a number of Japanese-focused congregations and we and our predecessors have had lots of Japanese members going back before 1925. There was an article in the Observer a year ago about a woman whose Japanese grandfather was a Methodist and then United Church after union in 1925. People might have thought her family had only been in Canada since the 1960's but that wasn't the case.

Joining a large church like the United Church is a surefire way to get intermarriage going.

Thank you for this post and the link to Mr. Nunn's paper - the questions posed are extremely interesting. While my formal training in economics is limited to ECO_100 (and 35 years ago at that!), and I can't always follow the full substance of the discussions, I visit this site regularly and appreciate the information, insights, and debate that are posted here. Thanks again!

Determinant, this post was inspired by a visit to the Britannia Shipyards, a national historic site in Richmond BC. The Murakami house at the Shipyards belonged to an interned family.

Apparently there were missionary nuns who provided childcare for Japanese children while their mothers worked in the cannery - the nuns actually went with the families to the BC interior when they were interned. This might explain the phenomenon that you note.

Ian - thanks.

Interesting, but why single out Japanese any more than, say, eastern Europeans or Brazilians who exhibit similar immigration and integration patterns to Japanese? Chinese migration patterns to other countries have often been globular, based on long mistrust of authority, evidenced by significant atrocities in the culture's past, at the hands of both foreign and domestic authorities. It may also be true that the sheer volume of Chinese immigration breeds appearance of less integration but it may be more a product of scale -- if a population is comprised of 20% Chinese-Canadians, there will be a greater chance of pockets that do not integrate simply by random statistics. I see little evidence of a continued isolation of Chinese culture in Canada past the second generation.

In Vancouver there has been Japanese immigration since World War 2, eclipsing those who would have experienced internment directly or indirectly through direct family ties, so many immigrants would not have much shared history with that sad chapter of Canadian history.

Frances, to look into whethere there are long-term impacts of forced dislocation, you can probably check historical censuses starting from 1941. Although there are no micro data files for the 1941 to 1961 censuses, your should be able to get the geographic distribution of Japanese and Chinese from the published tabulations.

Lots of Japanese left Canada after the internment. Is it possible that those who initially resided in BC were more likely to leave than those previously resided in Ontario?

Jesse: "why single out Japanese any more than, say, eastern Europeans or Brazilians who exhibit similar immigration and integration patterns to Japanese?"

One answer is that the Japanese were interned during World War II, while other nationalities weren't (although Berlin, Ontario decided to re-name itself after a famous British general/battle (Kitchener/Waterloo)and German Shephards were renamed Alsatians).

The other answer is that eastern Europeans generally arrived in Halifax and moved westward. I imagine that would be true of Brazilians also. Chinese and Japanese Canadians were the only two groups identifiable in the public use census file that I would expect to generally arrive via Vancouver rather than via Halifax.

Feng - "you can probably check historical censuses starting from 1941" - I dug around the old Canada year books but couldn't find anything. If you have any links I'd be interested.

"Lots of Japanese left Canada after the internment. Is it possible that those who initially resided in BC were more likely to leave"

I really don't think there was any significant Japanese population in Ontario prior to internment. Certainly the NJAC website, which has a list of historical Japanese communities in Canada, has no mention of pre-war Ontario settlements. Remember the Japanese settlers knew little about Western-style farming, and had skill in fishing, also many worked in mining and logging. So why go to Ontario? It would be so isolating too.

According to the National Association of Japanese Cdns, there were 22,000 Japanese interned during the war. So, yes, I'd guess that quite a number of the people I've got in that figure are the children of post WWII immigrants.

There weren't any significant Japanese settlements in Ontario prior to WWII.

There less to the farming thing than meets the eye; Japan wasn't so dominated by rice production during the WWII stage and in decades prior, that came later with post-war subsidies. Japanese agriculture during this time was more diversified and balanced with wheat and other crops being as prominent as rice.

Adding to the Chinese and Japanese as immigrants through Vancouver rather than Halifax is the Indian community. But those three in general were the only immigrant streams entering Canada from the West Coast instead of the East.

However the Japanese-American community in California was very prominent in Agriculture there in the 1930's. Internment in the US destroyed many of those enterprises. However Japanese immigrants to the US and Canada were just as adept as anyone else at agriculture, given the opportunity.

I just went down to the library. Here are some numbers. In 1941, there were 23149
Japanese. Almost all of them (22096) lived in BC. The Chinese population was 34627.
Most of them (28619) also lived in BC.

Ten year later in 1951, there were still 21663 Japanese in Canada, but only 7169 were in
BC, while 8581 in Ontario, 3336 in Alberta, 1161 in Manitoba. The geographic
distribution also shifted among Chinese toward other western provinces, although not as
dramatic. Among the total Chinese population of 32528, 15933 were in BC and 6997 in
Related to the potential long-term impacts of historical immigration policies, in 1941,
there was one Chinese woman for every 8 Chinese men.
All these numbers and more detailed ones can be found in the bounded volumes of
census publications.

Feng - thank you so much, that is fascinating, and fits neatly with the internment causing dispersion hypothesis (remember that if you're interned up in the interior, as many were, you're pretty close to the Alberta border, which would explain some of the movement to Alberta).

