Degree of Justice

Page 1

a degree

of justice


table of contents

Introduction

5

Acknowledgements

6

Foreword

8

The Story Behind the Degree Ceremony

10

President’s Remarks (2012)

15

Chancellor’s Remarks (2012)

16

Students of UBC 1942

18

Students – Present day

190

Index

200

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image: "grouse mountain" (1938) source: nikkei national museum (open accesss) item no. 2011.79.4.1.3.104


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photo: “road to 11 mile camp; tashme, bc� (1943) source: nikkei national museum (open access) item no. 2012.45.1.5


introduction

Shirley R. Nakata LL.B Ombudsperson for Students Co-Chair 2012 Tributes Committee On May 30th, 2012, 76 UBC students of Japanese ancestry received honourary degrees from the university that had abruptly and unjustly terminated their education in 1942. Ten attended in person, others were represented by family as they were unable to travel, and others were awarded their degrees posthumously. The event was a bittersweet celebration of what then UBC President Stephen Toope described as “the triumph of their essential decency over injustice—their leadership, in other words, their capacity to effect change, and their gracious responses to one of the world’s worst problems.”1 70 years after Japanese Canadians were uprooted and exiled from their homes on the BC coast, the journey to return to UBC in 2012 was a long one, marked by courage, grace and joy in the face of countless hardships and challenges. As this Yearbook attests, these students transcended the injustices they encountered and contributed in their own ways to their families, their local communities, and beyond. For each of them, pursuing a university education was not just a personal endeavour, but one that reflected their deep commitment and respect for their parents and families. Their right to complete their studies and earn their degrees was stolen from them and from those who loved and supported them to succeed as Canadian citizens. They returned to UBC in May, 2012 to hear their names called, to cross the stage and be welcomed as part of the UBC alumni family. They returned to stand for the fundamental right of every individual to pursue their education and to be treated with equity, dignity, and respect. Their place in the congregation ceremony was hard-fought and secured through the perseverance and unwavering commitment of Mary and Tosh Kitagawa. While the journey from 1942 was a long one, the path that the Kitagawas began in 2008 was neither easy nor quick. Almost four years had passed from Mary Kitagawa’s first letter to UBC before the university formally agreed to grant the honourary degrees, create an archive of materials in the library, and establish an Asian Canadian Studies Program in the Faculty of Arts to ensure that future generations of UBC students understand the racist history faced by Japanese Canadians and other Asian Canadians in BC. This Yearbook honours those 76 students and their families, and is a legacy that will continue to remind all of us that complacency breeds continued injustice, and that promises of equity and fairness must always be accompanied by action. Notes 1 President’s Message, 2012 Spring Congregation for the Conferring of Degrees, p.1.

5


acknowledgements

Community members Copyediting and Editorial

Mary Kitagawa Tosh Kitagawa Angela Ho

Tyler Mark

Vivian Rygnestad

Design, cover, and typeset

Amanda Wan

Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies program

Chris Lee

University of British Columbia President's Office

We gratefully acknowledge the

Szu Shen

Joanna Yang

generosity of the UBC President’s

Office for sponsoring and supporting the development of this project. We

also thank University Ambassador Wendy Yip for her support.

2012 Japanese Canadian Tributes committee

Heather Amos, Eilis Courtney,

Christopher Eaton, Shirin Eshghi, Alden Habacon, Nancy Hermiston, Alexandra Kim, Keiko Mary Kitagawa, Tosh Kitagawa, Lucie McNeill,

Jessalyn

Miyashiro,

Shirley Nakata, Tom Patch, Randy Schmidt, and Henry Yu


acknowledgements Land Acknowledgement We would like to acknowledge that UBC is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. We thank the Musqueam Nation for its hospitality and support of our work. Redesign and reprinting A Degree of Justice is a redesigned edition of Return: a Commemorative Yearbook, which was published in print and web in 2012 under the Ubyssey Publications Society at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. The original editorial and design team consisted of Jonny Wakefield, Jeff Aschkinasi, Andrew Bates, Laura Rodgers, Will McDonald, Natalya Kautz, CJ Pentland, Karina Palmitesta, Collyn Chan, Indiana Joel, Colin Chia, and Justin McElroy. Day of Learning This yearbook was created for a Day of Learning at UBC on October 10, 2017. The Day of Learning event commemorated the 75th anniversary of Japanese Canadian internment and the 5th anniversary of the UBC Honourary Degree Ceremony for the 1942 Japanese Canadian students. This one-day program explored societal themes of xenophobia, racism and discrimination, from the incarceration of over 21,000 Japanese Canadians in 1942 to the rise of Islamaphobia today. Terminology Throughout A Degree of Justice, the terms “internment” and “incarceration” are used to describe the unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians between 1942 and 1949. The editors recognize that these terms are imperfect and contested, and that they are used within a context of a long history of minimizing or distorting this history through the use of euphemistic language. We respectfully acknowledge the limitations of this book in conveying the full extent of this history, and encourage readers to continue learning about this dark chapter in Canadian history.


foreword

Santa J. Ono 15th President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC Dear Friends, It is truly an honour to write this Foreword. A Degree of Justice is a yearbook that commemorates the 76 Japanese Canadian students who were unjustly removed from UBC in 1942 at the start of the Second World War. Along with all residents of Japanese descent, they were forcibly removed from the West Coast by the Canadian government. Many were sent to internment camps or work camps. Since the landmark redress settlement in 1988, the unjust treatment of Japanese Canadians during the war has been widely recognized as one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. This yearbook is a testament to how this history unfolded right here at UBC, as well as a tribute to the lives of those who were affected. It took many years of dedicated efforts by community leaders, activists, and allies to prompt UBC to recognize this difficult past and respond appropriately. In 2012, the University awarded honourary degrees to the 76 students of 1942. Ten surviving students came back in person to receive their degrees and the others were represented by family members. UBC also committed to recording and archiving their stories and subsequently created an academic program, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program (ACAM), to ensure that histories of anti-Asian racism will not be forgotten by younger generations. This yearbook was initially created by the Ubyssey student newspaper to coincide with the 2012 degree ceremony. Five years later, this updated version not only contains the moving stories of the 76 students, but also reflects on the meaning of the 2012 ceremony for the larger UBC community. I would like to thank the ACAM student editorial team for producing such an important resource and to the many community elders, advisors, and supporters, especially Mary and Tosh Kitagawa, for keeping these histories alive and challenging all of us to consider our responsibilities in light of them. Sincerely,

Santa J. Ono President and Vice-Chancellor 8


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photo: “tashme internment camp scene, bc� (c. 1944) source: nikkei national museum (open access) item no. 1995.109.1.2


the story behind the degree ceremony

Dr. Henry Yu Department of History, UBC

History is never only about the past. When we think about what has passed, we always do it from a present moment that shapes the questions we ask and the answers we seek, and the legacies of the past live on in the ways we remember—and forget—those who went before us. As we now recall, five years later, the 2012 honourary degree ceremony and the act of removing the 76 Japanese Canadian students from UBC 75 years ago that led to the granting of these degrees, we also remind ourselves that how we acknowledge the past refracts who we aspire to be, now and moving forward into the future. The May 30, 2012 ceremony was a profoundly bittersweet moment. Occurring almost exactly 70 years after the students had been forcibly removed from the university and their homes in British Columbia, the ceremony seemed too late to many, since many of the students were no longer alive. One of the students, James Hasegawa, passed away just thirteen days before the ceremony, leaving his bereaved widow to receive his long awaited degree. But for those in their late 80s and 90s who were still able to travel from around the world to attend; for those families and descendants of the original students who shared in the moment of elders receiving degrees long deserved; for all those who took part and who bore witness to that special congregation, this powerfully moving moment served as a “degree of justice” that stretched both into the past and the future. For some family members who never even knew that their grandfather or grandmother had attended UBC, the ceremony sparked conversations about how the lives of those before them had shaped their own. For many of those touched by the May 2012 honourary degree ceremony, the spirit of the students and their stories became a powerful symbol of hope and resilience and justice long delayed, and yet better late than never. But it almost didn’t happen. Mary Kitagawa, a retired schoolteacher who had herself been interned as a child, had written a letter to UBC President Stephen Toope in 2008 suggesting that the university should—as a number of U.S. universities had already—grant degrees to the 76 Japanese Canadian students who had so unjustly been prevented from completing their UBC degrees. The President was supportive, and asked the UBC Senate Tributes Committee that oversaw the granting of honourary degrees to consider the proposal. 10


Three years passed, the opportunities of holding graduation ceremonies in November and May of each year slipping away. Mary and her husband Tosh knew that the elderly Japanese Canadian students were not getting any younger, and that as each year went by fewer would remain, so a petition began circulating, urging UBC to consider the proposal. Newspaper stories in the Vancouver Sun and The Ubyssey in August and September 2011 led to questions about why UBC had not acted with more alacrity. A loose working committee came together to help provide a response to Mary Kitagawa’s 2008 letter and the subsequent petition. I was fortunate to be a member of that group, and had the privilege of a casual lunch discussion with Mary and Tosh Kitagawa about the appropriate actions UBC should take. After several weeks of thoughtful consultation, a decision was made to propose to UBC Senate that honourary degrees be granted to the Japanese Canadian students of 1942, but also that a substantive process be undertaken to examine UBC’s response at the time of their removal, and that there should be permanent legacies that ensured UBC students in the future would understand what had happened. In November 2011, UBC Senate adopted three signature tributes to the UBC Japanese Canadian students who had been removed in 1942: 1) the granting of special honourary degrees during the May 2012 graduation convocation, 2) the documenting and archiving at UBC Library of the stories of the 1942 UBC students, and 3) the creation of an appropriate teaching and research program. UBC is a large institution, with over 50,000 students and 10,000 staff and faculty, and an administrative bureaucracy that is efficient at its appointed tasks. But like a giant supertanker, quick or unexpected changes in direction are difficult. An exceptional process was required that involved staff, students, and faculty who would not normally be working together. A special committee was tasked to implement the three actions adopted by UBC Senate. Co-Chaired by Shirley Nakata and Alden Habacon, this extraordinary group met weekly to carry out the enormous task of organizing a special graduation ceremony in less than five months. One of the important decisions made was to invite Mary and Tosh Kitagawa to join the committee. We needed their passion and their help in reaching out and finding the Japanese Canadian students of 1942 and their descendants. Tracking down the families would require extensive aid from 11


Japanese Canadian communities forcibly dispersed across Canada by the processes of removal, dispossession, and exile that had caused most Japanese Canadians to never return to their homes in BC. A 1977 study by Elaine Bernard had documented the names of all of the students, but student records from 70 years ago were little help. Mary and Tosh became devoted to the painstaking process of finding, communicating with, and persuading surviving students to come to UBC to receive their degrees. Even for those who could physically travel, many had long ago “moved on” in their hearts and minds, and so it was not a straightforward process for them to emotionally revisit and relive dreams deferred and, for so long believed, lost. It was a moving experience to witness the weekly updates from the Kitagawas on how announcements in the Nikkei Voice and other community newspapers turned up a contact with a student’s family, and we all became personally connected to their quest to right this long ago wrong as they blended detective work with the overwhelming task of liaising with so many students and their relatives. In March of 2012, Provost David Farrar and Associate Vice-President Tom Patch took part in a symposium held at UBC to consider the role that UBC administrators in 1942 had played in abetting the removal of Japanese Canadian students. Presenters such as Dr. John Price and Stan Fukawa raised the question of responsibility, engaging a critical and thoughtful discussion appropriate for a university devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Prominent names such as Gordon Shrum, who, without prompting or cause in 1942, decommissioned Japanese Canadian UBC students from the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps, were countered by Professors Henry Angus and E.H. Morrow, who supported their students and publicly spoke against their removal. The symposium as a process ensured that a thorough consideration of the past would allow President Toope to properly acknowledge in the present what had happened seven decades before. The members of the UBC committee represented disparate units across campus, and yet they came together in an extraordinary way to carry out this special task. UBC staff such as Chris Eaton, Eilis Courtney, and Nancy Hermiston worked closely with the Kitagawas in planning a special graduation and hooding ceremony that would represent and express the historical weight of the moment. Leading up to the ceremony, UBC researchers (and former students) Alejandro Yoshizawa and Elena Kusaka conducted interviews with over a dozen surviving students so that their stories could be documented and preserved at UBC, and turned into the online film, “A Degree of Justice.” 12


St. John’s College, UBC, where the returning students stayed on-campus, hosted a reception lunch so that the students and their families could have the chance to meet and talk with each other before the ceremony, and to officially welcome them home to the campus they had unwillingly left seven decades before. Five years after that special day, we can see that the months of devotion and hard work made possible one of the most memorable events in UBC’s history. A moment of atonement and redemption—even if a long time coming—brought some form of closure to a painful wound never healed. For the Japanese Canadian students who received their belated degrees, the past became relevant again that day. But for all of us, that day also set in place a future together, that acknowledges the dark moments of the past while moving forward, inspired by their overcoming. The ongoing tribute at UBC to those 76 Japanese Canadian students, embodied in the creation of the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program in the Faculty of Arts, commits us to keeping the memory of what happened in 1942 alive and relevant to the pursuit of truth and justice at UBC in the years to come.

Notes Gerry Bellett, “UBC Ponders How to Mark 1942 Exodus,” Vancouver Sun, August 27, 2011 Vinicius Cid, “UBC honourary degrees requested for interned Japanese Canadian WWII students,”

The Ubyssey, September 18, 2011 Elaine Bernard, “A University at War: Japanese Canadians at UBC during World War II,” BC Studies,

No. 35 (Autumn, 1977): 36-55.

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photo: "view of the japanese garden at UBC" (1945) source: nikkei national museum (open access) item no. 2013.72.1.1.225


president’s remarks

Stephen Toope 12th President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC (2006 - 2014)

This speech was made during the 2012 Honourary Degree Ceremony held at the University of British Columbia Vancouver, in which the Japanese Canadians forced to leave UBC in 1942 were granted honourary degrees to recognize their histories and experiences. On the truly momentous days of our lives, most of us experience a kaleidoscope of thoughts and emotions. This is one such day. As UBC formally welcomes the 76 Japanese Canadian students of 1942 into our alumni family, the emotions I feel most deeply are a profound gratitude to the students and their families, and joy over this homecoming. That joy is tinged with sadness, because many are no longer with us. Today, I want to honour all of these students, by acknowledging UBC’s part in this dark episode. At the time, too few in our community stood up in your defense. And this is what makes those who did, stand out all the more. Henry Angus, and E.H. Morrow were among those who spoke up, and provided support to students. Seventy years later, these Japanese Canadian students of 1942 gained a new advocate: Mary Kitagawa. Mary, we are indebted to you for your persistence. We hope the actions we are taking—to learn from our mistakes by preserving the historical record, and to develop educational initiatives for future students—provides an enduring, meaningful response. To each of you students and your representatives, by accepting these degrees, you offer us a true gift of grace. It is a gift that awakens the best of human nature in all of us. Thank you. 15


chancellor’s remarks

Sarah Morgan-Silvester 17th Chancellor of UBC (2008-2014)

This speech was made during the 2012 Honourary Degree Ceremony held at the University of British Columbia Vancouver, in which the Japanese Canadians forced to leave UBC in 1942 were granted honourary degrees to recognize their histories and experiences. Well over 2000 years ago, the Greek playwright Aeschylus observed: “In war, truth is the first casualty.” If indeed truth is the first casualty in war, it is followed closely by the fall of rationality, and of justice. In the early days of 1942, neither truth, nor rationality, nor justice could be found in the streets of our Japanese Canadian community. Only in the perfect vision of hindsight did our nation’s leaders rediscover the inescapable truth that there were no enemies in our midst. We owe this restoration of truth, rationality and justice to Mary and Tosh Kitagawa; to Mary who first presented the idea to turn back the hands of time almost four years ago, and then to Mary and her husband Tosh, who both worked tirelessly to identify each of the 76 former students we honour today. For their profound wisdom and conviction, and for the support Mary and Tosh received from others in the community, we are truly and forever grateful. To you, the former students we honour by way of this ceremony, and to the family members who represent those in absentia, I wish to convey how very blessed we are to welcome you here today, whether in person or watching the ceremony by webcast. Today we publicly acknowledge what many UBC teachers and students of 1942 knew to be true all along, that the Japanese Canadian students of this university were no different than any of its other students – proud to have been accepted at one of their country’s finest universities; driven by their dreams; hopeful for their futures. 16


I could not be more delighted to be here today to take part in this long overdue celebration. And there can be no question that today is a day for inordinate celebration. For today is a day upon which we celebrate the return of truth—truth that is no longer the victim, but the victor. My warmest congratulations to you all. It has been my great pleasure to meet and congratulate each member of today’s graduating class, and it is my sincere hope that you are as proud to be alumni today as you were to be students all those decades ago. Today is a day that hopefully represents new beginnings in your relationship with UBC. We hope to have many opportunities to welcome you and your family members back in the future. Above all, please know that UBC is—and will forever be—your university.

Tuum Est.

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Students UBC 1942


Aoki, Dr. Tetsuo Ted Born: 1919 Passed: September 2012 Occupation: Educator

Aoki, Dr. Tetsuo Ted: Ted T. Aoki was born in 1919 in Cumberland, BC, a mining town on Vancouver Island. He graduated from Vancouver’s Brittania High School and Meiwa Gakuen in 1938, moving right into UBC. He completed his Canadian Officers’ Training Corps exams, but received an honourable discharge in 1941 instead of a commission due to his Japanese heritage. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, and was two years into getting a Master’s degree when the War Measures Act was passed. His family moved to southern Alberta in April 1942 as sharecroppers in Monarch and Iron Springs, with Ted supporting the family income through grain harvesting and winter logging. Starting in 1943, a severe shortage of teachers in Alberta lead to an acceleration of the Normal School training program. Ted got his qualifications to teach from the Calgary Normal School, but he required special permission from Calgary City to live within city boundaries. After a close vote, he was granted permission. Despite plenty of openings in Calgary, schools weren’t prepared to commit to hiring a Japanese Canadian teacher. However, the principal of Ted’s Normal School connected him to a one-year position at Hutterite Calgary School in Rockyford, Alberta. After five years teaching in Foremost and Taber, Ted got a post in Lethbridge, Alberta as a “test case” to gauge how parents and students would react to a Japanese Canadian teacher. 20


Ted taught in Lethbridge for thirteen years at Hamilton Junior High, and was also a vice-principal of the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute. Through that time, he got his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education from the University of Alberta, and joined their faculty in 1964. He helped start the school’s Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction and was the director of secondary education from 1978 to 1983. He also earned a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Oregon. Aoki was was a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and held honourary degrees from UBC, Western, Alberta and Lethbridge, and received a number of professional awards. In 2012, he was unable to attend the Honourary Degree ceremony at UBC, but had his degree presented in person a few days after. Aoki passed away later that year in September. 1

21


Arai, Kimimichi Douglas Born: 1922 Passed: 2008 Occupation: Chemist

Arai, Kimimichi Douglas: Douglas, eldest son of eight children of Yukie and Sadakichi Arai, was born in Ocean Falls BC in 1922, where he lived his first ten years. When the Great Depression crippled the one-company town, his father’s job at the paper mill was reduced and they moved to Vancouver then to Kennedy (now part of Surrey), to start a chicken and strawberry farm. Doug, his brothers and sisters worked with their father on the farm. Being the oldest brother, Doug took on many family responsibilities from the time he was very young, looking out for his brothers and sisters. In orderly fashion, he made sure things were taken care of down to the last minute detail; he was a perfectionist and they looked up to him. Doug began his schooling in Ocean Falls, went on to Strathcona Public in Vancouver, and then to Kennedy Public and Cloverdale High School. He was a brilliant student, skipping two grades. He entered UBC at the age of sixteen and graduated in 1942 with double Honours in Physics and Chemistry. This was a year he would never forget. During World War II, all people of Japanese descent were evacuated, shipped 100 miles or more inland and interned by the Canadian government. Doug was separated from the rest of his family and was sent to Empress Camp near Jackfish. There he worked as a cook and bottle washer. He went to King City to work on the Umehara farm, then moved to Toronto where he pushed a broom at Fine Chemicals. 22


The rest of his family was interned in Kaslo, BC. It was a difficult time for the whole family, but especially for his mother and for Doug. Living conditions took a toll on her and she succumbed after a very short illness. Doug always regretted that he was unable to be at her side during her illness and unable to attend her funeral in 1943 as he waited for a permit to travel. After years at Fine Chemicals Doug worked his way to become a respected chemist, working there until the company was bought out. He worked for Micro Chemicals and then worked for the Ontario government until his retirement in 1987. In 1953, Doug married Tomiko Suzuki and they had three daughters. Doug enjoyed his many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews whom he saw at family picnics and Christmas get-togethers. Doug was active in the United Church, in the Toronto Japanese Language School, enjoyed fishing with his brother, camping, and was a great fan of Toronto’s sports teams. He passed away at home in 2008. 1

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Handa, Roy Passed: 2002 Occupation: Tradesman

Handa, Roy: Roy was born in Naas Harbour, British Columbia and moved with his family to Powell Street in Vancouver before starting school. He also lived in Richmond and 110 Mile House. It is very difficult to speak on behalf of our uncle and brother who is no longer with us. He never spoke of those days to us. Although we shared a love of learning and reading and studying, he never, ever talked about this period of his life. Perhaps he never wanted us to think negatively about education in any way so never told us that he had been expelled by UBC. My mother (his sister) remembers him being very angry when asked to leave the University of British Columbia as well as leave his home and his family. Before the Japanese entered the fray of war in 1941, Roy was experiencing the typical life of a university student living with his mother and two sisters on Powell Street, attending classes everyday at the University of British Columbia. When the war began and the War Measures Act was put into place his life was to forever change. At this time Roy had completed his fourth year at UBC and on the cusp of graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. In place of attending convocation that spring, Roy was forced to go to work in the road camps in Schreiber, Ontario. A diploma would never be forthcoming. 24


During this time he had little contact with his two sisters and mother who had been sent to Greenwood internment camp. His family didn’t know where he was going when he left and they had very limited communication throughout their separation. The government censored all letters so what little communication they had was often meaningless. From Schreiber, Roy was then sent to Chatham, Ontario to work on the sugar beet farms and finally ended up in Toronto. Before the end of the war Roy looked for work in Toronto to make money in order to find a place to live so his family could join him. Toronto was not friendly or welcoming to anyone of Japanese descent. People did not want to hire nor rent space to them. Racist sentiments ran strong all the way from BC. Roy was finally able to get work with a paper company and found a small space to live for his family. Knowing he would need a trade or skill to ensure work for the future, Roy took a college course to learn sign painting. Eventually he got a job with the Kand Sign Company (on Adelaide in Toronto) and rented a house on River Street. Many years later he would go to BC for the fishing season and then return to Toronto. He married later in life and moved back to Vancouver permanently for the first time since the war. Roy and his wife lived for a time in Richmond, BC until they moved to 110 Mile House, BC. He lived there until he passed away in 2002. 1

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Harada, Teruo Ted Born: February 17, 1921 Occupation: Construction

Harada, Teruo Ted: (From Nikkei Voice, Holiday 2011 issue (Vol. 25, No. 10), Page 4. Editor’s File by Mika Fukuma: “Redress Being Achieved for JC UBC Students”) Teruo “Ted” Harada was born on February 17, 1921 in Cumberland, BC, on Vancouver Island. He grew up at the nearby Royston Lumber Company, where the family lived. He is the third eldest of eleven children born to Kumaichi Harada (from Hiroshima) and Chiyono Doi (born in Cumberland). Ted Harada says that he was very fortunate that his parents let him go to UBC to study after he graduated from Cumberland High School. This was because he was small compared to his elder brother, and his parents thought that he would not be well-suited for labour-intensive work. So they thought, instead, that he should go a different path and get further educated at university. Harada himself was interested in studying at university, but he had to work to earn his tuition during the summer. His parents and his elder brother also had to pitch in for his tuition. For Harada, going to UBC meant coming out to the big city. “For me, being a country boy, city life is a little different. In Royston, after 9 pm, there is nobody. Lights go out because they had to get up early at 5 am to go to work,” he says. He also notes that, because there was not much of a social life back in Royston, he first had a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle at UBC in Vancouver. 26


For his first year at UBC in 1940-41, Harada lived with his elder sister, who was married. The following year, he lived at a small hotel called the New World Hotel, on Powell Street. In his second year, he studied commerce. Although it was difficult for anyone of Japanese descent to get a good job even with a degree, Harada thought of going east to Toronto or Montreal and getting into the trades there. Like other Nisei students at UBC, Harada was also in the Basic Group of the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps (COTC) in 1941. “In second year, we all had to take COTC, and that was quite new to me. We got our uniforms in September, and in January, when we returned after the holidays, we had to hand it in. That was it,” he says. He continues: “I felt that because I was born in Canada I was supposed to be a citizen. It felt kind of awkward.” Harada says that he heard about the Pearl Harbor attack when he came down from his hotel room where he had been studying for his midterms, and went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. “I was confused. I was wondering why a small country like Japan would attack the US. I couldn’t believe it. In economics, I was studying trade in Asia. Japan didn’t have any raw materials so I was very confused,” he says. Despite being released from the UBC Contingent of the COTC, Harada says he didn’t experience any problems with his Caucasian friends, and was able to finish his second year at UBC. But he says that one obstacle was the curfew. Because he had to be home before the sun went down, it meant that he could not do any research at the university library. Immediately after finishing his second year, Harada was told by the BC Security Commission to go to Hastings Park, where his family had already been moved. Harada had been designated as a teacher at Hasting Park when he arrived in May because he had just come from university. He was then sent to Slocan the following month as a teacher, but when he arrived he was assigned to cutting wood instead. Wanting to continue his education, he applied to the University of Manitoba and was accepted. He even arranged to have his records sent to Winnipeg, “but they wouldn’t let me out of Slocan,” said Harada. During this time, he says, he had a big argument with the BC Security Commission officials. 27


Ted made some money from cutting wood but thirty dollars was taken to support the family, and he was only left with ten dollars each time he was paid. Harada stayed in Slocan for four years. He had given up hope of continuing his studies because he had no money. Then, in 1945, he got married to Michiko Kinoshita and left Slocan. Meanwhile, his family moved to the New Denver camp. Although Harada wanted to go to Toronto, he was not allowed in and instead went to London, Ontario in May. There, he first stayed with his friend Art Obokata, whom he knew from his UBC days. In February 1946, he finally moved to Toronto. Like with many JCs, he lived in the “Jewish district” and found a job nickel plating. He had worked there for about six months during which time he became allergic to nickel. In the meantime his elder brother had died and he had to travel back to New Denver by train for the funeral. “When we came back [to Toronto], we were broke,” says Harada. He then tried to find a better paying job, and took a job in the field of construction, working as a plasterer. He remained at this job and was even self-employed until he had a heart attack in the 1970s. He then worked part-time in an apartment doing repairs, and completely retired about twenty years ago. Ted Harada and his wife Michiko have two children, two grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. His son was a doctor in Owen Sound, but is now retired. Regarding the belated recognition by UBC, Harada says that it doesn’t really mean too much to him now, especially at his age. But the move by the university has been bringing back memories for Harada, and he has even pulled out his 1942 yearbook. He certainly has no regrets attending UBC, and had even encourages his children to further their education beyond high school. He does wonder, though, where he would be now if he had been able to finish his degree back then. 1

28


Hasegawa, Hajime James Born: April 26, 1916 Passed: May 17, 2012 Occupation: Entrepreneur

Hasegawa, Hajime James: This is all the information that I can recall about my husband. He was born in New Westminster on April 26, 1916. The early part of his childhood was in Vancouver, where he started school at Mount Pleasant Elementary, but the rest of his life was in New Westminster (Queensborough) where his father had a boat building business and had several real estate properties. His mother had a local general store there too. He was attending the Waseda University in Japan when all foreign students were called in and advised to leave as there may have been a possibility they would not be able to leave. He came back on the Heian Maru, which was the last ship back to Vancouver. He enrolled at UBC and was in the UBC Canadian Officers’ Training Corps. When war was declared, he was asked to discreetly remove his shoes by the senior officer so that the news would not spread out to the campus. You ask how he felt? How would one feel when you are a foreigner in Japan and not treated like a Canadian, even though you were born in Canada? In those days anger was not in the picture. We of Japanese origin were brought up to obey and not ask questions. I saw no tears on anybody. Parents did not show any sign of confusion. Mary, I can go on and on about what I remember, but that is another story. I asked Jim why he did not go to Lillooet with his family. He taught the children in Hastings Park and then went to Kaslo and taught there. 29


When opportunity came to leave the confinement, he went to Hamilton, Ontario as a house-boy. That job did not go well as he had no experience in anything domestic, so mutually left and worked for Massey Harris. He later enrolled at the University of Toronto. He terminated his education there as he was unable to get into Dentistry as priority was given to the military. Since then, he has joined Yee On Trading in Toronto and brought in products from the US and various places to supply the needs of the Japanese there and across Canada. He came back to British Columbia to join his family in Lillooet who had purchased a Motel when that became possible. He was more or less self employed in various businesses until his retirement. We were married in Vancouver on April 18, 1949 and have a wonderful family of four children and seven grandchildren. 1

30


Hikida, Dr. Hideaki Robert Born: 1922 Passed: 1985 Occupation: Tomato researcher

Hikida, Dr. Hideaki: Hideaki Robert “Bob� Hikida was born in 1922 in Ocean Falls, BC, where his father worked at the pulp and paper mill. In 1927, the family moved to farmland they had purchased in Strawberry Hill. Bob attended Strawberry Hill Elementary School and then Cloverdale High School, where he was president of the Aero Club. In 1940, he registered at UBC, where he aspired to study aeronautical engineering. Bob was in his second year at UBC when the evacuation order was issued in 1942. With his parents and three sisters, Bob relocated to a sugar beet farm in Homewood, Manitoba. The family worked at the farm for the harvest, then Bob and two of his sisters moved to Winnipeg, where he worked at McKenzie Seeds and enrolled at the University of Manitoba. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.S. in agriculture in 1948. Bob married Shizue Susanne Oseki in Vancouver in 1955; they had three children. After earning a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Oregon, he joined Campbell Soup Company, where he conducted tomato research in Canada and the U.S. as well as Peru, Brazil and Mexico. Bob was living in Davis, California when he died from a stroke in 1985, at the age of sixty-three. He is remembered as a hardworking, dedicated father and husband who was passionate about photography, education and cultural exchange. 1

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Hirano, Toshio Born: 1920 Passed: 1981 Occupation: Metal analyst; Entrepreneur

Hirano, Toshio: Toshio Hirano was born in 1920 and resided in the East End neighbourhood of Vancouver. He was attending the University of British Columbia (UBC) during the attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese. Since the students of Japanese descent were disallowed to continue their studies at UBC, it was a great shock and disappointment to him. His father was a successful businessman in Vancouver, but like many others, had to give up his possessions and relocate to the interior of BC. His parents, sister and younger brother settled in Bridge River for the duration of the war. At his parents’ insistence to continue his education, he went to Winnipeg to attend the University of Manitoba, where he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Physics. He then settled in Toronto and began working for the Canada Metal Company as a metal analyst. In 1956, he and a workmate moved to Hamilton and started a business manufacturing auto body solder and lead weights. He retired from the successful business fifteen years later. Unfortunately, Toshio was unable to enjoy his retirement as he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in his early fifties and bravely fought the disease for almost a decade. He succumbed to the disease in 1981. Toshio is survived by his wife Marie (Marnie) and his five children, David, Lauren, Doug, Steven and Tami, and nine grandchildren, all of whom still reside in the Toronto area. 1 32


Ide, Ritsusaburo George Born: July 2, 1923 Passed: January 27, 2011 Occupation: Salesman

Ide, Ritsusaburo George: George was born on July 2, 1923 in Vancouver, BC. He attended Queen Alexandra Public School and King Edward High School before entering UBC. In 1942, he was registered in 1st Year Arts and Science and the COTC. Following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbour, George was sent to Taft, a roadcamp in BC, for a short time. Later he was moved to London, Ontario, where he worked at Imperial Fuels and Johnson’s Jewelry. He then moved to Toronto, where he became a salesman for Kingsway Lumber Company until his retirement at the age of seventy.

