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Mits Sumiya : an interview with a UBC Japanese Canadian student of 1942 Sumiya, Mits 2012

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File Time  Location  Key Words  1 0:00-0:52  Dining Room  UBC, introduction  1 0:52-2:10  Dining Room  UBC  1 2:10-3:50  Dining Room  1 3:50-7:43  Dining Room  1 7:43-10:05  Dining Room  1 10:05-12:42  Dining Room  1 12:42-13:23  Dining Room  1 13:23-15:00  Dining Room  2 0:00-2:37  Dining Room  2 2:37-4:15  Dining Room  2 4:15-6:11  Dining Room  2 6:11-8:06  Dining Room  2 8:06-8:40  Dining Room  2 8:40-9:23  Dining Room  2 9:23-10:52  Dining Room  2 10:52-12:22  Dining Room  2 12:22-14:17  Dining Room  2 14:17-15:00 3 0:00-0:20  Dining Room Dining Room  3 0:20-1:32  Dining Room  3 1:32-2:48  Dining Room  3 2:48-3:58  Dining Room  3 3:58-5:00  Dining Room  3 5:00-6:08  Dining Room  3 6:08-8:33  Dining Room  3 8:33-9:23  Dining Room  3 9:23-10:40  Dining Room  3 10:40-13:05  Dining Room  3 13:05-14:30  Dining Room  3 14:30-15:00  Dining Room  4 0:00-1:01  Dining Room  4 1:01-1:51  Dining Room  4 1:51-3:56  Dining Room  4 3:56-5:29  Dining Room  4 5:29-9:48  Dining Room  4 9:48-10:25  Dining Room  4 10:25-13:30  Dining Room  4 13:30-15:00  Dining Room  5 0:00-2:24  Dining Room  5 2:24-3:40  Dining Room  5 3:40-4:53  Dining Room  5 4:53-6:25  Dining Room  5 6:25-8:15  Dining Room  5 8:15-11:20  Dining Room  5 11:20-13:08  Dining Room  5 13:08-15:00  Dining Room  6 0:00-2:30  Dining Room  6 2:30-3:08  Dining Room  6 3:08-4:07  Dining Room  6 4:07-5:07  Dining Room  6 5:07-6:45  Dining Room  Description Introduction:D.O.B., birth location, Vancouver Technical School, year enrolled UBC, career ambition Subjects of interest: Math, Physics and Chemistry, commute to UBC, lived at Main and Georgia  UBC, high school, career, Interested in nuclear engineering, high school teacher was engineering, Chicago Pile, saw war potential for energy potential in nuclear, plan for after high school, war came Description of December 7th, Japan, Russo-Japanese war, Christmas break and near winter exams, nothing much happened at university, little bearing on us at that moment, January 7th were told they were "striken off the strength", ordered to turn in their uniforms, UBC, war, Japan,COTC, description of University Officer's Training Corp, story of how swore loyalty with Colonel Colonel Shrum Shrum Cadet training at Vancouver Technical School, students set on going to war for Canada, UBC, Vancouver only person to report was News Herald was the organ for the CCF (became NDP), story of Technical School, News how got on front page of News Herald, January 19th issue of Ubyssey also on front page, Herald, Ubyssey loyal to Canada and disappointed National Resource Act demanded University campuses, deferred from going to war, University Senate had discussion and decided include Japanese Canadians in training courses, after December 7th changed, educational committee met and decided to D-list UBC, National Resource the Japanese Canadians, "Japanese" referring to national origin rather than Canadian, Act, University Senate UBC's actions UBC, high school, Vancouver Technical School found no prejudice, well-hidden UBC, International International Student Service chairman wrote letter to university, ISS was supporting Student Service students, February 24th (cut off) UBC, BC Security BC Security Commission, curfew in place after Pearl Harbour, professors told him they Commission, Pearl would let him in/could leave when, professors were sympathetic, Physics professor Harbour, Chinese badge encouraged him to carry on, Chinese friend offered to get him a badge, broke curfew Shrum was only one person in the committee, Shrum was widely quoted in the paper as didn’t want to see "Japs" in uniform on the campus UBC, Colonel Shrum No idea who was instigator of who was behind it; university Senate more political tied in Senate, UBC, BC Security with provincial and federal government; if didn’t kick the Japanese Canadian students off, Commission, evacuation the problem would’ve been solved anyway because would’ve been kicked off anyways Vancouver, British Growing up in BC: father was logger, followed logging industry, kept moving; Gray’s (?) Columbia, Father, Creek, lived on floating house, O’Brien Bay from 1926-1929 Mother, family As a child there was not much stimulus, family was deprived, kids played amongst British Columbia, Father, themselves, parents were busy all the time Mother, family Family, Father, British They played with siblings, would row a