Birth date: March 1st, 1958
Hometown: Mio, Mihama-cho, Hidaka, Wakayama
Filming date: November 9th, 2019
The location of filming: Canada Museum
Hifumi’s grandfather Chonosuke Yoshida and his nephew Mamoru Yoshida had emigrated to Canada. On December 7th, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and war was declared on Japan all persons of Japanese racial origin were regarded as “Enemy Aliens”. Their possessions were impounded and they were interned to camps in Canada and the United States. This was for all people of Japanese origin no matter what their citizenship. In the interview, Hifumi talked about the story about the internment life that Chonosuke and Mamoru had experienced.
People migrated to Canada
・Chonosuke Yoshida (Hifumi’s grandfather) ・Fukutaro Yoshida (Chonosuke’s brother)
・Hisae (Fukutaro's wife) ・Mamoru Yoshida (Chonosuke's nephew)
・Kikuno (Tameo's mother) ・Tamejiro Noda (Tameo's father)
・Tameo Noda (Tamejiro's son)
Unjust treatment against Nikkei regarded as Enemy Aliens
On February, 1942, Canadian government forced all persons of Japanese racial origin to displace from a 160-kilometre exclusion zone, and more than 21,000 Nikkeis were moved in the period between March and November 1942. People in the Japanese Canadian community forced dispersal from British Columbia to Ontario. Possessions considered to be potentially used for sabotage such as water vessels, cars, radios and camera were impounded, and the Japanese run newspaper that operated in Canada was abolished. The Japanese community's commercial facilities and schools were also closed. The Nikkeis lost their jobs and means to make a living. (1)
In response to the process of forced dispersal and internment, some Nikkeis had decided to show their disapproval of separation from their families. On March 23rd, 1942, a group of 13 Niseis and a naturalized Issei held a meeting in the Japanese town of Vancouver and formed a group called the “Nisei Mass Evacuation Group” on March 31st. The group protested the family separation insisting on moving and staying together with their own family. The Nisei Mass Evacuation Group submitted a report to the British Columbia Safety Committee that stated they could not obey the order as Canadian citizens and that Nikkei men only had to move apart from their families. However, the British Columbia Safety Committee rejected their request and announced that every Nikkei who protested the uprooting or the separation of families would be sent to the prisoner of war camp in Ontario. Because of this, about 470 Nikkeis were sent to the prisoner of war camp in Petawawa and Angler, Ontario for the period between April and July, 1942.(2)
In the list of names of Nikkei detainees at the Angler POW camp, the name of Chonosuke was recorded.(3)(4) In the Japanese family registry, his name was “Chonosuke”, but he was known as “Inosuke” because there used to be a common local custom that people gave their children a second name in hopes of bringing them up health. So his name was recorded as “Inosuke Yoshida” on the list.
The living at the Angler POW camp
According to the blog “ANGLER PRISONERS OF WAR (Chapter 5 of 7)" ,(5)
Uniforms: “The pants had a red stripe down both legs, and on the back of the uniforms was a twelve-inch red circle. The circle was actually a target for the guards to shoot at should they try to escape!”
Labour Outdoors: The conditions were mostly unpleasant, ranging from brutally cold winters to fly-ridden summers. The temperature dropped below minus sixty degrees, but we still had to take turns working! Everyone refusing to work outside the camp will be ordered to cut wood every day. The most despised job was unloading coal from the train.
Lack of Food: Most meals only consist of potatoes and two slices of bread. People were stretching one day’s rations over two, sometimes three days when the train carrying our food supply was stuck once again due to heavy snowfalls.
Medical Care: Too many internees are suffering from frost-bite. There was also an unusually high number of cases involving appendicitis, gastro-intestinal disorders, and the flu. Some hospital improvements had been made, but the camp were lacking basic equipment such as hot water bottles.
Amenities: It was decided the internees will be supplied with the necessities of life, soap, razors, toothbrushes, and towels. Worn items will be exchanged for new ones.
News Censorship: The newspapers issued to the internees have all the war stories cut out, and radios were forbidden.
