UBC Theses and Dissertations
Dimensions of ethnic education : the Japanese in British Columbia, 1880-1940 Hutchinson, Harold Keith
The role of education in the assimilation of British Columbia's Japanese population was significant. In the following pages an attempt has been made to describe and to assess this role. The investigation, however, is dependent upon the concept applied to the term assimilation. For the purpose of this study, assimilation was either structural or behavioral in nature. What this thesis demonstrates is that the public school was to a large extent responsible for the behavioral assimilation of the second generation Japanese. Moreover, the study shows that the first generation Japanese willingly promoted the utilization of the public school system by their children. The Issei were only too successful in this task for inevitably the Nisei, once they accepted the values advanced by the public schools, discarded many of the customs, manners and traditions of their parents. Because a study which involves only the public school system would provide too limited a scope, considerable attention was given to churches and Japanese institutions. For instance, the Christian church was the first major agency to establish a rapport with British Columbia's Japanese community. In time, the churches set up well organized programs to provide various forms of education to both first and second generation Japanese. On the other hand, an investigation of Japanese institutions reveals that many of them originally served to separate the Japanese from the greater community. As the years passed the roles of these institutions changed, an occurence most apparent with the Vancouver Japanese Language School. This school eventually became one of the primary acculturating agents in the Japanese community. Therefore, what this thesis reveals is the relationship between acculturation and selected (institutional) educational factors. It also examines the interaction of churches, Japanese institutions and the public school. Churches and Japanese institutions ran programs which originally substituted for public education. Later, this role changed to a complementary one. The thesis concludes that churches, Japanese institutions and public schools were, to varying degrees, responsible for the acculturation of the Japanese in British Columbia.