Stanley Kirk

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

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A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba

Part 7: Formation of JC Exiles Group in Kansai, Life after Retirement

Involvement in forming and leading the JC Exiles Group in Kansai

Following the official apology in 1988 by the prime minister of Canada to Japanese Canadians, a delegation was sent by the Canadian government to Japan to explain the terms of redress to the Japanese Canadian exiles still living there. These explanation meetings brought together many exiles who had not seen each other since the internment. Tak says that they had some idea of others who had been deported to Japan, but many had lost contact with each other and did not know where in Japan others were located.

When ...

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A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba

Part 6: Career in the Private Sector - Santai Trading Company & Fujicopian

Employment with Santai Trading Company

After seven years with Sogo, in 1959 Tak moved to the textile export division of a medium sized trading company called Santai Trading Company. He would stay there until 1977. As he explains, this job involved a wide variety of business endeavors and interesting experiences.

While working in Tokyo at Amerex Trading Co., I had met many Japanese businessmen and one of them became a director of the department store. He was also president of his own trading company, Santai Trading Co., and in 1959, he asked me to join his company, which I did ...

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A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba

Part 5: Career in the Private Sector - Amerex & Sogo Department Store

Employment with Amerex

As the Japanese economy began to re-emerge during the postwar years, there was an urgent need for employees who could speak English well. This became a lifesaving economic opportunity for many of the exiles, even those lacking a strong formal education. Tak was one of those who made the best of this situation, using a combination of native wit, natural curiosity, good social skills, network building, and a willingness to offer his assistance to anyone who needed it.1

After four years of working in the sheltered environment of the Occupation Forces, he was beginning to feel ...

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A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba

Part 4: Employment with the US Occupation Forces

Soon after moving to Japan Tak found work with the US occupation forces. While it included room and board, the salary itself was rather low and was frozen by law at about 1500 yen per month, of which he was only permitted to withdraw 500 yen per month while the remainder was kept in the bank. Yet, he was able to send some money each month to support his parents and siblings. Officially, his main work was to keep statistical records of personnel and cargo moving in and out of Japan. He recalls,

They tested me for my typing ability ...

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A Japanese Canadian Teenage Exile: The Life History of Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba

Part 3: Exile of the Matsuba Family to Japan

Tak was 19 when his family was exiled from Canada to Japan. There were various reasons why his parents chose exile to Japan over dispersal to eastern Canada. One was uncertainty about what would happen if they chose the latter. They were also concerned about the welfare of close relatives in Japan with whom they had lost contact during the war. Another factor was that his father still owned a house in Miomura whereas in Canada he had lost everything. Tak explains,

I think the decision was mainly due to the fact that we had no assets (in Canada), but ...

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