dugout when was 5 or 6 years old, one time was Columbia blown out to lake father had to come and fetch him with his gas boat Vancouver, United When got to Vancouver has not knowledge of English (5-6 years old), had 6 months of Church, English kidnergarten at United Church, had to learn English in grade 1, girl who was bilingual who Children spoke English; parents spoke Japanese; little communication; at 11 years old knew he wanted to go to university therefore needed job; pin-setter at the bowling alley, worked 5 days a week, on Saturday worked all afternoon and evening, did this until grade English, Father, family, 12, worked nights at university, on nights with military training brother would take his job, Mother, University, UBC, worked until the war wiped out everything Work, Military, War How he decided to go to university at age 11, he knew parents couldn’t support university Work, University, education, with education you have opportunities, summer job at canneries, back in 1941 Mother, Father, Cannery it was a good paying job Met his wife in 1957 at a garden club representing Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association Wife, Japanese Canadian (cut off) Citizen's Association Wife Got married 1959 Did you think of other universities? In BC only one university at the time UBC, there was UBC, British Columbia, only Victoria College, so that was the only choice, thought that when he graduated would Victoria College, Toronto head to Toronto If hadn’t gone to UBC, would’ve taken up trade and headed out East quickly, however because didn't have the vote Japanese were not allowed to take up profession, probably UBC, Vote, Work one reason could end up East Parents were very proud that he was able to get into university, Comparison to Japan, UBC, Mother, Father, parents were also happy that grades were reasonably good, in general very supportive, University, Japan, could not help financially, siblings supportive, youngest brother helped at bowling alley Family, Work First day at UBC didn’t leave much of an impression, was a day student had to get own notes together, no special impression UBC, Work Liked physics professor and math professor, language always a poor spot, French teacher told him not to take French, took Scientific German instead, much of science was coming UBC, high school out of Germany UBC, Japanese Canadian Typical day at UBC: Was very busy, would get there in time for classes and take lunch Students Association, break, set with Japanese Canadian students association friends (lists names), limited Work because he had courses and military courses as well as homework and work, working as UBC, Japanese Canadian Japanese Student’s Club only as a member, but not at university most of the time, missed Students Association, most of that, had to save tuition for following year Work How did things change with the Order in Council: Curfew didn’t bother him as he would UBC, Order in Council, break the curfew, Evacuation order of February 1942, the university gave deferments until Evacuation, United finished semester which expired in June, families moved en masse in US, States Evacuation Difference between U.S. Evacuation and Canadian Evacuation: US had constitution and civil UBC, United States rights, Canada had none, said wouldn't go to road camp, considered it a slave labour Evacuation, Road Camp, camp, picked up by RCMP, under martial law in prisoner of war camp, RCMP, Description of road camp: search light towers and armed guards, morning and afternoon Road Camp, Military, roll calls, he had military training, most people there didn't know anything about the RCMP military, morning count, it was an interesting place War, Mother, Father, His family wasn’t too surprised about him being in this, never really discussed the war Family Father, Mother, Family, Both parents Japanese nationals refused to become naturalized, father’s leaning was War, Japan always towards Japan, but he felt Japan would lose the war Standing up for your rights, learned all through his school years, would have gone to war Canada, Father, Mother, for Canada fought on either front, Teachers always told him born in Canada therefore War Canadian Family in Lemon Creek, in Angler working language was Japanese, 80-85% Nissei with working language was Japanese, took him a year of immersion before could understand, Road Camp, Japanese, had pretty good knowledge of Japanese after war, like tanka and haiku, literatures, began Lemon Creek, Angler, to understand what Japanese was about, Meiji era Japanese Nissei Angler, University