Sakamoto Family collection


general material designation


graphic materials and objects


32 photographs, 8 objects and 1.5 cm of textual material






scope and content


The collection consists of three series. The first series consists of family photographs taken mainly in White Rock, Revelstoke and Sandon, BC. The second series are family objects and include household items and clothing. The third series consists of family textual material, to be exact - accordion sheet music.




In the 1930s Yasutaro Sakamoto went to Japan to look for a wife. There he married Motoko Watanabe.



Before being interned the family lived in White Rock, BC, Webster's Corner, BC (now Maple Ridge), Harrison Hot Springs, BC and Langley, BC.



After being interned in Sandon in 1942, and then in Slocan in 1944, the Sakamoto family moved again. In 1947, when the war ended, the RCMP came to their home in Slocan and told them that they had two weeks to move out. As Mrs Motoko Sakamoto's husband, Mr Yasutaro Sakamoto, was still working in a road camp, their daughter walked miles to town to phone her father to come home. With eight children, a pregnant wife and a blind crippled grandfather, the family had to find a home whose owners would be willing to rent or sell to non-whites.



They finally found a house to rent in Mt Cartier, BC. It was found vacant and in a sad state with the studs showing, no insulation, the floors unfinished and no running water. (The water had to be hauled from outside for baths, laundry and cooking.) During the winter, in below 0 degree temperatures, they woke up in the morning to find their hauled in water frozen in the buckets.



The oldest son had to quit school at the age of sixteen, to help support the family. Together with his father, he worked in the logging camp. When it came time for Mrs Motoko Sakamoto to give birth to the baby, Mr Yasutaro Sakamoto had to walk five miles into town for the doctor. Unfortunately, his wife miscarried. In 1949, they had to move again, this time into their permanent home.



The Sakamotos had five girls and three boys (one of the boys passed away at the age of seventeen when he was struck on the temple by a baseball).




Nikkei National Museum