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Japanese Burials at Ross Bay Cemetery: Brief Outline

At the southern end of the city of Victoria, BC, Canada, facing Ross Bay, is Ross Bay Cemetery where 153 early Japanese immigrants, including 56 children, rest. The grave markers, which were severely damaged by the war and disasters, were reconstructed and reorganized in the 1990s by the “Pacific-Ocean Kake-Hashi group” of Japanese and Japanese-Canadian volunteers (“Kake-Hashi” means “bridge”), and a memorial monument was built there. This website holds a catalogue of buried Japanese immigrants, including their names, ages at death, dates of death (burial), as well as the photos of their grave markers. In the latter half of 1880s, the migration of Japanese people to Canada increased notably and, since in those days, there was no well-equipped port in Vancouver, the immigrants from Japan landed at Victoria. Japanese immigrants were employed mainly in the fishery, in the forestry/lumber industry or as coal mine labourers. Due to the low-wages and harsh work conditions as well as the poor quality of available nutrition and medical services, a lot of early Japanese-Canadians died young. The mortality rate of infants and young children in the Japanese community was also quite high. When they died, members of Victoria’s early Japanese community were buried, like many other pioneers, in Ross Bay Cemetery. Because of the strongly held prejudicial racial attitudes of those days, white Caucasians were buried in the central area of the graveyard, but Japanese and Chinese people were only allowed to be buried in the southernmost part of the cemetery close to the shore of Ross Bay.

Japanese Burials at Ross Bay Cemetery: Grave List and Photos

Japanese Burials at Ross Bay Cemetery Grave List and Photos Based on the field research, we confirmed the places of all the graves of those Japanese people buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, ascertained so far.  The grave list as well as the photos of all the existing gravestones have been uploaded in this website. If you or your friends have an ancestor or a relative who immigrated to Canada from the 1880s to the 1920s (during the Meiji and Taisho eras in Japan), please take the opportunity to review the name list carefully. If you find a name which may be your or your friend’s ancestor or relative, please look