SEDAI: The Japanese Canadian Legacy Project

Sharing the unique history and experiences of Canadians of Japanese ancestry

Early Immigration

Japanese immigration to Canada began in 1877 with the arrival of a 19 year old sailor named Manzo Nagano. He was the first known Japanese to settle in Canada. By 1901 this number had increased to almost 5,000 migrants.

Nakano Stawberry Farm

Nakano Stawberry Farm (JCCC Archive)

Most newcomers during this time were young, single males from economically depressed farming and fishing villages who had traveled to Canada in hopes of amassing their fortunes and returning to Japan. Around half came from four heavily populated prefectures: Hiroshima, Shiga, Wakayama and Kagoshima.