George passed away on January 27, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario. 1

33


Ikata, Mieko Lucy Born: 1923 Passed: 2010 Occupation: Stenographer; Educator

Ikata, Mieko Lucy: Mieko Lucy Ikata was born in Vancouver in 1923. Her parents were from Tokushima, Japan. Their house was near McGill Street in Vancouver. She skipped a grade while in the public school. In 1941, she entered UBC as an Arts and Science student. When the Canadian Government invoked the War Measures Act to move all people of Japanese descent beyond the 100-mile restricted zone, her family went to Edmonton, Alberta. But she never talked about her life there with her family. They feel that life was difficult there for her. Later, she enrolled at the University of Alberta and graduated. She became a stenographer at a Livestock Company. After the war, she moved to Tokyo, Japan with her mother. Her father moved there earlier. She married her husband soon after settling in Japan. In Japan, Canadians had to have a job in order to live there. She became an employee of AIU Insurance Company and worked there until she had her first child. After having three children, she began teaching English at many places: Logos conversation class, TOEFL academy, telephone conversation class, and so on. She got a lot of joy teaching English. She loved Canada ,and always was saying that she would like to return to Vancouver. She did visit several times, but remained in Japan until her death. She passed away in November of 2010. 1 34


Ikebuchi, Yotaro Norman Born: unknown Occupation: Machinist

Ikebuchi, Yotaro Norman: In 1942, Yotaro was in his 2nd year at University of British Columbia, studying Agriculture. He was very disappointed when he was expelled from UBC and had to leave so much behind… each person was allowed only two pieces of luggage. The Ikebuchi family did not go to the internment camp as they had voluntarily relocated to the Picture Butte, Alberta area. Yotaro’s family moved to the Gillies’ farm, where they gained employment in the sugar beet fields. He often said how fortunate he was during the war years) when his family relocated to Alberta instead of being interned. In 1948 the Ikebuchi family moved to Taber, Alberta. Yotaro was employed at the McIntyre Ranch in Magrath, AB, Broder Canning Company, Empress Foods in Lethbridge and Diamond S Produce in Taber. He was very dedicated to his job, making sure machinery etc. was kept in good working order. On November 14, 1953 Yotaro married Helen Shimbashi in Taber. They settled in Lethbridge where they had son Wayne and daughter Brenda. In 1966, Yotaro, Helen and family moved to Taber, AB to raise their family. Yotaro enjoyed playing on a five-pin bowling team during his time in Lethbridge. He enjoyed his trips to California, Japan, Hong Kong, and Hawaii. Yotaro was a member of the Alberta Chapter of Tottori-Ken Doshi-Kai. Thanks to Tosh and Mary Kitagawa for their dedication in making this Honourary Degree from UBC possible to those students who were expelled when Japanese Air Force attacked Pearl Harbor. 1 35


Inouye, Susumu John Born: August 1, 1922 Passed: February 14, 1960 Occupation: Mechanic

Inouye, Susumu John: John was born August 1, 1922 in Ladysmith, BC. He lived in Duncan, BC where he graduated from high school. He applied to UBC and was accepted. When evacuation started, his family, mother, father, John, Jack and Hana were sent to Slocan, BC. When Japanese Canadians were once again allowed to return to BC in 1949, John chose to return to Vancouver. He was employed in a garage as a mechanic, eventually owning his own garage. The last time the family was together was in December 15, 1959 at his mother’s funeral. Unfortunately, on February 14, 1960 John was in a car accident on the Hope Princeton Highway on his way back to Vancouver. He died shortly after in the Vancouver Hospital. John loved sports: with his brother Don as the pitcher and John as the catcher, they played on a Japanese Canadian team called the Giants. He was a high-spirited, fun-loving young man. His family feels that he would have been very successful at UBC. 1

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Kadota, Hiroshi Charles Born: May 15, 1922 Occupation: Entrepreneur

Kadota, Hiroshi Charles: Charles Kadota: “My Christian parents stressed that we should honour where we are born, where we are educated, and where we make our livelihood… When I entered UBC in 1940, I discovered I was an ‘Oriental.’” Charles Hiroshi Kadota was born on May 15, 1922 in Swanson Bay, BC, the fifth child of Kantaro and Shigeno (née Kunita) Kadota. He attended elementary school in Englewood near Telegraph Cove and Duke of Connaught High School in New Westminster, where he was one of the top three students in his class and a Class President and Vice President of the Student Council. He excelled in oratorical contests and debates. After graduating high school in 1940, he enrolled at the University of British Columbia and moved into residence at the United Church, on the corner of Powell and Jackson streets. At UBC, Charles enjoyed his studies, having an active social life, and being part of the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps. He had ambitions to become a lawyer, despite the fact that Japanese Canadians were unable to vote until 1948 and therefore could not practice law. His studies were cut short by the Japanese Canadian internment order at the end of his second year. He completed his second-year exams in the spring of 1942 before being sent to road camp near Schreiber, Ontario. After a short period at the camp, Charles, along with his older brother, George, were sent to work with their father at a nearby mill. Charles then moved to Toronto in late 1942 and worked in a number of factory jobs until 1946. His girlfriend from his days at UBC, Lillian Shimotakahara, travelled from Montreal to Toronto with a friend after hearing that Charles was living there. 37


In 1946, Charles moved to Montreal to work at Clevermaid Factory, which was owned by Lillian’s father, Toraryu Shimotakahara. Charles and Lillian were married in Montreal on August 9, 1947. Their first child, Jennifer, was born in Montreal in 1949. In 1950, Charles moved to Vancouver with Lillian and Jennifer. There, he and his brothers-in-law Lloyd Shimotakahara and James Suzuki opened five ladies’ wear retail stores called Modiste in Vancouver and Victoria. Three daughters, Constance, Diane and Shelley, were born in Vancouver between 1951 and 1961. In 1955, at the age of thirty-three, he took night school to get his CGA. After graduating in 1961, he left Modiste to set up his own business, Hiro Distributors. After trying to sell lighters embossed with company logos and other promotional items, he was hired to get CSA approval for Japanese appliances, including the popular Matsushita rice cooker. He also landed the contract to supply Canadian Pacific with Noritake dinnerware. These two products were the basis for his success in business. Charles was very active in the Japanese Canadian community, serving as president of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association, representing Vancouver on the National Association of Japanese Canadians, and as a working as a fundraiser and board member of Tonari Gumi. Among the first members of the Vancouver Redress Committee, he was an outspoken supporter and activist. He led successful fundraising campaigns and took part in media interviews, talks, and panel discussions in support of redress, all to raise awareness of the injustices of the internment order. He was among the leaders of the Redress March to the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in April 1988, and celebrated the Redress Settlement reached on September 22, 1988. He was also a member and volunteer of the Kiwanis Music Festival. He and Lillian travelled throughout North, Central and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, often with friends and Lillian’s sister Margie and her husband Ryo Otsuki. They were both avid concertgoers and bridge and golf players. Charles loved crossword puzzles and Scrabble. His favourite pastime, though, was fishing. He was still reeling in salmon in Tofino in 2009, at age eighty-seven. On May 30, 2012, at age ninety, Charles received an honourary degree from the University of British Columbia. He was one of only eleven surviving Japanese Canadian students forced to end their studies in 1942. This proved to be a profound and emotional experience for Charles—a long-awaited recognition, for which he was tremendously grateful. Charles will be remembered for many things, including his keen observations and interest in people and the human condition, his gift of gab, his enjoyment of good company, his exuberance, and his love of life. You always knew where he was in the room because of the laughter, the crowd of people around him, and the sound of his strong, clear voice holding court, telling stories about some adventure or experience he had. He was larger than life, and is missed by all who knew him well. 1 38


Kagetsu, Akiko Born: November 22, 1922 Passed: January 30, 2008 Occupation: Stenographer

Kagestu, Akiko: Akiko Kagetsu was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 22, 1922. She was the fourth youngest in a family of ten children. Her father emigrated from Japan in 1906 and married her mother in 1911. Akiko attended Kerrisdale Public School, Point Grey Junior High School and Magee High School. Some of her happiest memories occurred when she spent the summers with her family at Fisherman’s Cove, where she enjoyed swimming and fishing. She became a student at the University of British Columbia during the early 1940s, but unfortunately, after the war broke out, her family was evacuated from their home and they were forced to move to the interior of BC to an old mining town called Minto. Her university education suddenly came to a halt after only two years and her biggest regret was that she never received her Bachelor of Arts degree. Before the end of the war, she and her family moved to Toronto where they experienced discrimination when they were trying to find a new home and sought employment. Akiko was able to obtain her first position on an assembly line at the Imperial Tobacco Company. Next, she worked at the United Welfare Council (now the United Way) as a stenographer, progressing to office manager and finally ended up at Wilkening Piston Company. During her spare time, she participated in the Badminton Club and the Fellowship Club which met at the Metropolitan United Church and was 39


fortunate to meet her future husband, Henry Ide. They were happily married on August 27, 1949. Akiko resigned from her job when their first daughter, Donna was born in 1952 and later, she had two more daughters, Carolyn and Valerie. Akiko was a devoted mom and grandmother to Laura, Vanessa, Jennifer and Robbie, and she spent most of her time raising her family. As well as being a great cook, some of her hobbies included bowling, knitting, crocheting, ballroom dancing, playing bridge and other card games, golfing and travelling the world. For many years, she enjoyed working as a volunteer at Momiji Kai (seniors’ club), the Royal Winter Fair and Meals-on-Wheels (delivering meals to senior citizens in Toronto). Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2007 and passed away on January 30, 2008. She will always be remembered as a kind and caring person who was devoted to her family. She went out of her way to do whatever she could to help her family and friends, and those in need of assistance. 1

40


Kagetsu, Hajime Passed: March 28, 2012 Occupation: Salesman; Entrepreneur

Kagetsu, Hajime: My father was born in Vancouver and lived there for most of his early life. He was eldest son of Eikichi Kagetsu, a prominent Japanese immigrant who managed to own large tracts of timbered land on one of the islands off the coast of BC. He attended Lord Byng High School and was destined to help run his father’s timber business so he attended University of British Columbia. In 1941 he earned a Forest Engineering degree. In 1942, Canada declared war on Japan. The University of British Columbia denied entry to all Japanese Canadians. Hajime was not allowed to attend Convocation ceremonies even though he earned his degree. He wanted to pursue the designation of Professional Engineer but was refused by the Professional Engineer’s Society because he was of Japanese descent. Immediately after earning his degree, Hajime was accepted to Queen’s University for graduate studies in engineering. Upon arrival in 1942, the University withdrew their acceptance because he was of Japanese descent. Prime Minister Mackenzie King had invoked the War Measures Act. It was the first time such a powerful law was initiated. It had the power to strip any Canadian of his or her civil liberties. Anyone of Japanese heritage living on the Pacific coast were forced at gunpoint to sell their homes and property and forced to live away from coast. Many tar paper shacks sprang up to house these people. My father lived in Minto with his family. Two years later his Mother took her children to live in Toronto. 41


My mother, Yoshiko Violet Momose, met my Dad while attending UBC. She was able to graduate. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts. She too moved to Minto and later moved to Toronto and soon wed Hajime Kagetsu.

My father did not join the Canadian military.

My father and mom moved to Fort William Ontario. My dad worked for Marathon Paper Company as a Forestry Engineer. One of his jobs was to calculate how many timber reserves the company owned, and from there determine how much pulp could be made from the timber reserves. Written by Hajime’s only son, Stanley Haj Kagetsu, in 2012: Stanley Kagetsu was born in 1948 in Fort William Ontario. My grandfather wanted my dad to return to Toronto to be close to him. My grandfather had started a small importing company called Pacific Trading Company that imported small objects made of china from Japan. My father managed a family gift shop in Toronto called Eglingwood Gifts which sold some of the imported china goods from Japan. My father also became a salesman who sold chinaware wholesale to some retail stores in the surrounding area. He was a salesman for a number of years to help make the business to survive. I remember as a kid, my dad at home in the basement assembling wooden and glass cases for Japanese dolls he sold. I fondly watched my dad continue to work after an already long day’s work. I can remember the smell of the clear CIL glue that he used to put the glass and wooden doll cases together. My father was restless and he left the family giftware business to start a drycleaning business in Scarborough called Neville Park Cleaners, which he managed for thirty-some years. The work was hard and he worked long hours. He would leave for work before we woke up in the morning and he came home after we were in bed. When I was in my early teens, I worked Saturdays and summer holidays at the cleaners. I would make a few dollars and spend some money at the local tropical fish store. While working at the cleaners, I learned business skills as well as the dry cleaning business. I also learned how to fix things. I became a steam and pipe fitter, which came in handy to maintaining the steam lines used in the dry cleaning plant. 42


My sister was born in Toronto in 1952.

My mother also worked part-time at the dry cleaning plant. Having a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, she decided to better herself by returning to school to become a teacher to help support the family. She found the kids too unruly, and left teaching to become a secretary for the Chief Justice Blair of Ontario Supreme Court. She stayed there several years until her retirement. In 1960s, the cleaners was sold and my Father worked for a steel fabricating company called Hepburn steel. He was a steel estimator. He would calculate how much steel was required for different steel projects. He was reasonably content that he could use some of the engineering skills he learned at UBC. I believe he worked there for about two years.

I remember my Dad being in good health. He rarely went to the doctor.

My dad loved to dance and took several dance lessons with my mother. While at a dance, my dad suffered a heart attack at sixty-seven years old. MD friends attempted CPR and he momentarily gained consciousness, but immediately died thereafter. It wasn’t until later that we learned he died of heart attack brought about by high blood pressure—the silent killer. My dad was a very proud man. He worked extremely hard at the tasks that he took on. He was not bitter about the harsh and unfair treatment he received because he was of Japanese descent. He set a good example for my sister Laurie and I: “Work hard and try to make the best of any difficult life situations.” There is no question in my mind that he and other Japanese Nisei (second generation Canadians) carried a heavy burden of discrimination and hatred and yet overcame these obstacles which made them stronger and showed other people in Canada, that they were worthy to be called Canadians. They paved the road for future generations of Sanseis (third generation Canadians) to have the opportunities that they were denied. Laurie and Stanley became successful dentists. Laurie is now retired, but Stanley continues to practise in Whitby as a orthodontist.

Yoshiko Momose died on March 28, 2012. 1 43


Kato, Kiyoshi Born: unknown Occupation: Social worker

Kato, Kiyoshi: Special circumstances enabled me to complete my studies in the following way. I received a scholarship for my first year at UBC by having the highest average in the City of Vancouver. I wanted to become a librarian and applied to assist the reference librarian at UBC, who in my second year as her assistant, was interested in furthering my hopes by writing to two universities in eastern Canada, which had library courses, to find if there might be financial assistance to help me realize my dream. The replies from the two universities were devastating as neither could accept Orientals, native Indians, or those of the Jewish faith. I continued to work with the reference librarian (at fifty cents an hour, for ten hours a week) and in my third and fourth years, took general courses in sociology, history and psychology. In May, 1941 after receiving a BA, I had an interview with Zella Collins to discuss my admission to the diploma course in Social Work. Miss Collins stated that I could not be accepted as it would be impossible to find suitable field work placements for someone of my race. This response was a devastating setback, but I realized there was considerable discrimination against visible minorities, particularly against Asians in British Columbia, and went home, with some empathy for Miss Collins’ discomfort in dismissing me. By chance, on the day after that interview, I met J.S. Woodsworth of the CCF party. As a pacifist, he had not been able to support Canada’s participation in World War II, had resigned as leader of his party, and was recuperating from a stroke in Vancouver. 44


When he opened the door to accept the item I was delivering, he asked if I was a Japanese Canadian. He wanted to know how our community was doing. He wondered if I could spare the time to talk to him. I did not recognize him immediately, but about an hour into our most illuminating discourse, I began to wonder if he could be J. S. Woodsworth! This was confirmed when his wife came in from the kitchen to caution “James” about getting upset as he talked about the possibility of Japan attacking America. He persuaded his wife to serve us tea, and then asked me what I was doing with my life. I told him about my interview with Miss Collins, but was so excited about being with Mr. Woodsworth, that I began to question him about his accomplishments as a Member of Parliament. I had belonged to the Social Problems Club, had read Olive Zeigler’s biography of Mr. Woodsworth, had joined the C.C.F. while in high school, and had grown up in a family with parents who took an avid interest in trade unions and co-ops. The two hours I spent with Mr. Woodsworth changed the course of my life! He did not tell me what I should do with my life, but he made me think about the choices I could make. I made an appointment with Marjorie Bradford, Executive Director of the Council of Social Agencies, who was most sympathetic about my plight. After she confirmed that I spoke Japanese, she suggested that I telephone Margaret Johnson of TB Social Services as the staff there had frequent contact with Japanese families, and also talk to Margaret Hari of the YWCA as the agency had recently hired a Chinese Canadian graduate in Physical Education from the University of Toronto. Miss Bradford also suggested I get in touch with the Japanese Welfare Federation who had a Japanese Canadian public health nurse on their staff, and could come to the Council of Social Agencies and the United Way for an increase in their budget to hire a social worker when I had finished my training. The two agencies were happy to take me on as a student, and the bilingual secretary of the Japanese Welfare Federation was pleased to hear from me. (We were married three years later in Toronto). The UBC Department of Social Work took me on as a student, but after Pearl Harbour Day on December 7, 1941, when curfew limits, and evacuation orders were imposed on all those of Japanese descent, it became very difficult to complete my field work. But Miss Hart switched me from working with business girls in the evening hours to young children on Saturdays for the first placement, and an urgent plea came from Miss Amy Leigh of the Vancouver Social Services Department, who had just been hired by the BC Security Commission, 45


which was set up to supervise the evacuation, for “that Japanese student” to assist her in setting up Welfare Offices in the evacuation centres. I received special permission to leave the Kaslo camp to take the summer course in 1942 to complete the requirements for that Diploma in Social Work, provided I commit myself to working for the BC Security Commission for at least six months. From September 1942 to March 1943 I was assigned to set up Welfare Offices at three other evacuation centres, doing the best I could with occasional supervisory meetings with Miss Leigh. In April, I left the camps for Toronto where I initially settled for a job as a lowly camp assistant in an Ontario Farm Services Camp in the Niagara area. In September I was referred to the University Settlement House on Grange Avenue in Toronto as a group worker and stayed there for four years, leaving to have my first child. After her death in Ottawa at the age of seven, I was a case worker at the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society, later an assistant supervisor, and then resigned to have three more children. When the youngest child was three, I was persuaded to take a position as Intake Social Worker in a daycare centre where I was able to take him with me to work, and leave for home at the end of the school day to greet my two older ones. There were occasional meetings in the evenings to clarify difficult situations, when my husband was home with the children. I also helped set up a research project with a psychology professor at Carleton University in Early Childhood Development. After two years, this lead me to a job in the Social Services Department as Coordinator of Day Care Services, when more provincial funds became available to subsidize the cost of care, and to set up Headstart Nursery Schools. Eventually, I became Coordinator of Community Service Centres in the Social Services Department, and retired in 1985 as one of four District Directors. On April 18, 2005 the Caring Canadian Award was given to me by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson for the community contributions in Victoria where I lived for about ten years after retirement. Sincerely, (Mrs.) Kiyoshi Shimizu (née Kato) 1 46


Kato, Yoichi Born: April 4, 1921 Occupation: Engineer

Kato, Yoichi: Written by Yoichi’s sister, Rose Aihoshi (two years younger): Yoichi Kato was born on April 4, 1921 in Vancouver. In the 1941-42 session at UBC, he was in third year in the Faculty of Applied Science to become an electrical engineer. He was a member of the Basic COTC unit. His ID number was K577007. When he was forced to leave UBC, Yoichi was hired as a surveyor’s assistant in Slocan internment camp. His family was moved to Lemon Creek. Later, he enrolled at the University of Manitoba, where he lived with a homestay family. After graduation, he moved to Ottawa then to Montreal where he worked for an aluminum company. He travelled a lot when he became the power engineer for the company and oversaw the Kitimat project. After that, he oversaw the Arvida project in northern Quebec. Yoichi retired at the age of sixty-two, but was immediately rehired as a consultant by the same company and sent to Atlanta, Georgia to oversee a project there. Mr. Kato now lives at the Momiji Home in Toronto. 1 47


Kawaguchi, Dr. Shigeru Jack Born: 1922 Passed: 1976 Occupation: Surgeon

Kawaguchi, Dr. Shigeru Jack: Jack Kawaguchi was born in Vancouver, BC in 1922. The family lived at 2407 Pandora Street. His father, Kiichi owned a drugstore, where Jack worked while attending school. He became a UBC student after graduation from Britannia High School. When the Pacific war began, Jack was in second year Arts and Science. As a COTC member, he was stripped of his position and was exiled from UBC to a Prisoner of War camp in Angler, Ontario. When he was released after the war, he moved to Kingston, Ontario and enrolled in Queen’s University. There, he earned his medical degree. After graduation, Jack moved to Japan, where he met and married a lady who was also a doctor. Jack was fluent in both English and Japanese. He became a well-known surgeon in Tokyo, which enabled him and his wife to live a very affluent life. They lived in a two-story, five bedroom house tended by two live-in maids. They had no children. Jack passed away in 1976. 1

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Kawahara, Hideo Born: May 5, 1920 Passed: February 21, 2011 Occupation: Business management

Kawahara, Hideo: Hideo Kawahara was born in Chute Lake, BC. He was delivered by his father on May 5, 1920. His birth was not registered until January 15, 1921. He passed away on February 21, 2011 at Hospice House in Kelowna, BC. Hideo attended UBC for two years until he was told to leave in 1942. He was sent to Hastings Park where they used to house cattle and horses during Vancouver’s annual exhibitions. Hideo was held there for several months, living in the stables without any privacy in an unsanitary, cold environment. Since he was a university student, he was allowed to travel to his family home in Kelowna, BC and was given permission to apply to the University of Manitoba to continue his studies. In April of 1972, Hideo did an interview with Gail Rogers, his stepson’s girlfriend. She was writing a paper on “The Japanese Canadians—Settlement, Evacuation and Relocation.” He stated that, on one hand, it caused much anguish and financial hardship to leave his family, friends and home province to move to another province and university. But on the other hand, they were young and still able to get together and have a good time. He also felt that the evacuation measures benefited their new lifestyle, for they were forced to make changes which might not have come about, had their lifestyle remained the same in British Columbia. 49


He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1945 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Hideo moved to Montreal was hired as a Purchasing Agent for Johnson and Johnson Company. He married his first wife, May Yada in Montreal. They had a daughter, Sarah Kawahara, a renowned skating choreographer now living in Los Angeles. Johnson and Johnson moved the “brushes� department of manufacturing to Toronto. Hideo moved with them and worked for them until the company was sold to Murray McMillan. The new company became Tek Hughes. Hideo became a shareholder and Manager of Manufacturing for Tek toothbrushes. Hughes was another company specializing in making other brushes such as hair brushes, etc. After his wife passed away, he remarried Nellie Idenouye in June of 1969. They retired in 1984 and moved to Kelowna, BC. During his retirement, Hideo enjoyed skiing, fishing, boating, and golfing; he could actually get a hole-in-one. They also belonged to the Mycelium Club, where they studied mushrooms. This lead to many forages in and around Kelowna looking for mushrooms. Nellie Kawahara, his wife, will attend the ceremony with her son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Gail Idenouye from Edmonton, Alberta. 1

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Kobayashi, Hiroyoshi Jack Born: February 7, 1922 Occupation: Commuunications technician

Kobayashi, Hiroyoshi Jack: Jack was born in Langley Prairie (now Langley) just outside of Vancouver on February 7, 1922. His father, Tomoaki Joseph, left Yonago, Tottori-ken Japan on February 4, 1907, then sailed from Kobe aboard the ship “Mongolia” and landed in Honolulu fifteen days later. Unable to continue his travels, he worked in the sugar cane fields in Hilo. On June 13, he left Honolulu aboard the freighter “French Co” (Admiral Shipping) and arrived in Vancouver on July 6, 1907. For the first couple of years, he worked as a CPR porter travelling across Canada on the Trans Canada railroad. In 1909, he began working for the False Creek Lumber Company, then for the J. Fyfe Smith Hardwood mill. On June 7, 1911, Jack’s mother Matsu Ida arrived in Vancouver aboard the Kamakura Maru. On August 1, 1916, the family moved from Vancouver to Langley Prairie to farm. Thirteen years later, they returned to Vancouver after years of clearing and farming the land with disappointing results due to poor soil conditions. Tomoaki then had a small farm in the Southlands area, and began landscape gardening for clients in Vancouver. In later years, after his move to Montreal, Tomoaki specialized in creating Japanese gardens. Some of his gardens were included in gardening tours. Jack attended school at Kerrisdale Elementary and Henry Hudson elementary, then graduated from Kitsilano High school in 1941. While at Kitsilano, he developed an interest in electronics. He joined the radio club to further his knowledge, and at sixteen years of age he had his own amateur 51


ham radio station, “VE5AFJ.” He was the youngest radio operator in Canada. Jack’s skills at Kitsilano were remembered by his teachers. When his niece Vivian enrolled at Kitsilano in 1960, one of her teachers asked if she knew Jack Kobayashi. She was told that Jack was remembered at the school for his ham radio station and friendly personality. He also excelled academically. His older sisters had left high school to work, in order for him to attend the University of BC. Jack enrolled at UBC to study engineering, but along with other Japanese Canadian students, was forced to leave in 1942. Jack was disillusioned by the government incarceration orders and having to abandon his studies at UBC. Jack’s older brother Phil made arrangements for the family to stay together. Along with a few other families, they moved to a self-supporting site in Blind Bay on the shores of Shuswap Lake. They worked for Mr. T. Coy in setting up a sawmill, and Jack used his skills to adapt a steam engine to run the machinery for the mill. The families were paid with lumber to build their housing; the rest was sold. A short time later, Mr. Coy disappeared, and the families were left without jobs. The families dispersed to internment camps or Kamloops, or stayed in the Blind Bay area. In 1943, a close friend arranged for Jack to work at a radio repair shop in Montreal; he left BC and lived in a rooming house until 1949, when his parents and some of his siblings joined him in a house in Verdun. Jack was encouraged to join the RCA Victor Company with its greater potential for advancement. He began working in the cable, wiring harness department in Saint-Henri, Montreal. With the war still on, Jack worked on two-way radios for the military, and in New York City he helped build speech invertors that were “garblers” for security purposes. Other projects he worked on included: supplying mobile two-way radios for Northwest Utilities in Edmonton; installing small microwave systems from Brooks, Alberta to Empress, Saskatchewan; upgrading microwave systems in Quebec for the Bersimis Hydro dam station; and upgrading the Manitoba microwave system from Winnipeg to points north. He continued his work with SPAR Aerospace when it purchased the communications department of RCA Victor. At SPAR, Jack was often in the field upgrading, performing emergency repairs, and doing critical testing of the microwave system “Transcontinental for Canada” that carried more than six hundred telephone and television channels across Canada. 52


In 1974, SPAR was contracted by the US Air Force to install a microwave system from Turkey through Pakistan and Iran to points north. Major upgrades were needed to the Iranian microwave system, which required Jack to stay mostly in Iran to work. Through his work, he was also able to travel extensively in the area. Choosing to fly there via Europe, Jack visited Amsterdam, Athens, Iran, Japan, India, New Delhi, and Hong Kong, making it into an around-the-world trip. Branching out into satellite communications technology in 1986, SPAR Aerospace provided an eight-station communication network via satellite for the Thailand Navy. Jack was involved in the testing of the ground stations before they were shipped, and then travelled to Thailand to do critical fieldwork on the many stations. He enjoyed crossing the border with the Thai Navy crew to go duty-free shopping in Malaysia. While in Thailand, he was also able to visit Hong Kong and Japan, where he visited his oldest sister, Haruko, who was still living there. A highlight for Jack included working for Macdonald, Dettwiler (MDA), the company that purchased the Space Robotics division of SPAR. Jack was proud to be involved in the production of the Canadarm. On June 29, 1957 Jack married Ayako Ono in Montreal. They had four children: Laura, Glen, Donna, and Kathy. The family moved to Papineau, where Jack once again operated an amateur radio station. Later, the family moved to Chomedey, Laval. Jack, Aya, and their children enjoyed camping trips, and towed their trailer to Florida, other areas in the US and to the annual Japanese community picnic in Woodland Park. In 1988, Jack retired after forty-four years of service to RCA Victor and SPAR Aerospace. In 1991, Jack and Aya moved to Toronto, where he reunited with and lived close to most of his siblings. Fully retired, he pursued his love of fishing by purchasing a 21-foot cabin cruiser to ply the waters of Lake Simcoe. In 1986, he returned to Vancouver to attend a Kobayashi family reunion, reunite with his older siblings and their families, and enjoy visiting the places where he had once lived. For years, he also returned to Montreal for its annual SPAR family picnic. 53