An English article about the Angler POW camp in Discover Nikkei: Life in the Canadian Internment and POW Camps
Tameo Noda was Mamoru Yoshida’s mother’s cousin and Takae Mio ( manager of Canada Museum in Mio, Wakayama) husband’s relative and he was a key member of “Vancouver Asahi” Baseball Team. He was born in Mio on July 20th, 1915. When he was a second-grade student in junior high school he migrated to Canada with his family and did well as a member of the Vancouver Asahi. He came back to Japan in 1936 and enlisted in the Japanese Imperial Army. In the following year, when Sino-Japanese War broke out in July, he joined the war as a shooter sniper. On April 16th, 1938, he was shot and died in the war.(6) His grave is found at Hozenji-Temple in Mio, Wakayama.(7)
Vancouver Asahi (1914-1941)
Vancouver Asahi was formed mainly by Nikkei Niseis in Vancouver's Japanese community. They established their unique style of playing baseball making use of sacrificing hits and bunts, base-stealing and fielding. Even though opponents played rough, they maintained their sporting attitude and became respected stars of hope of Nikkeis’ society. The team did suffer from discrimination. When World War II broke out in the Pacific by 1942, Nikkeis were regarded as “enemy aliens” and the members of the Vancouver Asahi were disbanded. In 2003, the Vancouver Asahi team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2005 the team was honoured with its induction into British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. (1)(8)
In 2014, a Japanese movie “The Asahi of Vancouver” was released in Japan, and New Vancouver Asahi has formed on site again at the same time. Not sure about this bold part.
Source: Google Map
On September 22nd, 1988, the Canadian government officially apologize for the treatment of Nikkeis was unjust. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced that Canadian government would pay compensation for Nikkeis for individuals compensation 21,000 dollars. For the Japanese Canadian community and Canadian Race Relations Foundation they received 12 million dollars for each and an official apology for both groups.(10)(11)(12)
（１）（2012）．“Taiken : Japanese Canadians Since 1877” , the Nikkei National Museum Center
（2） 和泉真澄（Masumi Izumi）（2020）. 『日系カナダ人の移動と運動 知られざる日本人の越境生活史』（『Nikkeikanadajin-no-ido-to-undo shirarezarunihonjin-no-ekkyoseikatsushi』）, 小鳥遊書房（Takanashishobo）,ｐ103
（３）Robert K.Okazaki（1996）.”The Nisei Mass Evacuation Group and P.O.W. Camp 101:the Japanese-Canadian Community’s struggle for justice and human rights during World War Ⅱ, Markham Litho
（４）末永國紀（Kunitoshi Suenaga）（2020）. 『日系カナダ移民の社会史—太平洋を渡った近江商人の末裔たち—』（『Nikkeikanadaimin-no-shakaishi—Taiheiyowowatatta-omishonin-no-matsueitachi—』）, ミネルヴァ書房（Minerubuashobo）,ｐ259
（５）E.Jlavoie（2017）.“ANGLER & PRISONERS OF WAR (Chapter 5 of 7)”
（６）岡本淨（Kiyoshi Okamato）（2020）. 『わたくしの故郷なつかしき三尾』（『Watakushi-no-kokyo-natsukashiki-mio』）,p46,p142-143
“Asahi-Virtual Museum of Canada”
（1０）「ブライアン・マルルーニ元カナダ首相に対する旭日大綬章叙勲伝達式」（「Brian Mulroney moto-kanadashusho-ni-taisuru-kyokujitsudaijushodentatsushiki」）, 『在カナダ大使館』（『Zaikanadataishikan』）
（1２）庭山雄吉（Yukichi Niwayama）（2004）. 「日系カナダ人によるリドレス運動:全カナダ日系人協会[NAJC]とカナダ政府との交渉過程分析」
（「Nikkeikanadajinniyoru-ridoresuundo:Zenkanadanikkeijinkyoukai [NAJC]to-kanadaseifu-tono-kousyokateibunseki」）,The Journal of American and Canadian Studies 21:65-82