SEDAI: The Japanese Canadian Legacy Project

Sharing the unique history and experiences of Canadians of Japanese ancestry

Glossary of Terms

There are a number of Japanese terms which appear in the interviews and documents.  The following Glossary will provide explanations for some of the terms.

  • Aikido – Japanese martial art derived from jujutsu by Ueshiba Morihei; a system of self-discipline and self-defence that uses throws, joint-locks, and pins; unlike Judo, the partners do not grapple while holding each other’s uniforms; this martial art was largely unknown to Japanese Canadians before World War II
  • Alien – someone from another place; a non-citizen (Japanese-Canadians, although born in Canada, were labelled “Enemy Aliens” during World War II).
  • Angler – A camp for German prisoners of war located in Ontario east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior that was also used to intern about 700 Japanese-Canadians who refused to comply with the evacuation order. It was surrounded by barbed wire. The prisoners were required to wear uniforms with targets on the back.
  • Anti-Asian Riot of 1907 – (also known as the “Powell Street Riot”) violent attacks against Chinese, Japanese, and Indians (from south Asia) by white citizens of Vancouver who felt threatened by increasing non-white immigration; no one was killed, but there was some personal injury and extensive property damage; some financial compensation was paid by the federal government under a commission led by future Prime Minister W.L.M. King.
  • Asahi – Rising sun; name of famous minor league baseball team made up of Japanese-Canadians.
  • Asiatic Exclusion League – A group formed in 1907 in B.C. to press the federal government to ban immigration from China, Japan, and India out of a fear of job losses and a declining standard of living, as well as a general race prejudice.
  • Assimilation – The process of absorbing people into a larger group, especially of having a minority cultural group take on the characteristics of the majority group.
  • Atama no kuroi keto – “Black-haired white trash”; term used by Issei who claimed that Japan would win the war to describe those of their community who thought otherwise.
  • Axis – The military alliance between Germany, Italy and Japan. Officially it was the Anti-Comintern Pact, an agreement to resist the spread of Communism.
  • Bakufu – “tent government”; it refers to the military government of Japan led by the leader of the samurai, the Shogun; it ended in 1868 when power was ceremonially returned to the Emperor.
  • Banzai – “May you live 10,000 years!” (a Japanese celebratory exclamation, patriotic cheer, or battle cry).
  • Bay Farm – One of the internment sites.
  • Beet Workers Association – (Shogo Endo Kai) a group formed to represent the interests of Japanese Canadians sent from British Columbia to Alberta.
  • Benjo – Toilet (old-fashioned term).
  • Bill 43 – Gave right to vote in British Columbia’s provincial elections to persons of Japanese ancestry (1949).
  • Bill 198 – Law to amend the Dominion Elections Act; restored the right to vote in federal elections to Canadians of Japanese ancestry (1948).
  • Bird Commission – A Royal Commission established in 1947 and headed by Justice H. I. Bird that inquired into claims by Japanese Canadians for loss of property. The minimum payments eventually awarded were considered unsatisfactory by many individuals.
  • British Columbia Security Commission (BCSC) – An official group appointed by the federal government in 1942 to organize and supervise the removal of Japanese Canadians from coastal areas. It followed policies set by the federal Cabinet Committee on Japanese Questions, the Department of Labour and the Department of Justice
  • Brothel – A house of prostitution; as early as 1890 there were brothels in Victoria, Nelson, Cranbrook, etc.; the prostitutes were usually young, illiterate women from poor Japanese villages.
  • Cabinet Committee on Japanese Questions – A federal cabinet committee largely influenced by the highly prejudiced ideas of one of its members, Ian Mackenzie. Many of its decisions became government policy through Orders-in-Council. Its secretive nature kept many of the facts concerning Japanese Canadians away from the Canadian public. As a result, most Canadians apparently assumed that the Japanese Canadians must have been guilty of something or they would not have been forcibly relocated.
  • Camp and Mill Workers Union (CMWU) – Established in 1920 this organization of younger Issei attempted to improve conditions for Japanese immigrant workers by working closely with other labour groups, and by integrating more into Canadian society.
