Thomas and Sachi Madokoro Family collection


general material designation


Graphic material ; textual record ; object


1,657 photographs : b&w ; colour ; 41.9 cm of textual records ; 22 negatives ; 64 objects






scope and content


This collection includes various objects and personal belongings relating to Sachi Madokoro and the Tsumura family on her side, photographs and negatives pertaining to Thomas Madokoro and the Madokoro family, with a biography of Thomas Madokoro included in the files, as well as a box of postcards and letters collected by Sachi Madokoro throughout high school, the Second World War, and internment years of 1939-1947. Correspondences are mainly between Sachi Madokoro and the Tsumura family, as well as Thomas Madokoro and the Madokoro family.




Thomas Hiroshi Madokoro was born in Steveston, BC on June 27, 1920. He was born the son of Kamezo and Ine (Ezaki) Madokoro, along with his four siblings; Yoshio (John), Yaeko (Mary), Michi (Andrew), and Kuni (Frances).Kamezo had arrived in Canada around 1880, along with his brother Rinshiro from Shimasato Wakayama ken. Both Madokoro brothers worked as fishermen. The family eventually moved from Steveston to Clayoquot Sound, before settling in Storm Bay. There, the family fished and lived with seven other families - the Mori, Morishita, M. Nakagawa & S. Nakagawa, Nakatsu, Yamada, Izumi, and Kondo families. Thomas and his siblings were baptized Anglicans as children in Tofino in 1923.



In 1930, Kamezo Madokoro passed away on April 15, 1928, and was brought to Vancouver and cremated (possibly vice versa), leaving eldest brother John as the primary breadwinner. John took over his father's boat "Gloom" and was mentored by his uncle Rinshiro in fishing and supporting the family. Thomas' siblings began working in domestic service in Vancouver. Ine Madokoro began peeling shrimp to support them. Thomas attended Fairview Japanese Language School during this period of time.



At 16, Thomas Madokoro was hired at the Tofino Troller's Co-op that operated along the coast; he began icing fish, then worked as a cook on the Western Chief as well as a fisherman. When his uncle retired and returned to Japan in 1939, Thomas took over his Japanese-built boat. Later, Thomas took over his brother John's boat.



Following the forced dispersal from the west coast of British Columbia in 1942, Thomas Madokoro's boat and other possessions were seized by the Canadian government. Fearing the possibility of being moved to an internment camp, Thomas agreed to cooperate with the authorities' requests. Thomas was moved to various road camps as a forced labourer; one of the first in Schreiber - Jackfish road camp, then Black Camp, then a sugar beet farm at Glencoe Ontario, and then Toronto.



Thomas' future wife, Sachi Madokoro (nee Tsumura), was the sister of Thomas Madokoro's friend, John Tsumura. Sachi was born on March 19, 1923, in Prince Rupert to Kumetaro and Setsu Tsumura. Kumetaro arrived in Prince Rupert in a sailing ship in 1899 from the Wakayama area of Japan. The Tsumura family had also been boat builders, specializing in building yachts in the Prince Rupert area prior to the war. Kumetaro worked as the Master of the fish boat J. L Card before opening his own boat yard - Kiy Boat Works. During the war, the Tsumura family was sent to Hastings Park, and then Popoff internment camp. Sachi worked at the welfare office in Slocan. After the war, she moved with her family to Meaford, Ontario, where she first met Thomas. In 1949, Sachi and Thomas Madokoro married in Toronto and went to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon. A year later, their first child, Wanda Madokoro, was born.



Sachi returned with Thomas Madokoro to the West Coast in 1952 and the two settled in Delta, where her family had established The Deltaga Boat Works Ltd and constructed a full shipyard. Thomas Madokoro resumed his career fishing, where the BC Packers offered the fishermen a loan of 35,000 dollars to help them get set up again - Madokoro bought the Hyson, built in 1950 by Osborne Shipyards in Port Alberni. In 1960, Thomas sold the Hyson and bought a Tsumura boat, the Hyson II. Sachi worked for Deltaga Boat Works Ltd.



Thomas and Sachi Madokoro rented a home next to Deltaga Boat Works before moving to North Delta (Annieville), where they bought their first house. Over the years, Thomas Madokoro "made a fortune" on the popularity of herring roe. Thomas fished until he was 80. Sachi Madokoro passed away in 2014. She was followed by Thomas Madokoro four years later in 2018.








Nikkei National Museum