Ken Shimyzu and Sachiko Conway, interviewed by Erin Yaremko, 26 February 2016

Ken Shimyzu and Sachiko Conway, interviewed by Erin Yaremko, 26 February 2016

Abstract
Interviewer Erin Yaremko interviews married couple Ken and Sachiko briefly on their individual life stories. Sachiko tells of her young life in Japan, as she was born and raised on the mainland until the age of 18. She gives small details to her father’s career and work for the government during the war, and ends with her story of immigration to Canada within the 1950s. Ken and Sachiko are heard to speak back and forth in English and Japanese, as Sachiko is regularly seen to remind Ken of the right answer (we later are told he has slight dementia). Ken tells us only the important details outlining his life story beginning with his journey to Japan at a young age. He is seen to repeat different areas of his life story throughout the recording, as he continues to try to remember.
00:00:00.000
Erin Yaremko (EY)
My name is Erin Yaremko and it is February 26th and I am here with Ken Shimyzu and Sachiko Conway in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We are recording for Landscapes of Injustice. Sachiko can you tell me a bit about your childhood?
Katherine Conway-Jones (KC)
My childhood. Yeah I amid the war too, and started work when I was eight year old, then twelve year old they surrendered to America eh? So we lose the war. Then I went to high school, graduate then I met my husband that is English man. I married to him to come to Canada, then I was eighteen year old I asked to husband (divorce?). Then three years later I met the Kim Shimyzu, was so sweet together. So I have six to give children, so that we no change name because my first husband had a pension so that's why I stayed with my first husband name. We've been together 41 years now. Yeah that's my story. Then war time I should tell everyone that I born Hiroshima too hey, I saw that Hiroshima bomb. I no hit the bomb, but we see ol everything. Small noise, shining, then all my neighbor people working for Hiroshima city they hurt. I saw all the people burning too hey. Then my friend she bombed in Hiroshima too but she was real hit from the bomb. So she lost a finger and all her face is damaged but they take 25 agoto to bring America to their fix it burn part. Then she became hairdresser, she got only three hand (fingers) but she's a good hairdresser, she made some Japanese from Winnipeg. The molly, but her husband passed away she went home now to Japan. So she be living now in Honees. Then they put her in an old folks home, she real enjoy it I hear. So that's all about my story ha ha. Yeah she's a nice lady and .....
EY
What about your parents?
KC
Oh my parents okay, but uh both of them past away. I got now two sister in Japan, my age is quite a difference. A 12 year old younger and a 14 year younger than me, two of them living there very well.
EY
So are they still living in Hiroshima?
KC
Yes in Mikurai, yup.
EY
What did your parents do during the war?
KC
Oh he working for the government, then my mother not working she's a house wife. Yes. Yeah, my father actually actually, drawing all the air planes. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
Yeah the airplanes. So he no stay in my place, he working for government of Tokyo.
Keo Shimzyu (KS)
He designed 0-7. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
I don't know that thing it is called. Archi.....
KS
Archi
EY
Architect
KC
Architect, yes yes.
KS
For me I was born in Canada. Ha ha ha yup, born in Canada. So when I was six years old they told us to go on a holiday in Hawaii. But the ship didn't go to Hawaii it went straight to Japan. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
00:04:54.000
00:04:54.000
KS
So when I got to Japan I was you know I had a good time you know on the ship and in the first class and everything. Nice holidays, when we get to Japan they told us somebody was going to pick us up but I didn't know I was going to stay in Japan I was going on a nice holiday on a ship and when got to Japan there was nobody there to pick us up. So they send a letter but letter went after when we went to Japan so I stayed overnight on the ship but they finally they found out who my grandparents are so they came to pick to see what happened. They didn't know we were coming. The letter came after like that day. So so we are there so they took us you know it was a August it was hot and I didn't and I have to go back to school. I was going to the public school here grade one already but I told them “I have to go back to school”, but we stay in Japan. How many years? 18 years I think. I got stuck in Japan. That the time it was war, so one day the navy cadet navy cadet told us “if you join we have lots to eat”, because in Japan there was no food here, especially I was with my grandparents. So I joined the Navy air force and I got trained there for ten months to fly 0 and I was in the war. Yeah. Then after the war my parents send us to come back here. That's the way it stands, I'm here. So I went to war but you know get hurt, my legs and everything, it still hurts. But I don't get anything from Japan. I was made in Canada that's why.