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association – An organization dedicated to the protection of Canadians’ civil and political rights.
  • Canadian Japanese Association – Established in 1897 this almost entirely Issei organization attempted to assist and represent Japanese immigrants in Canada (in the 1930’s its newspaper published articles supporting Japan’s attacks in China and other war propaganda).
  • Chambara – Japanese movie-style sword fighting.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act – A a federal law passed in 1923 that almost completely stopped Chinese immigration to Canada (It did not apply to Japanese because the “gentlemen’s agreement” to limit immigration from Japan was still in effect.)
  • Chonmage – Samurai hairstyle with shaved pate and top-knot; it was officially abolished in 1876 just one year before the first documented Japanese migrant arrived in Canada.
  • Civil Rights – The rights one has a citizen of a country; they include freedom of thought, speech, and assembly.
  • Coercion – Forcing someone to behave in a certain way by threat or force; a contract is not valid if either side is coerced into signing.
  • Concentration Camps – A place to forcibly hold enemies and their families; it has been argued that the term applies to the communities where Japanese-Canadians were held during and after World War II (It should be noted that the treatment of the detainees in these camps was not the same as that of the infamous places where the Nazis enslaved and murdered Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, etc.) (See “Internment Camps”)
  • Conscription Crisis – At the beginning of WW II Prime Minister King had promised that there would be no conscription for overseas service. As the war went on and more soldiers were needed, King was under pressure to change his promise; his preoccupation with this highly divisive issue is one reason why he paid little attention to actions affecting Japanese Canadians. Despite the shortage of soldiers, Japanese Canadians were not accepted as volunteers.
  • Consultative Council for Cooperation in Wartime Problems of Canadian Citizenship – Vancouver group headed by Herbert Norman that opposed government policies that uprooted and dispossessed Japanese Canadians.
  • Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) – Canadian political party founded in1930’s; later became the New Democratic Party (NDP).
  • Co-Operative Committee on Japanese Canadians (CCJC) – A Toronto based group of Japanese Canadians and Canadians of other origins that opposed the “repatriation” of Japanese and Japanese Canadians to Japan.
  • Culture – The total way of life of a large group of people; it includes language, beliefs, customs, food, clothing, etc.
  • Curfew – A rule that people must be inside their homes during certain hours.
  • Custodian of Enemy Alien Property – Government agency responsible for the protection and sale of land, houses, cars, boats, and other personal items belonging to Japanese-Canadians (in many cases the property was sold for much less than its market value).
  • Dekasegi – “Leaving the village for employment”; many of the first Japanese arrivals in Canada did not intend to stay, but hoped to enrich themselves and then return to Japan (see fukoku-kyohei).
  • Deportation – The expulsion of non-citizens back to their country of origin (by definition, Canadian citizens cannot be deported from Canada) (see “Repatriation”)
  • Detention – Keeping someone under restriction in confinement.
  • Discrimination – The ability to distinguish differences; unfavourable treatment based on prejudice.
  • Emigrant – Someone who leaves his/her country and goes to live permanently in another country.
  • Enryo – Restraint; holding one’s emotions in check.
  • Ethnocentrism – Judging other cultures by one’s own cultural standards; believing that one’s own culture is naturally superior to others.
  • Etiquette – Rules of behaviour; how to be polite and thoughtful.
  • Euphemism – A mild, vague, or misleading expression used in place of a harsher but more realistic term.
  • Evacuation – The removal of people from a place of danger for their own safety
    (The forced relocation of Japanese-Canadians from the coast of British Columbia to camps in the interior of the province was described by the federal government as an action to protect them; however, there were also motives of racial prejudice and economic greed demonstrated by some of the white population of B.C.)
  • Evacuee – Someone who is part of an evacuation.
  • Fifth Column – Local people willing to help an invading force (Some Canadians thought that Japanese-Canadians might be helping the Japanese Imperial Army/Navy in planning an attack on British Columbia. There was no evidence for this idea once some local sympathizers were detained.)
