Susan Yatabe

Susan Yatabe is a Canadian Sansei. Susan is the granddaughter of Saburo Shinobu. Her mother was interned during WWII in Kaslo, B.C. and her father was a graduate of the S-20 Japanese School in Vancouver who served from 1945 to 1947 as a Canadian soldier in Thailand. Susan has visited Japan once, in 2006. The 2011 tsunami/nuclear event in Japan was of particular interest and concern to her because she studied engineering geology, works as a nuclear scientist, and has many family members in Miyagi-ken. She is a guitar player and singer.

Updated March 2019

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Japanese Canadian Participation in World War I and World War II


To prove their loyalty to Canada, two generations of Nikkei fought in the World Wars to gain rights for their community. The first generation, the Issei, served in World War I. The second generation, the Nisei, served in World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars. This article focuses on Canadian Nikkei participation in the two World Wars.

Asian Immigration to Canada

The first known Japanese immigrants arrived in 1877. Almost all Japanese immigrants settled in British Columbia (B.C.), working as fishermen, loggers and labourers in sawmills. British Columbia had a landscape similar to Japan ...

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An Extraordinary Life - Saburo Shinobu - Part 3

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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.

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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 ...

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An Extraordinary Life - Saburo Shinobu - Part 2

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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 ...

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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 ...

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