Jack had a multitude of interests and hobbies. He was always curious, had a positive attitude, made friends easily, was kind and helpful to friends and family, and had a quiet sense of humour. For most of his life he had been an avid downhill skier who enjoyed many popular resorts such as Stowe Mountain and Jay Peak in Vermont, Mont Sainte Anne and Mont Tremblant in Quebec, and Blue Mountain in Ontario. He was an aficionado of jazz, particularly Blues music, and was a long-time active member of the Toronto Blues Society. Everywhere he went, he sought out venues for Blues music. Jack was also an avid and accomplished photographer. Jack and Aya had many opportunities to travel and visited friends in Costa Rica and Panama City. They also enjoyed cruising the Caribbean, seeing Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico. He continued to be active in his retirement. In 2007, Jack and Aya celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In early 2009, Aya’s failing health necessitated moving her to a nursing home. Sadly, less than two years later, she passed away. In late 2009 Jack moved to Fellowship Towers, a retirement home where he enjoyed an active retirement. Participating in the 2012 granting of honourary degrees by UBC was a highlight for Jack. Even though he had been using a walker, he was determined to be able to “walk across the stage” unaided at his graduation. He did, with his trademark huge smile that lit up his face, bringing smiles and many, and tears of joy to his older sister Aki’s face. Although he had only attended UBC for such a short time, his professional accomplishments and hobbies demonstrated his commitment to life-long learning. The day after his graduation ceremony, while walking around the UBC campus, he proudly wore his new UBC sweatshirt and pin. He stopped at the then-to-be-completed Robert H. Lee alumni building, pointed, and very proudly said “That’s for me… I’m now a UBC graduate!” Sadly, Jack passed away on November 22, 2014 in Toronto at the age of 92. 1

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Kobayashi, Yutaka Born: October 30, 1920 Passed: August 10, 1999 Occupation: Businessman; Investor; Financial Advsior

Kobayashi, Yutaka: Yutaka “Coby” Kobayashi was born on October 30, 1920 in a house on stilts on the Fraser River in Steveston, now part of Richmond, to immigrant parents Torano (née Taashira) and Kamekichi Kobayashi. Flanking the house was their boathouse with slip and a storage area for the nets and gear. Across the boardwalk was their garden and chickens. When he was about eight years old, the family bought a 2.5-acre farm in Richmond. Learning English involved his teacher making him practice his “L” and “R” sounds, and his older brothers telling him to “go jump in the lake.” Coby would take this literally and jump into the Fraser River. At least once, his mother had to wade in up to her chin to save him. Neither of them could swim. While a student at Richmond High School, Coby was chosen by the school to go to the coronation of King George VI. Along with about one hundred and sixty-five other students representing Canada, he travelled by train to Montreal, then by Canadian Pacific Steamship to Southampton, England. The three-week trip included a climb to the top of Big Ben, a rally of the British Empire Youth at Royal Albert Hall, three days aboard the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, and a half-hour plane ride. He made at least one lifelong friend and treasured his photo album, group picture, and autograph book. In 1940, Coby started studying Commerce at the University of British Columbia. He was the first in his family to attend “varsity,” as he called it. While he was in his second year, all students of Japanese ancestry were uprooted from a 100-mile strip on the West Coast by the Canadian government under the War Measures Act. Coby and his family chose to go to Manitoba, where they could stay together as a family. They left behind a number of fishing boats, a packer, the acreage, a house just built in 1937, and a car. 55


The family was put to work on a sugar beet farm in Morris. They lived in the farmer’s tool shed and survived the harsh winters by stuffing newspapers in the cracks between the rough boards. The experience of prairie winters impressed Coby, who took photos of snow piled to the eaves and recalled the ice house filled with blocks of ice to provide refrigeration in the summer. His love of drinking ice water began there. In June 1943, Coby obtained permission from the BC Security Commission to move to Toronto. He found work at Alpha Aracon Radio Company on Queen Street W. earning twenty-five dollars a week as a shipper. Ultimately, four other Nissei worked there too. When he was promoted to the front desk, some customers objected to his Japanese ancestry. Being Jewish, the owner, Mr. Applebaum, understood discrimination and told those customers to take their business elsewhere. Along with other Japanese Canadians, he lived in a “cold water flat,” bathed at the Settlement House behind the Art Gallery, and was able to use the landlady’s kitchen. A favourite meal was rice with fried onion, cabbage, and baloney. It became his “comfort food.” Coby rented a typewriter for three dollars a month and kept carbon copies of his letters to family, friends, and the BC Security Commission. Coby’s letters talked about wanting to finish his degree. He had heard that the University of Toronto was accepting Nissei, but he did not have the means to attend. He asked a friend from his high school days, who was still at UBC, to send him a UBC pin. He tried to get permission for his parents and siblings to move to Toronto, as neither he nor they believed that economic opportunities were available in the small farming town of Morris, or even Winnipeg. He wrote that the family was unable to meet their living expenses on their farming labour income. But permission was not granted, possibly because sugar beet production was a controlled industry in wartime, due to a shortage in labour and the sugar rations in effect. On November 1, 1947, Coby married Yone Matsui, and they used her savings to buy a building lot. He didn’t know much about construction, but could see that there was money to be made in the housing boom. It took him a year to finish the first house, which he learned to do by watching builders in the surrounding lots. He learned many skills and was quite a perfectionist to the point that when he became a general contractor, he’d sometimes go back to the site in the evenings and redo the sub-trade’s work. Coby was once approached by a developer who said that they had a “gentlemen’s agreement” in that subdivision. This meant that they would not sell their houses to Jews. Coby responded that they could do what they wanted, but he would sell to whomever he liked. 56


In 1952, Coby and Yone built and moved into a home near Highway 401 and Yonge Street on a quiet suburban crescent, where they lived for the next forty-seven years. The crescent was full of young families but none of them were Japanese Canadian, so they only spoke English to their children, feeling that it was safer not to draw attention to their ancestry. They were also afraid that learning Japanese might detract from their children becoming fluent in English. In the booming early 1960s, Coby started speculating on real estate. His broker thought Coby would be a natural at selling houses, which led to his next career as a realtor. This theoretically should have allowed him to use his knowledge of construction; however, Coby would often pointed out flaws in a house he was showing, which did not make his clients feel very enthusiastic about buying. Over the years, his enterprises evolved. He owned the first Toronto company to inspect sewers using video cameras, and in the mid 1960s he began a career in mutual fund sales and financial planning. In the early 1960s, Coby and Yone joined with other Japanese Canadians to build a cultural centre for fostering interest in, and understanding of, Japanese culture. They were among seventy-five families that put up their own homes as security to borrow building funds. The location of the center, which was far from the downtown core at the time, was controversial. Coby would always say, “Build for the future, you can’t just build for today.” The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre opened in 1963, and offered classes to anyone interested in learning judo, karate, ikebana flower arranging, and other Japanese arts. It also held Japanese festivals and hosted the popular Tokyo “Pavilion” during Metro International Caravan, Toronto’s multicultural festival. At home, Coby was thrifty and resourceful. Neighbours often contacted “Mr. Coby” to do household repairs, fix kids’ bikes, or solve emergencies. He had a double garage full of wood and boxes, our old bicycles, and signs from his various careers. His thriftiness was expressed in interesting ways. He had a tank of goldfish left over from the Centre’s Spring Festival. He was not happy with the price of goldfish food, so he decided that the cat kibble ingredients were close enough to feed to the goldfish. He proceeded to pulverize the kibble in the blender. Those goldfish grew so large that they could hardly turn in the tank. Eventually, the goldfish were put into the huge pool at the offices of Raymond Moriyama, the architect who had designed the JCCC. 57


Yone did not drive, so Coby did the family grocery shopping. When he cooked, his specialty was sukiyaki, done in an electric skillet in the middle of the kitchen table. He was an active member of the Yorkmister United Church from the building phase, taking his role as an usher and then an elder. When asked if he’d been raised in the United Church, Coby answered that his mother had said that all religions basically taught the same good things. Coby hated to part with anything that might be useful or interesting. While this meant the basement was packed with stuff and there was no room to park a car in the garage, it also meant that he had saved treasures such as his speech about the Coronation, carbon copies of his letters to the BC Security Commission, and even his 1940-41 UBC Student Directory. Coby encouraged us to pursue our education, telling us “They can’t take knowledge away from you.” It was one of the few ways that he referred to the injustice of the uprooting and his interrupted UBC education. He was happy that his children went to university to become a lawyer and a physician. During the campaign for redress for Japanese Canadians, Coby was not a vocal supporter. His daughter suspects that the sometimes confrontational tactics involved went against his less politicized approach toward acceptance. However, after the redress settlement in 1988, he spoke proudly about the role his daughter had played on the negotiation team. Coby and Yone travelled widely to Europe, Egypt, the Caribbean, and Asia. They also took an interest in the Britannia Heritage Shipyard in Steveston. From the boardwalk, he pointed out the pilings in the river where his family’s first house once stood. He and Yone continued their support of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, which named the auditorium in their honour. Their son Marty carried forward their support of the Centre when he became the youngest ever JCCC President. He also took over Coby’s business when he passed. Coby used to say that his work was his retirement passion, helping people “grow their money.” He worked until he died in St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. During his two-week hospitalization, he called Marty and said “You’d better bring down some business cards and pamphlets—there are a lot of people here!” On the last day, a young doctor came to offer condolences, saying that Coby was a remarkable man. The doctor was in tears; Coby’s warm nature had touched many lives. He died on August 10, 1999. To that day, his UBC yearbook and first-year photo had stayed on the credenza in his office. 1 58


Kudo, Chiye Alice Born: unknown Occupation: Librarian; Editorial Researcher

Kudo, Chiye Alice: Alice Kudo was born in Mission City, BC. She enrolled in first year at UBC for the 1941-42 winter session. During the internment years, in between 1942 and 1945, her family went to Southern Alberta to work on a farm. From 1945 to 1947, she took two summer school courses at the Calgary Normal School to earn a teaching certificate in Alberta for grades one to ten. In 1950, Alice earned a BA from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario majoring in mathematics and physics. In 1974, Alice received an M. Biblio (MA in Library Science) from the University of Montreal. She was employed by the Canadian National Railway in Toronto and Montreal from 1953 to 1962. She was a librarian for the Financial Times of Canada from 1962 to 1972. From 1974 to 1975, she was a freelance librarian. From 1975 until her retirement in 1989, she was the editorial researcher for Reader’s Digest in Montreal. 1

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image: "graduation day - may 14, 1942 source: ubc library

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image: shinko mary nagata source: courtesy shinko mary nagata

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image: hiroshi charles kadota source: courtesy hiroshi charles


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image: hisatoshi moriyama (left)and others source: courtesy hisatoshi moriyama 1

image: kiichi george noguchi (far left) and others source: courtesy kiichi george noguchi


Matsui, Yutaka Richard Born: July 8, 1921 Passed: January 2010 Occupation: Screenprinter

Matsui, Yutaka Richard: During his eighty-eight years, Dick overcame hardship to achieve his goals, both personally and professionally. He was born in Vancouver on July 8, 1921, the third of six children. Father Zenzo, a trained carpenter, had arrived on March 8, 1908 and found work at Hastings Mill where he became responsible for machinery maintenance. He did well enough to go back to Japan, where he married Shizue Maeda on February 14, 1912. Upon returning to Vancouver, he bought himself a Model T Ford and built a house for his growing family at 617 Powell Street in 1922. However, hard times came in 1929 when the mill burned down and other employment became necessary. Zenzo bought the Tammy bicycle shop at 112 Main Street in October 1929. In 1931, he was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. Hoping for a cure, he left for Japan in February 1932 where he died only a few months later, in April. The country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Without the safety net of a welfare system or pension, widow Matsui was left to raise a family of six children, with the oldest not quite eighteen and the youngest aged two, by herself. The children were enlisted to keep the family together. As soon as the sons were old enough, they were sent to work picking strawberries in the summer for the Japanese farmers to help with finances, in addition to working in the bicycle shop. Dick also delivered newspapers. The youngest brother, Tom, tells of recently meeting a lady who remembers working alongside a gregarious Dick amongst the strawberries. 62


Along with the other children in the community, Dick attended the Powell Street Sunday School and earned his high school entrance certificate in 1935 from Strathcona Public School. He was athletic, and played Bantam rugby at Britannia High School. The team won the Vancouver Championship twice, and their team photo was hung in the school Hall of Fame. He also played tennis at the Nippon Tennis Club with older brothers Matt and Frank. In those days the dress code specified long white pants. In the summer, Dick was in charge of his younger brother, and they often went down to the waterfront dock where the empty scows were docked. He would dive and swim with his friends. Luckily, their mother never knew how dangerous it was to swim in the cold water of Burrard Inlet. One of his early hobbies was making model airplanes. His specialty was balsa wood gliders. He would spend hours scraping and sanding to make the wings. They were very fragile, since the trailing edge of the airfoil was paper-thin. He made two kinds of gliders: hand-launched non-powered ones, and the other powered by a rubber band turning the propeller. He was only able to fly them on calm days, which were not too frequent in Vancouver. However, he found a solution by persuading the night watchman at the CN dock at the foot of Main Street to let him fly them in the high ceiling waiting room on nights when there were no ships sailing. He even coaxed Tom into catching the gliders before they hit the floor. Even then, Dick had a silver tongue. Dick’s love of fishing began in Vancouver where he used a bamboo pole with a line, sinker and hook and shrimp as bait to fish for sea perch. This love of the sport continued later in life. His family remembers his weekend fishing trips with “the boys.” when the four or five friends would pack cars with gear and food, and spend time persuading the trout to take the bait. Back when the land north of Toronto was covered with trees, Dick joined a fishing club that stocked its lake with trout, and he spent a lot of time perfecting his fly casting. When his son Rick was old enough to accompany them, Dick and club members travelled to New Brunswick to try for Atlantic salmon. He was accepted at the University of British Columbia in 1940 with financial help from his Aunt Kitamura. He anticipated earning a science degree. Dick was a sophomore and an Officer Training cadet, when world events in December 1941 brought great upheaval to the Japanese community. 63


In 1942, he and other Japanese Canadians at UBC were discharged from both the army and the university. He was proud of his association with the Canadian army and disappointed with the outcome. The evacuation of Canadians of Japanese origin from the coast was the start of the separation of the Matsui family. Older brothers Matt and Frank went to Ontario to work on Mitch Hepburn’s farm; Jack, Tom, Mary, and their mother went to Lillooet, BC; Dick went to Kingston to Queen’s summer school, hoping to continue his education. Unfortunately, the major universities in the east (UofT, Queen’s and McGill) would not accept students of Japanese ancestry during the war years. Faced with this rejection, Dick decided to try the University of Manitoba, which had not given him an outright rejection. During the war, all Japanese Canadians over sixteen were required to carry a registration card with their photo and thumbprint. Travel required reporting to the RCMP before departure, again on arrival, and a third time upon return. When Dick arrived in Winnipeg he was met by a police officer who was skeptical when informed that he was going to the university to enquire about enrolling. Nevertheless, the officer drove him to the campus, waited for him, and drove him back to the train station. Brother Tom asked if he felt he’d been treated like a criminal, but Dick laughed and said that he had had a personal chauffeur for the day and saved on taxi fare. He had a sense of humour even in the darkest days. The University of Manitoba did accept him, and he graduated with a BSc in 1944, receiving his degree at the convocation on May 18, 1945. From Winnipeg, Dick went to Montreal to find work. Like many other Japanese Canadians he worked at Saint Luke Industry, where he learned the art of silk screening and dye work. While in Montreal, he met Mae Watanabe, and they married on April 3, 1947. Mae was also interested in painting and art, using her talents to help Dick in his business in the 1950s. The opportunity for work in St. Catharines brought about their move. Two daughters were born there in the early 50s. This was also the time when Dick became interested in photography, a hobby that he would continue in his retirement years. An anecdote from the time spent in St. Catharines involves NHL great, Stan Mikita. The teenager had left communist-controlled Czechoslovakia to live with relatives in Dick’s neighbourhood, and because of that happy chance, Dick taught the future star to skate on an outdoor rink. 64


An offer of work in Toronto brought the family to a house in the brand new suburb of Scarborough. In the late 50s the company premises were on King Street W, where they screen printed novelty items like t-shirts and towels. One of their large contracts was for bathing suit material for the Sea Queen company. The girls appreciated receiving a free bathing suit every year. Dick and his partner bought the business from the owner and expanded to a custom-built factory in Port Credit in the 60s. Canadiana Textiles became successful by producing flags for the Canadian government. A condition of the contract was that the product was made in Canada. In addition, Dick and his Aunt Kimi Maeda were able to produce a test flag that lasted two days at the stern of a ship instead of the single day of the competition, and they won the contract. The birth of their son in 1958 meant that Dick and Mae could finally use the names they had chosen when they were expecting their first two children. It also meant that they eventually did the rounds of arenas during hockey season, in addition to dance recitals with the girls. Until Rick was old enough to accompany him, eldest daughter Jan was his companion at Leaf games at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. The adoption of a new distinctive Canada flag in February 1965 meant a boom in business. Using his knowledge of dyes and chemicals, Dick was able to come up with a formula for the red that would remain true rather than fading to orange as the dye available at the time would. Custom banners and flags for many of Canada’s retail stores, businesses, and industries were also in production. Centennial year, 1967, was an excellent time to be a wholly Canadian company producing the iconic stylized maple leaf design. Proving again that he was a smooth businessman, Dick met a government minister while on holiday in the Bahamas and was able to parlay the meeting into a contract to produce the island’s new flag. Dick and Mae took many holidays in the Caribbean, visiting the Bahamas, Bermuda and St. Lucia many times. They also spent time in Hawaii and took the occasional cruise. For several years, they had a house in Englewood, Florida, where they enjoyed the community and the sun. It seemed that they were tanned all year round. Daughter Mia and her husband lived in Australia in the late 80s. Dick and Mae made the long trip to Melbourne and Sydney twice. 65


Before and during his retirement, Dick continued his photography hobby. When he rebuilt their house in Scarborough, he included a darkroom in the basement with two colour enlargers and the full complement of equipment for developing and printing film. As a youngster, he had attended art school, and this talent helped him become expert in composing photos. Digital photography was making its debut when the results of a mild stroke made continuing the hobby difficult for Dick. Dick said that he was busier in retirement than at work. Something else that kept him occupied was bonsai. He was always on the lookout for suitable plants; he found two hardy pine trees growing between rocks at his brother’s cottage and saved a small tree suffering from neglect at a nursery. He travelled to Japan to learn the art of pruning and wiring. At the bottom of his yard he built a shelter with an automatic watering system, where he would keep his creations in the nice weather. In winter, the plants went into a cold frame in the backyard, which looked suspiciously like a coffin and had his neighbours wondering. Dick worked for the benefit of Japanese Isseis. He recognized that a seniors’ residence would be helpful for those people not fluent in English. He served on the board of the Momiji Health Care Society, raising funds for their facility in Scarborough, which opened in 1992. Mae and daughter Mia passed away in 2006, and Dick moved to Mississauga, close to his son and daughter-in-law. He spent every weekend at their house working in the garden and caring for his bonsai, enjoying family time with his two grandsons.

Dick passed away in January 2010, but is remembered always. 1

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Mitsui, Koei Born: July 31, 1920 Passed: 1969 Occupation: Engineer

Mitsui, Koei: Koei Mitsui was born on July 31, 1920 in Dollarton, BC. He graduated from King Edward High School and enrolled in UBC in 1941 in Applied Science. He was a member of the COTC at UBC, from which he was dismissed without cause when the Pacific War began. After being sent away from British Columbia during the forced expulsion of all Japanese Canadians, he moved to Manitoba. He enrolled in the University of Manitoba, but did not complete his degree there. When the University of Toronto began accepting Japanese Canadians again, he entered their Mechanical Engineering program. After he got his degree, he became a consultant to architects building large structures. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1969. He and his wife May had two children. 1

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Miura, Hideo John Born: 1922 Passed: 2003 Occupation: Engineer; Consultant

Miura, Hideo John: For our father John Miura, higher education was always a priority, an idea deeply instilled in him by his own parents despite the fact that neither had attended university. When the three of us were children, our parents—especially our father—just assumed that we would go to university. Since they made sure that we were covered financially, no one doubted that given the opportunity, we would all pursue a university degree. John was born in Woodfibre, British Columbia in 1922 where his father Sobei Miura worked in a saw mill. When John was six years old and his younger brother Tad was three, their father took them to Japan to be raised by their grandparents, but did not have the heart to leave them there. Upon their return to Canada, the family moved to Vancouver, where Sobei continued to work in a saw mill and their mother Sei designed and made patterns for clothes. Sobei was the eldest son in his family. As such, he was responsible for taking care of his aging parents, and regularly sent large portions of his earnings to them in Japan. Similar to many other Japanese Canadian children growing up in Vancouver at that time, John and Tad went to Strathcona Public School and continued on to Vancouver Technical School. Our father then began his university career at the University of British Columbia. As young adults, we learned that for our father, life as a young student pursuing his dream of attaining a university degree was anything but easy, and that for our mother Toshie, even finishing high school was made impossible by difficult circumstances resulting from the war and consequent decisions made by her family. John was unable to continue his studies at UBC. When his parents 68


and his brother Tad were moved to the Tashme Relocation Camp in 1942, he moved to Hastings Park along with many other Japanese Canadians. There, he taught school children before moving east. He found a job on a “chemical farm” in Ontario, and moved out there only to discover that this entailed real physical farm work and nothing scientific as he had hoped. But from there, he was able to apply to other universities, and was accepted at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was very proud to have graduated in Mechanical Engineering with honours in 1945, and also received the Bronze Medal for Excellence. John explained that during his studies at Queen’s, he never felt any form of ill treatment or discrimination due to his Japanese origins. However, upon graduation, despite his very good university records, (unlike his fellow classmates) he had a very difficult time finding a job. When our parents explained to us their experiences during the war, and the difficulties they and their families faced as Japanese Canadians, they were surprisingly devoid of ill feeling and resentment. This must have been be due to the resigned, yet forward-looking attitude that their own parents must have shown to them throughout that terrible period. John chose to tell us stories of the kindness and generosity shown to him by people he had met in his new environment, far away from his family still out west. One story in particular comes to mind regarding his first job after graduation. He had been hired as a young engineer in an office with many other employees Upon leaving this job, he discovered that while he was working there, some officials had come to ensure that the company had not hired any Japanese Canadian men. The colleague who had met with these officials told them that John was Chinese (she was well aware of his Japanese origins), to protect him as someone had done for her own brother in a similar circumstance when they were still living in Europe. John’s professional career can be divided into two parts. The first half (over thirty years) was in engineering. He was responsible for design and quality control of transmissions and gears for large companies like Acme Screw and Gear, Crothers, and CCM. For the latter company, he travelled frequently to Japan, reinforced his ties with our relatives there, and perfected his spoken and technical Japanese. 69


The second and more satisfactory part of his career began in the mid-eighties, and continuing until he passed away on September 17, 2003 at the age of eighty-one. He decided to benefit from his experience and numerous contacts in the field, and his singular ability to work fluently as an engineer in both Japanese and English. He set up his own company, and with the help of our mother, Toshie, he developed his role as expert consultant and liaison between Japanese companies (Nikkyo Sangyo and HIC) and Canadian and American companies. After graduating, John worked very hard to be able to bring his parents and younger brother Tad to Toronto. After signing papers confirming the family’s decision to not return to Japan, they were moved to New Denver, BC for one year before meeting him in Toronto in 1946. He took great interest in the Japanese Canadian Community in his adopted city, and was a great supporter of the building of its first cultural centre in the early sixties. In this community, he was so well known for his dedication and loyalty to his parents, that our mother Toshie’s father was concerned about her marrying him, since he might place them before his own wife. However, she knew (and was right) that someone who was placed such importance in family would also be a very good husband and father. Our parents provided us with the best possible educational lesson: to learn by example. Toshie desired, but did not have an opportunity for, a higher education. Meanwhile, through sheer determination and intelligence, John overcame all possible obstacles posed for Japanese Canadians of his generation. All three of us have university degrees, and are working in our chosen professions. And we hope that our children will in turn follow the example set by our own parents. 1

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Moriyama, Hisatoshi Tosh Born: 1922 Passed: June 14, 2009 Occupation: unknown

Moriyama, Hisatoshi Tosh: My father’s history is lost. I was told that the Moriyamas came from the southern part of Japan. My grandfather was a worker at the Ocean Falls mill. My dad’s family had five boys and one girl: Steve, Hisatoshi, Takue, Mits, Seibi and Mary. Somehow, his mother died on the ferry heading back to Ocean Falls from Vancouver, in or around 1933. The children were orphaned when the father left Ocean Falls and returned to Japan leaving the kids to fend for themselves. My dad was the second oldest (at twelve years old, at the time), and helped raise his younger siblings. He and his older brother did a lot of fishing to feed the family. I am told that the Japanese community in Ocean Falls also helped to care for them. When Tosh graduated from high school, he moved to Vancouver and stayed in the Japanese church in Japantown. That was where he was living entering UBC. After being relocated several times, he ended up in Ontario and then Toronto. There, he met my mother, Yoshiye Isezaki/Kameoka (born in Vancouver on August 6 1920), and they married in 1949. My father was very close to my mother’s family. My mother’s mother was Masuye Isezaki, born December 11 1895 in Hachijojima Japan. She divorced her first husband and later married Tokuye Kameoka, who was born in Fukishima, Japan on October 11, 1897. With Esazaki, she had one boy, Kiyo and two girls, Yoshiye and Aiko. With Kameoka, she had four boys, Yuki, Ken, Terry, Akira, and one girl, June, with Kameoka. 71


Before 1942, my grandmother owned a dress shop and variety store on Granville in Vancouver. My grandfather, Kameoka, was the editor/publisher of the Japanese New Canadian newspaper. I am told that he and my uncle Kiyo Isezaki/Kameoka were two of the first Japanese Canadians incarcerated. After the war, they also settled in Toronto, and opened their house to the new Japanese Canadian community. My grandfather Kameoka had a Japanese book store on McCaul St in Toronto. It was here that a lot of Japanese Canadian families regrouped. My grandmother and grandfather and my uncle Henry Okada (UBC honourary) were also instrumental in founding the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre here in Toronto, alongside many great Japanese Canadians. One of my favourites was the late Charles Ogaki. 1

72


Nagata, Fusako Ruth (now Cezar, Ruth) Born: unknown Occupation: Businesswoman

Nagata, Fusako Ruth (now Cezar, Ruth): My parents emigrated from Japan to Canada and resided at 2330 Wall Street, Vancouver, BC, where all the children were born. We lived a quiet happy life. We attended and graduated from Hastings Public School, Templeton Jr. High School, and Britannia High School, and in September, 1941 we enrolled in General Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The fateful day of December 7, 1941 drastically changed our lives. On the evening of December 7, 1941 as we were having dinner there was a knock on the door and the RCMP asked to see our father. Our father appeared and was advised, with no explanation, to go with them. At the same time, they seized all his files. They implied that my father would be returning. Little did we realize that our father was being taken away somewhere for no reason at all, and would not be seen for an unknown period of time. The crisis was extremely devastating to the family. Our mother persistently inquired about his whereabouts, and was eventually able to locate and visit my father where he was being temporarily detained. The RCMP would not provide any information as to what would become of my father. This was the last time our mother saw him. Eventually she found out that he could be interned in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Alberta. The events that took place on and after December 7, 1941 led to confusion, anger, anxiety, and much sorrow amongst the people of Japanese descent in the City of Vancouver. Our mother’s primary concern was how to be able to 73


provide continuing education and welfare for her seven children in my father’s absence. During this period of confusion, my younger brothers and sisters were still attending school; my sister Shinko was attending her second year at UBC; I was attending my first year at UBC. There was deep concern amongst the students of Japanese descent that I knew, around whether or not we would be able to complete our academic year. On February 8, 1942 there was a devastating announcement that all schools would be closed to all persons of Japanese descent. I recall a group of Nisei students, not knowing what the future would be, getting together to bid farewell wishes. A Nisei wrote in my autograph book, “Defer not ’til tomorrow for tomorrow’s sun may never rise.” How appropriate. On February 20, 1942: another crushing announcement that all people of Japanese descent were to be rounded up and detained in a building located in Hastings Park, which was normally used to house domestic animals such as sheep. My mother and her children were detained there for a few months. I was absolutely numb with shock and disbelief that this was actually happening here in Canada. Realizing that our father had been interned in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp somewhere in Alberta, my mother decided to relocate the family to Edmonton, Alberta. My mother received permission for my older sister to leave for Edmonton from the BC Securities Commission. She hoped to await our father’s return, continue her children’s education, and reconstruct our lives. My sister went to Edmonton and was successful in locating a suitable home for us. My mother received an official notice dated April 30, 1942 from the BC Securities Commission saying that my mother and her six children must leave Vancouver by July 3, 1942 and never return again. Therefore my mother and I had the task of sorting our belongings that we could take on the train: items that could be sent later to Edmonton, and items that could be left behind. I vividly remember that my mother’s “Gambaru” spirit never wavered—”Our goal must be to carry on.” My sister, my mother, and her children left Vancouver for our new home in Edmonton, and stayed there until sometime in 1943. I enrolled at the University of Alberta and took a few courses from September 1942 to May of 1943. My brothers and sisters also enrolled in local schools in order to continue their education. During our stay, my mother received a further communication that my father was not in Alberta but somewhere in Ontario. My mother had to 74


make a decision again. Considering various possibilities, she chose the city of Toronto, Ontario. She thought that the children could further their education there, and that it would be closer for my father if, and when, he would be returned to us. My mother decided to send my oldest sister Shinko and I ahead to Toronto, to find a home for the family. After several disappointments in finding a suitable home for the family, my sister and I persevered, and finally were successful in locating our new home. My mother and the remaining children moved to Toronto and settled down in their new house. All the children enrolled and graduated in their respective local schools, and were successful in completing their formal education. I enrolled and attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto, graduating from Arts in 1948. From 1949-1984, I was employed at Perlmutter Orenstein, a firm of Chartered Accountants. This organization was very memorable for me. When I was being hired, my nationality was of no concern. I worked as a clerk and was eventually promoted to a responsible managerial position. After my retirement, I decided to further my knowledge of the Japanese language and culture, and attended the Japanese language school from 1994 to 2006. On May 10, 1957, I married Les W. Cezar. I have two sons, a granddaughter, and grandson. When my father was finally released from the internment camp and reunited with us to be a family again, we all could sense and see deep happiness in my mother’s heart in the expression on her face. The toll of the hardships that my father had endured during his internment at the POW camp was obvious. One could detect in his eyes his suffering, which he always kept within himself and never shared with the family. My father was a proud and brave man. Even today, the incidents that took place on and after December 7, 1941, weigh heavily in my heart and mind, because the facts are continually being documented and have lately been shared and discussed in classrooms. I feel that generations to come will be so inspired that such an outrage will never occur again. 1 75


