Kazuko Yatabe

Kazuko Yatabe is a Canadian Nisei. She was born in Vancouver to Saburo and Sada Shinobu. She has visited Japan four times, and spent a year as a child in her mother’s village of Ishinomori, Miyagi-ken. She was interned with her family in Kaslo, B.C. during World War II, where she taught a grade 3 class of Japanese Canadian children. After the war, she completed her grade 10 piano level, and earned a musical teaching certification. She taught piano and worked at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and Home Care. Her husband Eiji was a Canadian Nisei World War II veteran and a graduate of the wartime S-20 Japanese Language School who served in southeast Asia. Kazuko and Eiji translated, from Japanese to English, Saburo Shinobu’s Vimy Pilgrimage diary and 1931 speech about the granting of the franchise.

Updated March 2017

community en

An Extraordinary Life - Saburo Shinobu - Part 3

Read Part 2 >>

The following speech was given by Saburo Shinobu on April 2, 1931, the night after passage of the bill on franchise for Japanese WW1 vets.  The speech was presented at the Japanese Hall, 475 Alexander Street, Vancouver. It was translated from Japanese into English by Kazuko and Eiji Yatabe, and provided to the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association’s History Committee in 1959 by Sada Shinobu.

* * * * *

Consul Edo, Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Knowing how busy you all are, I very much appreciate your attending this meeting to-night.

For many years I have been advisor to the Japanese ...

Read more

community en

An Extraordinary Life - Saburo Shinobu - Part 2

Read Part 1 >>

Saburo Shinobu was the first Japanese Canadian to earn the degree of Chartered Life Underwriter, after ten years of correspondence courses from the University of Toronto. At that time, of 700 underwriters in B.C., only 20 had obtained this diploma. He sold insurance for Manufacturers Life to Nikkei who lived all over BC. He travelled constantly, and due to his work, acquired a large network of friends and acquaintances.

Sada ran a finishing school for young Japanese Canadian women teaching dressmaking, cooking, flower arranging, and needlework, and she shared office space at 302 Alexander Street near ...

Read more

community en

An Extraordinary Life - Saburo Shinobu - Part 1

*From notes by Sada Shinobu

Saburo Shinobu was born Saburo Takahashi on August 25, 1888 in Sanuma, Miyagi-ken, Japan. When he married Sada Shinobu (of the nearby town of Ishinomori) in Japan, he took her surname, as she was descended from a prominent samurai family.

He emigrated to Canada, arriving in August 1907 alone at the age of eighteen. He studied English in a public school in New Westminster, British Columbia (starting at the grade 4 level), with much younger classmates. A census page indicates that he was living with the family of his wife’s uncle, Chiyoji Shinobu, in ...

Read more