Japanese Consulate of Vancouver collection


general material designation


[graphic material]


approximately 33 photographic prints mounted on black cardboard, with corresponding captions mounted on a separate piece of cardboard.






scope and content


The collection consists of images relating to the development of both the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver, as well as the history of the Japanese Canadian community, from the time of early immigration, to just prior to the Redress movement.




The Vancouver Japanese Consulate celebrated it's centenerary in 1989. Consul Fukashi Sugimura, the first Consul in Vancouver opened the Japanese Consulate on June 22, 1889. He headed this first Japanese government mission in Canada until the completion of his tenure on August 11, 1891. The first Japanese Consulate was housed at 609 Howe Street, between Dunsmuir and Georgia Street, serving as both office and residence of Consul Sugimura. The decision to establish a consulate in Vancouver was based on the Japanese government's view of the city as a 'growing outlet for the commerce of the Dominion' and it's belief that the city 'is certain to become a very large and important shipping port.' According to Consul Sugimura's report to the Foreign Ministry, the Japanese population of Vancouver was 50, thirty working in sawmills, ten in homes as domestics and one operating a general store. Washiji Oya was had the first general store, and 1889 was the year of the birth of the first Nisei, Katsuji Oya. His mother Yo Oya arrived in 1887.



Part of the Consulates celebration was to produce a book entitled "Hands across the Pacific" which is a permanent pictorial history of the Consulates' relation to the Japanese Canadian Community over the years. The author Toshihiro Tosh Tanaka was a member of the consulate staff to Shigenobu Yoshida, Consul General of Japan in 1989. Beginning with the days of the pioneer settlers, the book portrays the evolution of family units and communities, the Pacific War and it's tragic consequences, the period of resettlement after the war, and the flowering of greater cultural understanding and more expansive economic ties in recent years.








Nikkei National Museum