KC
He came back to Canada, but he went to MIT schoo... you know went to school Red River now, went to school for cook.
KS
cooking yeah. So I worked for the government, sanitarium board they used to have me for. You know the sanitarium? That was a big thing, 300 patients was in INET those days now it's no more, nothing back there. They got some creation stuff there now.
KC
Then after you worked for a school...
KS
I'm not sure I haven't been back there.
KC
Then you worked for a school. College.
KS
Hmm? Yeah.
KC
The school college, cooking for.
KS
The way I started cooking was...
KC
School teacher college.
KS
Yeah
KC
He worked.
KS
Cooking school yeah, it was on portage in those days.
KC
That's for Red River.
KS
No not Red River
KC
MTI used to be, then changed
KS
MTI it used to be because the college. Long time ago yeah.
KC
Now Red River. Then after school when he worked for the school teacher college. Now they have a different dam school, now they changed it to... Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
Can't remember the name, different school now. Nothing people, hutterite school now, you know by tuxedo...
EY
Oh! CMU.
KC
Yeah yeah.
EY
Canadian Mennonite University.
00:10:04.000
00:10:04.000
KC
Yes that's it now. Before they had a different dam school then before they have a school teacher college used to be. Yeah.
EY
Do you remember your parents and what they did while they were living in Canada?
KS
Hmm. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
They went to camp, they put all the people in Hashmee or something.
KS
During war time they got Tashmee camp you know, internment camp they went to my father, my brother went there too I think. My one brother and sister was in Canada was in Canada, they never went to Japan. I had one brother that went to Japan with me. So, I didn't live with parents for too long, six years. My grandparents they brought us up and after the war I came back to Canada and they were here see. Yeah but it's a different, way too long. It's parents doesn't look like parents, ha ha ha.
EY
Do you remember what your father did for work?
KS
Huh? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
Brother?
KC
No father
EY
Father.
KS
Father, the Japanese couldn't get a job when I was a kid so they used to work on a camp like cutting trees in those days, all those days.
EY
Like a lumberjack?
KC
Yeah yeah yeah.
KS
My father, that's all I know. Yeah. When they after the war then they came here right, after the war they came to Manitoba. And he was working foundry, at this foundry. After the war they came to Winnipeg I think. But I was in Japan, so. But I was in Japan and got stuck in the war and the navy navy airforce, I joined. They took care of me. I have to eat so I joined it after. So I was a navy pilot, 0 standing.
KC
So your mother working for sewing factory after war, in Winnipeg yeah.
KS
Sewing factory yeah.
KC
And she started there.
KS
Yeah mother and sister were working sewing factory I think.
KC
We don't know company name.
KS
My father worked in a foundry I think.
KC
Anty, yeah.
KS
Foundry yeah. My mother and sister got killed on Langside, did you know that? No.
KC
26 corner June, month of June 26 years ago.
EY
June 26?
KC
26 year ago.
KS
You would think I'd stay in the reserves ha ha ha, well.
EY
So where in Canada did your parents live before WWII?
KC
BC no? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
Langside Street
KC
No no! Before the war.
KS
Before the war they lived in Tashmee in BC, Tashmee. They are farming I think there. Tashmee, BC. Yeah.
EY
Did they own a farm?
KS
Yeah they owned the farm. Yeah but they took everything away right? Yeah. I think they got some money after the war, I'm not sure. Did you know they got money? I didn't know. They didn't tell us.
EY
So did they move did your family move back to British Columbia after the war or did they all stay in Winnipeg?
KS
No I think they all stayed.
00:15:16.000