Nagata, Shinko Mary Born: 1922 Occupation: unknown

Nagata, Shinko Mary: In early 1900, my parents emigrated from Japan to Canada and resided in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia in a quiet and pleasant neighbourhood on Wall Street, where the children were born. I attended and graduated from Hastings Public School, Templeton Jr. High School, and Britannia High School. On June 1940, I joined the Canadian Red Cross to help out during the war years. I attended University of British Columbia in September 1940, in General Arts. As the result of December 7, 1941, tragic and traumatic events took place for all Japanese Nationals and Japanese Canadians. By March 1942, all people of Japanese descent were displaced from their homes and placed in a building in Hastings Park normally used to house domestic animals such as sheep. Also, a Custodian of Enemy Properties was formed to control/freeze all assets. On December 7, 1941, RCMP officers came to our home and asked to speak with my father. When my father appeared, they immediately took him away without any explanation as to why and where he was going or when he would be returning. They also seized all his files. We didn’t see my father again until late 1943. My parents’ greatest desire was that their children should have a good education, so I felt privileged to have been the first one in the family to attend university. The Japanese Canadian students I met at the university had a common goal: to absorb the best education that UBC was offering. Suddenly, all 76


my parents’ desires for their children’s education came to an abrupt end. No longer would I be able to complete my university year. Was there anger? There must have been some anger somewhere in me, but it was not obvious. There was no room for resentment or anger for me, because there were more urgent priorities and responsibilities. I had to look after my mother, help locate my father, and help decide our new location. My immediate task was to find a suitable location for us to live, and where my brothers and sisters could complete their education. My mother was frantic and very anxious but certain, in spite of this situation, that no longer could we stay in Vancouver waiting for the decision for the displacement of all the Japanese people. Above all, she was determined to find father and get our family settled elsewhere. At my mother’s request, I asked the Custodian of Enemy Properties to grant our family permission to leave Vancouver on our own expense, and become self-supporting. The BC Securities Commission permit clearly stated the date we must leave by, and stated that they would not assume any costs of education for the children and that we would not be permitted to return. As a result, in late spring of 1942 I left Vancouver for Edmonton, Alberta with a note from our Vancouver Anglican Church holding information of a hotel operated by Japanese people in Edmonton where I could stay. It would have been difficult for me without their support. By late summer I found a suitable house in Edmonton for our family. I got a job at the Oliver Mental Hospital and was therefore able to attend the University of Alberta and take a few courses. After a year, my mother felt that Edmonton’s winter was too severe, and that future job opportunities for us were limited. And because she found out that my father was located somewhere in Ontario, she decided to relocate us in Toronto. My sister Fusako and I left for Toronto in late August 1943 and stayed at the YWCA. By the end of September 1943, we finally were able to find a house. To rent a house in Toronto was a difficult experience: Objection to our renting was subtle. We would often find that the places were suddenly rented upon our arrival. To be able to find a house to rent on the last day of September was one of my greatest delights of my life. 77


I got a job at Canada Packers and then registered with the University of Toronto, Trinity College in General Arts on October 1943, and graduated in 1946. After graduation, I worked at the University Settlement House, The Institute of Industrial Relations at U of T, and the T. Eaton Co., where I gained many good lifelong friends. In 1950, I married Wm. T. Kato and we raised a family of two daughters and a son. We led a very happy life. I believe that my father enjoyed his grandchildren, and we often reflected that visits with the children slowly helped him recover from the time that he was interned in the POW camps. In 1958, we bought twelve acres of farmland near a small village called Fordwich, Ontario with a population of 100 persons. We eventually resided there in 1987, and my children attended a one room school of only a dozen children. As we were the only persons of Japanese descent that the village had ever met, many questions were asked with sincere gentle farm-style courtesy: Truly genuine, with a kind interest in our welfare. By participating in school functions and joining Women’s Auxiliary and the Church Guild, our family exchanged ideas and lifestyles, all in good faith and sincere friendship. I was asked to talk to the villagers around Fordwich and provide some explanation as to what happened to the Japanese Canadians as a result of the fateful day December 7, 1941. Today at ninety years of age, I believe my parents taught me well. Education brings forth understanding to facing life’s challenges. My parents’ sacrifices to send us to school will never be wasted. I thank them forever. 1

78


Nakashiba, Mitsu George Born: July 1, 1921 Passed: August 21, 1993 Occupation: Educator

Nakashiba, Mitsu George: George was born in Vancouver on July 21, 1921. He and his family lived in Kitsilano from where he commuted to UBC. When the War Measures Act was invoked and all UBC students were exiled, he went straight to Hamilton. Later, he went to the University of Manitoba where he earned his Electrical Engineering degree. He returned to live in Hamilton for a short time, then moved to Toronto where he taught for twenty nine years at the Toronto Technical School. In 1968 on a tour to Japan, he met Miwa Tada. They were the only young people travelling with a group of seniors. On August 16, 1969, they were married in Summerland, BC, where Miwa lived. They had no children. His love of fishing saw them travel each weekend to a lake three hours from Toronto. Both George and Miwa were very active members of the Buddhist Church in both Hamilton and Toronto.

George passed away on August 21, 1998. 1

79


Namba, Akira Born: June 1, 1920 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Accountant

Namba, Akira: I was born on June 1, 1920 in Haney, a subdivision of Maple Ridge in BC. My parents had a 20-acre farm of mixed fruits, vegetables and poultry. We were a family of six children that were kept busy doing our assigned chores and attending elementary school, the McLean High School from 9 am to 3 pm, and the Japanese Language school from 4 pm to 6 pm daily (including a half day on Saturday mornings). Our primary concern was, of course, making a living for the family, and we all pitched in willingly. The second major concern of my parents was our education. Although the war and subsequent mass evacuation disrupted our lives, it literally ended the lives of my parents. In spite of that, two of my sisters achieved their ATCM degrees in music (piano), and I finished my B. Commerce degree at UBC. I honour and thank my parents for their effort and sacrifices. The people who suffered the most devastating consequences of the evacuation order were the pioneer, first-generation immigrants like my father and mother. All assets that they had accumulated in their lifetime since coming to Canada were confiscated and dissipated. They were left penniless, without any recourse, at the sunset of their lives. I cannot begin to fathom the utter bewilderment and total sense of confusion they must have suffered, trying to rationalize what was happening to them. Forty-five years later, in September 1988, the Government of Canada gave them a formal apology and minimal compensation—but they had already passed on. 80


For me personally, this situation was totally different. Up to this time I had been a professional student, and to a large extent, a carefree optimist. But the provincial and federal government reaction to the declaration of war against Japan, and the consequent mass evacuation of one specific ethnic population, hit me like a bomb! I was seeing and being victimized by unleashed, localized, and institutionalized racism, but unable to do anything about it! Protection of the North American Pacific Coast against invasion by a tiny Asiatic country like Japan from the other side of the Pacific Ocean sound nonsensical, and was a totally illogical explanation or excuse for such drastic measures. Subsequent investigative studies and research proved that these actions were motivated and driven by political expediency and racism. I was preparing for my final year exams at UBC. I enlisted in the Canadian Officers’ Training Corp, and would have become a second lieutenant on graduation. That did not happen because all the Japanese Canadian students were discharged from the army shortly after December 7, 1941. This incident was not an issue for me at that time. More importantly, the talk of not permitting us to write our final exams for our degrees posed the threat of losing all four years of my university education, because I would not have been able to pursue any other alternative under the existing wartime conditions, financially or otherwise. One misconception that I must correct: that UBC “expelled” these students. This is not true. No student was expelled; but if their family got an evacuation order, the fact that they were a student at UBC was irrelevant. They had to evacuate, or be arrested for defying that order. They did not have the option of staying at UBC to finish his year. My only hope was that I would not be ordered out before finishing my year. My family’s farm was in the Fraser V alley, some 35 miles east of Vancouver, and was the last to be evacuated. As long as my family did not receive an evacuation order, I was able to keep attending UBC until I wrote my finals and got my degree at convocation in May 1942. I was ordered to register at Hastings Park Manning Pool immediately following the convocation ceremony, and await further dispersion into the BC interior ghost towns. I felt as if I was sitting in a roller coaster, moving full speed ahead without any control. But I did have options. I got involved with the ongoing educational program to accommodate elementary students taken out of their schools. I taught grade eight students until I was dispersed to the ghost town in the Slocan Valley. 81


David Shiozaki, a classmate, joined me. We spent that winter, and most of the following year, in an army tent, because single men were not given accommodations. Upon arrival, we were assigned to the baggage crew. As carloads of families arrived daily, we helped install them and get their limited bagged into their allotted housing. When the flow of evacuees subsided, we were “promoted” to the “outhouse gang.” As part of the excavation crew, Dave and I dug holes about 3 ft. by 6 ft. by 5 ft. deep. The foundation crew followed us, and they in turn were followed by the carpentry crews. The whole process was the mass production of “outhouses.” Dave and I became a couple of husky and strong young men. The next promotion was more appealing. Dave worked in the welfare department, and I was moved in to the payroll and accounting department of the administrative office. Within a few months, new families ceased to arrive in this complex of Slocan City, Bay Farm, Popoff, and Lemon Creek. A semblance of community activities had started, so I was out of a job. In an effort to keep families together, my parents and little sister were evacuated to Slocan to be with me. Our family of four was allotted half a house; the other family had five people, so we were two families living in a house measuring approximately 15 by 30 ft. The Anglican Church started up a high school program. I applied for work, and started teaching grades 9-12 with Toyo Takata, who became the author of Nikkei Legacy. Suddenly, in 1946, orders came from the government to clear out the ghost towns. I suspected that this was the secondary and final stage of the original plan to disperse the Japanese Canadians out of BC. People were given a choice of relocating east of the Rockies or being deported to Japan. My main concern was the unknown possibility that the same anti-Japanese racism existed in the rest of Canada. The news I was getting from prior evacuees seemed to indicate that such discrimination was a non-issue! It occurred to me that the perpetrators of all this racism and consequent devastation may inadvertently be doing those of the second generation, in particular, a massive favour: the whole economics and opportunities of building a lifestyle of our own choice without any restrictions was being presented to us on a silver platter. Ultimately, this turned out to be an actuality. I planned to go to Montreal because I had a good command of the French language and Montreal was the financial capital of Canada. The three main demographic groups were incompatible, but I figured all three of them would be happy to make use of my potential talents. I took a job as “house boy” 82


for board, and twenty-five dollars a month. I only lasted a month because the “lady of the house” did not think I was doing a good enough job. I politely informed her of my academic qualifications and said that I hoped she didn’t really think I would take this job seriously. I was told to leave that day. I asked George Yamashita, who had started a business there, to use his phone. I went through the Yellow Pages and started calling businesses from the letter “A.” My first interview and job was as an assistant to the owner’s sister in the administrative office for Aboosamara Kouri Inc. A few months later, I was offered a job with Confederated Wholesale Grocers with a raise to thirty dollars a week. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt. I then incorporated a company “Quebec Accounting Service Inc.” and within two months I was hiring help and building the business, and I bought a car. During this time, my parents moved to Hamilton to be near their daughter. I got married, bought a house in Laval, started a family, went into synthetic textile fabric knitting as a second business, and took a partner into the accounting business. A few years later, my parents returned and I leased an apartment for them. My mother passed on. My dad moved in with me, but suffered a massive stroke while visiting his daughter in Hamilton, and passed on as well. Time moved so quickly! In 1979, I was fifty-nine years old, and it was time to start planning retirement. As a family we had vacationed and played our favourite game of golf many times in Florida. To get away from Canadian winters, we bought into a retirement community complex in Clearwater Florida and used the property for twenty-four years. My life was not exactly a bowl of cherries throughout these years. In 1990, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system. Early diagnosis, care by a most competent cancer specialist, and chemotherapy that started within a period of two week surely saved me. I am forever indebted to Dr. Henry Shibata. He is the reason that I am alive and healthy today. Thank you Dr. Shibata! When this happened to me, I closed all my business activities and concentrated on getting well. After recovery Lily and I continued to spend six months north and six months south until we sold out in 2004. We then purchased a new condominium in Pickering to be closer to my daughter, Sharon. 83


So here we are: my wife and I after sixty-one years together, with two wonderful daughters and their husbands, three delightful grandchildren, five cruises around the Caribbean and Mexico, five trips to Las Vegas, and over fifty years of playing golf. Not wealthy but healthy; happy and pleased with everything around us, and currently very busy as chairman of the social activities committee, trying to keep all the elderly folks in this building occupied and having fun. What a life! It could not be better! Each day for us is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.� 1

84


Nikaido, Geri Takako Born: November 14, 1922 Occupation: Early childhood educator

Nikaido, Geri Takako: Born Takako Nikaido on Nov. 14, 1922 to Mr.Yoshi and Mrs. Kimi Nikaido, who emigrated from town of Toriwata and Fukushima City, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Geri was the youngest with three older brothers: Sadao, brought up in Japan until thirteen, Dr. Harry (UBC ’41 Science, University of Toronto Medical School), and Frank Hideo (UBC ’41-’42). Geri attended Dawson Public School and King George High School while living at Robson St. in Vancouver. Her father had a dry cleaning store. She did not live in the Japanese community and did not speak Japanese. It was in first year at UBC that Geri met her good friend, a Chinese student, Elizabeth Long (UBC ’42 B.Comm.). Elizabeth had a sister and several brothers, also at UBC. Although Geri had a competent “big sister” assigned to orient her to university life, it was Elizabeth, appropriately nicknamed Buddi, who taught her the most. Geri would follow Buddi and her friend around campus like a puppy dog. They would hide in the back of the library to await their brothers for a ride home, talk (forbidden), and Buddi would sit on the table (forbidden) and tell "Little Margie" jokes. Geri would try so hard to stifle her giggles (also forbidden). In 1942, this shy student was in second year at UBC. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, she felt hurt, confused and betrayed by the government, UBC, and her friends and neighbours, who ostracized her. Her dear friend Elizabeth Long did not. They have been friends for seventy-one years, and although Buddi never married, she has been Aunt Buddi to all of Geri’s children, in spite of the distance between Vancouver and Geri’s family in Toronto. 85


With the evacuation in effect, Geri’s family was broken up. Frank was sent to Schreiber, a northern Ontario lumber camp. Sadao was sent to a southern Ontario farm. Her father was going to be sent elsewhere. He convinced the RCMP and government to allow him to remain with his wife and daughter. He told them that he had two nephews who were long time Toronto residents, that his son was in medicine at the University of Toronto, and that they would pay their own way there. Eventually the brothers were allowed to join the rest of the family. Geri’s father opened Town Cleaners, a dry-cleaning store. The family lived over the store at 1232 Danforth Ave. in Toronto. When his father bought a house at 18 Linsmore Cres. around the block, Frank took over the dry-cleaner. Geri’s friends, Fusako Inose and Marie Akiyama, knew that she hated her name, Taka. They named her Geri and christened her with a bottle of Coke. She changed it legally immediately. Geri tried to enroll at U of T but the university did not want the Japanese Canadian evacuees. Dr. Brown at Victoria College said that Victoria was a degree-granting university in its own right and would accept Geri, and that she could take all her courses there. Eventually, U of T accepted her and, she graduated in 1944 and went on to finish her Early Childhood Education from the Institute of Child Studies in Toronto. She became the Supervisor of the West End Creche, and when the City of Toronto finally accepted Japanese Canadians on staff she became the manager of the Kimberley Nursery School. Through the UBC Japanese Student Club, Geri heard that Fumiaki David Shiozaki’s (UBC ’42 B.Commerce) younger brother was coming on campus in ’41. So she met him that year. She married Richard F. Shiozaki, (UBC ’41-’42 first year, University of Toronto ’50, P. Eng Mechanical Engineer.) in 1951 after he graduated. When daughter, Karie, was born Father’s Day 1952, she retired to practice full time on Karie, then Ian, Nancy, and Brian. With the first two children they lived at 119 MacPherson Ave, just north of Yorkville, in a large three storey house belonging to Richard’s brother David, with their parents, David’s wife Emy and their little boy, Alan, and younger sister Kimiko (Kay). Richard moved his family out to 96 Westhampton Dr. in Etobicoke. The new house was at Islington Ave., a dirt road, and a two-lane (now sixteen-lane) Highway 401.There were two more children and plenty of kids on the new 86


subdivision street. Geri joined the Parent Teacher Association, supported the Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts, taught the children to swim, and then sent them for many lessons. She felt very strongly that most west coast fishermen could not swim, knew of several drownings, and was determined that her children would be competent swimmers. Geri sewed and knitted, baked, and learned to drive. Richard and Geri drove to and from Florida many times and often took the cousins along with their own children. Geri’s mother would either drive with them or fly with a grandchild. They stopped on the way for anything that seemed interesting and often got lost on purpose just to see what was off the beaten track. Geri and Richard also took twelve trips to Japan to see relatives in Fukushima, Osaka, Hii, Toriwata, and Wakayama. Geri loved Bunraku, Noh, Kabuki, art galleries, museums, the symphony, ballet, musicals and live theater. Richard would wait outside museums and art galleries on park benches while she and daughters would move very, very slowly through them. They traveled all over Japan, went to China, New Zealand, Australia, California, across Canada and took cruises to Alaska and the Mediterranean. For more than twenty-five years, they went to Cuba, sometimes twice in a year. They enjoyed the people wherever they went. Geri, in her younger days, was a member of the Trinity Tennis Club. Later, she joined the Mississauga Potters Guild with her own wheel and kiln, was active with the Wynford Seniors, and supported, attended events, and volunteered at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center and at the Momiji Seniors Residence. She also went to and supported her grandchildrens’ various synchronized swimming events, swim lessons, swim races, school plays, graduations, scouting events, judo tournaments, and karate lessons. With their history, Geri and Richard made sure that their children’s education expenses were provided so that they could concentrate on their studies. They graduated from university with a BA, a doctorate, a Masters in Library Science, and a degree in Business, respectively. Richard and Geri moved out of their house after fifty-six years in late 2011, to be closer to their daughter. The younger son and his wife and three children now live in the house. Geri and Richard are very proud of their seven grandchildren, born between 1988 and 2012.

Currently, Geri and Richard are planning their next vacation. 1 87


Nikaido, Hideo Frank Born: September 1, 1918 Passed: December 31, 1990 Occupation: Drycleaning manager

Nikaido, Hideo Frank: Born in Vancouver, BC, on September 1st 1918, to Mr. Yoshi and Mrs. Kimi Nikaido, who emigrated from the town of Toriwata and Fukushima City, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Frank was one of three boys, Sadao, Harry and his younger sister Taka (now known as Geri T. Nikaido). The family lived on Robson St. in Vancouver. In 1941-42, while enrolled in the Engineering program at UBC, Frank, like other Japanese Canadians, was forced to leave UBC and was evacuated to Schreiber, a northern Ontario lumber camp. His eldest brother Sadao, brought up in Japan until he was thirteen, was sent to a farm in southern Ontario. Their father offered to pay for his wife and daughter to go east if the government would allow them to remain together. He had two nephews who were long time residents of Toronto, and Harry was already in Medicine at the University of Toronto. Eventually Frank and Sadao were allowed to join the rest of the family in Toronto. Frank’s father opened Town Cleaners, a dry-cleaning store, and the family lived over the store at 1232 Danforth ave. in Toronto. Eventually, Frank took over the dry-cleaner. In 1949, Frank married his long-time sweetheart, Barbara Sakamoto, who followed him to Toronto from Winnipeg. They had four children: Linda, Gordon, Naomi and Susan. It was a busy household, with Frank's parents very involved with the family. Frank and Barb were very casual, and the four Shiozaki cousins were always welcome to eat, play and sleep over. 88


Frank loved to spend some time in Chinatown after hours, and would often arrive home at two in the morning with a tofu pail of udon noodles for the kids. Frank made homemade dill pickles in his bathtub and fermented soybeans in a pressure cooker to make natto, which he shared with his family and friends and sold to Japanese restaurants. His recipe for macaroni casserole is still a must at any family gathering. In the early ’80s, Frank supported his wife, who loved plants, and together they transformed the drycleaners into Barbara’s Flower Shop. Frank was an avid reader. He was also very passionate about his interests. Barbara, who won bowling tournaments, persuaded Frank to join her bowling league and soon, they were both practicing bowling techniques early Sunday mornings at a local bowling alley. Frank even set up a makeshift bowling alley in the back of the store where his family would often hear the rolling of the bowling ball in the apartment above the store where they lived. When Barbara and Frank both became interested in ballroom dancing, Frank painted footsteps on the floor in the back of the store for practicing the Foxtrot, Rumba, Samba, Salsa, Merengue and Bachata. Frank was a family man who enjoyed his children and grandchildren. When the children were small, Frank would pack the family up in a car on summer weekends and drive to different Ontario attractions for the day or all weekend long. He would drive the family to community picnics and would often be seen sleeping underneath a tree. He helped bring up his two grandsons, Rick and Trevor, making them lunch when they walked over from school every day. He later doted on his granddaughter, Kimiko, and his great-granddaughter, Courtney. Sadly, on December 31, 1990, Frank lost his battle with lung cancer, passing away at home with Barbara by his side. He is survived by his four children, three grandchildren, four great grandchildren and one great-great grandson. 1

89


Nishio, Dr. Norizaku Born: September 1923 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Dentist

Nishio, Dr. Norizaku: He was born in September 1923 in Japan. His family lived in the Kitsilano area before the war. He and all of his siblings (two brothers and a sister) attended Kitsilano Secondary School. When the order came for all of the Japanese nationals to leave the coastal area, he was given twenty-four hours to pack and be at the train station. He went to Calgary and stayed for a day with the Kuwahara family. They were friends of his family. He found a place to stay and went to write his final UBC exam that was sent to an educational institution. His parents, along with his high school-aged brother Kaz and his sister, went to a self-supporting camp called Bridge River. His family had an import-export business, so they had enough funds to enroll him in the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Every summer, he found a job to fund his tuition and books. He worked at the Swift packing plant, chick hatchery, and a sign company. In 1947, he became a of Doctor of Dentistry. His first practice was in the Peace River district in a community called High Prairie. He then went to Whitehorse where he practiced for nine years. There he met and married an English lady. They had two children: a son, who is now a chartered accountant, and a daughter who is married and is a medical doctor. While there he took up fly-fishing and became quite good at it. He was asked to take Prince Phillip fishing out on a small boat. They were successful in catching many trout. He also took Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, out twice. They were surrounded by an armada of RCMP boats. 90


In 1961, the family moved to Nanaimo where he practiced until he retired. Now, when the weather is good, he golfs six days a week, and in the winter curls five times a week. His other hobby is trading in stocks, which he finds very profitable. “Feelings of having to leave home and education at UBC” from Norikazu Nishio: It was devastating to leave home, as I had never lived away from family and home before. I was given twenty-four hours to pack up and leave coastal BC—at least 100 miles from coast. My parents and family were in total confusion as extremely difficult decisions had to be made on such short notice. We had never experienced anything like this before. Being a Japanese national at the time, I was treated differently than my two brothers and sister, who were Canadian-born. They were allowed to stay in Vancouver for about three months longer. After the hurried departure from home in early 1941, I stopped over with family friends, the Kuwaharas, in Calgary for a couple days and then carried on to Edmonton, where I stayed at the YMCA for quite a while. UBC was kind enough to forward the remainder of my courses to Edmonton, where I completed my courses by correspondence and wrote my final exams in Convocation Hall at the University of Alberta, which I passed. I enrolled in the Dentistry program on the suggestion of my parents, since I had done a lot of artwork commercially in my final years at high school. Mom and Dad stressed that being my own boss would be a big benefit. My family moved to the self-supporting empty village of Bridge River, BC, where they lived for about 3 years. It was an old mining town and so still had most of the infrastructure. My parents and siblings relocated to Montreal in 1945. They moved from Montreal to Toronto in about 1980. My first dental practice was in High Prairie in the Peace River country of northern Alberta. I opened soon after graduating in 1947 and stayed until 1952. While in High Prairie, I met my wife June, a schoolteacher. We were married in Whitehorse, Yukon. We moved to Whitehorse in 1952 as the area was very attractive to me—the outdoors, beautiful clear lakes and streams (for fishing) and lots of work. I remember being booked one year in advance. 91


I have always been active in sports and the outdoors since childhood. My Dad took us fishing in many of the Lower Mainland rivers and streams. I also played basketball and football through high school and for the university teams. I was admitted to the “Big Block Club� at the U of A, the highest honour for an athlete. My fishing knowledge led me to being asked to guide Prince Phillip fly-fishing when I was in Whitehorse, in 1958. I was also asked to guide Prime Minister Diefenbaker fishing. He later looked me up in Nanaimo after I moved there in 1961, and I took him both steelheading and salmon fishing. It was quite an honour. We moved to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in 1961, where I practiced dentistry until retirement in 1986, for thirty-nine years. June and I have two children born in Whitehorse, Don and Karen. We moved to Nanaimo for better educational opportunities. Don is a chartered accountant and Karen is a medical doctor. Other highlights: Sports fishing: I was on a sports fishing advisory committee that included author Roderick Haig Brown, Tom Sewell of Sewell Marina in Horseshoe Bay, and Bob Wright, owner of Oak Bay Marine Group. We were appointed by the then-Federal Minister of Fisheries, Jack Davis. Curling: I represented Canada on the forty-player Canadian contingent to contest the Strathcona Cup, the oldest curling trophy, between Canada and Scotland. The Cup started at the turn of the century by Lord Strathcona. It is contested every five years, alternating between Scotland and Canada. We were in Scotland for one month in 1998. The players were appointed from across Canada and the Territories. Attendees: June Nishio, Don Nishio and Lorraine Burnside and sons, Michael and Carlos, and Karen Nishio and Sean Russell and son, Brendan. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mary Kitagawa and her committee for the many hours of dedicated effort and work they put in to achieve this wonderful recognition for the Japanese Canadian students at UBC, who were affected by the war. It is greatly appreciated. 1 92


Nishio, Tomitaro Tom Born: 1921 Occupation: Interpreter; Businessman

Nishio, Tomitaro Tom: He was born in Vancouver in 1921. His father (born in Gifu) imported silk table cloths. In 1942 he was a 2nd year Commerce student. The family moved to Bridge River when the government order came to move Japanese Canadians away from the coast. For one year, he was not able to continue his studies. After a year and half, his UBC professor Morrow (head of the Commerce department) made arrangements for him to register at the University of Western Ontario. Western gave him credits for the two years that he was in attendance at UBC. During his second year at Western, he volunteered to become a recruit in the British Intelligence Corps. to be trained as an interpreter against the Japanese army in Asia. Within two weeks, he was shipped over to London, England. He and other Japanese Canadian boys were not trained as military men. They did not know how to shoot a gun or how to march in unison. On the way to India, they did plumbing work on the warship. When they reached India, they were sent to the Assam region where tea was grown. There, they became frontline transmitters of information. After one year, he returned to U of Western Ontario and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He was offered many jobs upon graduation (CIL, Bell) but chose to work for Henry Morgan and Company, a high-end ladieswear store. He was the first JC to be hired by that company. Starting off in the Complaints Department, he progressed to the Accounts Receivable Complaints Department, to Accounts Receivable Billings Department, then to Credit Line and Accounts Receivable. 93


After five years, he was transferred to Ottawa where he became a supervisor in many departments: merchandising, cosmetics, ladies’ foundations, women’s garments, and the men’s department. Many members of Parliament came to have custom-made outfits. He was later promoted to the high fashion department. His father, Ippei, sent him and his younger brother Kaz to New York many times to seek out opportunities for starting a family business. When his mother and Kaz went to New York, they met two Japanese American sansei women who were looking for someone to distribute Mikasa dinnerware in Canada. They took this offer to become the sole Canadian distributors. Their warehouse (26,000 square feet of floor space) was located in Montreal. The business was called Mikasa Canada: Import and Domestic Trading Company of Canada. They were very successful in Montreal, but when the French Canadians began to seek separation from Canada, the Nishios decided to move their business to Toronto. Most of their customers were in English Canada. Ten years ago, they sold their company to a French company. Before the family was sent off from Vancouver, he was still playing rugby for the UBC team. In order to prevent the RCMP from scooping him up and sending him off to the eastern prisoner of war camp, his coach and his teammates tried hard to protect him. Practice was on campus in the evening. After practice, the coach would have him lay on the floor in the back of the Ford vehicle. His team mates draped their legs over him so no one could see him. As they approached his house, the coach and his team mates would travel very slowly, looking around to see if anyone was looking. If it was clear, they would speed to the front of his house and help him out, and he would run as fast as he could through front door that was already kept open by his mother. His last game was played in Victoria. 1

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Nishioka, Dr. George Born: 1920 Occupation: Doctor

