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A Lost Japanese Village Has Been Uncovered in the British Columbia Wilderness

FERENC CEGLEDI/ISTOCK VIA GETTY IMAGES

There is an old logging camp in the forests of British Columbia in Canada. As the North Shore News reports, Capilano University archaeology professor Bob Muckle has taken his students there each spring for 14 years straight now. Muckle believes that the site was actually a sort-of-secret Japanese settlement.

Located on the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, the camp is the size of a football field. In the camp, there can now be seen the remains of more than a dozen cabins, a bathhouse, a road made of cedar planks, and a cedar platform. In their expeditions, the students along with Muckle have unearthed around 1000 items. Some of these items include beer bottles from Japan, teapots, game pieces, medicine bottles, clocks, pocket watches to name a few.

In 1918, the Japanese businessman Eikichi Kagetsu secured logging rights to the area near the camp. This suggests that the settlers most probably were loggers. The trees in the area were cleared out by 1924. However, evidence suggests that some families remained in the area for longer than that. According to Muckle, around 40 to 50 inhabitants didn’t leave right away. They remained there until 1942 when Canadian government started moving Japanese immigrants to internment camps when WWII broke out.

The inhabitants, being in a hurry, left many things behind. Muckle told to the North Shore News: “When people leave, usually they take all the good stuff with them. They were probably smart enough to realize people might loot the site.”

According to Smithsonian.com, Japanese immigrants were highly discriminated in Canada since they first moves there in 1877. They weren’t allowed to vote, enter the civil service or work in law or other professions.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Anti-Japan sentiment became worse. Around that time, more than 90 percent of Japanese Canadians were displaced.

This situation makes Muckle believe even more that the villagers wanted to stay isolated as long as possible. “The impression that I get, generally speaking, is it would have been a nice life for these people,” he said.

Sadly, there are no records that show where the settlers might have gone after leaving the site. However, it can be said for sure that they remained there for longer than what was first believed.

HT: Mental Floss

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Written by Ketrin Ulbrich

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