Maki and Frank Yosaburo Nishimura collection


general material designation


Moving images, graphic materials, textual records, objects


1362 photograph negatives, 7 film strips, 13 8mm films, 1 object






scope and content


This collection incldues two series documenting the Nishimura family's arrival to Canada, and their settlement in Coaldale, Alberta. The first series includes documentation including passports, Naturalization letters and identification cards for various members of the Nishimura family. Also included are several diaries written by Frank Yosaburo Nishimura dated between 1927- 1959. After Frank's death, the diaries were continued by Maki Nishimura documenting a year of hospitalization for Tuberculosis at Baker Memorial Sanatorium. This collection also includes a number of letters written between Raymond, Alberta and Shigaken, Japan. The second series contains an assortment of films and photographs documenting the Nishimura's life in Coaldale, Alberta, highlighting important family and community events such as weddings, graduations, funerals, sporting events, and parades. The photographs feature the building of their home in Coaldale, Alberta and other family and community events.





Yosaburo Kitamura was born in Japan in 1892 as the youngest son. In 1921, he emigrated to Canada, where he was eventually reunited with a cousin, Mr. S. Kitamura in Raymond, Alberta. He worked as a farm labourer, and joined the Raymond Buddhist Church. In late 1925, he returned to Japan to marry Maki Nishimura, and was adopted by her family so that the Nishimura family name could continue. They both arrived aboard the Empress of Canada, on May 31, 1926. In subsequent years, he worked in a mining camp in Coalhurst, Alberta, then became a mixed crop farmer near Raymond, Alberta, leasing land. He served as a lay minister in the Raymond Buddhist Church, and in 1947, after studying with Rev. Y Kawamura, was ordained an Assistant Minister in the Raymond Buddhist Church. He became a Canadian Citizen in 1948 which allowed him to purchase a ¼ section of irrigated land near Coaldale, Alberta, where he grew and harvested sugar beets, potatoes, peas, beans, grains and hay. After ten years of farming this land, he sold it in early 1959, and retired from active farming. Shortly after, he decided to take a job with the Canadian Sugar Factories, working as a labourer at the rail siding beet dump station at Cranford, Alberta, not far from his former farm. On October 3, 1959, less than a month after his 67th birthday, he was killed in an industrial accident at the beet dump station. Maki Nishimura passed away on July 11, 1989.









Nikkei National Museum