Frank Maikawa

Fumio Frank Maikawa was born in Vancouver, in the province of British Columbia, Canada near the end of the Great Depression days on Dec. 19, 1932. After being incarcerated during World War II, Frank ended up in Toronto, Ontario where he felt free at last but struggled for a long time to find his identity until Feb. 22 1990 when the Canadian Federal Government sent him a personal Apology ‘form’ letter and acknowledgement. He felt vindicated and felt like a real Canadian for the first time in his life.

After graduating from Ryerson in 1956, his lifetime work was always in the electronics communications engineering field and he has been retired since 1996 enjoying his golden years with his wife, Yoshimi Susan (Suyama) in the Georgian Bay area near the Blue Mountains of Ontario. 

Updated February 2013 

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The Evolution of A Canadian 'Enemy Alien' - The Frank Maikawa Story - Part 7 of 12

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Life in Bridge River 

When we were sent to Bridge River (an internment camp where you had to support yourself, money-wise) with one RCMP overseeing the camp, I started thinking how badly we were treated so I used to think about studying hard, become a somebody, and then would hunt down those mean government people and give them the same “medicine” they gave us.

When I heard later that we were classified as Enemy Aliens and Canada didn’t want us anymore I thought that I would have to wander around the world like a countryless gypsy ...

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The Evolution of A Canadian 'Enemy Alien' - The Frank Maikawa Story - Part 6 of 12

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Keeping B.C. “White Only” 

Long before the war, there was an ongoing KEEP B.C. WHITE ONLY outcries—such racial hatred especially along the B.C. coast where the Japanese Canadians were concentrated. When I kept hearing this over and over, even at my young age I knew that it just wasn’t right and had a premonition that something terrible would be coming up. I didn’t feel at ease at all. In fact, it was scary!

The Caucasians really believed that “whites” were a superior race inherited through their forefathers and tried to brainwash ...

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The Evolution of A Canadian 'Enemy Alien' - The Frank Maikawa Story - Part 5 of 12

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Growing Up Nisei In Pre-WW2 Vancouver 

I remember playing war games with made in Japan toy wooden knives and rifles.

In Vancouver I only had Caucasian playmates so I had to be the sneaky buck-toothed, slant-eye Jap complete with black horn-rimmed glasses all the time like in the comics and got beaten up all the time. We even bought toy buck-toothed wax upper dentures to put over our teeth! One guy brought me a set of glasses to actually wear! It was just common sense why I was always getting beat up, eh?

But at the same ...

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The Evolution of A Canadian 'Enemy Alien' - The Frank Maikawa Story - Part 4 of 12

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Back to the store… 

Upstairs at the rear was a huge kitchen area with a row of about three very long dining tables where everybody sat and ate their meals. There was always a cook on duty. On the other side were sofas, chairs, tables, phonograph (that’s a 78 rpm record player and there were some that had to be cranked manually), and a large radio with short wave so that they can listen to broadcasts from Japan for relaxation.

My mother was into music too and she played violin and was a great singer. My ...

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The Evolution of A Canadian 'Enemy Alien' - The Frank Maikawa Story - Part 3 of 12

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Frank Is Born 

I was a nine-pound baby when I was born and every time Mom went to J-Town she told me that she would go to the ladies’ communal bath place wherever that was and all the ladies would whisk me away from her and marveled at how fat I was and nicknamed me “Kin Taro-san” (“Golden Boy”).

She was always blaming me for her stretched out belly so I told her that she shouldn’t have eaten so much! She told me that she couldn’t speak English when she first came over but learned ...

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