My understanding is that the quotas on Japanese women were not nearly as strict as the quotas on Chinese women - so if you go here:
you'll see 400 or 150 or so Japanese people entering each year in the 20s/30s, a number of whom would be "picture brides", and 0 or 1 Chinese immigrants.

I think that historically the British regarded the Japanese as people-like-us - i.e. an island, sea-faring nation given to invading other people every so often. Which was reflected in the differential immigration policies.

Determinant - I wasn't as precise as I should have been on agriculture. Yes, the Japanese had market gardens etc - these were some of the assets people wanted to get their hands on! The point I was trying to make was that Japanese and Chinese immigrants brought different skill sets, and had different roles in the Canadian economy. If you ever get out to Steveston, I'd strongly recommend touring the historical cannery. It is fascinating how every job was strictly defined in gender and racial or ethnic terms. Even to the extent that when a machine was introduced to replace one particularly unpleasant and dangerous job it was called the "Iron Chink". I think. It might have been the Iron Chinaman. But I think it was the name that we today find highly offensive.

I know Frances, but I'm rebutting your point about agriculture. The same stream of immigrants at the same time in a different locale, California, played a prominent role in wholesale California agriculture.

To say that the Japanese community of the time lacked farming skills is not borne out by the evidence. That agriculture in BC was dominated by other groups and the Japanese community focused on fishing is a local circumstance and market choice and not reflective of a lack of skills on the part of Japanese immigrants.

Determinant - I'm just going with what's on the National Association of Japanese Canadians website, and their description of people's experiences working in sugar beet farms during WWII: "Able bodied men and women, young and old worked long hours on the southern Alberta sugar beet farm. Many families were unused to farm labour. (photo: K. Sam Nishiyama, Toronto)"

Having a market garden in California or BC is very different from ranching or growing wheat on the prairies. Experience farming in one place doesn't always translate into success farming someplace else, as many European immigrants discovered.

Frances: Japan had been a british ally since the 1890's , thanks to a mutual distrust of Russia. The Meiji emperor put them in charge of training his new navy. He gave the Army training to Germany and the civil service to the French ( hence the term "prefecture" for the administrative divisions)

Since as you say the Japanese have intermarried at a higher rate than some other ethnic groups, is it possible that in some places someone who is of partial Japanese-decent is more likely to self-identify as Japanese than elsewhere in Canada?

Love the discussion. Just curious about whether there are higher ratios of bias in favor of self-identifying as Japanese in one place versus another.

Wendy, no idea. Interesting question. These concepts of racial or ethnic identity become increasingly problematic after a couple of generations of international mixing, producing, say, kids with mixed Lebanese/Irish/Vietnamese/Polish ancestry or Hindu/Jewish/Japanese/German ancestry. It's so much easier just to say "Canadian." Personally I think employment equity is no longer going to be a viable policy, especially now that the long form census has been replaced by the National Household Survey so we don't have decent information on ethnicity anyways.

As a non-Japanese married to a woman of Japanese extraction, I think that there are two other factors at play (at least according to my wife). One, the Japanese have a strong cultural imperative towards assimilation with the larger group in general. Some of this filters down to the following generations. Once inter-racial marriage became acceptable in the outside culture (and surprisingly often before it was acceptable), the blend-in is almost complete. In my wife's generation (late boomer) and below, there's an almost 100% racial inter-marriage rate in the extended family (many dozens).

I suspect the fact of the internment reinforced the tendency to assimilate. Of my large flock of in-law aunts and uncles, I know of none who objected to their children marrying out of race, which is (in my experience) in significant contrast to most other ethnic groups of that generation.

The second factor is a little less P.C. but comes up repeatedly in conversations with my wife and her relatives. Men raised with even a hint of Japanese cultural expectations are treated with *massive* suspicion by most (okay, in my experience - all) Japanese women to the point that it seems rather discriminatory in my eyes. If the attitude is in any way present in Japan, no wonder the marriage/birth rate has cratered!

Geography may have helped facilitate inter-marriage, but I strongly suspect that it only slightly intensified what was already going to occur. Many other communities that are also dispersed seem to maintain their racial group for at least one more generation. (Honestly, I don't expect *any* group to maintain racial cohesion after 3-4 generations in modern society.)

Tom - trivial for you: the average income of Chinese woman/European-descent male couples is higher than the average income of Chinese-man/European-descent woman couples (using 2006 census data).

Sorry, that should be trivia.

Interesting indeed. I will say that my observations are definitely apropos only to the Japanese Canadian community, not the Asian community in general. Honestly, I have *no* idea what the inter-marriage rates are for 3rd generation Chinese, for example.

And if I being completely honest, given that there's not a lot of immigration from Japan, I have no idea if *any* dispersed minority (visible or otherwise) maintains cohesion after the second generation once inter-marriage is socially acceptable. Perhaps by that point we just self-identify "Canadian" regardless of our background and the chips of love fall where they may.

My after-the-fact reasoning may be fun, but it's not necessarily accurate :-).

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