Participating Scholars
Masako Iino

Project Description


Institutional Participants



Staff and Advisors

English Japanese
Spanish Portuguese

Japanese American
National Museum

Masako Iino is a Professor at Tsuda College, Tokyo, and has been a visiting professor at McGill University and Adcadia University as a specialist in Canada-Japan relations. She is the President of the Japanese Association for Canadian Studies and a member of the Executive Committee of the Japanese Association for American Studies and the Deliberation Council on Immigration. She has published numerous books and professional articles which focus on Japan-Canada and Japan-U.S. relations and issues that surround ethnicity, identity, international relations, and emigration and immigration studies.


Research Proposal Abstract
'LARA' and Japanese Canadians (and Japanese Americans)

Professor Iino proposes to study how the relations between Canada and Japan affected the status of Japanese Canadians in Canadian society by focusing on the relief activities of "LARA" (Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia) immediately after World War II. LARA was an organization which collected and sent food and clothing to devastated Japan between1946 and1952. During that period, the amount of relief supplies sent to Japan through the "LARA" was 17,000 tons worth 40 billion yen in1952. Approximately 20 percent of the total relief supplies was contributed by Japanese Canadians, Japanese Americans, and people of Japanese descent in Latin America. By examining the role that Nikkei played in the relief activities of LARA, Dr. Iino explores the complexity of responses surrounding issues of loyalty, ethnic identity and identification, among Japanese Canadians and people of Japanese ancestry who were caught in the cross-fire of international politics.

Many scholars have argues that the internment affected Nikkei people in Canada and the United States, particularly the Nisei, in terms of their self-images and ethnic identity. Because of their experiences during the war many of them came to feel ashamed of being of Japanese origin and they tried to reject it, or to hide the fact that they were related to Japan, or to remove themselves from things that made them or made the people around them recognize that fact.
Some Nikkei people, however, were deeply concerned with the situation of the Japanese in Japan. They looked for the way to help people in war-stricken Japan and found that they could do so by contacting an organization called “LARA (Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia),” an organization established by civilians in the United States. It collected and sent food and clothing to devastated Japan through “LARA” in the period was 17 thousand tons, which was worth 40 billion yen in 1952. These relief supplies were called the “LARA Relief Supplies” and greatly appreciated by the Japanese government and by Japanese people who were experiencing a lack of everything needed for their survival. What should be noted here is that about 20 percent of all the relief supplies was the contribution of the Nikkei people in North and South America. The following statement may not be too much of an exaggeration; “The War in the Pacific brought Nikkei people in North and South America unmeasurable hardships. For those Nikkei people, the starting point of the ’50 years after WWII’ was to give a helping hand to poverty-stricken people in their homeland over the Pacific.”
The Japanese government documents and other related materials on the LARA enabled me to investigate how the LARA relief activities started, how the Nikkei communities in North America were involved in them, and in what way the Japanese government perceived their activities.