In 1942, during the Second World War, 22,000 Japanese Canadians were uprooted and exiled from the B.C. coast. Among this group were 76 UBC students who were an integral part of the university community – attending classes, studying in the library, playing on sports teams, joining student clubs, and serving in UBC’s Canadian Officers Training Corps (C.O.T.C).
The upheaval of 1942 changed the course of the students’ lives. Few were able to complete their studies after the war while some attended universities in eastern Canada.
In November 2011, the UBC Senate approved three measures to recognize what happened to the UBC students: the students were awarded honorary degrees on May 30, 2012, the Library will preserve and bring to life the historical record of that time, and the university will create the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies (launched in September 2014) to educate future students about the effects of anti-Japanese and anti-Asian discrimination in Canadian history as well as to recognize the important contributions of Asian Canadians within Canada.
A fund has been created as a tribute to recognize the Japanese Canadian students of 1942 who were unable to complete their UBC degrees or to take part in their graduation ceremonies. Donations will help support the Faculty of Arts and UBC Library in their commitment to educating future students about this period in history through the new Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies. Funds will focus on preserving historical materials and the stories of our elders for future generations, on creating community-based research that engages students with their families and communities, and on directly supporting students in the study of Japanese Canadians and other Asian Canadians.