  • Franchise – The right to vote.
  • Fukoku-kyohei – “Enrich the nation and strengthen the military”; this was a slogan of the Japanese government after the Meiji Restoration of 1868; for the first time in centuries Japanese were allowed and encouraged to go overseas to study and work (see dekasegi).
  • Fukujinzuke – Japanese pickles.
  • Furo – Japanese bathtub (less formal term than ofuro).
  • Futsuu no mono dattara – If things were as usual.
  • Gaijin – Foreigner; non-Japanese (also “gaikokujin”).
  • Gaman – Forbearance; the ability to be able to meet challenges without complaining (A common phrase in Japanese is “Gambatte kudasai” meaning “Please persevere” or “Please do your best under the circumstances”.)
  • Ganbari – Resistance (to the government’s orders).
  • Gentlemen’s Agreement – A document signed between the governments of Canada and Japan in 1908 to limit the number of Japanese immigrants to Canada despite the contrary terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902; the USA and Japan had a similar agreement.
  • Ghetto – Originally a section of a European city to which Jews were restricted; later came to mean an area of a city where members of a poor minority group lived.
  • Ghost Town – A formerly populated community that has been largely or entirely vacated (Some of the internment camps were ghost towns in the interior of B.C.)
  • Giri – The duty to keep one’s personal reputation and family name clean. (see On)
  • Gosei – Fifth generation. (see Issei and Nisei)
  • Greater Vancouver Advisory Committee – A government-appointed board that organized the sale of Japanese Canadian urban properties at below market value.
  • Greenwood – One of the internment sites.
  • Habeas Corpus – The body of basic rights; presumes innocent until proven guilty, knowing what charge has been laid, having a trial in a reasonable amount of time, etc. Many of these guarantees for Canadian citizens of Japanese origin were ignored under the War Measures Act and other government regulations (Orders-in-Council).
  • Hakujin – White person; someone of European ancestry.
  • Hashi – Japanese chopsticks.
  • Hastings Park Exhibition Grounds – Vancouver site where Japanese-Canadians were kept in hastily converted horse stables and cattle stalls after they were forced from their homes until they were sent to internment camps in the interior of B.C.
  • Head Tax – A fee required from each Chinese immigrant to Canada starting in 1885; it did not apply to Japanese immigrants whose numbers were limited by a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the governments of Canada and Japan (the agreement was a supplement to a military alliance between Britain and Japan).
  • Hito ni meiwaku o kakete wa ikenai – You shouldn’t make a nuisance of yourself.
  • Hong Kong – This city in southern China was a British colony when the Japanese Imperial Army attacked it on December 8, 1941. They raped and murdered Canadian nurses when they captured the colony on December 25. The Canadian soldiers who survived the battle were interned. (See “POW Camps”). The brutal treatment of the nurses and soldiers enflamed Canadian passions against the Japanese. Unfortunately, some of this anger was directed against Japanese-Canadians in B.C. who were in no way involved.
  • “Hostels” – Interim lodging for Japanese Canadians moving east from the BC camps after WW II; often barracks-like conditions, they were referred to euphemistically as “temporary regional centres” by the government.
  • Ikebana – The art of Japanese flower arranging.
  • immigrant – Someone who enters another country with the intention of living there permanently.
  • Incarceration – Being in jail or prison.
  • Incarceration Camps – Places where Japanese-Canadians were forced to go such as ghost towns in the interior of B.C. (an alternative and stronger term than “Internment Camps”). No such camps were created for German-Canadians or Italian-Canadians, even though the threat of an invasion of the Atlantic coast was much greater than that of the Pacific coast.
  • Interior Housing Centre – Government euphemism for internment camp.
  • Interior Settlement – Government euphemism for internment camp.
  • Internment – The act of forcing a prisoner to stay within a restricted area.
  • Internment Camps – The typical term for the communities where Japanese-Canadians were sent during World War II (see “Incarceration Camps” and “Concentration Camps”).
  • Intimidation – Frightening someone by threatening.
  • Issei – First generation; refers to pre-World War II immigrants.
