Early History

The first Japanese immigrant, Manzo Nagano, arrived in New Westminster in 1877. This was the start of the first wave (1877 and 1928) of Japanese immigration to Canada. Many of the immigrants were young fishers or farmers from Kyushu and Honshu.[1]

In 1901 the population of Japanese people in Canada was approximately 5000. This number quickly grew and by 1907 the population is thought to have been over 18, 000 nationwide. The reason for immigration ranged from seeking wealth or adventure to escape the newly founded "Family Structure System" (Ie-seido).[2] The Ie-seido was a structure set in 1898 and lasted until 1947.[3]

The maps below can be used to compare the change in the Japanese population in New Westminster over the decades between 1908 to 1950. With exception to 1942 and 1945, all individuals and shops listed in BC directories are represented as points. For 1942 and 1945 because the addresses only listed district numbers (ex. RR1), population are represented by circle sizes. For further detail please go to the designated pages on this site. To search individual names on the maps, please follow instructions on the "How to use" page under the "Introduction" tab.

[1] "Japanese Canadians", The Canadian Encyclopedia, last modified September 27, 2019, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/japanese-canadians

[2] "Japanese Canadian History", National Association of Japanese Canadians, http://najc.ca/japanese-canadian-history/

[3] Kichisaburo Nakamura, The Formation of Modern Japan as Viewed from Legal History (Tokyo: Waseda University Comparative Law Research Center, 1971), 1-15.