A primer on Japanese Canadian history in BC

Elizabeth Johnston
Graduate Academic Assistant, UBC Library & UBC Learning Exchange
MLIS graduate, UBC iSchool

This year marks and commemorates the 80th anniversary of the forced dispersal and internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. 

The DTES Research Access Portal (RAP) includes many items about the history of Japanese Canadians in Vancouver.  

We’ve brought together several of these items into a brief introduction that we hope will pique your interest in the original sources. You can navigate through the images below and find further resources at the end of this post.

Download the PDF here: Nikkei Stories a primer on Japanese Canadian history in BC [infographic].

Learn more with these items in the DTES RAP

1. Nikkei Stories. (2015) – an interactive website

2. Yakashiro, N. (2021). “Powell Street is dead”: Nikkei loss, commemoration, and representations of place in the settler colonial city – research paper (restricted access – email us for help!)

3. Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. (2015). Revitalizing Japantown? A unifying exploration of human rights, branding, and place – exhibit brochure

4. Izumi, N. et. al. (2021). Exploring the experiences of community-dwelling Japanese-speaking seniors in Metro Vancouver – research paper

5. McCulloch, S. (2014). Reimaging urban space: the festival as a (re)branding vehicle for inscribing Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as Japantown – research paper

6. Kobayashi, A. (2017). Historical geography in the service of social justice – research paper

7. Wideman, T.,J., Masuda, J. (2018). Assembling “Japantown”? A critical toponymy of urban dispossession in Vancouver, Canada 


Do you have questions or feedback about this article? Do you have an idea for the news section or suggestion for the collection? Please reach out to community engagement librarian Nick Ubels at