  • Jap – A derogatory and racist term applied to Japanese.
  • Japanese Canadian Citizens Association (JCCA) – A group formed in Vancouver in 1932; it declined in importance after World War II; its final conference was held in Toronto in 1961; its Toronto chapter continued after that time.
  • Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Council (JCCC) – A coalition of various Japanese Canadian groups formed in 1942 assist those who were being uprooted.
  • Japanese Canadian Citizens League (JCCL) – A Nisei organization founded in 1936 to obtain full civil and political rights for Canadians of Japanese descent.
  • Japanese Canadian Committee for Democracy (JCCD) – A Toronto-based group that rejected the acceptance of food supplies from the Japanese Red Cross because it would make them appear to be Japanese rather than Canadian. By 1944 they were lobbying for the right to vote as Canadian citizens.
  • Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC) – A community centre that opened in Toronto in 1963; the original building was designed by Raymond Moriyama; in the 1990’s the members moved to another, larger building.
  • Japanese Canadians – Immigrants to Canada from Japan and their descendants (Of the approximately 24,000 Japanese-Canadians interned (incarcerated) in the 1940’s about 2/3 were born in Canada and were, therefore, Canadian citizens, as were some of the Issei who were naturalized Canadians).
  • Japanese Fishing Vessel Disposal Committee (JFVDC) – A federal government appointed group that oversaw the selling of fishing boats confiscated from Japanese Canadians. Their appraisal of the value of the vessels was based on their condition after three months of neglect and abuse.
  • Japanese Liaison Committee – A group of three Issei appointed by the British Columbia Security Commission to liaise between itself and the Japanese Canadian community. Its controversial leader was Etsuji Morii.
  • Japanese Property Owners Association – A group of Issei in Kaslo that opposed the sale of confiscated property starting in 1943.
  • Japanese Repatriation League – Organization of white Canadians in B.C. to have persons of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan.
  • Judo – Japanese martial art derived from jujutsu by Kano Jigoro; a sport but also a system of self-discipline and self-defence where partners engage in a form of wrestling while wearing sturdy uniforms; it was well known to Japanese Canadians before World War II.
  • Kana – Japanese symbols for writing Japanese and foreign words; there are two forms, “hiragana” and “katakana.”
  • Kanji – Chinese characters (pictograms/ideographs) used to write Japanese words.
  • Karate – Japanese martial art and sport derived from China and Okinawa that primarily uses punches and kicks; it was largely unknown to Japanese Canadians before World War II.
  • Kanpyo – Dried gourd.
  • Kaslo – One of the internment sites.
  • Kendo – Japanese martial art derived from sword fighting where partners compete wearing armour and using split bamboo swords (shinai); it was well known to Japanese Canadians before World War II.
  • Kenjin-kai – Prefectural organization (immigrants from the same region of Japan).
  • Ketojin – Hairy person; a derogatory term for white people.
  • Kibei – See Kika.
  • Kika Nisei – Japanese Canadians born in Canada but educated in Japan (see Shushin).
  • Kikajin-kai – See Naturalized Japanese Canadian Association.
  • Kisaragi Club – A Japanese Canadian group that gave instruction in ballroom dancing.
  • Kodomo no tame ni – For the sake of the children.
  • Kokojin – Black person; someone of African descent.
  • Komagata Maru Incident – In 1914 white Canadians prevented the landing in B.C. of a Japanese ship carrying Indian workers from South Asia.
  • Konnyaku – Yam root.
  • Koseki-tohon – Family register.
  • Kotobukikai – A social club for Japanese Canadians over sixty years of age.
  • Kumeric Incident – In 1905 over one thousand Japanese workers arrived from Hawaii; Canadians in B.C. were alarmed by what they saw as competition for scarce jobs.
  • Kunimono – People from the same prefecture.
  • Lemon Creek – One of the internment sites
  • Little Tokyo – See “Powell Street.”
  • Manchukuo – The Japanese puppet state in Manchuria, 1931-1945.
