Thomas Shoyama Collection


general material designation


[textual records, graphic materials, objects]


1 m textual records and other material. Note: includes 210 colour and b&w photographs, 8 medals, and 10 videocassettes.






scope and content


The collection consists of 12 series of documents, photographs and artefacts collected during Thomas Shoyama's life. The collection comprises of items related to Shoyama's education, items from his service with the Canadian Army Intelligence Corps, books, interviews, family photographs, personal correspondence, honours and awards, and videocassettes.



Fonds at other institutions:


Library and Archives Canada - Thomas K. Shoyama fonds R10881 (finding aid No. 2354)





Thomas Kunito Shoyama was born in Kamloops, BC on September 24, 1916. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Economics and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours). From 1939-1945, Tom served as the editor of the "New Canadian," a weekly civil rights newspaper which was published first in Vancouver and then later in Kaslo, BC, where he was interned during the war. In this role, Tom became a spokesman for the rights of the Japanese Canadian community and an important community leader during the wartime evacuation and resettlement. Tom served in the S-20 Intelligence Corps of the Canadian Army during 1945 to 1946. Upon discharge he was encouraged to go to work for the CCF government in Saskatchewan, initially as a research economist, and later as an economic advisor to the Premier, serving in this capacity with both Premiers T.C. Douglas and W.S. Lloyd. In 1964 Tom move to Ottawa, first joining the Economic Council of Canada, then moving to the Finance Department in 1967. In 1968, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance, and by 1975, after a brief term as Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, he returned to the Finance Department as Deputy Minister, serving under John Turner, Donald Macdonald, and Jean Chretien. Among the many contributions Shoyama made to public policy initiatives during his career, he is well known for his contribution to the establishment of hospital and medical care insurance in Canada, in instituting child tax credits, and providing entry of foreign banks into the banking system. After retiring from the Finance Department in 1979, Shoyama served in the Privy Council Office, adivising Prime Minister Trudeau on economic aspects of the Constitution. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Atomic Energy of Canada as well that year. In 1980, at the age of 64, Tom moved to Victoria to become a visiting professor with the University of Victoria, teaching in the School of Public Administration and the Department of Pacific and Asian Studies. Awards and honours received by Shoyama include: Officer of the Order of Canada (1978), the Outstanding Achievement Award in the Public Service of Canada (1982), the Vanier Medal from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (1982); honourary degrees from the University of British Columbia (1984) and the University of Victoria (1999); and the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Government of Japan (1992). The Pearson-Shoyama institute in Ottawa was partly named in Shoyama's honour. As well, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, established at the University of Regina in 2007, was partly named in Shoyama's honour.


Tom was instrumental in the fund-raising to build the National Nikkei Heritage Centre. Tom’s sterling reputation and credibility with the Federal government were critical in obtaining the $1,000,000 Federal Provincial Infrastructure Grant. With Tom’s help, the balance of the fund-raising made it possible for the Centre to be built. The NNM&HC was fortunate to have Tom serve as an Honorary Advisor to the Society. Thomas Shoyama died in Victoria on December 22, 2006.









Nikkei National Museum