00:15:16.000
KS
They stay here. I think they worked on a farm first.
KC
I dunno because...
KS
I'm not sure though. My father was working in a foundry.
EY
In Manitoba?
KS
Yeah, Manitoba.
EY
Do you remember them mentioning sugar beet farming?
KC
I dunno. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
Yeah first I think they worked on sugar beets then after you know they could move into Winnipeg then start working foundry. Antysor foundry, Antysor foundry there.
KC
Antysor. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
And my sister and mother they got killed here on Langside. Remember? You don't remember.
EY
26 years ago?
KC
Yes
KS
Yes.
KC
Gonna be this upcoming June.
EY
And how long did they live on Langside? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
Oh Langside I don't know, I was in Japan then.
EY
So when did you come back to Manitoba?
KS
1954.
EY
At that time did you also come Sachiko?
KC
'55, I married my husband, 1955. See '60 I haven't learned speak English yet. Haha
EY
So you came with your other past husband?
KC
Mhmm, war bride. They I took everything across here.
EY
So you used the term war bride...
KC
Yeah but I was real young yet, had just finished my high school hey. Married to my husband to come here.
EY
So were you 16? 17?
KC
No no, 18, 18. Just finished high school. Real trouble. My parents they mad at me anyway.
EY
So what did your parents do in Japan? You mentioned your parents, can you speak a little more about that.
KC
Yes. He worked, before wartime he the government.
EY
You mentioned architecture.
KC
Yeah, after the war he worked for the company making the refrigerator. That's why he's an engineer.
EY
So was he an engineer before the war for the government?
KC
No no he's an architect before. He drawing airplane. After war he working for somebody's factory to make refrigerator. Kamuko refrigerate I think.
EY
Did your parents have siblings?
KC
Sibling?
EY
Brothers or sisters? Sachiko Yes. But they all died now too I think, yeah.
EY
Were they all involved in the war?
KC
Oh yeah, everybody. But my father's side not, because they were leaving the country. But my mother's side Desagowas, every night bombing, airplane come drop bombing you know. Yeah.
EY
You mentioned your father's side leaving the country, where were they going?
KC
No my father still stay in my place.
EY
But his family you said... so were his siblings leaving or were they leaving Japan?
KC
My parents?
EY
Their siblings.
KC
Yeah, like on little island they were living. My parents lived Japan, on the main land.
KS
On the main land.
00:20:12.000
00:20:12.000
EY
Oh ok. But the siblings were on the island?
KC
Yeah
KS
They have lots of island in Situkanai there.
KC
In there, there are little islands. They make tangerine, that's where they are living there.
EY
So where did you go to school in Japan?
KS
Public schools, I was eight already but had to start from grade one again. That's why I took grade one three times. Ha ha ha, and end up nothing. Same thing.
EY
you mentioned you were born in 1923 in Canada?
KS
hey? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
huh?
KC
1927? Erin 1927 yes.
KC
I dunno.
KS
1927 yeah.
EY
And were you born in Tashmee?
KC
Tashmee, you born Tashmee?
KS
Born? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KS
Yeah Vancouver, I was born in Vancouver no Tashmee. Tashmee the place I born in yeah. Oh I don't remember. Went to school there for grade one. Then sent us to Japan for holiday.
EY
Do you remember your parent's home in Tashmee?
KS
I dun
EY
The house?
KC
The house.
KS
House, oh yeah. No they had a store. House behind, but they had a store they selling all pencils and yeah. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
He's talking about the Japan parents.
EY
Your grandparents?
KS
Oh my parents were farmers.
KC
In the Canada, but his grandparents in Japan they were all the pha school stuff?
EY
Pharmaceutical?
KC
No, school stuff. Pencil, paper you know?
EY
School stuff?
KC
Right.
EY
So your grandparents in Japan had a store and the home was behind it and your parents in British Columbia they had a farm in Tashmee?
KS
Yeah.
EY
Okay.
KS
Ha ha.
EY
Do you remember the family farm in Tashmee?
KS
No I don't remember. I was running around all day on the farm I think, they used to pick strawberry I know that but ha ha yeah I don't know how old they were or nothing. They used to you know japan had strawberry and raspberry in those days the Japanese they mostly had a farm in Japan but they couldn't get a job in those days in Japan. I heard after that's why they sent us to Japan, to get education. But I didn't get no education. Get war.
