Collection 2011.68 - Sasaki family collection

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Sasaki family collection

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  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording

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CA JCN 2011.68

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  • 1921 - 2011 (Creation)
    Sasaki (family)

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Physical description

125 photographs and 1 digital file

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Biographical history

Mitsue Sasaki was born on September 9, 1919 on Powell Street in Vancouver, BC. Mitsue's father, Ichiji Sasaki, built one of the biggest bathhouses, the Matsuno-yu at 318 Powell Street in July 1916. It cost $4,600 to build and was elaborate and popular. From 1917-24, he operated the Cordova rooms at 52 Cordova Street and the Union Rooms at 410 Union Street. Then in 1924, he started the Maruichi Restaurant (meshiya) on the 300 block of Powell Street with his wife Sugaye. It mostly served single men who were fishermen and loggers. In 1928, he started the Ichiriki restaurant on Cordova and Dunlevy Streets catering to a higher class clientele. During that time, he brought the first sushi chef from Japan, Mr K Morita. The Sasaki family lived in the three story home that housed the restaurant.

In 1933, when he started a fruit and vegetable business at Blackburn's farmer's market (at Robson and Seymour Streets), they moved to the 300 block on Cordova Street. From 1936-38, he started the Fuji Chop Suey restaurant with Mr Wakabayashi at 314 Powell Street. In 1938, he purchased the World Hotel business from the Takahashi family at 396 Powell Street. The building was owned by the Nikka Chyochiku Bank managed by Mr Hara. The family operated this hotel to 1942, residing there, as did the New Canadian Newspaper office.

Mitsue went to Odori school on Powell Street from the age three to twelve and was taught by Yoshiko Akiyama. A memorable moment was when she was given a recital Kimono by Etsuji Morii and his wife; as they had no children and were very generous. She attended Strathcona Elementary School and after school and on weekends she went to the Japanese Language school on Alexander Street from 1925-1936. She attended the Grandview High school of Commerce on Commercial and first Avenue from 1932-36.

In 1942, the Sasaki family relocated to Greenwood under the direction of Father Benedict Quigley from the Catholic church on Cordova Street. In 1945, the Sasaki family moved to a house in Midway, BC with the help of Mitsues employer Gordon McMinn who owned the Midway sawmill and general store. Mitsues father worked as a kitchen helper at the sawmill, and Mitsue worked as a storeclerk and later book keeper.

On February 14, 1948 Mitsue married Hawley (Hiromi) Fugeta (Fujita), son of Hirozo and Hara Fujita of Fukushima ken and moved to Penticton.

Mitsue`s family include sisters: Sumie (Sasaki) Tanaka born April 2, 1918 who married Yoshio Tanaka and Teruyo (Julie Sasaki) Umemura born Jan 15, 1935 who married Bud Umemura.

Ichiji Sasaki (Dec 26, 1881-1951) was from Wadamura (now Mihamacho) in Wakayama ken. He was a member of the Japanese Navy and fought on warships during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. He immigrated to Canada in 1906 at first working in Steveston, BC. His wife Sugaye Hashimoto (May 15, 1897-1998) was a picture bride in 1917 when she came to Canada. She was active with the family businesses and was a savvy business woman in her own right. She contributed to the Japanese community and was an accomplished musician. She was the number one Shamisen player in Vancouver and played at many local concerts.

Custodial history

The photographs were handed to the museum by Lorana Kikko Tasaka who received it from Mitsue Fugeta who subsequently donated further photographs and participated in an interview.

Scope and content

The collection consists of two series. The first series consists of family photographs and the second series is an interview of Mitsue Fugeta (nee Sasaki) discussing her life on Powell Street in Vancouver, BC.

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September 27, 2011

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