Nimi Family collection


general material designation


[textual material, graphic material, artefactual material, and an audio recording]


5 photographs, 4 objects, 3 books, 3 booklets, and 1 digital file






scope and content


The collection consists of three series: Nimi Family Photographs, Bob Nimi Items, and Nimi Storefront Mosaic.




Mr Toragoro Nimi's parents emigrated here just prior to 1900. Toragoro's father emigrated from Tokushima on Shikoku Island. Because Tokushima would not allow people to exit the country from that location, Toragoro's father went to Niigata and boarded a ship there. Since he could not speak English, his name Niimi (meaning "new look") at immigration was misinterpreted as Nimi. Although not a fisherman by trade, Toragoro's father began fishing in the Fraser River. After not hearing from her husband, Toragoro's mother followed him and met up with him in Vancouver.



Toragoro came to Vancouver in 1905 at the age of 15. He started working in sawmills and planer mills in Vancouver. Then his brother followed. In 1918, Toragoro and his father bought a drug store at 331 Powell Street in Vancouver. It was named "Nimi Shokai". Asians were not allowed to dispense western medications at that time; only Japanese-style herbal medications. So, Nimi Shokai sold non-prescription and Japanese herbal medications, Kodak cameras, film, 78 records of popular songs, pancake makeup, Shaffer pens, gift items, and binoculars.



Toragoro's son Bob Nimi born in 1932 and spent his early years on Powell Street. During the internment from 1942 to 1949 Bob was sent to Minto in the interior of BC. Since Minto did not have a high school, he went to high school in Bralorne and Hamilton. In 1949 Bob returned to Vancouver and attended Lord Byng High School. He then became involved in a manufacturing business which started in Vancouver and then moved to Burnaby. Although he was going to the University of British Columbia at that time, he got involved in this company and worked for them for 45 years, retiring in 1999.










Nikkei National Museum