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

Part 2: Life in the Lemon Creek Internment Camp

Tak vividly remembers hearing the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. “It was a Sunday and I was with friends out on Powell Street on our way home from playing badminton at the Japanese Language School when we heard the news from a radio in a parked car. It had a very sobering effect on all of us.”1

The order for Japanese Canadians on the west coast to leave their homes and property soon followed. Tak vaguely remembers that they had to rush to pack their bags and were allowed to take very little with them. Later they ...

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

Part 1: Life in Vancouver before WW2

Birth and Family

Takeshi (Tak) Matsuba was born on December 5, 1926 in Vancouver to Kamejiro and Jiyo Matsuba. While not sure of the exact place of his birth, he thinks it was probably at home with the assistance of a midwife. As the firstborn child, he had two younger sisters named Masumi (Marie) and Mikiyo (Miki), and two younger brothers named Noboru (Gabby) and Takumi. All were born in Vancouver, except Takumi, who was born in the Lemon Creek internment camp. Like Takeshi, Takumi was also nicknamed ‘Tak’, so they were called “Tak 1” and “Tak 2” respectively.

Tak ...

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

Part 5: Life and Retirement with Takeshi in Canada

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 volunteer, and was very busy with this 3 or 4 late nights each month.

Then a gardening job opened ...

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