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 Kazuko Makihara

Part 4: Return to Canada and Building a New Life in Vancouver

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 also wanted to move to Canada at that time, but due to immigration law Kazuko had to ...

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

Part 3: Exile and Live in Post-War Japan

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 his adoptive mother was managing the restaurant by herself. Kazuko’s father also thought there was no use in staying ...

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

Part 2: Uprooting, Dispossession, and Incarceration

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 of their property or any of the things they left behind, so they lost everything. She says, “All our ...

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

Part 1: Birth and Childhood until the War

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 there. His adoptive parents apparently were quite prosperous as they had a big house and were lending money to ...

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The Life History of a Japanese Canadian Child Exile: Mikio Ibuki

Part 7: Career and Adult Life in Japan

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Initial Plan to Return to Canada and Eventual Stay in Japan

As mentioned earlier, Mikio’s father expressed regret for his decision to return to Japan and often apologized to his children, saying that it was a mistake. Furthermore, he frequently urged Mikio to move back to Canada and make a new life there. Mikio recalls him saying, “Mikio, Japan is not the country that you are meant to live in. Japan is too cramped for you, and your personality is much more suited to living overseas. I really want you to make your life in Canada ...

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