The Nisei

photograph of several men, women and children in front of a parade float decorated with flags and garden plants

A parade float decorated by Japanese Canadians from Raymond to celebrate July 1st, 1931
Galt Museum & Archives 19790275021

The Nisei were Canadian-born and Canadian-educated. They were taught by their elders to obey the laws and be good Canadian citizens. To be accepted in Canadian society, they had to assimilate into the Anglo-Canadian culture. The Nisei learned their lessons well. By 1941, their main criticism of the Issei was that the Issei were “too Japanese”.

Despite their desire to fully assimilate, the Nisei found they could never be full-fledged members of Canadian or Japanese society. In their drive for middle class status, Nisei have never risen to heights of political power but have been elected to councils in villages and small cities mainly in southern Alberta and the interior of British Columbia.