Nishioka, Dr. George: His father, Shigeki came to Vancouver from Japan via Hawaii in 1908. Early years were spent on the family’s Surrey farm, which was located on the corner of King George Boulevard, 96th Avenue, and 136th Ave. In 1942, leaving the family German shepherd, Princess, behind, his mother Kameju, father Shigeki, sister Emy, and brother Hiro were the first Japanese Canadian family relocated to Winnipeg where they worked on a sugar beet farm in Birds Hill MB. In 1942, George went to Edmonton, where he went on to complete his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta. He enrolled at the University of Michigan in a Masters of Science program, where he also worked as a lab assistant. He continued his education and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1952. His post-graduate internship and residency program in general surgery were completed in Flint Michigan at the Hurley Hospital. Licensed in the state of California in 1959, he practiced as a surgeon in Long Beach and then in Huntington Beach Ca., until his retirement. His wife of forty years, Deloris, passed away in 2011. They had no children. His sister, Emy Ozamoto, was the first Japanese Canadian to graduate from Manitoba Commercial College in 1943 and ended her career at the University of Manitoba Medical College and was the Department of Medicine post graduate education coordinator until her retirement. 95


His brother, Hiro, was the second Japanese Canadian to graduate from the University of Manitoba medical school in 1954 and completed his postgraduate training in Cleveland, Ohio and stayed to practice neurosurgery in the USA. Other family members: nieces: Karolyn Nishioka, Christina Andrews, Sheila Ozamoto, Karen Ozamoto and Cathy Berrington and nephews: Thomas Nishioka and Robert Morrison. 1

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Noguchi, Kiichi George Born: 1919 Passed: 2012 Occupation: Chemist; Entrepreneur

Noguchi, Kiichi George: In 1919, Kiichi George Noguchi was born in Seattle, Washington to parents Mitsujiro Noguchi and Kiku Noguchi (née Morimoto). Kiichi's father worked as a peanut importer and exporter to England and Japan. The family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1920, where Mitsujiro worked in the fish industry for R. Tabata Company. Mitsujiro's siblings Yoshio, Shinkichi, Kuni, Ayao, and Seigo were born in Vancouver. The family first lived on Triumph Street and later on Pandora Street. Between the ages of thirteen to eighteen, Kiichi delivered Canada Shimbun to the downtown area and outskirts of Vancouver and worked on Mr. Koyama’s fishing boat in the summers. From 1937-42, he attended the University of British Columbia, specializing in chemistry. Kiichi had planned to become a doctor, but his hopes were dashed due to the war and evacuation of Japanese Canadians from the coast of British Columbia. Kiichi's family was interned at Christina Lake for six months. It was there that Kiichi received his Bachelor of Science degree in the mail from the University of British Columbia. After the family moved to the internment camp at Slocan Valley, Kiichi worked as an orderly in the hospital. He met his future wife, Makiye Nakamura, a nurse’s aid. In 1945, he was permitted to move to Toronto. He married Makiye and took a menial job making brooms at the Gibson Broom Company. From about 1945-60, he worked as a chemist for Flo-Glaze and at Dupont Canada from about 1960-65. 97


Kiichi also developed his own business, Clearmount Plastics, which was later sold to George Nakamura. After Dupont, Kiichi started as a chemist at Aerosol Packaging and worked his way up to vice president. Around 1970, he started K.G. Packaging and was president until he retired in 1982. In 2010, Kiichi and Makiye moved to The Momiji Health Centre. They have two children, Louise and Vincent, and two grandchildren, Samuel and Mitsuko. 1

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Nose, Hiroshi Roy Born: 1920 Passed: 1982 Occupation: Financial analyst; Stockbroker

Nose, Hiroshi Roy: Roy Hiroshi Nose was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 10, 1920, to Seihachi and Misao Nose. Seihachi was a partner in a successful dry goods or clothing/tailor store situated on Powell Street that catered to the needs of Japanese Canadians and included the rental of Tuxedos for formal functions. The Nose family along with many in the community resided in the Hastings Park area close to Nanaimo Street and East Hastings Street. They attended the Powell Street United Church, and as a youth, Roy sang in the choir along with boyhood friend Roy Shinobu. Growing up, Roy had an interest in tennis and played at the Nippon Tennis Club, though he initially learned to play at Pandora Park. While attending UBC, Roy car pooled in Tets Sanmiya’s car to the university along with lifelong friends Roy Shinobu, Fred Sasaki and Kiichi Noguchi. The car would become more than just transportation for the young men as each day they would meet back at the car to eat their bag lunch in an effort to save money. In fact, Fred Sasaki claims he never recalls ever going into the cafeteria on campus during his time as a student at UBC. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Roy along with his father and mother managed to make their way to Montreal where Roy was able to secure a job as a Market/Financial Analyst. Roy remained employed throughout the war but as the war came to a close, he made a bold decision supported by his father and the registrar at UBC to apply for entry into the MBA program at Harvard University. Roy was subsequently accepted into Harvard as part of the first post-World War II class and graduated in 1947. 99


During his time at Harvard, Roy met his future wife Emery Yamanaka where legend has it she tagged along with her sister Michi, an acquaintance of Roy’s, during a social visit to Harvard. Roy and Emery were married in Toronto in 1949 and following the wedding settled in Toronto, where Roy commenced work as a financial analyst and part-time columnist for the Toronto Telegram, answering reader’s questions about stocks. Roy would work his entire career in the investment industry first as an analyst with Watt and Watt and subsequently as a stockbroker with A.E. Osler where he would eventually become a partner. In 1982, Roy passed away at the age of 62 but is survived by Emery who will be 89 this year and still resides in Toronto. Roy and Emery had two children, Barbara Misao Nose (Peters) in 1952 and Donald Roy Nose in 1955. Barbara resides in Markham and is a retired music teacher and Donald resides in Los Angeles where he works as the President of the Go For Broke National Education Center. His work includes maintaining the legacy of the Japanese American WWII veterans. Roy and Emery have a total of three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 1

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Obokata, Arthur Born: March 8, 1919 Passed: October 30, 1997 Occupation: Cost Accountant; Track and field athlete

Obokata, Arthur: Arthur Obokata was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on March 8, 1919. In his early twenties, he enrolled in the Arts and Science program at University of British Columbia, with the expectation of graduating in 1944. In early 1942, however, the War Measures Act was invoked, and he moved to an internment camp in Slocan. Art never complained about his having to leave UBC. He seemed to accept that it was just the way things had to be. When he did speak of that time, it was to remember his friends and the adventures they shared. Memories of this camaraderie may have drawn Art to another university’s community in later years. After his internment in Slocan and some time worked in a lumber camp, Art left B.C. for London, Ontario. He found work in nearby Port Stanley, shoveling coal for Imperialle Fuels, the largest wholesale coal operation in Western Ontario. He later worked for Leonard’s Foundry in London. In 1952, Art married Kazuko Kagawa and together they raised three daughters in London. By the 1950s, he was working as a cost accountant, first at Kaiser-Roth and later at Van Raalte of Canada. After his retirement in 1984, he volunteered in the audiovisual department at H.B. Beal Secondary School, where his interests in photography and his eye for detail were much welcomed. Throughout his life, Art was involved in sports. In high school, his Van Tech team won the 1938 High School Baseball Cup. In London, he played for the Class “A” London Nisei softball team, city champions in 1950 and 1951. In the early 1960s, Art volunteered to be part of a control group at the University of Western Ontario to study the effects of running on cardiac patients. Here, Art found his sport. 101


Art began competing in long-distance road races. When he discovered he was more suited to shorter distances, he joined the track and field club at the University of Western Ontario. There, he trained alongside younger teammates, mostly university students. Art began competing—and winning—track and field events in the master’s category. His most spectacular win was in 1985, when, at age sixty-six, he won a gold medal in the 400-metre hurdles at the World Masters Championships in Rome, Italy. He was thrilled when the London-Western Track and Field Club named him 1985 Track Athlete of the Year. Art made a name for himself in the record books in such varied events as the 200m, 400m, 60m hurdles, 300m hurdles, 400m hurdles, and long jump. He enjoyed not only his wins but also the camaraderie among competitors at events he attended throughout North America, and in Italy, Sweden, and Japan. Art’s love of photography followed him to the track, where he could often be spotted, camera in hand, capturing images of both his teammates and his competitors. When injuries kept him from active competition, he was not content to watch and photograph from the sidelines. Though he had always volunteered his time at local meets, Art pursued status as an Ontario Track and Field Association official. In the 1990s, his reputation for fairness and for ensuring that every athlete competed under the best conditions possible led to his being in demand to officiate at meets throughout Ontario. Art died in London, Ontario, on October 30, 1997, at age 78. In 2010, he was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Masters Hall of Fame. 1

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Ohama, George Born: 1921 Passed: 2005 Occupation: Farming

Ohama, George: From Linda Ohama, one of six daughters of George Ohama: Nisei Canadian George Ohama was born on November 30, 1921, in the small rural community of Welling, Alberta. Welling is located in southern Alberta near Raymond, south of Lethbridge. His parents came from Kagoshima, Japan. His father was a newspaper journalist and his mother came to Canada as a picture bride. My Dad, George, came from a large family of six brothers and two sisters. He was the only one of his siblings to enter university, so it represented a significant achievement and dream for his whole family. Staying in school and graduating from high school was a tough thing to do for him in those days. George went to elementary school in Lyalta, Alberta (east of Calgary). His father had died and his mother was busy working to earn enough money to raise her children.She had a vegetable stand in Calgary in those days, but the family was very poor and they had to move many times. My Dad told stories about how he and his brothers walked to school in Lyalta in the cold Alberta winter without boots, wrapping their shoes with newspaper to keep from freezing. They often went without a lunch, but he was proud (or embarrassed) and always tried to pretend, to his classmates and teachers, that he had a lot to eat, and was full like everyone else. He often remembered the kindness of his teacher at the Lyalta School who gave him a piece of her fried chicken for lunch sometimes. All his life, the “special treat� for our family when we were growing up, was a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken from Dad. He treated two generations of our family to KFC when we went to town, or out to eat. Later, Dad went to school in the city of Calgary, the same school as painter/poet/artist Roy Kiyooka. 103


My Dad’s mother moved the family many times after her husband died. They eventually ended up in Vancouver, where my Dad and uncles attended Lord Strathcona School on Jackson and Pender Streets in Chinatown. Later the family moved out to Strawberry Hill. This is where my Dad lived and traveled from to go to UBC. Going to university was a big deal. He rode a bike from New Westminster to UBC in all types of weather to get to classes, and a few times, he said, he even walked. But he loved being a university student. He talked about joining a UBC students’ “snake dance” on Halloween night through the Stanley movie theater on Granville as a university students’ prank. He entered the Faculty of Agriculture and proudly kept his UBC AG ’41 sweater all his life. He was also in the Officers Training Corp at UBC. He dreamed of going into law, but that was not an option for students of Japanese descent during that time. Few faculties were open to Japanese Canadians, but Agriculture was one. After Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, the rest is history. My Dad had to leave UBC and resign from the Officers’ Training Corp to his dismay. He had no choice. In his own words, he said he was “sort of…. shocked” by having to leave. For my first film, “The Last Harvest,” I interviewed him on camera about this moment in his life, and his body language says it all. “They told me to leave, so I left.” He ended up in southern Alberta during the war years on a farm with his mother, brothers, and sisters. And he never left that farm until he became ill in 2005 and passed away a few months later in Calgary. After the War Measures Act was lifted in 1949, my Dad and brothers stayed together with their mother and eventually established a large potato growing farm and operation. They became Canadian potato pioneers of international fame, if you can call being famous for potatoes a fame. The rest is history again. My Dad was a reader, a learner, a debater and a good farmer. Now he will join others in getting an honourary degree from UBC on May 30, 2012. He would have been proud and happy, with some deep regret that he could not have lived those years himself and achieve what he set out to do in 1941. But he would have thought that the May 30 convocation was the right thing to do. 1

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Okada, Yukio Henry Born: June 14, 1923 Occupation: Engineer

Okada, Yukio Henry: Henry Yukio Okada was born on June 14, 1923 in Clayoquot, BC. He attended elementary school in Clayoquot, then went to Vancouver to attend Templeton Jr. High and Britannia High. In 1941, he started attending UBC, but was relocated to Kaslo, BC in 1942 and separated from his family. While in Kaslo, he taught woodcraft to elementary school students. He was relocated again to Hamilton, Ontario in 1943 and worked as a domestic aid to a doctor and a family. In the fall of 1943, he was accepted into, and enrolled in, the University of Toronto School of Engineering. He graduated in 1947 with a BASc in electrical engineering. Okada married Aiko Isezaki in 1949 and started a family in Toronto. They had three daughters and one son together. He worked many jobs during his lifetime, most of them being important positions in engineering. He moved his family to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1971, and then moved back to Toronto in 1976 when he became vice-president of Crothers Ltd. He worked there until his retirement in 1991. 1

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Okumura, Shigeharu Born: April 15, 1919 Passed: December 30, 2009 Occupation: Laundry Operations Manager

Okumura, Shigeharu: Shigeharu was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on April 15, 1919. He had two brothers, Art and Dick, and two sisters, Maude and Faye. Shigeharu met Fumi Toyama in New Denver, British Columbia in an internment camp during the Second World War. They were married in the summer of 1945. After the war, they moved to Manitoba and worked on the farm in McCreary and later at the local hospital in Neepawa. After a couple of years, they moved to Winnipeg. Shigeharu was the oldest child of the family and he took it upon himself to work and support his brothers and sisters and his family. He also believed strongly in education and he attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. His career was primarily in the laundry industry. He worked at Perths and Quintons for many years. He finished his career as the manager of the laundry operations for the Health Science Centre. Shigeharu’s true passion was sports. He enjoyed watching all sports and participated in baseball, tennis, bowling, golf, and curling. He was a long time member of the Civic Caledonian Curling Club and the Charleswood Golf Club. 106


Shigeharu was also a long-time member of Harrow United Church. Religion was important to Shigeharu and Fumi. He strongly believed in having faith in God, and he made sure that his family was given the opportunity to practice this faith. Shigeharu had two sons, Ron and Neil. Family was very important to Shigeharu and he enjoyed doing many family activities together. He enjoyed playing baseball, golf, and curling with his sons. Going to the beach with family and friends was a regular activity when the kids were young. Going on a family vacation at least once a year was very important. As his sons became older he became an active fan always making sure he was there to cheer on his sons. After his retirement, Shigeharu and Fumi really enjoyed traveling. They took this opportunity to really start to see the world. They made visits to Europe and Asia on many occasions. The trip back to Japan was particularly special. Eventually, the trips became more of a retreat from the winter conditions heading south to their favorite location in Hawaii, and sometimes Mexico. Shigeharu had two grandchildren, Chad and Ciara, children of Neil and Irene Okumura. Shigeharu and Fumi really enjoyed being with their two grandchildren, and like most grandparents spoiled them completely. He enjoyed hearing about all of their activities and would often be there cheering them on until he became ill. 1

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image: george ohama source: courtesy george ohama

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image: roy oshiro source: courtesy roy oshiro

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image: tomitaro nishio source: courtesy tomitaro nishio

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image: yutaka richard matsui source: courtesy yutaka richard matsui


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image: kiichi george noguchi source: courtesy kiichi george noguchi

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image: group of students source: courtesy kiichi george noguchi


Okuno, Shigekazu Matthew Born: January 2, 1920 Passed: April 7, 2003 Occupation: Entrepreneur

Okuno, Shigekazu Matthew: Matthew Shigekazu Okuno was in the class of 1942 for a Bachelor of Commerce. Mosaburo Okuno from Shiga-ken, Japan after losing his first wife, remarried to Mitsu Okuno from Osaka, Japan. Mitsu Okuno was the head nurse at the hospital. They came to British Columbia Canada in 1918 and settled in Japantown, near the Gastown area of Vancouver. Mosaburo was a barber who both worked and lived at 55 Hastings Street. On January 2nd, 1920, Shigekazu was born at home. Three years later, sister Toshie was born there. Younger siblings Ken and Joyce followed. Mitsu felt that it was hard to get ahead by cutting heads of hair, so upon her urging, Mosaburo purchased their first building on Powell Street to serve as a rooming house. Later they would buy a bigger property at the corner of Princess and Powell Streets. Their son was baptized with the name of Matthew. Toshie was given the name Dorothy. However, like most of the young Nisei (second generation Canadian born) boys, they had nicknames. Matthew’s was “Blackie ,” a name that followed him well into the 1960’s. Blackie played soccer and other sports swam in the river and ran around in Vancouver with his Japanese Canadian friends. In addition, to attending Strathcona Public school (where sixty percent were Japanese Canadians) and Britannia High school, he attended the Vancouver Japanese language school every day after classes. He graduated with the Shiseikei class. 110


Matthew had to change sheets and take them to the laundry every day before school. During the Depression, with a shortage of cash and jobs, Mitsu went out to collect vouchers from young men in exchange for a place to live. She turned the single rooms into a place to sleep for multiple men. They were able to ride out this difficult time. Matthew wanted to study medicine at the University of British Columbia. He opted out because he felt that it would take too long and be a financial strain on his family. His parents felt that education was important, although many Japanese at the time felt that to pursue a university degree was futile, since Japanese would not be allowed to use it. He chose a new four-year undergraduate program called the Bachelor of Commerce. People thought that business was something you did, not something you were formally taught. Little was known of its future practicality and popularity. Matthew felt that his university days were one of the best times in his life. The classes were interesting and wide-ranging in his first two years; the later years concentrated on business and finance and related courses. There was a feeling of inclusion amongst the students and teachers, both Japanese and Caucasian. Life seemed promising. His peer group would be future leaders. Matthew was fiercely patriotic and he joined the Canadian armed forces officer training program at UBC. When Japan became an opponent in World War II, that all changed. Matthew was stripped of his status as an officer in training and treated as an enemy alien even thoughhe was born in Canada. As one of the few Japanese Canadians who was just weeks away from graduation, he was given special permission to delay his relocation until he finished his exams. There were three fellow students in this position. In April of 1942, like all adult men of Japanese descent, he was separated from his parents and two younger siblings. He was granted permission from the security commission to work at Premier Mitch Hepburn’s farm in St. Thomas, Ontario along with his childhood friends Matt and Dick Matsui. He worked for one dollar a week. He moved to Ontario in 1948 holding various jobs in Aylmer, London, and Grimsby. 111


His sister, Dorothy Toshie, who was studying Japanese to become a teacher at the Japanese language school, would be trapped in Japan for seventeen years because of the war. Dorothy would eventually return with her husband Kamezo Tanaka and a young daughter to Toronto in 1957. Many years later she would be recognized by receiving an Order of Japan for acting as a teacher and principal for the Toronto Japanese language school, a position of which she still holds today. Matthew settled in London, Ontario with his parents and siblings. He worked at a steel mill and noticed that the working conditions were unsafe. The workers in front of the furnace were not outfitted with proper protective equipment. He started a union, following some of the social principles of the C.C.F. who had tried to voice concerns of the injustice of the treatment of JapaneseCanadians. In September 4th, 1948, he married Polly Fujiye Nishimura. He got a job working in Toronto. Polly had saved her money when she was living in the ghost town of Slocan, BC. She purchased her home where her parents and family lived. She started Nishimura Hair stylists with her brother Kazumi. In April 1st, 1960, Matthew partnered with his brother-in-law John (who was a tool- and die-maker) and a cousin to start All-Metal Machine Specialties. Together with two generations of family, the company became a prominent auto parts manufacturer with a non-union environment. The company was sold in 2005. When the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) formed as the group representing Japanese Canadians who sought group and individual compensation as well as a formal apology from the Canadian government, All-Metal would serve as an office and source of supplies and a place for meetings for the Toronto chapter. On May 3rd, 1988, the members of the NAJC, Matthew Okuno along with some fellow UBC alumni like Roger Obata went to Ottawa to protest in what then-Minister of Immigration Gerry Weiner called the most quiet and respectful law–abiding protesters he had ever seen. On September 22, 1988, redress was achieved. Matthew Shigeharu Okuno served as All-Metal’s president until his death on April 7, 2003. He was a quiet, reliable and steady man of principle, whose education in Commerce had served him well. 1 112


Onizuka, Shigeo Frederick Born: July 19, 1920 Occupation: Gardener

Onizuka, Shigeo Frederick : Dad was born in Vancouver July 19, 1920, to Suekich and Tokue Onizuka. He was the second eldest son in a family that eventually had four sons: Seiji (eldest), Shigeo, Toshio, and Yuki. Suekichi and Tokue owned a tailor and press shop that was located at 3rd and Main Street in Vancouver, where the boys were raised. The family was very involved in the United Church where Suekichi was an elder. The boys attended church, and that is where Shig developed his love and talent for singing. He joined the church choir, and when he was older he was good enough to be asked to audition for another choir outside of the church. Although the war curtailed his involvement in singing, it never stopped his love of music. Even in his last few years, when Alzheimer’s claimed his memory, he still would sing a few bars of a favorite song quite spontaneously. The four sons went to schools in their area: Simon Fraser Elementary School, Mount Pleasant Senior School, and then King Edward Secondary. It was during his last year at King Edward that he met Kimiye Sugamori and began dating her, continuing to maintain a long distance romance during the war when he was sent to road camp and her family went to Iron Springs, Alberta to work on the sugar beet farms. He also developed his love of basketball in high school, playing on teams in school and locally organized sports teams. After high school, Dad attended UBC, majoring in economics with the intention of becoming an accountant. We aren’t sure of the exact date when he was sent to road camp—whether it was before the end of his second year, or at the start of his third year. We do know, however, that he went to road camp in 1942 to a place 26 miles from Revelstoke, B.C. and worked on building the Trans Canada Hwy. along with a couple of his good friends, George Sato and Ken Onishi. 113


During his time in the road camp, Dad became active in extracurricular activities, helping organize the men in creating a sports field and starting soccer and baseball teams. Because of his early leadership, a supervisor made him the lead of a crew working on the road and was told that as long as his crew accomplished their work in the time given and did not cause any problems, they could have some liberty over how they managed their time. Unfortunately, another supervisor didn’t agree with how the crew worked and when the crew was taking a break after completing a section of the road he began to reprimand them. When Dad spoke up on behalf of the men to explain that this was how they had been allowed to work, this particular supervisor felt that Dad was being insubordinate. George Sato stated, “Your Dad stood up for the men and they looked at him as their spokesman. It did get him into trouble, but he never backed down when he felt the men were right or being treated unfairly.” This, however, did not sit well with everyone. The supervisor who felt that he had been insubordinate wanted Dad sent to Japan, a horror that he was very upset and anxious about. However, the other supervisor stepped in and reported how Dad had worked to keep the men happy and busy, preventing any problems in camp and ensuring they were accomplishing their work. He suggested that Dad at least have the option to go east, which is what he did in early 1943—ten months after being in road camp. Coming east, Dad didn’t know anyone, as his friends were still in the road camp he had left or in other internment camps or on sugar beet farms, and his own family was in Greenwood, BC. It was very difficult for him to find a room when he came east to Toronto, but he managed to find a rooming house that would rent one room to him on Darcy Street, just north of Dundas off of McCaul. When George Sato came east about three months later, they lived together with Ken Onishi—all staying in the one room. (It may have been owned by a Jewish family, because Dad always stressed that it was mainly the Jewish people who helped out the JCs). When Dad first came to Toronto he took a job working as a cook for a wealthy family—a job that he said he wasn’t very good at doing since he really didn’t know how to cook! That lasted only a very short while, after which he was able to get employment at a tiling company grinding tiles and laying floors. When George came east, he worked together with Dad, who eventually had to quit this work as he had problems with the materials infecting his hands. George went on to establish his own marble and tile company with Shigeki Sora, calling the company “SS Tiling.” 114


We are not exactly sure of the timing of this next piece, but George thinks Dad left tiling and went to work in a restaurant as a short order cook. He remembers teasing Dad saying they weren’t going to eat anything that he cooked. Both my sister and I do recall him talking about being a short order cook, but we aren’t sure of the details. Again, being a cook wasn’t his forte—after all, he really didn’t know how to cook and had no experience—so it didn’t last long and he soon took a job with Mr. Takanaka in his gardening business. Eventually, this became Dad’s business in the early 1950s and his company F.S. Onizuka Landscaping went on until the mid-1990s. In 1947, after maintaining his long-distance romance with Kim and after her family had come east to Toronto, they wed on May 23, 1947. They first lived with Dad’s parents who had come east as well and had bought a house, which they turned into a rooming house, on Sussex Avenue. Eventually, Mom and Dad saved enough for a down payment on a house and moved into 6 Durant Avenue in East York. My older sister, Diane was born in 1950, while my parents were still living with his parents and I was born in 1952, the year they bought their first home. In later years I asked Dad if he ever regretted not finishing university and becoming an accountant, especially as he was so insistent that my sister and I went to university. He said that, although he knew the importance of school and having a good career (and wanted to make sure that his daughters had good careers), he really loved to garden and felt he had found his true calling. He never regretted not being able to return to university, something he felt was very difficult for him to do considering his circumstances—but only because he found a career he really enjoyed. He loved the outdoors, the opportunity to work with his hands, the ability to create something beautiful that brought pleasure to people, and the sense of pride in owning his own business. He was a wonderful landscaper well-regarded by many of his clients, who trusted him to look after their houses. And now there are many houses in Toronto’s Forest Hill, Kingsway, Bayview, Rosedale, High Park and other areas, that have reaped the benefit of his creativity and expertise. Dad’s formal education may have come to an abrupt ending, but it did not diminish his ability to continue to learn. He took all of his life lessons and shared them with my sister and me and eventually with his four grandchildren who absolutely adored their grandpa. They are his legacy—his spirit shows up in the way they step up as leaders, in their love of music, basketball, nature, and most importantly the way they view the importance of family and friends and finding a way to make the world just a bit more beautiful. 1 115


Oshiro, Noboru Roy Born: 1921 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Teacher; Minister; Missionary

Oshiro, Noboru Roy: Roy Oshiro was born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1921 and had two younger brothers, George and Aki. The Great Depression created hardships for them, and the family made the difficult decision for his mother, Masako, and the three children to return to Okinawa, Japan. The family returned to BC in 1932 and Roy attended Templeton and Britannia high schools. The virulent racism that attended the war with Japan brought years of trials and tribulation for the family. Roy recalls that his dad had mixed feelings and said to the family, “Dou shiyou?” (“What should we do?”). That decision was soon made for them, as the government forced the uprooting of all Japanese Canadians. His father, Kamasuke, and his family left BC for the sugar beet farms of Alberta, eventually settling in Coaldale. During the uprooting and dislocation, BC Wood and Coal was sold out from under them, and the family struggled to make ends meet. Roy then in his twenties, was able to take teacher’s training in Alberta in 1943 due to labour shortages during the war. He began teaching in a Hutterite community in Alberta and went on to teach in other public schools. Roy had been greatly impressed by Christians who had helped people during the hard years. This led him to becoming a minister. He was ordained, and in 1955 he went to Okinawa as a missionary. He remains there today. Roy told us, “I’m an Okinawan, but I’m a Canadian too.” He returned to Canada on a number of occasions, including the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Makishi Anson, the first Okinawan to come to Canada, in 2000. As an Okinawan elder, Roy is a living symbol of those whose life trajectories spanned the East China Sea, across the Pacific to Canada. 1 116


Otsuki, Juko Shigeyuki Born: September 26, 1921 Passed: August 4, 1988 Occupation: Engineer

Otsuki, Juko Shigeyuki: Juko was born on September 26, 1921, at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia to Nihei and Hisa Otsuki. His father immigrated to Canada in 1906 at the age of nineteen, and eventually owned a large chicken farm in Surrey, British Columbia. We imagine that it was there that Dad learned the importance of hard work and developed his lifelong culinary ambivalence toward chicken. We don’t know much about his life while he attended UBC, as he never spontaneously talked about UBC or the war. When we specifically asked him about his experience at UBC in 1941, he was generally very reticent on the topic. We gleaned that he had been a member of the Officers’ Training Corps, and that there was no consequence in protecting him from the fury of the war. On the one occasion that I really pushed him to talk about UBC and the forced relocation, he replied with a flash of anger: “What could we do, we couldn’t do anything!” He told us that his family had lost everything. Dad had eventually graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Soon thereafter he received a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto. His dream had been to be a physician, but at that time, Canadians of Japanese ancestry found it difficult to gain admission to Canadian medical schools. Juko married Michi Yamanaka in Toronto in 1951. Around this time, he was admitted to a Ph.D. program at Stanford University, but decided to forgo this opportunity. Early in his career, he co-founded Triad Instruments, a relatively short-lived venture. Subsequently, he worked at Sangamo Company, 117


and then Avro Aircraft as an engineer. He eventually moved to the United States in 1963 for career opportunities and the health of a son. His career included jobs at Polaroid, near Boston, as an instrumentation engineer; and Martin Marietta, near Orlando, Florida, as an optical engineer. Juko retired in 1987 to the Atlanta, Georgia area. He had a daughter (Moira Hallowell) and three sons (Alan, John, and David). His children remember him most as a loving but strict father who insisted that we do well in school. He and his brother, Ryo, told us that no one can take your education away from you. Two of his children received Bachelor of Arts degrees from Yale, another from Harvard, and a fourth from the University of Massachusetts. Between them, they received graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Dalhousie, and Emory. They went on into careers in information technology, commercial real estate and medicine. Dad had his own drive to learn and experience the beauty of nature, and over the years he took classes in glassblowing, telescope-making, and watercolour painting. We recall his work areas at home, which consisted of a potpourri of geologic specimens; functioning oscilloscopes; and electronic or mechanical devices in various states of repair. He also dabbled in furniture-making and auto repair, when needed. Dad’s greatest passion was gardening—flowers, Japanese maples, azaleas, fruits, and vegetables. Of these, he had the greatest devotion to, and expertise in, growing rhododendrons. He died on August 4, 1988, from complications of multiple myeloma, in Atlanta. 1

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Sasaki, Yoshihide Frederick Born: July 28, 1918 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Pharmacist

