Fonds 1994.64 - Miki family fonds

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Miki family fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record
  • Sound recording
  • Moving images

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Reference code

CA JCN 1994.64

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  • 1910 - 1990 (Creation)
    Miki (family)

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Physical description

208 photographs
12 audio cassettes
10 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Miki family lived with Roy's maternal grandparents, Tokusaburo and Yoshi Ooto, who immigrated to Vancouver in 1903. The Ooto's purchased 12 acres in the Haney area and set up a very successful orchard and berry farm in the Fraser Valley. In 1942, to avoid internment and the separation of the family, Tokusaburo quickly sold the farm and both houses on the property for $2,000 (far under value) and brought the family to Manitoba in 1942.

Roy's grandparents and father worked in the sugar beet fields near Ste. Agathe, Manitoba, where they lived in a four-room house with no running water, shared by three families. The group included six adults, including Kazuo's wife Shizuko Miki nee Oto, as well as three young children - Arthur Kazumi (age five), Les (age four), and Joan (age two). Roy was born in Winnipeg in 1942, a few months after they arrived. With another child to care for, Kazuo travelled north to find work in a logging camp, separating the family.

In 1943, the Miki family applied to the BC Security Commission and received permission to move out of the abandoned farm structure into a small house in North Kildonan - just minutes outside of Winnipeg. In 1946, just four years after having to sell his berry farm in Haney, Tokusaburo Ooto passed away in poverty.

Roy Miki, a resident of Vancouver, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Arts degree from Simon Fraser and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia — all in English literature. He is a celebrated poet and author, educator and also an activist.

A professor in the English department of Simon Fraser University (SFU), where he teaches contemporary American and Canadian poetry, Roy is considered a specialist on the work of fellow poet, the late BP Nichol. Miki’s annotated and illustrated biography of his close friend, fellow Governor’s General Literary Award winner, SFU professor emeritus and Canada’s first poet laureate, George Bowering, entitled A Record of Writing, won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for the best English-language book-length study in Canadian and Quebec literary criticism from the Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures. He also served as editor of the literary journal, West Coast Line.

Roy along with his brother Art, fought for redress for the Japanese Canadians in 1988. He has also focused on the issue in his literary endeavours. In 1991, he co-authored (with Cassandra Kobayashi) the book, Justice in Our Time: The Japanese Canadian Redress Settlement, and seven years later, Mercury Press published a collection of his essays entitled, Broken Entries: Race, Subjectivity, Writing, which explore the issues of history, memory, displacement, redress, race and language.

His 2001, a book of poetry, Surrender, described by publisher Mercury Press as a “brilliant intermixture of the lyrical with the political” and a “tour de force of clarity and beauty,” won the 2002 Governor General’s Award for English poetry. In 2006, Miki received the 20th annual Gandhi Peace Award for the truth, justice, human rights, and non-violence exemplified in his Redress work. Further recognition came with his membership in the Order of Canada (2006) and his Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (2007). In 2009, he was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia.

Art Miki received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba in 1969, and a Master of Education degree in 1975. He was president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians from 1984 to 1992, and was instrumental in seeking a formal apology and compensation in 1988 for Japanese Canadians who were interned by the Government of Canada during the Second World War. In 1991, he was appointed to the Order of Canada. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg in 1999.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of sixteen series. The first series is of images of a Price Waterhouse press release; Vancouver Japanese Language School, Vancouver, BC. The second series is of images of a reception of a $5000 grant from the city of Vancouver to the Redress Committee, Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver, BC. The third series is of images of a Japanese Canadian Community Facility fund raising dinner; Vancouver, BC. The fourth series is of images of the JCCA Board of Directors; Vancouver, BC. The fifth series is an image of Art Miki and Brian Mulroney signing the Japanese Canadian Redress agreement at Ottawa, Ont. The sixth is an image of a Buddhist memorial service. The seventh series is of two photograph albums belonging to Kazuo Miki containing photographs of the Haney, BC, the Asahi baseball team, miscellaneous outdoor portraits and miscellaneous photographs of social gatherings, most of which were photographed during the 1920s and 1930s. The eighth series is of a group portraits belonging to Shizuko Miki. The ninth series is of photographs of Japanese Canadians in Slocan, BC during World War Two. The tenth series is of photographs of Japanese Canadians meeting with government officials and people at a booth providing information about the Japanese Canadian Internment. The eleventh series is of group portraits of Japanese Canadian groups and organizations. The twelfth series is of educational material pertaining to Japanese Canadians and the Japanese Canadian Internment. The thirteenth series is of pamphlets and postcards pertaining to Japanese Canadians and the Redress. The fourteenth series is of reports and publications that advocate for the Japanese Canadian Redress and provide information about the Japanese Canadian Internment. The fifteenth series is of newsletters and news publications relating to the Japanese Canadian Redress settlement. The sixteenth series is of cassette tapes surrounding historical tours and reactions to the Redress and Official apology by the Government of Canada to Japanese Canadians.

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Physical condition

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The fonds was acquired from Roy Miki.


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Created September 27, 2011.
Revised by BCANS Coordinator, October 12, 2011.

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