"At no other time in the life of the second generation, when hostile voices rise in sharp crescendo, has there been a greater need for some medium through which the Nisei might speak his thoughts and his hopes to the Canadian public at large," declared the editors of The New Canadian in its third issue, published February 1, 1939. "To the future greatness of Canada and the part of the Canadian-born Japanese in this future we pledge our sincere effort and our endeavor." The situation to which they referred was the growing distrust of Japan and Japanese immigrants during the tense months preceding the outbreak of World War II.
Published from 1939 to 2001, first in Vancouver, then in Kaslo, B.C., later in Winnipeg, and finally in Toronto, the newspaper follows the path of Japanese-Canadians during their eviction from the West Coast and their detention in a series of facilities in B.C.’s interior and the Prairies. Meant to voice the concerns specifically of Canadian-born children of immigrants, the paper eventually encompassed a broader mandate, for example by adding a Japanese-language section in 1942. Its pages are filled with news regarding the relocation, settlement, and economic conditions of the uprooted Japanese community, as well as its legal and political position, labour opportunities, and continued expressions of Japanese culture. The years of this paper available here—from its beginning to 1985—are a unique and moving record of a community both trapped by world events and making its own creative response to the forces engulfing it.
Contributed by Multicultural History Society of Ontario.