My father, Saijiro Miyasaki, came from Amakusa, Kumamoto and my mother, Mitsuye(Soga), came from Otsu, Kumamoto. I’m not sure what year my father came to Canada but he was born April 30, 1886, so it was early in the 1900’s. My father was employed as a house boy where he learned to speak and write English. He became a Naturalized Canadian on October 1, 1921. My mother came here in 1928. She was 23 years old at the time.
They cleared the land in Mount Lehman themselves using a horse to remove all the stumps and built their farm.
They didn’t have me for 10 years. They thought they couldn’t have children. In some ways it was a blessing because they were able to develop the farm. Things were going well – they had built a new house and everything was running the way it should, when they lost it all due to the evacuation. It was devastating. They never talked about their loss.
In 1942, Japanese Canadian families who stayed in BC were being separated. My father was 55 at the time, their children were young, so they wanted to stay together as a family. They were sent to Manitoba to work on sugar beet farms.
Because my dad was older, he really couldn’t start over again in anything substantial. He had to take whatever jobs that he could. We moved from Dufrost to Molson, Manitoba. My father worked in the peat bogs. My mom went out to see him at work one day and he was knee deep in wet bog. She thought this was not good so next we moved to Little Britain, Manitoba, where he worked in the summer as a gardener. In the winter, he had a job at Dominion Tannery. My mother did house work and I started grade one at Lockport School.
In 1950, we moved to Winnipeg. My mother started sewing in the garment industry. My dad was doing mostly labour jobs and cleaning. The last job he had was at Globe Light Batteries where he did the sweeping up. From doing this job, he contracted emphysema and lived for 10 years hooked up to a big oxygen tank. He died when he was 89 years old in 1975. My mother lived until 1996, she was 92 .