  • Manitoba Japanese Joint Committee – A group formed in 1943 to represent the interests of the Japanese Canadians who had been moved from British Columbia to Manitoba.
  • Miai-kekkon – Arranged marriage; typical of Issei, not always accepted by Nisei.
  • Military Necessity – A justification for extreme action in time of war.
  • Miscegenation – The interbreeding of what are presumed to be distinct human races, especially links between white and non-white individuals; this form of bias sometimes prevented the marriage of Japanese with people of European background.
  • Miso – Soybean paste used for soup and other types of cooking.
  • Mochi – Pounded rice cake.
  • Moxa – Dried leaves burned on or above the skin for medicinal purposes.
  • Mores – Typical or essential customs of a community.
  • Namaiki – Impertinent; some Issei saw Nisei as lacking in respect and obedience.
  • Nanking – A Chinese city now known as Nanjing; the atrocious behaviour of the Japanese Imperial Army in capturing this city increased Canadian hostility toward Japan; some of that hostility was directed toward Japanese-Canadians, especially when Issei groups attempted to justify Japan’s aggression.
  • National Emergency Transitional Powers Act (“Bill 15″) – A Canadian law that recognized that the emergency of war had ended on January 1, 1946; Unlike the War Measures Act it did not include the powers of arrest, exclusion and deportation, but it still gave the government extraordinary powers to take action to wrap up war related matters.
  • National Japanese Canadian Citizens Association (NJCCA) – A Nisei group formed in Toronto in 1947.
  • National Security – Protection of the country, especially from a military or terrorist threat.
  • National Selective Service – The power of the federal government to conscript individuals for civilian or military duty during wartime.
  • Nativist – Someone who favours long-time residents over recent immigrants.
  • Naturalized Citizen – Someone who was born elsewhere but has legally become a citizen of his/her new country of residence.
  • Naturalized Japanese Canadian Association – Known colloquially as the Kikajin-kai. This group, formed in March 1942, opposed the work done by Etsuji Morii and the Japanese Liaison Committee.
  • New Canadian – See “The New Canadian.”
  • New Denver – One of the internment sites.
  • Nihon – Japan (same as Nippon).
  • Nihonjin – Japanese person (also “Nipponjin”).
  • Nihonjin-machi – Japan town (the area of Vancouver where many Japanese lived).
  • Nihon-machi – The same as Nihonjin-machi.
  • Nikkei – People of Japanese ancestry living in another country.
  • Nippon – Japan (same as Nihon).
  • Nisei – Second generation; the Canadian-born children of the pre-World War II Japanese immigrants.
  • Obaachan – Familiar form of “Obaasan.”
  • Obaasan – Grandmother; old woman.
  • Ocha – Japanese green tea.
  • Odori – Dance; Japanese dancing.
  • Ofuro – Japanese bathtub (more formal term than furo).
  • Ojiichan – Familiar form of “Ojiisan.”
  • Ojiisan – Grandfather; old man.
  • On – Duty; the obligations owed by children to their parents (see Giri).
  • Order-in-Council – A directive or order given by the government without passing a new law.
  • Order-in-Council, P.C. 365 – A federal government regulation of January, 1942, (under the War Measures Act) that empowered the Minister of Justice to make any area of Canada a “protected area” from which enemy aliens cold be excluded. It was used to legalize the forced removal of Canadian of Japanese ancestry from the coast of British Columbia. Under this rule, Japanese males were ordered out.
  • Order-in-Council, P.C. 1486 – A federal government regulation of February 24, 1942, (under the War Measures Act) that empowered the Minster of Justice to control the movements of all persons of Japanese ancestry, whether Canadian citizens or not, in the “protected areas”. Under this rule, entire families were forced out of their homes. The driving force behind this plan was B.C. Liberal M.P. and cabinet minister Ian Mackenzie.
  • Origami – Japanese artistic paper folding.
  • Osushi – Formal term for “sushi.”
  • Pacific War – One of the terms used in Japan for WW II.
  • Paternalism – Limiting freedom and responsibility in the belief that it is for the good of those who are thereby restricted.
