JAEH Archive / Vol. 37, No. 4, Summer 2018

Journal of American Ethnic History

Vol. 37, No. 4, Summer 2018

Special issueLandscapes of Injustice: Unearthing the Dispossession of Japanese Canadians, 1940s

Table of Contents


Japaneseness in Racist Canada: Immigrant Imaginaries during the First Half of the Twentieth Century

By: Eiji Okawa and The Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective


This study explores how Japanese immigrants in Canada understood themselves and conceptualized their community during the first half of the twentieth century. Using vernacular texts in Japanese language, I scrutinize their self-expressions and expand the discourse of Japanese-Canadian history beyond a frame centred upon white racism and exclusionary policies. I start by suggesting the need to relativize normative ideas about the individual to contextualize immigrants’ cognitive and discursive practices. Next, I outline notions about the self and collective, morality, and language as intricate components of nationhood in Japanese modernity. Then I turn to immigrant texts. Focusing on debates concerning language education of the second generation (Nisei), I examine how constitutive elements of the Japanese nation affected diasporic subjectivity and self-understanding. As I argue, immigrants claimed their space in Canada by asserting Japaneseness and navigated a hostile world by deploying cultural tools of Japanese modernity. Hegemonic epistemology of Western modernity, however, prevents their history from being assessed on its own terms.

View on JStor

The Unfaithful Custodian: Glenn McPherson and the Dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s

By: Jordan Stanger-Ross, Will Archibald and The Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective


Taking a biographical approach, this article exposes the double role of Glenn McPherson, the man most responsible for the dispossession of the property of Japanese Canadians during the 1940s. At the same time, we revise scholarly understandings of how federal policy was formed in wartime Canada, emphasizing the importance of little-known bureaucrats. Charged with protecting the property that Japanese Canadians were forced to leave behind during their uprooting, McPherson instead steered policy toward the forced sale of everything they owned. Troublingly, McPherson simultaneously acted as an intelligence agent, promulgating doubt of the loyalty of Japanese Canadians in unsubstantiated reports. Unveiling McPherson as a typical bureaucrat (concerned with administering legally defensible state policy), but also a key lawmaker and, most surprisingly, a clandestine agent, we find the policy both easier and harder to understand: easier because the records of his life and work detail the process by which this consequential policy emerged within the wider context of the internment, but harder because unlike political actors whose animosity toward Japanese Canadians in this era was often plain and public, McPherson’s motives are more obscure, his actions more secretive.

View on JStor

Exile: Mapping the Migration Patterns of Japanese Canadians Exiled to Japan in 1946

By: Audrey Kobayashi, Reuben Rose-Redwood, Sonja Aagesen and The Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective


In 1946, after a period of internment that began in 1942, approximately four thousand Japanese Canadians were exiled to Japan and stripped of their citizenship. More than half were Canadian-born, and the majority of those who had been born in Japan were Canadian citizens. The exiles were given a choice of impossible options: to relocate outside of British Columbia or be sent to Japan. Drawing upon extensive archival research, this study examines the spatial patterns of migration between Japan and Canada with a particular focus on the exile of Japanese Canadians to Japan in 1946. Our findings indicate that the majority of the exiles were from Wakayama, Shiga, and Hiroshima prefectures, where rates of return prior to the 1940s were already high. Although more definitive explanations require further research, our exploratory analysis suggests that regional patterns of exile were likely influenced by the prefectural origin of the original migrants, obligations to re-establish the traditional Japanese agrarian household, and religious practices.

View on JStor


Muslim Cool: Race, Religion, and Hip Hop in the United States by Su'ad Abdul Khabeer

By: Christopher M. Tinson

Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen

By: Joanne Woiak

The Cultural Politics of U.S. Immigration: Gender, Race, and Media by Leah Perry

By: Luz María Gordillo

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York by Tyler Anbinder

By: Steven J. Diner

Women in the World of Frederick Douglass by Leigh Fought

By: Julie Roy Jeffrey

The Best Possible Immigrants: International Adoption and the American Family by Rachel Rains Winslow

By: Kelly Condit-Shrestha

The Long Afterlife of Nikkei Wartime Incarceration by Karen M. Inouye

By: Robert Shaffer

Reconstruction in Alabama: From Civil War to Redemption in the Cotton South by Michael W. Fitzgerald

By: Henry M. McKiven

Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States by Lon Kurashige

By: Seema Sohi

The INS on the Line: Making Immigration Law on the US-Mexico Border, 1917–1954 by S. Deborah Kang

By: Jensen Branscombe

The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands by Verónica Castillo-Muñoz

By: Andrew Offenburger

Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City's Underground Economy by LaShawn Harris

By: Keona K. Ervin

Remembering Reconstruction: Struggles over the Meaning of America's Most Turbulent Era by Carole Emberton, Bruce E. Baker

By: Robert D. Bland

Built with Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City by Joseph Sciorra

By: Gráinne McEvoy

Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945–2000 by Llana Barber

By: Delia Fernández

Migration and Mental Health: Past and Present. by Marjory Harper

By: David A. Gerber

We Are Aztlán! Chicanx Histories in the Northern Borderlands by Jerry Garcia

By: Darius V. Echeverría

Gertrude Weil: Jewish Progressive in the New South by Leonard Rogoff

By: Meaghan Dwyer-Ryan