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JAPANESE COMMUNITY IN MISSION: A BRIEF HISTORY 1904-1942

William T. Hashizume

Additional copies of this publication may be ordered directly by contacting:
Willima T. Hashizume
Marsh Road
Scarborough, Ontario
M1K 1Y8
Telephone/Fax (416) 261-4083

 

An excerpt from Japanese Community in Mission

NOTE: This is a patently self-serving excerpt as it has been chosen because it pertains directly to the family story told on the various webpages posted at this site. The rest of the story of the Japanese settlers and their subsequent eviction is well worth knowing and Hashizume's book can be ordered as indicated.


In 1942, by government order, all Japanese residing within the 100 mile zone of the
west coast were forcibly removed. During the evacuation, they were not allowed to take
their cars, trucks, farming equipment, etc. with them. The only things they were allowed
to take with them were their personal belongings. The farm, buildings, trucks, cars,
tractors they left behind were later sold without the owner's consent at a fraction of their
true market value. The HASHIZUME family suffered the same fate. The 80acre farm was
later acquired by Westminster Abbey, a Benedictine monastery (2). The 51 metre tall
Pfitzer bell tower that is part of the monastery, is now a landmark structure of Mission.

In 1986, Sharon BROWN, a writer, socio-political activist and a mother of two young
children, ran for civic office and was elected alderman. As one of the seven members of
Council, she was responsible for naming the streets being built in Mission. It was
explained to her that names were to be chosen from an existing list of names of pioneers.
The list itself was made up entirely of Anglo-Saxon names.

At about this time, Alderman BROWN discovered by chance that there were
significant numbers of Japanese fanners who lived in prewar Mission, and who through
sheer hard work, cleared much of the brush land and developed it into productive
farmland. She then made a motion that Japanese names be chosen since Mission had yet
to honour its Japanese pioneer settlers in this manner. This motion was refused as there
were no Japanese names on the approved list of pioneers.

Alderman BROWN then contacted Dorothy CROSBY, a volunteer at the Mission
Community Archives, and sought her assistance in compiling a list of Japanese pioneers.
With the list of several notable Japanese families who had settled in Mission, Alderman
BROWN requested at the Council's next meeting that this list be appended to the existing
list. This request was passed unanimously.

Each name on the list is researched by the staff at Mission Community Archives.
Background information is collected about their family membership, period of residence,
property ownership, occupation, military service and community involvement. This is
done to ensure the name meets the criteria established by the Council for street naming.
Developers who build new streets are given this name list. When a new name is chosen,
the municipality prepares a road naming bylaw and members of the Council vote on
approving the new road's name. Following the above procedures, HASHIZUME
TERRACE was approved and adopted on September 28, 1992. According to town
officials, Mission is the only municipality in B.C. to name streets after prewar Japanese
pioneers in recognition of their contribution to its development.

 

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