  • Pearl Harbor – This American naval base in Hawaii was attacked without a prior declaration of war by the Japanese navy on December 7, 1941. The deaths of thousands of American military personnel finally brought the US into World War II. Japanese military success so close to North America created fear and panic among the residents of British Columbia and western US states. (It is interesting to note that there was no forced removal of Japanese in Hawaii, unlike on the west coast of the USA and Canada.)
  • Picture Brides – Women brought from Japan to marry Issei immigrants in Canada; often the couple had never met but only exchanged photographs in advance of the marriage; they began to arrive in Canada around 1908; about 300-400 arrived in 1913; the practice was discontinued after 1928.
  • Popoff – One of the internment sites.
  • POW Camps – Prisoner of war camps (In the Japanese samurai tradition, surrender was a disgrace. A soldier should win, die fighting, or commit suicide. Therefore, enemy soldiers, for whom there was such a thing as an honourable surrender, were looked down upon by their Japanese captors. Conditions in Japanese camps were deplorable and not in keeping with the Geneva Convention. Reports of mistreatment of Canadian prisoners angered Canadians at home. They directed some of this hostility toward Japanese-Canadians in B.C., especially when it was learned that one particularly sadistic prison guard was a Japanese-Canadian who had moved to Japan before the war. However, Japanese-Canadians in B.C. were in no way involved in the atrocities of the POW camps.)
  • Powell Street – A street in Vancouver where Japanese-Canadians lived and worked; it was the centre of Nihonjin machi; the Japanese equivalent of “Chinatown.”
  • Prejudice – Forming opinions about individuals based on limited evidence about that person’s group; unfair judgement based on unreasonable generalization; an opinion formed in advance of specific knowledge; a dislike or distrust of a person or group based misinformation or the actions of a small number of examples.
  • Propaganda – Deliberate spreads ideas that are partially or totally false for the purpose of achieving a political goal.
  • Race – Major division of humans based on superficial physical differences such as skin colour, hair texture or facial features (race is largely dismissed by anthropologists as an explanation of group or individual behaviour).
  • Racism – Discrimination based on racial prejudice.
  • RCMP – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (Canada’s national police force, they also form the provincial police in British Columbia.)
  • Redress – The act of righting a wrong (in 1988 the government of Canada officially apologized for the treatment of Japanese-Canadians during and after World War II and provided some financial compensation)
  • Refugee – A person who flees to escape invasion, persecution, or threat to life.
  • Relocation Centre – Government euphemism for internment camp.
  • Reparations – Compensation (often in the form of a monetary payment) paid to make amends (As part of the redress settlement of 1988 the government of Canada made financial contributions to the families that were forcibly relocated during World War II).
  • Repatriation – The returning of someone or something to the country of origin (After World War II the government of Canada encouraged Japanese-Canadians to go to Japan; for those born in Japan this was repatriation. Many of those born in Canada had never been to Japan).
  • Resettlement – The issue of (a) what to do with the Japanese-Canadians removed from their homes in 1942 and (b) where they would be allowed to live after World War II.
  • Rural Advisory Committee – A government-appointed board that organized the sale of Japanese Canadian rural properties.
  • Sabotage – The damaging of property by enemy agents during a war.
  • Saboteur – Someone who commits sabotage.
  • Sakura – Cherry blossom.
  • Samurai – Servant or retainer; the warrior class that ruled Japan 1185-1868; the samurai as a distinct social class ended in 1876.
  • Sandon – One of the internment sites.
  • Sansei – Third generation.
  • Sake – Alcoholic beverage brewed from rice (often incorrectly referred to as “rice wine”).
  • Sashimi – Raw fish consumed as food.
  • Seebe – A camp for German prisoners of war in Alberta that was also used to intern Japanese-Canadians who were arrested immediately after the Japanese military attacks on Hong Kong and Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
  • Sensei – Teacher; anyone deserving respect for success in a certain area.
  • Shiga-ken – A prefecture (province) in central Japan from where numerous immigrants came to Canada.
  • Shikata-ga-nai – It can’t be helped (nothing can be done).
