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The pre-war Japanese Canadians of Maple Ridge : landownership and the KEN tie Read, John Mark

Abstract

This paper is an examination of the ethnic clustering and landownership patterns of the pre-war Japanese Canadian berry farmers in the District of Maple Ridge, British Columbia. In this particular area the Japanese Canadian farmers clustered together in three distinct areas and established Nokai or agricultural associations to look after their economic needs. These Nokai were both geographic centres and social centres as they were centrally located in the cluster and the Nokai building became the Japanese community's meeting place. These clusters of Japanese appear to be a product of Canadian racial prejudice and strong ethnic ties. In addition to being clustered together ethnically these Japanese Canadian farmers have a landownership pattern that displays a persistence of regional loyalty. Most of the Japanese Canadian farmers have tended to locate their farms near someone of the same prefectural origins. This geographic expression of Japanese regional loyalty in North America has never been noticed. The apparent persistence of this Ken-tie, as demonstrated in these farmer's landownership pattern, indicates that regional loyalty or Zen-consciousness is an important element in the set of values of the Japanese immigrant and his family.

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