Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/series/kazuko-makihara/

A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Kazuko Makihara


Oct. 25, 2019 - Nov. 22, 2019

This series presents the life history of Kazuko Makihara, a second-generation Japanese Canadian who was born and raised near Vancouver to fishermen immigrants from Hiroshima. It narrates her memories of her childhood until the beginning of World War II, the subsequent forced uprooting of her family from their home and dispossession of all their property, their incarceration in an internment camp, and their exile to Japan at the end of the war. Next it describes her life in postwar Japan, her eventual return to Vancouver, her successful struggle against the odds to rebuild a life and career in Canada, and her various volunteer and recreational activities during her retirement.

* This series is an abridged version of a paper titled, “A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Kazuko Makihara”, first published in The Journal of the Institute for Language and Culture (Konan University), March 15, 2019, pp. 3-20.


Canada immigration Japanese Canadians postwar volunteerism World War II

Stories from this series

Thumbnail for Part 5: Life and Retirement with Takeshi in Canada
en
ja
es
pt
Part 5: Life and Retirement with Takeshi in Canada

Nov. 22, 2019 • Stan Kirk

As a young man in Onomichi, Kazuko’s husband Takeshi got experience writing for a religious sect called Nanmyo Horen Gekkyou, which helped him become a very skilled writer in Japanese. Soon after moving to Canada his writing talent was discovered by his friend Gordon Kadota who was the founder of the Geppo (a monthly magazine of the Vancouver Japanese Canadian community called The Bulletin in English). For many years Takeshi wrote the Japanese section of the Geppo every month as …

Thumbnail for Part 4: Return to Canada and Building a New Life in Vancouver
en
ja
es
pt
Part 4: Return to Canada and Building a New Life in Vancouver

Nov. 15, 2019 • Stan Kirk

Both Kazuko and Takeshi continued working in Kobe and financially supporting the education of Kazuko’s younger brother and sister till they finished high school. After graduating, Kazuko’s younger brother and sister returned to Canada around 1955. First the younger brother worked for a lumber company and then for Nelson Chocolate in Vancouver. The sister did housework. Eventually, Takeshi lost his job in Kobe. In 1958, Kazuko’s younger brother and sister invited Kazuko and Takeshi to join them in Canada. Takeshi …

Thumbnail for Part 3: Exile and Life in Post-War Japan
en
ja
es
pt
Part 3: Exile and Life in Post-War Japan

Nov. 8, 2019 • Stan Kirk

Kazuko was thirteen years old when her family was exiled to Japan. Her parents made the difficult choice of exile to Japan because their kids were still small and her father felt a strong responsibility to take care of his adoptive mother who was still alive and living in Onomichi. His adoptive parents had moved back to Onomichi before the war, had bought a house and ran a small restaurant there. His adoptive father had died during the war, and …

Thumbnail for Part 2: Uprooting, Dispossession, and Incarceration
en
ja
es
pt
Part 2: Uprooting, Dispossession, and Incarceration

Nov. 1, 2019 • Stan Kirk

Shortly after the beginning of the war with Japan, the Canadian government ordered all Japanese Canadians living within 150 kilometers of the coast to “evacuate.” Kazuko’s family were given only twenty-four hours to leave their home. She remembers her mother telling her to quickly pack her own clothes. The police were at the door waiting for them to leave, so there was no time to waste. It happened so quickly they had no chance to ask friends to take care …

Thumbnail for Part 1: Birth and Childhood until the War
en
ja
es
pt
Part 1: Birth and Childhood until the War

Oct. 25, 2019 • Stan Kirk

Kazuko (Katy) Makihara was born into the Fukuhara family on September 26, 1933 in her parents’ home near Vancouver Cannery on Sea Island (now the location of Vancouver International Airport). Her birth was assisted by a Japanese midwife, Ms. Watanabe. She had an older sister, Hisaye, a younger sister, Judy, and a younger brother, Akio. Kazuko’s parents were from Onomichi, Hiroshima. Her father first came to Canada because he was adopted by a childless aunt and uncle who were fishermen …

We’re looking for stories like yours! Submit your article, essay, fiction, or poetry to be included in our archive of global Nikkei stories. Learn More
New Site Design See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon! Learn More
Author in This Series

Stan Kirk grew up in rural Alberta and graduated from the University of Calgary. He now lives in Ashiya City, Japan with his wife Masako and son Takayuki Donald. Presently he teaches English at the Institute for Language and Culture at Konan University in Kobe. Recently Stan has been researching and writing the life histories of Japanese Canadians who were exiled to Japan at the end of World War II.

Updated April 2018

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
NIMA VOICES
Episode 16
June 25 (US) | June 26 (Japan)
Featured Nima:
Stan Kirk
Guest Host:
Yoko Murakawa
PROJECT UPDATES
NEW SITE DESIGN
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!