  • Shiruko – Red bean soup (for New Year’s Day).
  • Sho-ga-nai – It can’t be helped (nothing can be done).
  • Shogo Endo Kai – See Beet Workers Association.
  • Shogun – Actually “Sei-i-tai-shohgun” or “barbarian-quelling supreme general”; the samurai military commanders who ruled Japan for over seven hundred years until 1868.
  • Shoyu – Japanese soy sauce.
  • Shushin – Ethics; the combination of Confucian behaviours and nationalist ideology taught in Japan from the 1890’s to the end of World War II. It became increasingly chauvinistic during the 1920’s and 1930’s when some Canadian-born Nisei were sent to Japan for education. (see Kika Nisei)
  • Slocan – A town in the interior of British Columbia where Japanese-Canadians were held; one of the internment (incarceration) sites.
  • Soba – Buckwheat noodles.
  • Special Cabinet Committee on Relocation and Repatriation – A 1945 federal cabinet committee charged with affairs relating to Japanese Canadians.
  • Status – Position in relation to others; one’s rank within a group.
  • Suffrage – The right to vote.
  • Sumi-e – Artistic painting using mainly or exclusively black ink.
  • Supreme Court – Canada’s highest court; during WW II appeals could still be made to Britain (Privy Council of the House of Lords).
  • Sushi – Rice and other ingredients (perhaps raw fish) wrapped in seaweed.
  • Takuan – Pickled radish.
  • Tashme – A town in the interior of British Columbia where Japanese-Canadians were held (one of the internment sites); named after the three Security Commissioners Taylor, Shirras, and Mead by combining the first two letters of each of their last names.
  • Tatami – Straw mats used for flooring (about 2.5 cm. thick, 1 meter wide and 2 meters long).
  • Tanomoshi – Mutual financing; the practice of Japanese immigrants, especially from the same prefecture, of lending money to each other without collateral.
  • Terrorist – Someone who uses illegal violence, especially against civilians, to achieve a political goal.
  • The Continental Times (Tairiku) – A Japanese language newspaper serving the Issei.
  • The New Canadian – A Japanese Canadian newspaper founded in 1938 by Nisei.
  • Tofu – Soybean curd.
  • Tojo – Japanese military officer and WW II prime minister; executed as a war criminal.
  • Tonarigumi – The tradition of working together for mutual benefit.
  • Toronto Claimants Committee – A group that split off from the NJCCA in opposition to accepting a partial compensation.
  • Twenty-one Demands – Japanese government’s attempt to extend its influence in China during World War I when Japan was an ally of Britain and Canada; evidence of Japan’s plan to expand its empire beyond Korea and Taiwan.
  • Udon – Thick white noodles.
  • Values – Ideas about what is good/bad, right/wrong, important/unimportant.
  • Veterans’ Land Act – Legislation designed to find land for returning armed forces personnel. It was used in part to justify the sale of farms confiscated from Japanese Canadians.
  • War Measures Act – Legislation that gave the federal government extraordinary powers; it was used to arrest and incarcerate individuals and groups deemed a threat during both World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945); it was also enforced during the FLQ kidnappings of 1970.
  • Wartime Security Commission – A group of about 150 Japanese-Canadians who helped to implement the federal government’s evacuation orders.
  • White Canada Association – A nativist group in pre-WW II British Columbia that spread its prejudiced views of Japanese Canadians.
  • Women’s Missionary Society – A group from the United Church of Canada that helped Japanese Canadians from the beginning of the forced evacuation.
  • Yamato-damashii – Japanese spirit; the sense of what it means to be Japanese and the behaviour that should flow from it.
  • Yellow Peril – An offensive term used to describe the assumed political and military threat to Europeans and North Americans from East Asians, i.e., Chinese, Koreans and Japanese (White British Columbians often had this idea in mind when they pressed for limitations on immigration, voting rights, etc.) (The term was first used by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1895 at the time of Japan’s defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese War.)
  • Yen – Japanese currency.
  • Yonsei – Fourth generation.