Letter to: Prime Minister Mackenzie King.

Essay by ykcebHigh School, 10th grade May 2004

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Prime Minister Mackenzie King,

I am one of the thousands of Japanese Canadians that were mistreated during the Second World War. I am writing to you to express my thoughts on our treatment. Although most of your decisions during the war were well made, you made a grave mistake when you chose to imprison Canada's entire resident Japanese.

First of all, most of the people you imprisoned were only Japanese in their ancestry. Most of us had lived in Canada all our lives and didn't even speak the Japanese language. To the Japanese we were Canadian, but to the Canadians we were Japanese. The Japanese were wrong in every way during the war, except this. In this aspect they were completely right. We were all Canadian in law and spirit, and by all our rights we should have been allowed to live in our houses and work in our farms or stores.

We should have been allowed to prove our loyalty by fighting in the war, as even the Americans have allowed. We helped the war effort in labour camps, but did it ever cross your mind that perhaps we would enjoy serving our country under our own free will on our own fields?

Next, I would like to point out that Canada was not even at war with Japan. Japan was a threat to America, yet even they allowed their American Japanese to fight against the Germans. The Germans were our real enemy, not the Japanese. As there was no direct threat from Japan then why would you suspect your large population of Japanese Canadians? Why would you not imprison your even larger population of Germans, the real threat? They are the third largest ethnic group in Canada, and you even let them fight against Germany. I...