Sasaki, Yoshihide Frederick: I was born on July 28, 1918 in a rural area of Hiroshima Ken, Japan. My father, Shuichi Sasaki, came to Canada in 1907, when he was sixteen years old. When asked why he came to Canada, he said that his aim was to promote trade between Canada and Japan. My mother brought me to Canada when I was nine months old to join her husband, who lived in Vancouver. We first stayed at the World Hotel on Powell Street in Vancouver from there we moved to 786 Cordova Street. As I recall, there was only non-Japanese family on the street, the Menzies. Our neighbours were Takimoto, Nakamura, Nose, Goto, Akiyama, Arikado, Okawara, Matsugu Ode families.

and one the and

Our family was as follows: one brother, Tetsuro, sisters Keiko, Sumiko, Kaneko, Tetsuko, Nobuko, and Ryoko, who were all born in Vancouver. My sisters, Kay and Sumi attended the Powell Street United Church Kindergarten, and I attended the Vancouver Buddhist Church as my mother’s wish was that I be brought up as a Buddhist. My only brother, Tetsuro, was born in November 1922, and passed away in November 1926. I remember him saying goodbye to me as I left for school in the morning, and when I came home, my mother told me that she had to take him to the hospital and that he died the next morning. My mother was heartbroken and couldn’t bear living at 786 Cordova Street anymore, so my father found a house to rent in the east end of Vancouver, 2565 Franklin Street, near Hastings Park. 119


I attended Strathcona Public School from grade one to four and then after our move attended Hastings Public School grade five and six, and from there I attended Templeton Junior High School from grades seven to nine and Britannia High School from grades ten and eleven. During the middle of my eleventh year at Britannia, I was in my Chemistry class when I was called to the principal’s office. Needless to say, I was apprehensive as I wondered what I had done to warrant this visit! When I arrived at the principal’s office I was surprised to see my father! Principal Monroe was not very happy as my father was taking me out of school. I was shocked, as my father never mentioned or discussed it with me. My father’s friend, who was the manager of the Japanese section of the Royal Bank of Canada of the East End branch in Vancouver, had approached my father saying that he would like his son, Fred, to be his assistant at the bank. My first day at the bank, the manager called me into his office. The first thing he mentioned to me was to let my hair grow as I had a brush cut. Secondly, he said that when the bank was open from ten to three to the public, I was only to serve customers of Japanese descent. After the bank closed at 3:00 pm to the public, I was expected to help in the different areas of the bank—deal with foreign exchange, balance the cash book, and support whichever department needed help. I started at 9:00 am and left at 7:00 pm. My salary, when I started at the bank, was four hundred dollars a year. I was able to have lunch at the head office dining room for only ten cents—a delicious full-course meal with white linen tablecloths and all the finery! After working at the bank for two years, I realized there was no future for me at the bank, and I wanted to attend University. In order to do that, I had to obtain my Junior matriculation so I attended a night school specializing to those who desired to attain their junior matriculation. I attended night school from Monday to Friday and all day Saturday. After working almost three years at the bank and going to night school, I was able to write my exams for Junior matriculation. I passed, and applied to the University of British Columbia. I was three years older than the average freshman at UBC. In the first year Christmas examinations, I passed with second class honours, and thereafter until I graduated, I passed with first class honours, and was on Dean’s honour list. 120


My chief delight in attending UBC was to attend soccer practices on a beautiful autumn day. I played on the senior varsity soccer team in my first year and played until my final year. I was awarded the Big Block Sweater for each year I played for being an outstanding player. The Big Block was given to three outstanding players each year on the team. My goal each year was to win the Big Block Sweater. During my final year, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbour, and the Federal Government under Prime Minister Mackenzie King signed an Order of Council that all people of Japanese origin had to leave the one hundred mile coastal zone. On the night of Pearl Harbour, our family was having dinner when around 7:00 pm, there was a knock on the door. When I opened the door there were two tall men in plain clothes who showed me their badges, saying they were from the RCMP and asking if Shuichi Sasaki lived here. When I said yes, they came in and searched through the whole house, and they confiscated all his personal papers—birth certificate, insurance papers, bank savings book, etc., and took my father away. Our family didn’t know where they had taken my father for about three weeks. Thirty-seven Japanese men were taken as Prisoners of War on the night of December 7. An article in the Vancouver daily paper the next day, December 8, stated that thirty-seven of the most dangerous men of Japanese descent had been taken into custody. My father had a business exporting lumber to Japan. We discovered that he had been detained at the Detention Center of the Immigration Building at Vancouver Harbour. Since I was a Japanese national, being born in Japan, I had to get out of the 100 mile zone by the 13th of January, 1943. I was fortunate to be offered to live in Calgary, Alberta by the Kuwahara family, who ran a business, Silkolina, which specialized in material and chinaware. My sister was married to the eldest son, who operated the Vancouver branch of the Silkolina Store. Due to the kindness of Professor Morrow, head of the Commerce Dept. at UBC, who had instructed the professors of the Commerce Dept. to send my courses by correspondence in order for me to finish my year, I was able to continue studying at the Calgary Public Library every day. In late April, I wrote my final exams at the University of Alberta and was watched over by one person, as I was the only one writing the exams. In May, I was informed by Professor Morrow that I had passed my exams with first class honours, and was in the running for the gold medal. 121


In the meantime, in April of 1942, my mother and sisters were sent to a relocation camp in the interior of British Columbia, Kaslo. My father was transferred from Seebe, Alberta to a Prisoner of War Camp in Petawawa, Ontario, and from there to the Prisoner of War Camp in Angler, Ontario. Colonel Nelson Spencer, who was head of Nelson Spencer Limited, and with whom my father had worked for at one time as the Far East Manager, put his efforts towards having my father released from the Prisoner of War Camp in Angler, and consequently, he was the first Japanese Prisoner of War to be released. He was released on the understanding that he would work in a logging camp as a kitchen helper lifting one hundred pound sacks of potatoes, vegetables, etc. Since he wasn’t used to manual labour, he developed a heart condition, which allowed him to be reunited with his family in Kaslo, BC. As my family was in Kaslo, and I was in Calgary, my goal was to get my family together. Mrs. Booth, who worked for the B.C. Security Commission, recommended that I move the family to a fruit farm in the Niagara Peninsula as there was a shortage of workers. Consequently, in April 1943, I came to Toronto, and I saw Mr. Trueman, who worked for the Federal Government to help Japanese relocate in Ontario, and he sent me to a farm in the Niagara Peninsula. When the farmer learned that I was the only male with five sisters, he did not hire me so I returned to Toronto. In Toronto, I had to find employment and a place to live. It was a very difficult time since the war with Japan was still on. I finally found a place to live which was a third floor flat where they would only accept five of us—mother, father, me, and my two youngest sisters, Audrey and Noby. Two of the oldest, Sumi and Kannie had to do domestic work and Dottie was a “school girl” living with a family and attending Northern Secondary. I had a difficult time finding work and finally had an interview with Mr. L.K. Hergert, general manager of Hunt’s Limited, a chain of stores in Toronto selling baked goods and chocolates. I worked in the factory as a receiver of one hundred pound bags of flour, sugar, etc. An Italian fellow worker and I stood on each side of the skid as truck loads of flour and sugar came and we took the skid loads up to the chocolate and bakery departments. 122


On the weekends, I watched soccer games at Greenwood Park and one day they asked me if I would like to practice with the team, and was asked to join the John Ingles team of the Toronto and District league, which was sponsored by the John Ingles Company. The majority of the players in the league were from the British Isles or Europe. At the parties, since I didn’t indulge in alcohol, everyone wanted to sit beside me. After the war, I joined the St. Andrews Soccer team. Soccer teams from Scotland and England toured Canada and USA and I was chosen to play on the All-Star team to play against them in Toronto. I made a lot of good friends on the soccer team and we traveled to different cities. Since my friend and I played tennis in Vancouver, the Nippon Tennis Club, we looked for a club in Toronto and joined the Kew Beach Tennis Club. After a year on Markham Avenue, we bought a home on Oak Park Avenue in East York and our family was reunited again. One day, I was walking up Yonge Street and I noticed the Canadian Tire Store with a sign on the door looking for men to work in the warehouse. My sister, Sumi, was working in the office there. I was interviewed by A.J. Billes, Vice President of Canadian Tire, which was started in 1922 by two brothers: A. J. Billes, who looked after the warehouse, and J.W. Billes, who looked after the office. When A. J. Billes hired me, he said I had to wear roller skates when filling the orders for the Canadian Tire dealers. With my Commerce and Finance degree, my goal was to work in the office. I became a stock keeper for the automotive parts. One of the companies from which we purchased automotive parts was Midland Foundry and Machinery Co. Ltd. in Midland, Ontario. The owner of this company used to come to Toronto to see how his parts were selling, and I got to know him well. He asked me my background and offered me a job as office manager and accountant, as his previous accountant had left and the position was vacant. Upon giving my notice to Canadian Tire, A. J. Billes spoke to his brother, W. J. Billes, and he offered me a job as an Accounts Payable Clerk. I accepted this position to stay in Toronto with the family. 123


After the war ended in Europe, James Keen, the former Secretary-Treasurer of Canadian Tire, returned to the company, expecting to have his former position. In his absence, the position of Secretary-Treasurer was given to their sister, and he was offered the position of Chief Accountant. He was very disappointed and confided to me during lunch that he was leaving Canadian Tire. I told him that he was making a big mistake. The chief accountant’s position was given to Chester Buck, who was not capable of the position. Consequently, I was offered the position of chief accountant. In my career at Canadian Tire, which spanned forty-five years, I was made Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President Finance. I retired from Canadian Tire in 1989.

A bill in Canadian Tire money featuring the signature of Yoshihide Fred Sasaki as Treasurer

1977 was the one hundredth anniversary of the first Japanese immigrant to Canada, Mr. Manzo Nagano. The Japanese community felt that they should establish different projects, and one of the projects was a senior’s home for the Issei (first generation Japanese) as they were aging. In l976, a meeting was held at the Japanese Cultural Center to discuss the seniors home and a committee was formed headed by Dr. Fred Sunohara, chairman, Fred Sasaki, treasurer, and committee members Dr. Roy Shinobu, Mary and Roger Obata, and Kaz Oiye. In December 1992, the Momiji Seniors Center was finally completed and will be celebrating its twentieth year on November 17, 2012. I was married in 1950 to Naka Suzuki and were blessed with three children, Paul (Karen), Nana ( Jerry) and Joan (Rick), and three grandchildren, Crystal (Trevor), Lori and Derek. My only regret today is that my lifelong partner Naka, who passed away in 1994 at the age of seventy-five, is not here with me. 1 124


Sasaki, Mitsuru Born: January 2, 1924 Passed: February 15, 2009 Occupation: Pharmacist

Sasaki, Mitsuru: Mitsuru Sasaki was born in Eburne, British Columbia on January 2nd, 1924 to Eiji Sasaki and Chiyo Sasak. He was the youngest of six children. He was raised there and later worked in Steveston, where there was a fishing cannery. He entered the University of British Columbia in the fall of 1941 with the intent of becoming an engineer, and was registered in science courses when he was forced to pull out due to the onset of World War II and the internment of the Japanese Canadians who lived along the B.C. coastline. Mitsuru was deeply disappointed, as he had his heart set on becoming an engineer. The family lost everything: their home, their fishing boat, all their possessions. For my father, nothing has survived from prior to the internment except for some medals that his father had received from the Japanese government, from a time before he and his wife emigrated to Canada—no photographs, no journals, no letters exist. Mitsuru was interned in Northern Alberta and made to work first in the logging camps and then later on at a sugar beet farm. There he injured his lower back, an ailment from which he suffered for the rest of his life. Not being able to do manual labour in the logging camps or sugar beet farms, he and his brother were allowed to go to Toronto to seek employment. They were not allowed to return to British Columbia. They arrived in Toronto on a cold, snowy day wearing rubber galoshes and rain coats and no gloves. They were not at all dressed for winter and snow, and had no money for warmer clothing. Mitsuru and his older brother, Senji, 125


were only able to find work in a car wash and spent that winter washing cars, which was bitterly cold work. My father found this work very hard on his back injury, and set out to look for other work. He recalled to me the days where he walked from Spadina east to the Parliament and from Lakeshore Boulevard north to Bloor Street, stopping at every business establishment and store, asking for work and being turned away. Finally, at a place on Spadina, a man told Mitsuru of a pharmaceutical company that might give him a job and sent my father over. The boss of the J.F. Hartz company hired my father and Mitsuru worked there for many years. In 1950, Mitsuru applied and was accepted to the University of Toronto in Pharmacy—the first year that the program was offered as a Bachelor of Science degree. He continued to work at the J.F. Hartz company on evenings and weekends as he put himself through university. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1953, the first graduate of this program at University of Toronto. Mitsuru married soon after graduating, anxious to start a family, as he was twenty-nine years old by then. He worked as a pharmacist all his life, in manufacturing initially and then working on the retail end. He loved pharmaceutical manufacturing, but I know he often regretted not being able to finish his engineering degree. With his wife, Grace Kuwahara Sasaki, Mitsuru raised four children: Diane, Sharon, James and Lauren. They, in turn, had nine grandchildren, on whom Mitsuru lavished love and attention all his life. He adored his grandchildren, and would have done anything for them. Before Mitsuru passed away on February 15, 2009, he commented that he had had no regrets in his life whatsoever, and that his life had been a full and satisfying one. To this day, I do not remember him harboring any bitterness towards the internment of the Japanese. He said that war was a terrible thing and, in war, terrible things were done, but that people, on the whole, were essentially good; you had to just look for the good in every individual. I know he lived by that belief to his dying day. He is deeply missed by all his family, but he leaves behind a legacy of love and forgiveness and the lesson that one can rise above any adversity and succeed, if you have the will and desire and love in your heart. 1 126


Shigei, Hideo Born: unknown Occupation: unknown

Shigei, Hideo: In 1942, Hideo was a student at UBC and was a member of the COTC, Cdt. number K577153. When the Japanese Canadian students were sent away from UBC, Shigei attended McGill University late in the 1940s. At first, McGill had denied Japanese Canadian students entrance because they were thought of as people of an inferior race. In 1951, after he got his degree, Hideo moved to Japan and worked for the Shell Oil Company. Hideo had one sister, Isumi Suehiro. He was married but he and his wife had no children. 1

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Shimotakahara, Setsu Katherine Born: June 1920 Passed: September 1970 Occupation: Gardener

Shimotakahara, Setsu Katherine: Katherine Setsu Shimotakahara was born on June 4, 1920 in Burnaby, BC. She was the first-born of Toryaryu and Hideko Shimotakahara and sister to Lillian, Lloyd, Margie and Hazel. Japanese was her first language. Katherine attended Gilmore Elementary School and Burnaby North High School. She completed a degree in General Sciences at UBC in 1942. One of the memories she shared of her last year at UBC was how a few of her professors accommodated the “curfew” restrictions placed on Japanese Canadians. She was encouraged to attend class even if it meant she would be late for class and/or would have to leave early. As a young child, Katherine had contracted polio, which significantly diminished the size, strength and utility of her right arm. Her father pursued alternate therapies to try and reverse the affects of the polio, including a trip to Japan for treatment, but to no avail. She recounted breaking her right arm several times as a child and becoming adept at re-setting the bone herself ! Katherine did not let her right arm deter her from “doing,” nor did she use it as an excuse for “not doing.” Piano lessons were mandatory in the Shimotakahara home. Having mastered the left-hand-only piano repertoire, Katherine turned to singing. In her teens and early twenties, she participated in music festivals, and was often a soloist at church. 128


Katherine’s family was not interned, as her father had arranged for the family to move to Montreal in 1942 before the evacuation. Katherine married Hajime “Jimmy” Suzuki on December 22nd, 1942 in Montreal. Their first child, Larry, was born in 1944, in Verdun. The family of three moved back to Vancouver in 1947. Three more children followed: Karen in 1949, Chris in 1952 and Kirk in 1963. With one girl and three boys in the family, Katherine and Jimmy did not think it would be fair if only Karen, the girl, was assigned domestic duties. All children had “equal access” to, and/or “exemption from,” domestic chores. Jimmy and Katherine also made a conscious decision not to send their children to Japanese Language School. Katherine remembered not being able to participate in after-school activities at Gilmore and Burnaby North, as she had to travel to Vancouver from Burnaby to attend Japanese Language School. She and Jimmy wanted their children to enjoy all aspects of their public school education. All four children took full advantage of their time to participate in a variety of sports and activities at their elementary and high schools. Katherine was an avid gardener and lover of all things botanical. The front and backyard gardens were a source of pleasure and beauty. The family home abounded with plants. Katherine had a reputation of being a very “fussy” grocery shopper. After observing the care she took in selecting tomatoes, a gentleman, who had been watching her, asked if she would please pick a few for him! Katherine was also known for her culinary skills. Her Scotch Christmas shortbread, sausage stuffing, and pumpkin chiffon pie continue to be enjoyed to this day! Every January 1st, Katherine would prepare a sumptuous New Year’s feast that was both a tasty treat and a visual treat for family, friends and neighbours! Katherine was a dedicated listener and supporter of the CBC. “Live at the Met” was one of her favourites. One of her fears, as she grew older, was “brain rot,” She contemplated returning to UBC to become a teacher after Kirk, the youngest child, entered school. Sadly, she died on September 6th, 1970 at the age of fifty, and was not able to pursue this aspiration. 1

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Shimotakahara, H. Lloyd Born: August 6, 1923 Passed: January 7, 2004 Occupation: Businessman

Shimotakahara, H. Lloyd: Lloyd Hideo Shimotakahara was born on August 6th, 1923 in Burnaby, BC. He was the third child and only son of Toraryu Shimotakahara and Hideko Koiwai, and brother to Katherine, Lillian, Margaret and Hazel. He attended Gilmore Elementary School and North Burnaby High School. After attending UBC for one year, the family moved directly to Montreal and did not go to an internment camp. He had a happy childhood spending much time with his maternal grandparents who welcomed the family and their other grandchildren (the Uchida family). Lloyd had to attend the Japanese Language School in Vancouver every day after school, and also attended the Japanese United Church in Vancouver with his family every Sunday. He played school sports, one being rugby. It was a very rough game, but he loved it, as did his sons later on. He also loved skiing, and spent many weekends up north with his friends. He played golf for many years as well. When the family moved to Montreal, he attended Sir George Williams College, now called Concordia University, and graduated with a degree in Science and Commerce in 1945. He was in the ROTC Petawawa, Ontario during his university days. He then worked in the family business in Montreal until 1953. He married Donnie (Tsuyuki) in 1953 and moved to Vancouver to oversee business there. 130


In Vancouver, they started their family. They had Susan in 1954, Wendy in 1956, Bob in 1957, and Paul in 1959. Sadly, Wendy passed away at only seventeen days old. They all lived in Vancouver for seven happy years until they had to move back to Montreal in 1960 for business. Two more sons were later added to the family: Ed in 1962, and Mark in 1963. On all outings, Lloyd never left the house without his movie-making and regular cameras. He liked to take candid pictures of family and friends. Lloyd also liked gardening, because it relaxed him. He planted flowers and vegetables. He produced some fine specimens. After returning to Montreal, Lloyd started travelling to Japan on business at least twice a year. He later travelled to Taiwan and the Philippines as well. After retirement, he led a quiet life enjoying his family, especially the grandchildren, Kaitlin, Kevin, William and Elizabeth. He did not live long enough to see his last grandchild, Ally, who was born a year after he died. Lloyd was eighty years old, and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in the year he passed away, on January 7, 2004. 1

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Shimotakahara, Yuriko Lillian Born: 1922 Passed: 2006 Occupation: Community Volunteer

Shimotakahara, Yuriko Lillian: Born in Vancouver on March 7, 1922, Lillian Shimotakahara, the second daughter of Toraryu and Hideko Shimotakahara, grew up on Keefer Street in North Burnaby. She attended Gilmore Elementary and Burnaby North High School. She also attended the Japanese Language School on Alexander Street and was active in the Japanese United Church on Powell Street in Vancouver. Her father Toraryu Shimotakahara was a successful businessman, operating several ladieswear stores in Vancouver. From 1940 to 1942 she attended the University of British Columbia, where she met her future husband, Charles Kadota. Lillian kept a diary from 1939 to 1943, in which she wrote this account shortly before her family and other Japanese Canadians were forced to leave Vancouver: March 30, 1942: Things are working fast now. Rumours, absurd and real, are floating around…. the Nisei (second generation Japanese Canadians), first bunch, finally consented to go and left for Ontario last night. At University today, some students were getting fussed about this. We might not be able to write final exams now. The Nisei boys are registering tomorrow when they find out their “cold-blooded” fate. Daddy received a notice to leave for camp on April 7. In order to avoid the internment order, her family was able to move to Montreal in 1942. Lillian was able to continue her university at the newly established Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) in Montreal, where she graduated with a degree in Sociology. 132


Soon after Charles moved to Toronto in 1942, they started dating again. Charles moved to Montreal and the two were married there on August 9, 1947. Their first daughter, Jennifer was born in Montreal in 1949. They returned to Vancouver in 1951 and soon after, moved into their home at 57th and Oak Street, where they lived for fifty-three years. Three more daughters, Constance, Diane, and Shelley, were born in Vancouver between 1951 and 1961. All four daughters and a grandson later graduated from the University of British Columbia. Lillian was one of the original charter members of the Japanese Canadian WIMO (Wives and Mothers) group and was active in the English-speaking congregation of the Vancouver Japanese United Church. Lillian and Charles and their daughters also worked to gain redress for the wrongful internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. In 1988, a formal apology was issued by the Canadian government, and reparations were made to the Japanese Canadian community and those affected by the internment. Lillian and Charles were active world travelers during their retirement years, enjoying trips to Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. They were also active patrons of the arts, attending many concerts and performances in Vancouver. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997. Lillian and Charles have three grandchildren—Gareth Madoc-Jones, Sian Madoc-Jones, and Kiyoshi Kadota. Lillian passed away in 2006 at the age of eighty-four. 1

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Shinobu, Dr. Royhei Roy Born: September 7, 1920 Occupation: Doctor; Psychiatrist

Shinobu, Dr. Royhei Roy: Roy was born on September 7, 1920, in Ishinomori, Miyagiken, Japan. At the age of two, his parents brought him to Vancouver in 1922. He then became a naturalized citizen. His schooling was spent at the Hastings East Public School, Templeton Junior High School, and Britannia High School. He enrolled at the University of British Columbia and received his BA in Honours Chemistry in 1942. He was also in the COTC. When the Japanese Canadians were sent away from the BC coast, Roy and his family were sent to Kaslo, an internment camp in the interior of BC. They stayed there from 1942 to 1944 when they relocated to Toronto, Ontario. He enrolled at the University of Toronto in 1945 and graduated with a medical degree in 1949. From 1949 to 1950, he was a junior intern at the Ottawa Civic General Hospital. His first general practice was in Carlton Place, Ontario from 1950 to 1952. Next, he had a general practice at Bloor/Sherbourne in Toronto from 1952 to 1956. From 1956 to 1960, he had a general practice in Don Mills, Ontario. In 1960, Roy enrolled again at the University of Toronto and earned a F.R.C.P. Psychiatry in 1964. From 1964 until 1968 he practiced at the North York Mental Health Centre. At the North York General Hospital from 1968 to 1998 he was with the Department of Psychiatry. From 1970 to 1980, Roy was a Psychiatric Consultant at the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre. He was the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at the North York General Hospital from 1978 to 1983. Roy retired from practice in 1998. He was a Board Member of the Momiji Healthcare Society in Toronto from 1976 to 1998. Roy is married to Maki (Toguri) and has two children, Leslie and Doug. 1 134


Shiozaki, Fumiyaki David Born: 1921 Passed: 2007 Occupation: Manufacturing

Shiozaki, Fumiyaki David: Fumiyaki David Shiozaki was born June 13, 1921, in New Westminster, BC, to Mrs.Tomiko and Mr. Bunshichi Shiozaki, who emigrated from Ariga and Hii in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. He was the eldest of three children, younger brother Fumiharu Richard and younger sister, Kimiko (Kay) who married Kazuo Iwamoto. David attended Strathcona Public School and Britannia High School while living on Hastings St. in Vancouver. He graduated from UBC earning his degree in Bachelor of Commerce in 1942. He had permission to stay to finish his final exams but was not allowed to attend graduation. His family was moved to Greenwood by the government as part of the forced evacuation. David did social work in the ghost towns of BC, then moved back to Greenwood to his family. They were then forced out and moved to Toronto, into his younger brother’s small house at 32 Barryman St. David spent five years in Montreal working at Crown Waterproof, a raincoat manufacturer. He stayed with Aki Namba and his family. It was there that he met Emiko (Emy) Koyanagi, who had been visiting her friend, Aki’s sister (Eileen Namba Suzuki). They married in 1954 in Steveston, BC. David bought a large three story house at 119 MacPherson Avenue, just north of Yorkville. The parents, David, wife Emy, brother Richard, wife Geri, and sister Kay moved in. Richard then added two children, and David and Emy gave birth to an only child, Alan Michael. Richard moved his family out to Etobicoke. 135


Their mother passed away and David bought a house in Willowdale. His father decided to go back to Japan and passed away there in Hii. David lived in the house on Averill until he passed in 2007, and his wife lived there until she passed in 2011. In Toronto, David worked at Garfield’s Limited (Lady Anne Fashions) for sixteen years. He then became the Controller at Star Bedding Products (Serta Canada), where he worked until he retired at the age of sixty-eight. His life was his family. His son became a dentist with his own practice in Scarborough. David did the accounting, well past retirement age. He and Emy traveled to visit her family, still in BC. There were many visitors from Japan, and relatives in Canada. All were welcomed and treated royally. David loved his daughter-in-law, Pearl, and his two grandchildren, Michael David and Kristen Emiko. He was very proud of them. 1

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Shiozaki, Fumiharu Richard Born: February 5, 1924 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Drafstman; Engineer

Shiozaki, Fumiharu Richard: Born Fumiharu Shiozaki on February 5, 1924 to Mrs. Tomiko and Mr. Bunshichi Shiozaki, who had emigrated from Ariga and Hii, in Yakayama Prefecture in Japan, Fumiharu was later christened Richard. He had an older brother, Fumiaki David (UBC 1942 B. Commerce) and younger sister Kimiko (Kay), who later married Kazuo Iwamoto. Richard attended Strathcona Public School and Britannia High School while living on Hastings Street in Vancouver. He had a newspaper route that paid for his university fees. It was in his first year that Pearl Harbour was bombed and he was prevented from continuing at UBC. When the government asked for student volunteers to teach English at Hastings Park, where many Japanese Canadians—children included—were being held pending evacuation inland, Richard volunteered. He had only been there about a week when he heard that the government wanted people to leave BC voluntarily. He and his friends, John Miura (UBC 2nd year, ’41-’42), Don Sugiman, Blackie Okuno (UBC, ’41-’42), Paul Asada, Ted Hayashi, and Oscar Hatashita, paid their own way to Ontario. The ex-premier of Ontario, Mitchell Hepburn, found work for them and others, at various of his constituents’ farms and businesses. Richard went to Archie Blue’s beet farm near Iona Station. He was there for three months during the summer, and then paid his way to get to Toronto to look for work. He joined the Toronto Equipment Manufacturing Company in the machine shop. Then he became a foreman at A&W Machine, where his good friend Tom Takashima worked. Tom, John Miura and Richard were like the Three Musketeers. They were close friends for life, even buying a car together. The two other friends married sisters, and the Shiozaki children were also treated like cousins. John has now passed away. 137


In the meantime, Richard’s parents were sent to Greenwood as part of the forced relocation. Their daughter Kay was with them, while David did social work in BC ghost towns before finally joining them. They later moved to Toronto, moving into a tiny house at 32 Barryman St. that Richard had bought. When the war ended, the machine shops were no longer needed to produce parts for the war, so many of them closed. Richard could not find work as so many veterans were also job hunting. Richard decided to go back to school. His first two years at the University of Toronto in Engineering were in Ajax, as the university was overcrowded. Like many Japanese Canadians who had some university education already, they had to do extra years. He then did two years at the downtown campus before graduating in 1950 as a Professional Engineer. Richard joined Massey Ferguson as a draftsman. It wasn’t easy getting in there. He went to see them every Monday for five weeks before they recognized his perseverance and hired him. He stayed there six months, then went to John T. Hepburn, where he met his good friend Bill Trott, who had become a chief draftsman. Bill and Richard’s families were brought up like cousins. The two men bought cars together and drove together to work at Canada Packers every day. Canada Packers’ engineering department on St. Clair Avenue had leftover furniture from all the other departments, broken floor tiles, chicken feathers floating through the office, and the smell of the stockyards across the street. It was found later to have had a number of original Group of Seven paintings that had been hanging on the walls for years. Richard was the manager in the Shurgain Feed and Fertilizer Division, and later, when the fertilizer division was sold off, he became the manager of the feed division. He designed feed and fertilizer mills, and travelled to St. Mary’s, down east, and other locales, to visit the setup of his various mills. Canada Packers became Maple Leaf Foods. Richard retired in 1987, after thirty-two years of service. Richard met and married Geri T. Nikaido in 1951. She was registered as Takako Nikaido at UBC, but her name at the time was Taka. She had been at UBC in her second year when she was told to leave the university due to the war. On Fathers’ Day 1952, they had the first of their four children: Karie, Ian, Nancy, and Brian. By this time, they were living in Richard’s brother’s house at 119 MacPhearson Ave. in Toronto. Geri had graduated from the University of Toronto, Victoria College in 1944, completed her Early Childhood Education at the Institute of Child Studies, and begun working as a nursery school supervisor. 138


