Teiji Morishita was the business partner of Masataro Ebisuzaki of the Ebisuzaki Dry Goods Store at 337 Powell Street in Vancouver. Teiji was born in Uruzu, Shida Machi, Fukuoka prefecture and came to Canada at seventeen, in 1920 to join his married sister, Hide Ebisuzaki (nee Morishita) and his older brother Jiichiro Morishita. He worked for Hide’s husband, Masataro in the Ebisuzaki Shoten. Hide married Masataro Ebisuzaki in 1912 and together they expanded the store in 1914 to sell quality material at reasonable prices. Masataro eventually returned to Japan in 1934 and subsequently became weak from an illness which required him to make trips to Beppu, Japan. During this time, Teiji became a partner in the Ebisuzaki Shoten which thrived until 1942; taking over the management of the business in 1936. Masataro died in Japan in 1943, at the age of fifty-nine.
Hide remained in Canada and made western clothes for the new arriving immigrants in addition to teaching girls to sew and make futon. (The futon was made from carded sheet wool and covered with cotton baton and covered silk.) In her leisure time, she enjoyed watching the Asahis play baseball. On Wednesday afternoons, her day off, Hide would go to watch them play.
Teiji married Sawa Hamada (born March 3, 1909) in Shida Machi, Fukuoka in 1929. Sawa came to Canada a year later on May 30, 1930 as a landed immigrant. Along with Sawa, Kentaro Ebisuzaki (fifteen) and Kojiro Ebisuzaki (twelve) returned from Uruzu after ten years in Japan accompanied by their mother Hide. The two families began living at 335 Jackson Avenue in Vancouver, BC, but as the family grew, they moved to a larger home at 466 Cordova Street in Vancouver, BC. Teiji was principal owner of the home would hold nine family members; Teiji, Sawa and their children: Nancy (Kuniko), Teruo, Hatsumi, Setsuko, Masako as well as the Ebisuzakis: Hide, Masataro, Kojiro and Kentaro. (Kimiye was born to the Morishitas later in New Denver, BC.) In addition to the family member, two rooms were kept for girls who worked in the store.
The Ebisuzaki Shoten or dry goods store was a prosperous business. Masataro's son Kentaro attended a commerce high school on Hastings Street in Vancouver, which helped the business. They not only sold items locally but made deliveries to outlying Japanese community areas as well as sawmills and logging camps. Teiji delivered goods to Haney, BC and Hammond, BC in the 1930s using one of the two panel trucks owned by the store. (The Dodge Desoto passenger car was acquired in 1940.) Kojiro Ebisuzaki, now under the guardianship of his uncle Teiji, obtained his driver's licence at sixteen and began delivering goods to Vancouver Island. Other workers delivered goods to the Fraser valley communities and beyond, extending all the way to Alberta.
In the front of the store, clothes and materials were sold and in the back of the store, food items such as shoyu, rice, tea, etc were sold. Sewing machines and tables were set up in the mezzanine space above the office area where the clothes and futons were sewed.
Nancy (Kuniko) Morishita was born in Vancouver General Hospital in 1932. She attended Strathcona School until grade four and in the evenings went to the Vancouver Japanese Language School. She also attended the Odori School (dance) next door to the Japanese Language School on Alexander Street in Vancouver, BC. Nancy was ten when the war broke out and things began to change for her and her family. She remembers two large men (Mounties) taking Kojiro her cousin in the night while he was relaxing in the ofuro (bath) to Angler; a Prisoner of War Camp in Ontario. He was arrested for protesting the breakup of families by sending young men to road camps in BC and Alberta.
Teiji had contacts in Raymond, Alberta through his Ebisuzaki dealings and moved his family there to farm sugar beets in early 1942. He relied on Mr Moriyama to find him a job on a large farm. Nancy’s uncle, Jichiro Morishita, joined the family on April 27, 1942. He arrived alone as his wife and three children left for Japan in 1939 to look after his wife's grandmother.
Meanwhile the dry goods store was seized by the Custodian and all items were listed. Money was paid to the wholesalers and any debts were encouraged to be paid to Ebisuzaki Shoten. They were allowed to take only personal items with them. The house at 466 Cordova was also seized by the Custodian and sold off in 1943 once an Order-in-Council was issued. Teiji later made claim for losses in 1947.
During the Internment, the Morishitas moved from Raymond, Alberta to New Denver, BC on May 22, 1943, as Sawa’s eyes were degenerating in the Alberta climate. Jichiro stayed behind joining a Labour Camp at Blue River, BC. Since there were no spots in the internment camp in Lemon Creek, BC (where Hide was) they lived near Harris Ranch for a while, but could not climb the hill to go to church, so eventually moved to Roseberry, BC on June 1, 1943. Teiji worked for CPR, repairing barges and scows in a CPR camp, where he learned blacksmithing. They finally moved to Lemon Creek to join Hide on July 17, 1945 and Teiji began work as a truck driver with his driver's licence ticket. They stayed until Lemon Creek closed down and helped with the clean up. Teiji drove a truck to collect all the BC Security Commission blankets that were distributed. They moved to Slocan City, BC on July 28, 1947. At that time, Nancy left the family to go back to Vancouver as a school girl, working as a domestic in an upper class Vancouver home. The family she worked for owned a sawmill where Ebisuzaki goods used to be delivered to. Eventually she went to nursing school from 1951-54 at Vancouver General Hospital School of nursing. The rest of the family returned to Vancouver in 1960 after an eighteen year absence.
Teiji Morishita died on June 25, 1993 and Sawa Morishita died on April 10, 2005.