EY
So where in Japan did you live?
KS
Center part of Japan, close to Tokyo. Northern part of Tokyo. Yeah.
KC
Maebashi.
KS
Maebashi.
KC
They from Maebashi.
KS
Yeah. Japan yeah.
00:24:30.000
00:24:30.000
KS
Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
Maebashi a province. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
That's a province, Maebashi, yeah.
KS
Maebashi a city, Maebashi a city. We got dressed up in Japan and get stuck in Japan looking like this. Ken points to image of him and his little brother as children in Japan
EY
So is that your younger brother?
KC
Yeah, passed away months ago.
KS
And so was something new living in Canada, thinking our parents were coming. That's why we got the picture.
EY
So you mentioned you were six years old here? Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
No I think this is newspaper writing. Nine or eight old. So exactly nine year old or eight year old?
KS
Eight. Seven or eight year old.
KC
Seven or eight.
KS
So I was a year older, going back to school again here yeah. Went to school in Canada first then Japan grade one again. Sachiko and Ken speak Japanese to each other
KC
I wonder if Ms. Sato is here?
KS
She here?
KC
Yes she waiting still.
KS
Is okay.
EY
So what do you remember of your brother who is pictured here? What is his name? Erin points to image of Ken and his little brother
KS
Toshi Art.
KC
Toshi.
KS
Art Arthur.
KC
English name.
KS
Shimizu last name, Arthur. He just passed away, month ago.
KC
Month ago.
KS
went to same time Japan but you know didn't fit well, whole life we didn't grow up together. He's a quiet side, I am rough side that's why.
KC
He went to Japan for Hikawaroma. That's the border now retired near Tokyo Hirokama restaurant, hotel that was bought. Only one border in Canada and Japan they named Hikawaroma. Border name.
KS
Yeah this is about, shows interviewee article when Yokohama was a ship and this was a month later. They send us to school.
EY
Do you remember your siblings that were in Canada?
KS
Yeah yeah. Oh you want to hear? I was born in 1927, and for eight years I went to Japan stayed through the war. That's why they dropped me in the air force. They wanted to kill me there easy, see they think I'm spy or something. Both ways I look like heck here, so joined Navy air force. I get hurt my legs but I don't get no compenation, see I'm burned in the ears that's why. That's the way it works. I was born here that's why I couldn't get no compensation. Nothing, yeah. So after the war my folks was here so they sent us money and get us back. But I didn't and it doesn't feel like folks. Part too long. I didn't stay with them. I stayed with them four months and I got out. Couldn't speak too much English but I got out. It's not like you're family you know. My sister was born and grew up with them but like me...
KC
She's a wait. Re-enters room quickly
KS
Huh?
KC
She gonna wait for us.
KS
Ah.
KC
Sorry.
KS
Yeah it's a story but born like this. Had my obstacles too yeah. Now I gotta wife, now I gotta boss. Ha ha ha.
KC
Real boss. Yeah.. Did it help the story? This?
EY
No it did, thank you for coming today.
00:31:03.000

Metadata

Title

Ken Shimyzu and Sachiko Conway, interviewed by Erin Yaremko, 26 February 2016

Abstract

Interviewer Erin Yaremko interviews married couple Ken and Sachiko briefly on their individual life stories. Sachiko tells of her young life in Japan, as she was born and raised on the mainland until the age of 18. She gives small details to her father’s career and work for the government during the war, and ends with her story of immigration to Canada within the 1950s. Ken and Sachiko are heard to speak back and forth in English and Japanese, as Sachiko is regularly seen to remind Ken of the right answer (we later are told he has slight dementia). Ken tells us only the important details outlining his life story beginning with his journey to Japan at a young age. He is seen to repeat different areas of his life story throughout the recording, as he continues to try to remember.

Credits

Interviewer: Erin Yaremko
Interviewee: Ken Shimyzu
Interviewee: Sachiko Conway
XML Encoder: Stewart Arneil
Publication Information: See Terms of Use for publication and licensing information.
Setting: Manitoba Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Keywords: Japanese; Canadian; Ancestry; Japan ; train; boat; travel; government; grandparents; parents; forgotten; 1880-2015

Terminology

Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.