of In Angler started correspondence course with University of Saskatchewan, but dropped it Saskatchewan, after a year, interested in Japanese, although would teach small English and Math, they Language, War would need it at the end of the war (wearing glasses) No real animosity towards the war and that, used to think that it was very unfair, dinner with Jack Pickersgill (?) Minister of State during the war year, explanation of the defence of Canada, Alaska Highway to defend, had to depend on War, Evacuation, United Americans, General Stewart in command of the Pacific had no troops States United States, Canada, (no glasses) In that light no animosity towards what happened, it was outside of Canada's War power, could Canada defend itself Disappointed in UBC; As committee chair said to see if UBC was culpable; because UBC didn’t kick the students out, students couldn’t come back, cannot say university kicked out the students, but University did kick out of COTC, not part of normal university student UBC, National Resource courses, would've fought for Canada Act, Evacuation Still doesn’t know what the letters are going to be; doesn’t know what these letters will be; some kind of honourary letters; weak knowledge of that sort of indicated it was a special letter for a special occasion UBC, Ceremony For him a closure for an open-ended situation, life disrupted, having not completed the university degree not sure whether part of alma mater or not, this doesn’t do anything for him profession, or financial, but university does say that it opens its arms, come on home, UBC was his last place of education that he attended, because finally university saying that irrespective of conditions university prepared to make him part of organization, welcome back into arms UBC, Ceremony Ceremony, UBC, Why belated? When he looks at history of what took place, Canada always followed US, Evacuation, United wouldn’t have happened without US, government ordered them, work of Mary Kitagawa States Evacuation, Mary and others kept at it, they decided to do it Kitagawa Redress, United States, Redress was similar, followed the US precedent in foreign policy and domestic military Been back to BC several times, visited Tofino, conferences in Vancouver, flew out to British Columbia, Father, Calgary, 1972 visited UBC, remembered certain buildings, UBC had changed a lot Mother, family Part of his responsibility; one thing he should do is pass message on to students, talks about the war and what it was like in the POW camp; necessity for everyone to hang together and protect their freedom and their rights because if you don’t you lose it, if somebody lose it, you may be next, continue your education Rights, Freedom After released from the camp, tried to get into Toronto,but selective service still in force, could get close to Toronto mushroom farm, trucking, 4 years of that moved to Toronto, working for a company which manufactured state of the art lighting, fluourescent lights War, Toronto, Road Camp, Work In the meantime, started as a prototype person, in charge of lighting section, got job with Wilson Lighting until went bankrupt 1976, had to sell everything off, then company asked Work him to join them, took chief designer with him Then research and engineering, there for three years before his retirement, before he retired he went with a contract job, technical service manager, Product development Work manager, to get these things online access to all the US lab, contacts retired or died so then retired, hired engineers, describes Work his team, you just had to be on top of these people Never had any discipline problems with employees, happy with how things turned out, also had a great wife Work, Wife It would’ve been a different level of operation, probably into nuclear physics, atomic UBC, Work, projects in the US, income greater, maybe discrimination (Mrs. Sumiya in background) discrimination but personally in all his experience never felt any experience, but token non-Anglo-Saxon Christian for the company, token ethnic of the company, other advantage would be only non-white, only Asian so everyone remember his name Work, discrimination When he was growing up and going to school at public school, that school had huge majority of Chinese, small group of Japanese-Canadian, JC’s survived because non-Chinese sided with them, a lot of anti-Japanese feeling among Chinese students, after talking to some of friends in Strathcona none because had Japanese majority School, Strathcona  

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