Michael B. Pass


In general, most Canadian historians have not paid much attention to their country’s relationship with Japan immediately after the Second World War. Having declined to participate in the American-run occupation of the country from 1945 to 1952, the argument goes, Ottawa was allegedly uninterested in rediscovering Japan. As a result, the consequences of Canada’s military deployment to Japan as part of the Korean War are usually ignored or simplified to the rowdy and salacious exploits of soldiers visiting the country on R&R. In this article, I argue that the war not only had a lasting impact on Japanese-Canadian relations by providing the Canadian armed forces with a critical logistical hub and leave centre for its forces in Korea, but also that it helped ordinary Canadian servicemembers transcend some of the more virulent anti-Japanese prejudices cultivated during the Second World War.