Genzaburo Nakamura to Office of the Custodian, Dept. Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 11 March 1947

Genzaburo Nakamura to Office of the Custodian, Dept. Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 11 March 1947

Copy for Mr. Shears
c/o Mr. J Cools Okanagan Centre, B.C. March 11, 1947
Dept. of the Secretary of State of Canada,
Vancouver, B.C. Dear Sir:-
I am writing this letter to you in the firm belief that with the following statements and facts you will do your utmost to clear up the matters which continual correspondence with your office and myself over a period of four year has not completely cleared up. (Please refer to your file nos. 5160, 10645, 3025 and 10653).
My house on 347 East Cordova was sold for $1300 by the Custodian of Enemy Property, of which I received balance sheet for $497.47 in cheque and $500 in Victory Bonds. This house was sold without my consent or knowledge on February 11, 1944, receiving notice March 27/44.
I purchased this house in April 1940 for $1400 in very poor condition. However, with repairs and alterations costing $400 including bathroom and kitchen remodelling, it was made habitable. But in June 1942, being forced to evacuate, we left behind furnishings consisting of blinds, curtains, and linoleums valued at $150 in the house.
Taking all these things into consideration and in view of the fact of the housing shortage existing in 1944, this house could have easily brought $2300 had I wished to sell.
Immediately following receipt of notice of sale I wrote in to your office concerning the following articles which were stored in the house and requesting same to be forwarded to me at New Denver--
two trunks containing clothing,
two Japanese tea boxes containing clothing,
one electric "Singer" sewing machine,
one box of gramophone records.
These goods were my property and left behind because of the baggage limit imposed on us at the time of evacuating.
On April 15, 1944, I received an answer from Mr. Green of your department requesting me to fill out standard custodian release forms for the goods, which I did.
On December 18, 1945, I received a copy of the auction sheet compiled and sent by your office. However, not being as yet in possession of the crated goods mentioned above, and failing also to notice or recognize any of the articles listed in the auction sheet as my own, I presumed they were still in Custodian hands, possibly in storage.
In the spring of 1946 I received a letter from Mr. Spain of your office informing me that all clothing in the trunks and boxes were donated to the Benevolent Society, but failed to state what happened to the sewing machine records, and the emptied trunks and boxes. He stated though that because of my failure to list each and every item with the Custodian it was not possible to delineate the goods.
However, records show that I was sent to road camp on March 10, 1942. On arriving there I sent a letter to my mother, (Riye Nakamura) at 347 E. Cordova, instructing her to take charge of the remaining affairs there. Mother and my daughter were sent to Sadon on June 30, under baggage restrictions taking only 150lbs., leaving the rest behind in charge of the Custodian informing the office goods valued at $800 were stored in the house under lock and key. My wife, meanwhile, was a patient at St. Joseph's hopsital until removed to New Denver later.
On August 6, 1942, I was released from road camp and moved to Sandon. On August 15, 1942, my younger brother, Ginpachi, died at Hastings Park Hospital and to make funeral arrangements my mother and I left for Vancouver at our own expense.
While in Vancouver I enquired at the Parks Superintendent Office about the goods left at my house at 347 E. Cordova. He told me there were no items listed under my name-- all being listed as my mother's; which is quite logical since I had transferred all my belongings to her as per letter to her sent from road camp. However, whether they were mine or mother's made no difference, they were still our property owing to the fact that my mother, being aged and infirm of body, was my dependent. She still is my dependent and has been my dependent for the last twenty years. And while we are all living together (my wife is also with me again) and starting life anew, so to speak, I shall be quite relieved if you will give this your atmost consideration and clear this matter once and for all.
If any of the articles mentioned are still retained in your custody or are all disposed of, please forward them (or revenue derived thereof) to me at the address at the head of this letter.
Trusting you will give this your prompt attention, I remain.
Yours truly,
(Signed) G Nakamura
endorsed R. Nakamura.



Genzaburo Nakamura to Office of the Custodian, Dept. Department of the Secretary of State of Canada, 11 March 1947


Encoder: Josie Gray
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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.