Glendon prof awarded three-year grant to study Japanese transmigration

Yukari Takai of Glendon’s History Department has many unanswered questions. In particular, she has questions about the path taken by early Japanese migrants and settlers in North America. But now, thanks to a recent Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada grant, she can begin researching the answers.

With the three-year, $80,000 grant, Takai will look at Japanese transmigration first to Canada then across the Canada-United States border to the US, between 1882 and1941.

Right: Yukari Takai

“The overarching questions that frame my study in this crucial historical context are: why did Japanese labourers, farmers, students, entrepreneurs, wives and prostitutes continue to move on to the United States after having arrived in Canada, and how did human agency and state regulations shape their trans-border migration in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” says Takai.

She aims to explore how multiple actors of migration – migrants and settlers, state regulators, transporters and agents of migration, such as labour contractors, boarding house operators and smugglers – shaped and negotiated the labour and the mobility of migrants, as well as the power of the nation-states at the very time when Canada and the US implemented a series of racially exclusionary laws and regulations.

Takai is the author of Gendered Passages: French-Canadian Migration to Lowell, Massachusetts, 1900-1920 (Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2008). Her research has focused on the history of migration and demographic change. Having studied and taught in Canada and Japan, and as a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race at Columbia University in New York City, Takai brings a personal perspective to her research.

Her recent study of migratory patterns into and throughout the Quebec and New England region in the 19th and 20th centuries offered a new framework for examining the immigrant experience.

Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny