End of the War

photograph of 11 japanese women seated around wood table in classroom; japanese man standing; blackboard, japanese characters above; window
Eleven Japanese women learn English in a classroom at Raymond, Alberta, April 7, 1952. Teacher is Reverend Nekoda, whose lessons covered reading, writing and speaking English. They were taking lessons as most of their children were older and in school or moved away. Mother of Mrs. Florence Senda is sitting a the back, third from right.
Galt Museum & Archives 19790275004

The Japanese relocation to southern Alberta was a temporary war-time measure. Municipalities opposed their permanent establishment in Alberta and favoured their removal at the end of the war. The federal government planned to return them to British Columbia six months after the hostilities ceased.

However, by the end of World War II the Canadian government’s policy regarding the Japanese in Canada shifted. It now planned to distribute them more evenly throughout the country, prohibit further Japanese immigration, deport those who desired to return to Japan, and treat those remaining fairly and justly.

3,964 Japanese Canadians voluntarily left for Japan by January 1947. Only a small number of Japanese from Alberta actually departed under this repatriation program; many of these evacuees accepted southern Alberta as their new home.

In April 1948, the Japanese Canadians in Alberta were granted the legal right of residence and became Albertans. In 1949, they became Canadian citizens.

It was not until the early 1950s that Japanese Canadians could reside in Lethbridge. The Hisaoka family was the first to move into Lethbridge once the restriction was lifted.