After two of the children were born, they moved to 96 Westhampton Dr. in Etobicoke, a new subdivision street in farmland that was close to 401 Highway and Islington Avenue, which was still a dirt road then. The children grew and Richard took the family, often the cousins, and sometimes his mother-in-law, on many car vacations to Florida, Montreal, Quebec City, Myrtle Beach, and all places in between. He drove his mother-in-law north every fall to see the colours, and when she could no longer go that far, he would drive her up and down the Don Valley Parkway. Geri and Richard travelled to China, New Zealand, Australia, California, and Hawaii, and took cruises to Alaska and through the Mediterranean. They took twelve trips to Japan to sight-see and visit relatives in Fukushima and Wakayama. They stayed on Sado Island and in Kyoto, Tokyo, and many other cities. They visited their youngest son, who had lived in Japan for many years and met his wife there. They also visited with their grown daughters several times. Richard would wait patiently outside on park benches while Geri, and sometimes the daughters, slowly went through the museums and art galleries or attended the performance art shows. They visited Cuba once or twice a year for over twenty-five years. More recently, they have taken driving trips to Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Maine, and flown to Cuba with their grown children. They have given their children the “travel bug,� and Richard is still planning further travels. Before Geri could drive, Richard made sure all the children got to Brownies, Guides, swimming lessons, Cubs, Scouts, camp, etc. Not having a lot of money, and having bought a house, Richard finished the basement, did plumbing and electrical work and all the outside maintenance, and built the furniture. He was very innovative with the use of materials, a talent he passed down to his youngest son. Because of their history, Geri and Richard made sure that all educational expenses were supplied for their four children attending university. All four graduated, the eldest child holding a Bachelor of Arts, one becoming a doctor, one holding a Masters in Library Science, and one holding a degree in Business Administration. Richard and Geri recently moved into a condo to be closer to their eldest daughter. Richard and Geri now have seven grandchildren between the ages of one month and twenty-three years old. 1 139


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image: hajime james hasegawa source: courtesy hajime james hasegawa

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image: roy handa source: courtesy roy handa

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image: hikida robert hideaki source: courtesy hikida robert hideaki


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image: tomitaro nishio (right) and others source: courtesy tomitaro nishio

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image: ubc student card, lloyd shimotakahara source: courtesy lloyd shimotakahara


Shoji, Norihiko Henry Born: unknown Passed: 1997 Occupation: Aeronautical Engineer

Shoji, Norihiko Henry: From Kathy (Shoji) Corbeil on behalf of her mother and siblings, and Cheryl Shoji, Bud Shoji, and Jeannie Picard: Henry Shoji was born to Kojiro and Ayako Shoji in Vancouver BC. His father came from Wakayama Japan as a young man, and his mother was born in San Francisco. His parents owned a butcher shop on Powell Street, and then started the Vancouver Paper Box Factory after selling the butcher shop. He attended Strathcona School and also studied at the Japanese Language School. He graduated from Vancouver Technical School with honours, and entered the University of British Columbia General Engineering in 1940. After two years at the University of British Columbia, due to the mass evacuation and internment of Japanese Canadians, my dad was not able to continue with studies in Vancouver. His brief stint in the Canadian Armed Forces was restricted to drills and exercises as a member of the UBC contingent of the COTC under the command of Col. Shrum. His family was relocated to Minto, an abandoned gold mining community (100 miles northeast of Vancouver). After spending the summer of 1942 in Minto, he headed to Hamilton to attend McMaster University, where, two years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He then attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. In 1948, he completed his post-graduate studies and was awarded the Master of Applied Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. 142


Upon graduation, he obtained employment at A.V. Roe Canada Ltd. as a stress engineer, then worked his way up to Quality Control Manager and Chief Inspector. He worked on the Avro Arrow program, until it was suspended by the government. He then worked for Avian Aircraft and Hawker Siddeley, In 1966 he was appointed President of Found Brothers Aviation Ltd., where they manufactured single-engine utility aircrafts. They developed a new aircraft of the 1967 Model 100 "Centennial." After working in the aviation industry for thirteen years, he changed direction and began working in the plastics industry (injection moulding). He and my mom made many moves, as dad found employment across Ontario, in Malton, Bolton, and Toronto, and then the US, where they lived in Orlando Florida, Chesapeake Virginia, Lewiston NY, and then, finally, moved back to Mississauga in 1996. Dad married my mother, Dorothy Matsumoto, in 1949, and then had four kids. He was a Renaissance man and a great provider for his family. He spent as much time as he could with me and my siblings (two sisters and a brother), and our dog and cat. He changed diapers, he cooked and cleaned, and was an all-around handyman. I spent my high school years living in a century-old farmhouse on an acre of land. Dad loved to mow the lawn on his ride-on mower and clear the snow off the long driveway with his gas snow blower. He was an avid photographer/movie-maker, swimmer, golfer, lover of books and newspapers, big band piano/harmonica player, and a terrific Poppa to his four grandsons and granddaughter. He passed away in the spring of 1997 at the age of seventy-four. He would have been pleased to receive his honourary degree from UBC. 1

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Sumiya, Michiyoshi Mits Born: November 22, 1922 Occupation: Engineer; Entrepreneur

Sumiya, Michiyoshi Mits: I was born at Cowan Point, Bowen Island BC, on a rainy November 22, 1922 evening around 9:30 pm. As my father was a logger, we moved to follow the logging operation. In 1923, we moved to Barkin, BC, where my first brother, Yasan, was born. In 1924, we moved to Gray’s Creek, where I remember a well in front of the house and the sound of rain on the tin roof. There was of course, a creek where the salmon would swim up to spawn. My brothers Chika and Hiyoshi were born there. Finally, in 1927 we moved to O’Brien’s Bay, where we lived on a float-house anchored to a rock and had a dug-out for transportation. I remember rowing the dug-out to go berry-picking and stab crab with a pike-pole for dinner. In 1929 we moved to Vancouver, as our parents felt the children needed to go to school. My brother, Ed, and two sisters were born there. Since we had been isolated most of the time, we knew no English and very limited Japanese. I was enrolled in kindergarten in 1929, and entered Central Public School in February 1930. The first couple of years were extremely difficult, as communication was a major impediment. By the time I reached grade four, I was able to manage my English. In 1935, I entered Strathcona Public School and in 1937, I entered Vancouver Technical School. In 1941 I started my first year at the University of British Columbia, swore allegiance to the “Crown,” and became a member of the COTC. After Pearl Harbour, I was struck off the roster and ordered to turn in my uniform. In 1942 I, having relegated it to the equivalent to a slave-labour camp, I refused to go to “Road Camp.” I was escorted and turned over by the RCMP to the Canadian Army at the immigration building in Vancouver. I had vacated the civilian jurisdiction only to be confined under martial law! 144


On July 20, 1942 I became a “Canadian” prisoner in Canada’s Prisoner of War camp 101 at Angler Ontario. I was released from P.O.W. Camp at 11 am on April 4, 1946. I was able to catch the 1:45 pm train that stopped at Angler Way Station. I reached Toronto Union Station at 7:40 am on April 5, 1946, but missed the connecting train for Port Credit, so I took the street car to the end of Long Branch and then a cab to the farm. Free at last—but a labourer on a mushroom farm! I started as a farm labourer, but since I had some knowledge of cars and motors from my VanTech days, I applied for, and passed, my exam for chauffeur’s license, which allowed me to drive the company truck. I was able to cover much of southern Ontario, from Windsor to Niagara Falls, and most of Toronto, which was exactly what I wanted. It was fun time. By 1950, both my younger brothers wanted to settle in Toronto since “Selective Service” was no longer in force. I felt that we needed a Sumiya homestead, and decided to buy a house in the city. We bought a house on Lansdowne Ave. as there was confluence of public transit there, which was very handy as none of us owned a car. It wasn’t until 1952 that I bought a second-hand Chevy, which became the family chariot for a couple of years. In 1957, I met my future wife at a Toronto Japanese Garden Club do. We found we had much in common, and by 1959 we were madly in love and ready to get married. We got married on July 11, 1959 at the Toronto Buddhist Church. Over the years, it turned out that marrying Gloria Sayako Sato was the wisest thing I ever did in my life! We were blessed with two sons, Yoshio Lorne (now a lawyer in Red Deer AB) and Kiyo Russell (who coordinates the de-icing of planes at Pearson International Airport). Kiyo is married to Linda Nagai and has the smartest, cutest little daughter, Kelly Aiko. Vocations: In 1950, I got a job with Mitchell Manufacturing Co., a metal fabricating factory whose main product was fluorescent lighting fixtures. Since both the industrial and commercial sectors were beginning to accept fluorescent lighting for the primary source of artificial illumination, I felt certain that there was a future in this area. I built prototypes of new products for testing and presentation. Later, I was invited to join the design/engineering group responsible for their lighting products. 145


In 1959, I was invited to join Wilson Lighting Ltd., a wholly Canadian-owned company with plant in USA and the only Canadian company with “Illumination Research Laboratory Ltd.” as one of their divisions. I was particularly interested in research, so I joined their Research, Development & Engineering section as the senior designer. A couple of years later, I was promoted to be their Manager of RD & E as well their Technical service Manager for all their products. These were challenging but enjoyable years. By the mid 1970s, competition from US companies and their Canadian subsidiaries became unbearable, and the company was dissolved. In July 1976, I joined Donn Canada Ltd. as the Sr. Product Designer and Technical Consultant. By 1978, I had become the Manager of Product Development and Engineering. As part of their international R&D group, I was able to contribute to their future development and concomitantly expand my knowledge and skills. In 1979, unfortunately, that the company would be “bought out” by US Gypsum, which concerned me. Fortuitously, the Canadian president of Thomas Industries was searching for someone to head and revive their RD&E department. Since I was approaching retirement and lighting was my “first love,” I accepted the position. HID (high intensity discharge) lighting was the new technology, and I found the challenge exhilarating. By 1986, I felt that I had set the company in the right direction, and started preparing for retirement. But the Canadian president of US Gypsum asked me to come back and head their product development department. I agreed to a three-year contrac to head their product development and be their technical service manager, a position that gave me greater contact with their field activities. I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure. When I finally retired in 1989, many of the companies I had dealt with asked if I would act as their consultant. I set up a consulting company that I enjoyed for five years. I dissolved the company as many of my upper echelon contacts became retired or became deceased. It was no longer fun. In retrospect, do I have any regrets? None at all. I enjoyed every minute of it. Avocations: Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association ( JCCA) In 1947-48, as chairman of the employees’ committee at the mushroom farm, I helped raise funds for the then-nascent JCCA. In 1950, I was on the Board of the Toronto JCCA. Starting in 1952 I wrote letters, newspaper articles, and gave talks on the need for a Japanese Senior Citizens Home. Over the next five decades I served as Treasurer, Secretary, President, and Advisor of the JCCA. In 1954, I was elected onto the Ontario JCCA as Secretary and President, and also worked on the National Board of Directors and National Executive committee. 146


Nippponia Home Inc. When Mr. Yasutaro Yamaga decided to build a senior citizens’ home for the Issei, he asked to meet with me. We discussed my findings and views, and I promised him my support. I was on the first Board of Directors for the “Nipponia Home for the Aged” in 1958, serving in many positions but mostly acting as executive secretary. The corporation was dissolved in 2004, when the Long-Term Care legislation became mandatory and it became financially impossible to meet the new code requirements. Nipponia Foundation was incorporated as charity to help fund the “home,” where I served as secretary and treasurer until its dissolution in 2005. With help from friends in government and Fred Sasaki, president of Momiji Foundation, the long and difficult negotiations resulted in the residue of the assets from both the Nipponia Home and Nipponia Foundation to be gifted as the “Nipponia Fund” to the Momiji Foundation. It is currently being used to fund outreach programs for seniors of Japanese ancestry. Momiji Foundation I served as a Board member here. Upon retirement, I was conferred to Honourary Director. Boy Scouts of Canada When my older son was “Cub” age, I enrolled him in the scouting group. I was elected and as the chairman for the 142nd region and served for fifteen years. During that time, we carried out the full spectrum of activities for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Venturers. I formed some lasting friendships. It has been over forty years, but some still meet for an annual get-together. Toronto Buddhist Church I was married in the Toronto Buddhist Church in 1959. My wife was from a Jodo Shinshu family while I was from a Nichirenshu family, so I became a member. Over the past four decades I have been Director, Chairman, and Member of the Management Committee. Currently, I am currently their Advisor. I have also served positions to the Toronto Buddhist Temple Sangha. During the construction of the new temple building, I was largely responsible for the project’s completion on time and under budget. It represented many, many hours of effort from the time of the drawing to the project’s completion, but the result was very rewarding. The above represent the major portion of my community volunteerism, in addition my support of the John Howard Society, United Way, and Canadian Civil. 1 147


Suzuki, Goji George Born: November 1920 Passed: April 2010 Occupation: Contractor; Educator

Suzuki, Goji George: Goji Suzuki was born in Vancouver BC in November 1920 to Sentaro Suzuki and Shika Nemi from Aichiken province, who came to Canada in 1907. And so Goji was a Nisei—2nd generation Japanese Canadian, born to a fisherman’s family of seven children. Of the children, only one had aspirations for higher education. It was Goji who applied to UBC and had attended from September to December of 1940 when war was declared and the Japanese were asked to leave. All Japanese fishing boats were taken from their owners, and all Japanese Canadians were sent into the mountains after being told to lock up their homes, businesses, and belongings and pack one suitcase each. They were to spend the duration of the war there (two years). After the war, they were informed that their homes, businesses, and belongings had been sold for next to nothing. They were given some of that money and ordered to move east or go to Japan to live. It was a great hardship for all the Japanese Canadians, and especially since the government had treated them as criminals and had convinced most other Canadians to treat them as such. Goji was not invited to continue his education at UBC, and it was not until his children were older and he had worked his way up to the level of an independent contractor that he applied to the University of Western Ontario. He obtained his BA, taking classes at night and then onto Althouse Teacher’s College, and after graduating applied to Fanshawe College and was hired to teach Construction and Surveying. He retired in 1980 and later decided to build a house on Vancouver Island, returning to the sea he loved so much. 148


Goji Suzuki, known by his Christian name of George by his students and friends, was a devoted provider and loving father to myself and two sisters and one brother. He firmly believed in believing in oneself and making dreams a reality, learning from your mistakes, and at times the mistakes of others, and giving your best at whatever you do. He was a humble man and drew much satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from teaching and coaching others the skills that he had attained from years of experience, including badminton. My father died in April of 2010. If there is one thing that I would say about him (and in reality, there is much more than that to admire about him), it would be that he made every moment count. If he was not learning and doing something constructive, he was teaching others to do so. I really do not know for sure what he would have thought of receiving this degree, but I do know that the injustices of the war were a part of his identity, and that he would have felt that this honourary degree could not erase those years of unjust treatment and years of struggle to follow. He would have been glad, however that someone has stepped forward to point out the wrongdoing, and that by doing so they have made it a more tangible learning point in our history for other generations to consider. 1

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Tabata, Minoru Born: February 22, 1922 Passed: March 29, 2010 Occupation: Manager

Minoru, Tabata: Minoru Tabata was born February 22, 1922. His education began at the Hastings Grammar School in Vancouver, BC. He went on to Templeton Junior High School and Britannia High School before he enrolled at the University of British Columbia. In 1941, he was registered in year four in Faculty of Applied Science: Chemical Engineering. He was also a member of the COTC, a Canadian Officers Training Corp from which he was dismissed on January 5, 1942, along with all the Nisei students. As the result, he was officially no longer a UBC student. In order to be a UBC student, one had to be a member of the COTC. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, Canada expelled all people of Japanese descent from the 100 mile “Protected Zone,� east of the coast of BC. UBC students were not exempted from this mass expulsion of Japanese Canadians. Minoru was sent to Tashme, a newly created internment camp doing roadwork, from 1942 until 1943. He met his UBC buddies, Koichi Tsujimura and Tom Ozeki when he was moved to another internment camp called Slocan in BC. After the war, he went to Japan and took on a managerial position with several different companies: Toda Gumi in Tokyo, Andrew Weir in Tokyo, and Cargill in Tokyo. When he retired, he went to live in Kamakura, Japan where he died on March 29, 2010. 1 150


Takahashi, Saburo Born: 1919 Passed: 2008 Occupation: Engineer; Journalist

Takahashi, Saburo: Saburo “Sam” Takahashi was born in Ibaraki, Japan, while his mother (Toyo) was visiting her family in 1919. When he was five months old, Toyo brought him home to Victoria, BC where the family (father Kosaburo and siblings Yukio, Masa, and Kenji) were residing, and where they lived until 1942. Saburo helped with the family’s dry cleaning business (Togo Dry Cleaning), which included a shop and a plant that serviced Victoria and the Lower Mainland. In 1936, Saburo enrolled in the general arts program at Victoria College, where he developed a strong appreciation for literature and a foundation that would fuel his passion for reading and thirst for knowledge in later years. After a couple of years at Victoria College, Saburo moved to Vancouver to begin studies in the Mechanical Engineering Program at UBC. As a UBC student, he lived in residence at Union College and led a very active student life. He took up boxing, was a member of the debating team and went on exchange programs with the University of Washington. Saburo was a member of the Class of ’42, but his education was interrupted in April of that year by the Security Commission’s evacuation order. In the event that he was unable to return to Vancouver, he was given notice that he could write his final examination at another Canadian university. After a short stay in Hastings Park, the Takahashi family moved to Toronto while Saburo headed to Edmonton, where he planned on writing his fourth year exams at the University of Alberta. On his journey to Edmonton, Saburo was responsible for driving his father’s car to a family friend who offered to look after it for the duration of the war. While driving through the BC Interior, Saburo was stopped by a drunken RCMP officer and arrested on the spot for carrying a map. 151


He spent a night in jail, but was released the next day when his intentions were cleared. Following the incident, Saburo’s father requested that he immediately join the family in Toronto. He arrived there in late summer 1942. Upon arrival, Saburo had hoped to write his exams at U of T; but as the war continued, the University of Toronto was not welcoming to Japanese students. After many unsuccessful attempts to gain admission, Saburo eventually completed his fourth year engineering studies, graduating from the University of Toronto in 1945. He became a member of the Professional Engineering Association of Ontario in 1946. As a mechanical engineer, Saburo had a passion for aerospace projects and over his career, contributed to the design and development of a variety of military and civilian aircrafts while employed at Avro, Orenda, DeHavilland and Mcdonnell Douglas. He and wife Toshie (Hashimoto) were active volunteers at the Japanese Canadian United Church, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Nikkei Voice (a Japanese Canadian newspaper). They also dedicated many hours into the pioneering of what is now the Momiji HealthCare Society, an organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of Japanese Canadian seniors. As a widower, Saburo lived at the Momiji Centre for thirteen years. He was alone but never lonely, living an active life surrounded, ironically, by friends he knew from British Columbia days. His collection of books and newspaper clippings were his worldly possessions, and he enjoyed engaging conversation with anyone who would listen to his stories of historical trivia or thoughts on current events. In addition to reading, Saburo loved to eat and had a particular soft spot for desserts. Before she passed away, Toshie had taught him how to make flaky pastry, which he mastered into apple pies and butter tarts. Saburo enjoyed entering his pies and tarts in the Markham Fair’s baking contests, and won 1st prize for his apple pie and a few blue ribbons for his butter tarts. He took great pride in his red ribbon victory as his pie was judged best in class out of 16 pie entries made by women! Baking became his new occupation, and he took pleasure in donating his pies to bake sales and offering slices to friends at Momiji or wherever he was invited out. Saburo passed away just before Christmas 2008, two months shy of his ninetieth birthday. 152


Saburo would smile and chuckle whenever he heard Doris Day sing “Que Sera Sera.� It was a tune he could relate to. He accepted what he could not change and, like many of his classmates and friends, developed resilience to the situation that was forced upon him during the evacuation period. While it may have saddened him to see the devastation felt by his parents, he kept his thoughts to himself and never complained—for him, the absence of bitterness opened the door to a happy life. Saburo would have been proud and deeply honoured to receive this recognition from the University of British Columbia. 1

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Takahashi, Yoshito Born: unknown Occupation: unknown

Takahashi, Yoshito: Yoshito was born on December 1, 1921 in Vancouver, BC. He was the son of Gihyoe Takahashi. He and his family lived in Steveston, BC. He graduated from Richmond High School. Yoshito was in fourth year Engineering, and in the Faculty of Applied Science Class – Mechanical Engineering II, when all Japanese Canadian students were sent away from the UBC Vancouver campus in 1942. After being uprooted, he was known to have resided in Canim Lake, BC. 1

154


Takeda, Hiroshi William Born: 1921 Passed: 1979 Occupation: Insurance broker

Takeda, Hiroshi William: Hiroshi William Takeda was born August 1, 1921, in Vancouver. He was the eldest of five children, and grew up with his family in Woodfibre. He enrolled in Science at UBC in 1941, and with the onset of the war in 1942 was sent to an internment camp in the interior of BC. Along with many other Japanese Canadians, Bill later moved east to Ontario. There, he briefly served in the Canadian Army Infantry Corps from July 1945 until his discharge on December 22, 1945. Bill then worked as a labourer on farms in Leamington, Simcoe, and Delhi, before moving to Toronto where he became an insurance agent for Dominion Life. In Toronto, Bill met and married Kiyoko Kay Yamashita in 1947, and they raised a family of four children. Bill subsequently started his own successful insurance agency. He enjoyed fishing, traveling with the Nisei Vets group, and playing golf at Cedarbrae Golf Club with Kay. Active in the Japanese Canadian community in Toronto, Bill served as Treasurer for the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre from 1958-1961 and was one of the original seventy-five guarantors of the 1962 debenture loan to complete the building of the original JCCC on Wynford Drive in 1964. He also served as a Director of the JCCC on and off through the late 60s and 70s. Bill passed away prematurely in 1979 just before his fifty-eigth birthday. 1

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Takimoto, Kimiko Born: unknown Occupation: unknown

Takimoto, Kimiko: UBC records indicate that she graduated in 1942, but was denied the opportunity of attending convocation. 1

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Toguri, Toshitoki Samuel George Born: July 25, 1921 Passed: September 11, 2009 Occupation: Civil Engineer

Toguri, Toshitoki Samuel George: From "Sam Toguri, 88 / Community Leader: Japanese Canadian helped rebuild Montreal community after the war" by Phillip Fine for the Globe and Mail, October 30, 2009. Sam Toguri was that person for Montreal’s Japanese community after the Second World War. Mr. Toguri served as the founding president of the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association’s Quebec chapter to help the community recover from the devastating wartime years of evacuation, internment, and resettlement. When families that had lost so much arrived in Montreal looking for work, a social network and a place to call home, Mr. Toguri’s hand often went up to help. But these were not newcomers; they were Canadians who had been branded enemy aliens by their own government and had lost their property, livelihoods and, during the four years before they would all be resettled, some of their dignity. A long fight for redress, something in which Mr. Toguri was also involved, would continue into the 1980s. 157


Sam Toguri was born in Prince Rupert, BC, to Japanese immigrants. His parents, Tokizo and Tomiye, possessed a strong work ethic and high expectations for their children, who were raised somewhat differently than most other Japanese Canadians. The children were taught such things as how to make their point at the dinner table and how to find edibles in the forest. There was much playing of musical instruments, as their mother experimented with different cuisines. In the spring of 1942, life changed. The family was given twenty-four hours to pack by the BC Security Commission under the federal War Measures Act. They were first shipped off to Hastings Park, a livestock holding pen that had been converted a week earlier to house British Columbians of Japanese origin. The interned would see their homes and businesses sold off, and find themselves banned from settling in their home province. The fruit of a father’s thirty-five years of cutting timber and pipe fitting in sawmills had vanished. Sam, at the time, was a second-year undergrad at the University of British Columbia, one of seventy-six Japanese Canadians at the school forced to halt their studies. The most humiliating moment for him came when he had to give back the uniform that he wore for the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps, a group at UBC of which he had been proud to be a member. The Toguris, six of their children with them (their eldest was studying in Japan), would be later shipped to Slocan, a former ghost town, where collapse-prone tents would eventually be replaced by tarpaper shacks. In the winter, their ice-covered doors would often have to be hit with a hammer to be opened. The interned were permitted to go east and, in the fall of 1942, twenty-one year old Sam joined friends who had settled in Montreal and found construction work. But with most of his family still in Slocan, (his sister Etsu had found work as a domestic in Toronto), life was difficult. When Sam visited the family, he would forgo the practical gifts and make sure he gave his younger siblings toys and costume jewelry. His parents shielded the young children from the difficulties, with his sister Grace McFarlane remembering flower gardening, candy-cane making, and lakes to swim in. The two youngest siblings, Allan and Miki, were born during the internment. 158


When the war ended, Mr. Toguri's family went to Toronto, where the majority of Japanese Canadians were resettling. His father, thirteen years older than his mother and in his late fifties at the time, earned a living as a plumber, carrying his pipes and tools on the streetcar. “He held his head high,” Ms. McFarlane said. Meanwhile, the Japanese in Montreal were greatly helped out by a priest, Claude Labrecque, whose missionary work in Japan gave him a strong connection to their culture. A community center on Sherbrooke Street near immigrant-friendly St. Laurent was donated, where language classes were given to children, meetings conducted and social dances held (that's where Mr. Toguri would meet his wife). If for an event someone suggested ice cream be given out to children, Mr. Toguri would buy it. If wood needed to be purchased for a concert stage in the community center, Mr. Toguri would donate it. Same went for a communion rail in the center's chapel or building advice for the new center the community bought with some of the settlement money given by the Mulroney government. Mr. Toguri, who became a civil engineer in the late 1940s, had a successful career working for a land developer. His two children, who were enrolled in various Japanese cultural activities, knew his credo well: “You have to know where you came from in order to know where you're going.” His later years were spent continuing to give time to his fellow Japanese Canadians, as well as, among other things, traveling twice a year with his kid sister, Miki, to France. Samuel George Toshitoki Toguri was born in Prince Rupert, BC, on July 25, 1921. He died in Montreal on Sept. 11, 2009, from cancer. He was eighty-eight. He leaves his son James and daughter Tokiko, as well as brother Allan, and sisters Etsuko, Makiko, Grace, and Miki. He was predeceased by his wife, Keyoko, and brothers Eizo, Jim, and David. 1

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Tsuji, Rev. Kenryu Takashi Born: 1919 Passed: 2004 Occupation: Buddhist Minister; Film Director and Producer Tsuji, Rev. Kenryu Takashi: Bishop Tsuji (1919-2004) was born in Mission City, BC, and graduated from the University of British Columbia. He attended Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan, as part of his effort to enter the Shin Buddhist ministry. He earned a black belt in judo and received religious ordination from the Nishi Hongwanji sect just before the start of World War II. He was appointed the minister of Hompa Buddhist Temple in Vancouver, BC. However, like all Canadians of Japanese ancestry who lived on the West Coast, in October 1942 he was forced into an internment camp. The twenty-three year old Bishop Tsuji was sent to the camp at Slocan, BC, where he was appointed principal of Bayfarm Elementary School. In 1945, after the camp was closed, Bishop Tsuji was unable to reclaim his father's 35-acre berry farm, so he settled in Toronto. He worked on a mushroom farm, washed dishes and worked in a chemical factory to support himself. As other Japanese Canadians moved to Toronto, Bishop Tsuji and others formed an organization that became Toronto Buddhist Church, the largest Buddhist congregation in Canada. The next year, he formed Hamilton Buddhist Church and later Montreal Buddhist Church. Bishop Tsuji was appointed national director of Buddhist education for Buddhist Churches of America in 1958 and moved to San Francisco. 160


In 1968, Bishop Tsuji was elected the first nisei, or second-generation Japanese North American, bishop of the national Buddhist Churches of America and became president of the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, Calif. He became a film director and producer and created several Buddhist films. He started congregations in Canada and California and, in 1981, at an age when many others would have retired, moved to Virginia and organized the first Shin Buddhist temple in the southeastern United States, Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Springfield. Bishop Tsuji was the first Buddhist to be president of the US affiliate of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, serving from 1983 to 1989. He was a guest at an interfaith breakfast at the White House with President Bill Clinton in 1993. Bishop Tsuji retired in the fall of 1999. He has been named Buddhist Churches of America minister emeritus, and moved to Foster City, California. 1

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Tsujimura, Koichi Born: 1911 Passed: 1991 Occupation: Chemical Engineer; Vice President of sales

Tsujimura, Koichi: Koichi was a fourth-year student at UBC in 1942. He was in the Faculty of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering. He was interned in Kaslo, BC, before going to Toronto. He was sent to Slocan, BC, an internment camp, along with Minoru Tabata. Later, the University of Toronto accepted his credits from UBC, so he was able to graduate there as a chemical engineer. He worked for Strato Flex Canada until he retired. After becoming Vice President of sales, he traveled extensively in Europe and the US. That company was bought out after he retired. Koichi’s wife, Ruth Hirano Tsujimura, could not give further details of his life in Vancouver or his university experience. She said that he was a very quiet man and did not talk about himself very much. They lived in Etobicoke, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. He died in 1991 at age eighty. He was eighth patient to have received a heart valve transplant that was successful. 1

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Uyeda, Yuriko Lily Born: January 28, 1922 Passed: February 12, 1987 Occupation: Associate Minister

Uyeda, Yuriko Lily: Lily Yuriko Uyeda was born in Vancouver, BC on 28 January 1922. Lily was the youngest child of Bunjiro and Kimi Uyeda, both of whom had emigrated from Japan. While a student at UBC, Lily became interested in the work of the Student Christian Movement. In 1943 after the Uyeda family had moved to Montreal, Lily took a secretarial job with the Quebec Religious Education Council. Her time there sparked an interest in working in the church, and she moved to Toronto to attend Emmanuel College and Victoria College at the University of Toronto. Lily graduated as a Deaconess (now Diaconal Minister) of the United Church of Canada, working at Olivet United Church in Hamilton, St. Luke’s in Toronto and Melrose United in Hamilton. She took a year to study at the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York, and in 1977 she became Associate Minister at Knox Church in Brandon, Manitoba, remaining there until she retired in 1982. Lily was a passionate supporter of Amnesty International, and with her soft-spoken determination, fought all her life for justice in peace. Lily had many lifelong friends to whom she was deeply committed, as they were to her to the end of her life. Lily, like her older sister Mariko, was a wonderful role model for her niece and nephews, and a much-loved member of our family. We cannot recall any conversations with Lily about the events of 1942. Lily died of cancer 12 February, 1987. 1 163


Uyeda, Mariko Born: May 3, 1920 Passed: 2006 Occupation: Educator

Uyeda, Mariko: Mariko Uyeda was born in Vancouver, BC on 3 May 1920. Mariko was the middle child of Bunjiro and Kimi Uyeda, both of whom had emigrated from Japan. Mariko attended Lord Byng High School in Vancouver and then went on to UBC. Mariko completed her degree at Queen’s University and went on to become a teacher in Montreal. She began teaching in the Elementary grades and finished her career as Department Head of Business at Verdun High School. Mariko always loved classical music. She studied voice with the renowned Pauline Donalda, and sang with the Montreal Bach Choir for many years. Mariko also helped her niece and nephews with their music lessons as they were growing up in Montreal. She was an inspiring role model for us. Later in life, Mariko married Winston Curry, a movie theater manager in Montreal. They lived in Montreal for several years before moving to Oakville, Ontario. There Mariko spent many happy hours in her back garden. She and Winston traveled extensively, attended concerts in Toronto, and played in Stratford. Mariko was a beautiful, elegant, intelligent woman. She appreciated beauty and accomplishment in the world and was a generous supporter of many arts and culture organizations. 164


Mariko had many friends throughout her life. She loved her friends, and they were intensely loyal to her. About the internment and having her education taken from her, Mariko said very little. She did reveal to us once that the imposed curfew was a terrible humiliation. She never wanted to return to Vancouver, and other than to board a cruise ship, she never did.

