|Ryota was born to Shotaro and Maki Kawasaki on May 23, 1914, in the Heeps district at Semilin and Truimph streets in Vancouver, BC. His mother and siblings returned to Iso Shigaken when Ryota was five months old. His father remained in Vancouver and later went to Nanoose Bay to work at a mill site. Ryota was educated in Iso, and graduated from carpentry school. When he was in his early 20s he returned to Vancouver and met with his father at Nanoose Bay and worked with him at the mill. Ryota went to Vancouver and was sent to Hastings Park (where each person was given two gray woolen blankets for their bedding) and was detained with the other Japanese in the barns until his was boarded on a train to the Slocan valley. Because he was a carpenter, he was asked to help build the bunk houses for the evacuees. In Slocan, he was introduced to Shizu Kondo by a baishyakunin. |
Shizu was born to Seisuke and Iwa Kondo on April 20, 1917, in Steveston, BC. Later the family moved to Vancouver and resided on Heatley Avenue. Shizu attended Strathcona school as well as the Vancouver Japanese Language school on Alexander Street. Shizu helped her brothers who were commercial shrimpers and she enjoyed dressmaking. In October 1942, Shizu, her mother and sisters were interned at Popoff, Slocan while her brothers were sent to Angler prisoner camp in Ontario.
Ryota and Shizu were married by Minister Keniyu Tsuji in Slocan, on January 8, 1944. They lived at Bay Farm in a small house with no central heating or plumbing. Later they moved to Slocan city and shared a kyodo kitchen with another family. They had three daughters, Marilyn and Carolyn were born in Slocan and Sharon was born in Nakusp. In 1950, the family moved backed to Vancouver, BC. Ryota worked for the shipyards, while Shizu tended the household. In their spare time they volunteered at the Vancouver Buddhist Temple and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary in January of 2006.
Shizu at 89 passed away in August, 2006 and Ryota at 94 in May 2008, both in Vancouver, BC.
- Sharon Kawasaki-Chan, August 2010