The Idosha

photograph of 3 adults and 1 child standing in field of sugar beets, wearing pants, shirts and sunhats

Takeyasu family (Idosha) in a sugar beet field, topping beets with beet knives, ca 1941-1945. Left to right: Nobuichi (father), Mutsuko (youngest daughter), Shizujo (mother), and Shigeto (son).
Galt Museum & Archives 19790284005

With the advent of the Second World War, many Japanese Canadians were uprooted and put in detention camps in British Columbia and Ontario for the duration of the war. Some evacuees (The Idosha) were sent to farms in southern Alberta to help with the shortage of labour during the war.

Many men went to work in lumber camps like the ones in Slave Lake, Rocky Mountain House, or Fort Macleod. Some evacuees were sent to farms in southern Alberta to help with the shortage of labour during the war. Others served with the Armed Forces.

Japanese cultural attitudes towards conformity, patience and loyalty to their adopted country meant most people accepted the evacuation without complaint: shikata-ga-nai – "accept it and move on". People cooperated with the authorities and persevered quietly through the tough years of the Second World War. This same outlook has helped Japanese Canadians deal with the many forms of discrimination they faced.