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The first recorded Japanese immigration to Canada was in 1877 By 1901 the population grew to 4138 mostly single men that came to Canada searching for jobs As the immigration so did the discrimination against the Japanese In the two following decades following the arrival of the first immigrants the Japanese in British Columbia who established themselves in mining railroading lumbering and fishing faced severe discrimination Those on railways were allowed to do construction maintenance and dining car service but were excluded from higher better paid positions such as an engineer Following the Duff Commission of 1922 licences issued to Japanese fishermen were cut by one-third many Japanese turned to agriculture as the only industry which was opened to themIn 1938 there was a group formed the Japanese Canadian Citizens League to secure political and economic rights and to fight discriminatory legislation Discrimination and prejudice was as harsh in western Canada as it was on the west coast of the United States especially in California It became worse when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 758 AM Hawaii time dive bombers and fighters from six aircraft carriers commanded by Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese Navy struck without warning and devastated the huge United States Pacific battleship fleet From the moment that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor it had such a devastating impact upon more than 22000 persons of Japanese ancestry that were living in British Columbia All that they had achieved in the sixty-four years since the first Japanese arrived on Canadian shores was blasted away to nothing they had now become enemy aliens The fears fueled by long-standing racism against the Japanese produced a climate of suspicion and hate Which has been described as mass hysteria and prejudice Japans only strike against Canada was a submarine shelling of a Vancouver Island lighthouse in June 1942 Meanwhile in Canada on the same day as the Japanese attacked the United States the first Japanese
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