Mariko died in 2006. We miss her. 1

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Uyede, Michiyo Alice Born: May 19, 1917 Passed: March 1, 1998 Occupation: Nurse; Entrepreneur

Uyede, Michiyo Alice: Michiyo Alice Uyede was born in Vancouver, BC on May 19, 1917. In 1941, she had received her Vancouver General Hospital Diploma on completion of a three-year course in the theory and practice of nursing, which was required study leading to her six-year BASc. The next year, Mikkie completed her final year of study at UBC. Mikkie remained in Vancouver after the evacuation to complete her nursing degree. In early May, she received permission to attend her graduation exercises at UBC. By December, Mikkie had moved east to Montreal and worked at Children’s Memorial Hospital as a surgical teaching supervisor. In May 1950, she married Henry Kanao Naruse and they moved to Trail, BC. While raising her children, Mikkie was also heavily involved in the community. Of note was her involvement as ethnic group co-coordinator in the annual Folk Festival events. The 1970s were spent transitioning back into the workplace. Refresher courses at BCIT led to a position at the Trail Regional Hospital. The data she collected while working at the hospital became content for her thesis, leading to a Master's Degree in Health Care Planning from UBC in 1981. 166


Soon after, she made a complete career change. She obtained a diploma in Fashion Design and Merchandising in Blanche Macdonald School, and in 1987 she opened a new business in Vancouver, Leg-A-See Fashions.

She spent her remaining days in Trail and died on March 1, 1998. 1

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Uyeno, Dr. Teiso Born: March 31, 1921 Passed: 2016 Occupation: Scientist

Uyeno, Dr. Teiso: Teiso Uyeno was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 31, 1921. His parents were Ritsuichi and Kuye Uyeno, immigrants from Japan. He went to Strathcona Public School and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. When he finished elementary school, he went on to Britannia High School. In the fall of 1940, he started his first year at the University of British Columbia. In September 1942, he was forced to evacuate to a detention camp near New Denver in the BC interior. In the spring of 1943, he was hired by the BC Security Commission, the provincial body managing Japanese Canadian internment, to teach science to interned elementary school students. He also taught physical education classes for boys in grades four to six. In the fall, he was transferred to teach at another internment camp in Kaslo, BC. After teaching enthusiastic pupils, Teiso was inspired to continue his education at the University of Toronto. He became interested in psychology, and after receiving his BA in 1947, he earned his MA in Psychology and Statistics in 1952. With a dissertation titled “The Effects of Heredity and Environment on the Dominance Behaviour of the Albino Rat,� he was granted his PhD in experimental psychology and education in 1958. 168


He was informed by a post-graduate student from Stanford University that Drs. Leon Festinger and Douglas Lawrence of Standford needed a qualified PhD in experimental psychology as a research associate for testing dissonance theory in albino rats. Teiso applied for the position and was accepted. In 1961, he began his employment at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) as a behavioural psycho-pharmacologist. He continued to work there until his retirement in 1994. Teiso is an author or co-author of over one hundred scientific publications. Six National Institutional Health gratis provided funding for approximately sixty of his publicatoins. Today, he is a member of the SRI Alumni Association. 1

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Watanabe, Saburo Born: April 24, 1922 Passed: August 10, 2007 Occupation: Engineer

Watanabe, Saburo: Saburo Watanabe was born April 24, 1922 in Surrey BC to parents Takazo and Nao. Saburo was the 3rd son in a family that had seven sons and three daughters: Toshio, Satoru, Saburo, Takashi, Hiromi, Masami, Sadako, Mamoru, Hisako, and Hiroko. Saburo’s father was a logger who worked throughout the Fraser Valley and eastern Vancouver Island. He was a very hard-working and successful businessman. Saburo attended Britannia high school in East Vancouver and graduated in 1940. After high school, he was studying Engineering at UBC. In 1942, he was notified that he had to leave UBC because he was a Japanese Canadian and considered a risk to become a “spy” for the Japanese Government. Other faculties (Commerce, etc.) were accepting Japanese Canadians because there was no military threat. Saburo was eventually accepted by the University of Manitoba and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1946. He started off working for a large engineering firm and then moved on to work independently as a consulting engineer. He worked with Roland Kilborn, SNC the largest engineering firm in Canada. He was promoted to the position of chief electrical engineer. Saburo stayed with SNC until his retirement in 1975 at age fifty-three. 170


Saburo met his wife Kinue in Montreal July 1979. He moved from Montreal to Richmond, BC later that year. They were married on Nov. 1, 1979 in New Westminster. In 1981, his doctor advised him to begin working again. He worked for PBK Engineering in Vancouver. While at PBK, he did the power systems engineering for BC Place Stadium. In 1983, his daughter Nicole was born and Saburo became a father. And in 1984, his son Marc was born. In 2007, August 10 Saburo passed away peacefully at Rotary Hospice in Richmond at age of eighty-five. 1

171


Yamada, Fujiyoshi Peter Born: 1922 Passed: 1982 Occupation: Businessman

Yamada, Fujiyoshi Peter: Peter Fujiyoshi Yamada was born in Vancouver, BC in 1922. He was the second eldest of five boys. The surviving brother is Joshua Tsunekatsu Yamada who now lives in Dugald, Manitoba. Peter's father, Masanori Yamada, was an officer in the Salvation Army and his Mother, Asao Yamada (Fujiwara), was a homemaker. At UBC in 1941, he received two degrees, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce. Peter was studying to become a lawyer and was accepted to study at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, but never realized his dream due to the implementation of the War Measures Act. Peter's family, like all Japanese–Canadians, were relocated to the town of Iona in the interior of British Columbia and subsequently sent eastward to the town of St. Thomas to work on a sugar beet farm. Peter became embittered and resentful due to the Canadian government's forced internment of Japanese Canadians. He was a proud Canadian, but the government's treatment of Japanese alienated him. Peter later traveled further east to Toronto, where he would pursue a series of careers over the course of his lifetime. He worked for Levy Auto Parts for twelve years, where he successfully established their overseas operations. He had an importing- exporting business and he was also a salesman. During the latter part of his life, Peter taught business subjects at Mohawk College in Hamilton. 172


In his personal life, Peter met and married my mother, Mary Elizabeth Suzuki (now Nishio) in 1946. In 1947 they had their first daughter, Victoria Anne Yamada (now Shefman), followed by a second daughter, Heather Gene Midori Yamada in 1951. Peter passed away from complications of esophageal cancer at the age of sixty in 1982. Unfortunately, Peter never lived to receive the individual compensation provided by the Canadian government to the Japanese Canadians who were incarcerated during World War Two and in addition, he did not receive the formal written apology from Prime Minister Mulroney in 1988. Peter F. Yamada is survived by his youngest brother, Joshua Tsunekatsu Yamada; Peter’s wife, Mary, remarried to Mr. Tom Nishio; his two daughters, Victoria Shefman and Heather Yamada; as well as two grandsons, Joshua Shefman (25) and Zachary Shefman (22). 1

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Yamamoto, Nana Born: July 1, 1920 Passed: 1977 Occupation: Nurse

Yamamoto, Nana: Nana was born on July 1, 1920, in Vancouver. She grew up in Vancouver but unfortunately very little information could be found about her time at UBC other than it was there that she met her future husband, George Tamaki BA' 38. She completed her nursing training in Alberta but returned to BC to be with her family at the Slocan internment camp. After her marriage to George Tamaki in 1945, she lived in Regina from 1945-50 and in Montreal from 1950 until her death in 1977 at the age of fifty-six. She will always be remembered by her children, Paul, Alan and Kathy, other family members and friends for her kindness, optimism, and love of life. 1

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Yamashita, Iwao Thomas Born: June 3, 1921 Passed: September 10, 2005 Occupation: Community Volunteer

Yamashita, Iwao Thomas: Tom was born on June 3, 1921, at Blunden Harbor, BC to parents Isoji and Etsu Yamashita. He went to schools in Vancouver BC Central Public School, King George High School and then enrolled at the University of British Columbia. Tom often spoke to his daughter Jane about being proud of having the opportunity to be enrolled at UBC with the available learning experience. He also expressed the wish to finish and complete his schooling at UBC. In 1941, while at UBC, he enrolled with the university’s Canadian Officers’ Training Corps. A month later, because of the Pearl Harbor attack, all Japanese Canadians in the Corps—a total of forty-nine—were ordered by the university’s senate to turn in their uniforms. Tom’s father, Isoji Yamashita, said to him that the Niseis were stupid not to argue and stand for their rights as Canadians. Then, when Japanese Canadians were forced from their homes (on orders from the BC and Canadian Federal Governments) in 1942, Tom went on his own to Toronto, while his family was sent to the interior of BC to Bay Farm, BC. Tom was denied entry into the College of Optometry in Toronto. Japanese Canadians then were barred from universities. In May 1945, officers of the British Army came to Toronto specifically to recruit a unit of Japanese Canadians to serve overseas because of the Nisei’s language skills. Tom, then twenty-four, and several of his friends decided to join up. Two others, who joined at that time, were Montrealers John Tani and Ken Goto. Although the unit was made up almost entirely of Nisei. Most were not fluent in Japanese, and some could hardly speak it. After basic military training, they spent one year in Vancouver, BC attending the required S-20 Japanese Language School, graduating and qualifying as Japanese Language Interpreters and Translators, and did further training 175


for post-war work. In 1946, Sgt. Tom Yamashita’s unit, Canadian 6th Division, traveled briefly through England, and then India, ending up in Singapore. From there, they separated and were sent to different places. For over a year, Tom worked as a war crimes investigator for the British Army (South East Asia Command) in Penang, an island north of Singapore, and was the only Canadian stationed there. He spent about fours hours every day at the prison, questioning Japanese war criminals who had surrendered when the war ended, and also some Japanese civilians. Many were military police officers, and there were a few Taiwanese interpreters for the Japanese military. During the interrogations, some men refused to answer, but Tom remembers one man who was very friendly—a naval captain fluent in English. The most horrifying incident Tom witnessed was the military hanging of thirteen men. Tom remembers the men talking with a priest before the hanging, requesting where they wanted their ashes to be sent. Tom felt very comfortable among the local people of Penang, and he made several good friends there. In fact, he continued to correspond with them for years. When he was discharged in September 1947, it was with mixed feelings that Tom returned to Canada and settled in Montreal, Canada, where his family relocated. Tom said he would not have minded staying on Penang and that he wished to return for a visit. Tom received eight service memos including those for the Canadian Infantry, the British Army, and the Canadian and British Intelligence Corps. When he was discharged and moved to Montreal, he rejoined his family, parents Isoji and Etsu, sister Elizabeth, brothers George, Bruce, David, and Gordon. Tom worked for Transport Canada and Environment Canada in Dorval until his retirement in 1993. Tom was a quintessential volunteer, quietly and responsibly giving his time throughout the Montreal Japanese Canadian Community. He was also a quiet and private person. He was the Montreal Bulletin treasurer for over twenty years. He was always focused on producing a Bulletin with a disciplined staff, thoughtful in carefully co-coordinating the ever-changing equipment and methodology from yesterday’s simple hand tools and manual equipment to the use of modern up to date equipment. He was always encouraging staff on the proper changes the new techniques required and as a result built a successful operating team. He was a weekly driver for seniors attending the Thursday Drop-In at the Cultural Centre, and the Sunday School treasurer at The Montreal Japanese United Church for more than twenty years. He married Lil (Imai) in June 1959, who now resides in Pierrefonds, QC. His daughter Jane (Pitts) and son-in law Les, and grandsons Thomas and Spencer, reside in Keene, NH, USA. Tom passed away September 10, 2005. Sergeant Tom Iwao Yamashita’s name is inscribed in The Remembrance Wall of Honour in The Rideau Gardens Cemetery, at Dollard Des Ormeaux, QC. 1 176


Yamashita, Shoji George Born: November 6, 1919 Passed: November 12, 2002 Occupation: Accountant

Yamashita, Shoji George: George Shoji Yamashita was born on November 6, 1919 at Blunden Harbour, British Columbia, to Mr. and Mrs. Isoji Yamashita. He grew up in the city of Vancouver, BC and attended the University of British Columbia, pursuing and fulfilling the course of study in the Faculty of Arts and Science. He received the title of Bachelor of Commerce at the spring convocation of 14 May 1942. During the university years at UBC, he spent the free summers working at the pulp mills at Port McNeil, and Ocean Falls BC. After graduation from UBC on May 14, 1942, he left Vancouver to work on a farm in Fingal, Ontario (near Oshawa). Along with the other Nisei graduates from UBC, George described the current employment situation to Professor Morrow: No good choices available, along with the discrimination towards the Japanese Canadians. Hence his reluctant, but necessary, choice of farming: mixed farming of 123 acres along with cows, horses, pigs, and chickens. George pressed on to learn about the farming business on hand, along with the regimen of early rises at 5:30 am and bedtime at around 8pm. Professor E.H. Morrow was the head of UBC’s Commerce department, and he believed in strong ties with business communities. He was the benevolent father to the Nisei students. Professor Morrow kept watch over his boys and advised them to keep in mind to pursue a course that fitted their individual needs. 177


He continued to “look after” the graduates, and forwarded advice to his graduates who now were in the East. With the newsletters, Professor Morrow’s determination and encouragement and advice urged George to seek employment in his chosen profession. After several months of the farm work, George took Professor Morrow’s recommendation and decided to look for an accountant job in Montreal. There were no jobs at first, but shortly thereafter, George was accepted with Margolese and Margolese, Auditors and Accountants. For this, George was very grateful that he was accepted for the white-collar job for which he was trained; a major milestone achieved. George was rejected by the Institute of Chartered Accountant in 1943, but was accepted into the Chartered Accountant program in 1944. He was also happy to be able to vote in the Canadian elections as a Canadian in 1944. Shortly thereafter, George’s family-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Isoji Yamashita, joined him in Montreal, along with sister Elizabeth and brothers Tom, Bruce, David and Gordon. In Montreal, George was involved with the Japanese Canadian community work. He was involved with the Montreal Japanese United Church, and was a Church Elder for many years. He was also a 5th Dan in judo, and was the principal instructor for the Junior division of the Seidokan Judo Academy in Montreal. He married Joanne Sakiye Takashima on 16 October 1948. Joanne and George traveled to Vancouver BC on 10 October 1992, to attend the reunion for the 50th year after interment. George passed away in Montreal on 12 November 2002, and Joanne passed away in Montreal on 3 December 2007. Their ashes are interred in Valleyview Memorial Gardens, Surrey, BC. 1

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Yano, Shuichiro Fred Born: unknown Occupation: unknown

Yano, Shuichiro Fred: While at UBC, Shuichiro Fred was Cdt. Number K577631 in the Canadian Officers’ Training Corp (COTC). In 1942, he was in first year Applied Science and had planned to enroll in Chemistry the next year. When the Pacific war began, he was no longer able to continue his studies at UBC. Along with 22,000 other Japanese Canadians, he was uprooted from his home and sent 100 miles inland from the coast. His last known address is in Groomsport Crescent, Scarborough, Ontario. 1

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image: id card, akiko kagetsu source: courtesy akiko kagetsu

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image: tomitaro nishio and others source: courtesy tomitaro nishio image: setsu katherine shimotakahara source: courtesy setsu katherine shimotakahara


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image: yoichi kato source: courtesy yoichi kato

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image: ubc student card, juko shigeyuki otsuki source: courtesy juko shigeyuki otsuki


Yatabe, Minoru Born: September 15, 1922 Occupation: Engineer

Yatabe, Minoru: I was born of Japanese parentage on September 15, 1922, in the Kitsilano district of Vancouver. At first, we lived on 2nd Avenue and Fir Street area, and later moved to 12th Avenue and Yew Street. I attended Henry Hudson School and then Kitsilano High School. I was a voracious reader and became interested in the sciences, especially chemistry and physics. I also enjoyed languages and took French, Latin and German courses. After I wrote the junior matriculation exams was awarded a one-year bursary scholarship to UBC, I enrolled in engineering commencing with the 1940-41 year. After a successful first year, I worked all summer to earn my next year’s tuition, but I could see I would not make enough. So I decided to stay out at least a year, and work to earn enough for all my remaining years. In September of 1941, I went to Ocean Falls to work on the bull gang at the pulp and paper mill. My plans fell apart when Pearl Harbour was bombed on December 7 that year. I returned home shortly afterward, when my job was terminated. I had always considered myself as being a typical Canadian person. Our neighbours, classmates, and school teachers had all apparently accepted me as such. I was part of the gang of the neighbourhood boys. I fully expected to be called up for military service in time. At no time did I experience overt acts of racism. Hence, it was a terrible blow to be subjected to all the draconian acts by our government against all the people of Japanese parentage. It became increasingly nauseating to see organizations of supposedly high ideals such as the newspapers, UBC and the CCF also succumb to the mass hysteria of that time. 182


By the normal course of events, I would have been sent to a road camp with many other Canadian boys of Japanese parentage. I was fortunate that I was able to go to Ontario instead. My late father had been a gardening contractor, whose largest client was a former Lt-Col who commanded a Canadian battalion in WWI, a battalion that included many Japanese Canadian soldiers. This client asked my oldest brother, who had taken over the contracting company, if we would like to go to Ontario, as he had a good friend with a large farm there. My brother agreed, so this client phoned his friend, who happened to be Premier Mitchell Hepburn. Mr. Hepburn agreed to take a few boys to work on his Bannockburn Farms in St. Thomas. In the spring of 1942, my brother and I arrived in St. Thomas. Several months later, Mr. Hepburn invited the rest of our family to join us. After working on the farm for a year and a half, I left to seek other work in London (Ont). I was hired as a printing ink technician by the branch office of a large printing ink company. After six months I was transferred to the head office in Toronto. Shortly afterward, the company decided to move the ink manufacturing section to Oakville, and asked me to help in the design of the new facility. A new varnish plant, plus a research and product control laboratory was also involved. I was then assigned to work in the laboratory, so I commuted daily from Toronto. All along, ever since my evacuation, I had been thinking that despite the horrible mistreatment by our government, I would serve in Canada’s military service if asked. I recalled the first impact of WWII on me was at high school. When the war started in September of 1939, my Latin teacher said that she was leaving to look after her old parents in Glasgow. To all the boys in her classes, she said she knew that many would be coming overseas in uniform, and if any came to Glasgow please get in touch with her. She then shook hands with every one of us. I felt that voluntary military service would be a political statement, to help show that the Japanese Canadian community is truly a part of the mainstream Canadian nation. In January 1945, after many years of official exclusion from enlistment in the Canadian military forces for any person of Japanese parentage, Canada yielded to outside pressures and agreed to allow enlistment, with several conditions. In March 1945 the doors opened, and many of the boys joined, including myself. I was part of a group that took basic military training at Brantford and then proceeded to S-20 Japanese language training military base in Vancouver. My draft went overseas in January 1946 as sergeants in the Canadian Intelligence Corps. 183


On my first leave in England, I managed to get to Glasgow and meet my old Latin teacher, who was overjoyed to see me. We became attached to the British Intelligence Corps, and served in the South-East Asia Command. We went by air and sea to India and Singapore. I did some security work in Malacca and was then posted to Thailand for six months. Our small field unit checked out the surrendered Japanese 15th Area Army, and then I did counterintelligence work based in Bangkok. We later left Singapore on a troopship back to England for detachment from British Intelligence, and returned to Canada. I was discharged from the army on July 1947. Shortly after my army discharge, I went back to my former workplace and worked for a year. I felt a need to finish my education, so I left the company, and through the Department of Veteran Affairs, I enrolled in the University of Toronto Chemical Engineering Class of 5T2. In my summers, I worked for the Ontario Dept. of Health and for the Sanitary Engineering Dept., which interested me greatly. After my graduation in 1952, I worked briefly for a Kingston company and was then offered a research position in sanitary engineering at Queen’s University, which I took. After three years, I had been preparing to work towards a master’s degree at an American University, when I was asked to join a prominent sanitary engineering consulting firm in Toronto. I decided to work for this company, which designed municipal water treatment plants and municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants all across Canada. I spent thirty-five interesting and fruitful years with this company. In 1952, I had married Lydia Nakamura from Edmonton. We raised a family of a son and two daughters. The son lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. One daughter is in Toronto, and the other daughter is in Quebec City. We have a total of five grandchildren. We did volunteer work for many organizations, including seniors’ groups, the United Church, Boy Scouts, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the S-20, the Nisei Veterans Association, and the Royal Canadian Legion.

We now live in a seniors’ retirement residence. 1

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Yoshioka, Shumpei Edward Born: January 28, 1923 Passed: February 2, 1990 Occupation: Pastor

Yoshioka, Shumpei Edward: Edward Shumpei Yoshioka was born in Vancouver on January 28, 1923, to the Rev. Yoshinosuke and Mrs. Hisa Yoshioka. From the age of six, Ed grew up in Kelowna. Inspired by Canadian Methodist missionaries in Japan, Yoshinosuke Yoshioka had given up the social respectability of a naval or military career to convert to Christianity in 1914, and the Yoshiokas came to Vancouver in 1920 intending to minister to Japanese immigrants there and in Steveston. The family lived in Toronto while Yoshinosuke studied for an MA and BD at Emmanuel College, the United Church seminary. His 1929 BD thesis was “A comparative study of the doctrine of salvation in Christianity and Buddhism from the Japanese point of view.” Ed would eventually follow his father into ministry in the United Church of Canada via studies at Emmanuel. Ed entered the University of British Columbia in 1941. In January 1942, along with other students of Japanese ancestry, he was struck from the ranks of the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps and ordered to turn in his uniform. For him, this was the worst moment, he told the family. When he was forced to leave BC, he was able to transfer to the University of Toronto through the intervention of sympathetic officials within Victoria College, who were determined to protect the college’s rights to control its own admissions against interference by the University of Toronto’s board of governors. 185


An outstanding student, Ed was awarded the Prince of Wales Gold Medal and several scholarships. He earned his BA from the University of Toronto in 1944 and a diploma in theology from Emmanuel College in 1947. Because his home “conference” was BC, his ordination as a United Church minister took place in Vancouver. This was on May 16, 1947. It had been two years after the war’s end, yet his parents still had to obtain written permission from the RCMP to travel from Kelowna to the coast. From 1947 to 1950, “Reverend Ed” served an eight-point territory around London, Ontario, under appointment by the United Church’s Board of Home Missions to minister to Japanese Canadians who had been relocated. He obtained an MA in Semitics (Hebrew) from the University of Toronto in 1950. Ed’s first wife was Jean Preston, the daughter of another United Church minister and herself a graduate of Emmanuel. After serving a congregation in Invermay, Saskatchewan, he studied with Jean at Union Theological Seminary in New York. There in 1955, he wrote a thesis, “The suffering and death of the Son of Man,” earning a BD that was equivalent to an MDiv. Jean died in 1956 after giving birth to Edward Preston Yoshinosuke Yoshioka, in Brockville, Ontario. Ed moved to Elmwood, Ontario, with his young son and recently widowed mother. In 1959, he married the United Church Deaconess Alison Andrews. Andrew Turner Yoshioka was born in 1961, while Ed was a pastor to the Nisei of the Toronto Japanese Church. In 1963, during the couple’s service with missions in Trinidad, Alan Yorke Yoshioka was born. Following the family’s return to Canada, Ed undertook two years of clinical pastoral training at Dalhousie University, as well as several summer courses. In that era, it was common for United Church ministers to move every three or four years, and the family lived in Pictou and Dominion in Nova Scotia, and Coboconk, Oakville, and Kenora in Ontario. His longest stay was in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire, where he worked from 1978 until he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1988, shortly before he was due to retire. Reverend Ed’s dedication and pastoral sensitivity, especially with the sick and the bereaved, earned the respect of congregants everywhere. Though he rarely spoke of “what happened during the war,” it had deeply coloured his outlook on life. He loved Canada, despite his experiences of racism. 186


In his thirteen summertime stints as a reserve chaplain in the Armed Forces, one might see him at least in part as driven to prove himself Canadian enough. Wherever he went, racial or other injustice aroused in him a burning indignation. It was with a sense of vindication that he welcomed the Redress, which was announced during his final illness. The long-awaited apology by the government helped him come to a certain serenity about the wounds of the past. Trusting that the sufferings he had undergone from his illness could have redemptive value, he died in Toronto on February 2, 1990. 1

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1942 Students Present day


yoshihide fred sasaki

akiko kagetsu

tomitaro nishio

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yuriko lillian shimotakahara

shinko mary nagata

shoji george yamashita and others

191


mary kitagawa welcomes geri and dick shiozaki at yvr airport, vancouver (2012)

“I think what you [Mary and Tosh] accomplished ... was an incredible feat. I am so proud and appreciate all the hard work, time, energy, dedication, caring, refusal to back down, leadership, organization, kindness, and good humour which you and Tosh have provided for all those people you worked alongside and of course, the graduates and their families. UBC stepped up because you were tenacious and always there.” – Judy Hanazawa

mary kitagawa welcomes tomitaro nishio at yvr airport, vancouver (2012)

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mary kitagawa welcomes yukio hank okada at yvr airport, vancouver (2012)

“Thank you Mary and Tosh for helping to make the circle whole. Myself and my family are forever grateful for what you have done for all of us.” – Jan Nobuto

mary kitagawa welcomes hiroyoshi jack kobayashi at yvr airport, vancouver (2012)

mary kitagawa welcomes noburo roy oshiro at yvr airport, vancouver (2012)

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richard yutaka matsui

minoru yatabe

lloyd shimotakahara mits sumiya

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fusako ruth nagata hiroshi charles kadota

noboru roy oshiro (left) and others

kiyoshi kato

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teruo ted harada

“We were so pleased to see the community come through in support of the students and to see justice triumph, thanks to you [Mary] and Tosh. It was a unifying event, more so than redress, which unfortunately divided communities, and some of the wounds have yet to heal.� – Masako and Stan Fukawa

yukio hank okada

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teiso uyeno

“Thank you so very much for your tremendous efforts that have led to the ceremony of May 30 at UBC, in which many Japanese Canadians, whose university careers were disrupted by WWII, were granted honourary degrees [...] The resulting granting of degrees have made hundreds of families very happy and have brought to public attention the mistreatment of Japanese Canadians in the war.” – Susan Yatabe

hajime james hasegawa

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index Aoki, Dr. Tetsuo Ted Arai, Kimimichi Douglas Handa, Roy Harada, Teruo Ted Hasegawa, Hajime James Hikida, Dr. Hideaki Robert Hirano, Toshio Ide, Ritsusaburo George Ikata, Mieko Lucy Ikebuchi, Yotaro Norman Inouye, Susumu John Kadota, Hiroshi Charles Kagetsu, Akiko Kagetsu, Hajime Kato, Kiyoshi Kato, Yoichi Kawaguchi, Dr. Shigeru Jack Kawahara, Hideo Kobayashi, Hiroyoshi Jack Kobayashi, Yutaka Kudo, Chiye Alice Matsui, Yutaka Richard Mitsui, Koie Miura, Hideo John Moriyama, Hisatoshi Tosh Nagata, Fusako Ruth Nagata, Shinko Mary Nakashiba, Mitsu George Namba, Akira Nikaido, Geri Takaka Nikaido, Hideo Frank Nishio, Dr. Norizaku Nishio, Tomitaro Tom Nishioka, Dr. George Noguchi, Kiichi George Nose, Hiroshi Roy Obokata, Arthur Ohama, George

20 22 24, 140 26, 196 29, 140, 197 31, 140 32 33 34 35 36 37, 60, 195 39, 180, 190 41 44, 195 47, 181 48 49 51, 193 55 59 62, 108, 194 67 68 61, 71 73, 195 60, 76, 191 79 80 85, 192 88 90 93, 108, 141, 180, 190, 192 95 61, 97, 109 99 101 103, 108


index Okada, Yukio Henry Okumura, Shigeharu Okuno, Shigekazu Matthew Onizuka, Shigeo Frederick Oshiro, Noboru Roy Otsuki, Juko Shigeyuki Sasaki, Yoshihide Frederick Sasaki, Mitsuru Shigei, Hideo Shimotakahara, Setsu Katherine Shimotakahara, H. Lloyd Shimotakahara, Yuriko Lillian Shinobu, Dr. Royhei Roy Shiozaki, Fumiyaki David Shiozaki, Fumiharu Richard Shoji, Norihiko Henry Sumiya, Michiyoshi Mits Suzuki, Goji George Tabata, Minoru Takahashi, Saburo Takahashi, Yoshito Takeda, Hiroshi William Takimoto, Kimiko Toguri, Toshitoki Samuel George Tsuji, Rev. Kenryu Takashi Tsujimura, Koichi J. Uyeda, Yuriko Lily Uyeda, Mariko Uyede, Michiyo Uyeno, Teiso Watanabe, Saburo Yamada, Fujiyoshi Peter Yamamoto, Nana Yamashita, Iwao Thomas Yamashita, Shoji George Yano, Shuichiro Fred Yatabe, Minoru Yoshioka, Shumpei Edward

105, 193, 196 106 110 113 108, 116, 193, 195 117, 181 119, 190 125 127 128, 180 130, 141, 194 132, 191 134 135 137, 192 142 144, 194 148 150 151 154 155 156 157 160 162 163 164 166 168, 197 170 172 174 175 178, 191 179 182, 194 185


Honouring the Japanese Canadian UBC students of 1942