Kazue ‘Kay’ Fujiwara (nee Toyota) was born in 1925 in Duncan, British Columbia. In this interview, Kay recounts her family’s background and history. She talks about her father’s decision to leave Fukuoka, Japan Kay’s grandfather and uncle to settle in British Columbia. She describes the family farm in Duncan and talks about her family, which consisted of her parents, grandfather, and ten children. Kay talks about her father’s various businesses, including farming and running a logging camp. She talks about growing up in Duncan, her recreational activities, and the dance lessons that she began in Duncan and moved to Victoria to continue. She describes her feelings after learning that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, and talks about leaving Victoria to reunite with her family. She then describes her family’s forced removal to Hastings Park, and then to Slocan, British Columbia. Kay talks about life in Slocan, including the climate, living conditions, recreation, and the work she did in her brother’s photography studio. Kay talks about meeting her future husband, Osamu ‘Ozzie’ Fujiwara (1921 – February 20, 2004) while in Slocan. She talks about leaving Slocan with her family to work on a farm in St. Catherines, Ontario, and then moving to Toronto in 1946. Kay talks about marrying Ozzie in 1947, and raising their family of three children while she continued to work part-time doing various jobs. Kay talks about becoming a fitness and diving instructor and photography stylist, and tells a story about her experience skydiving while on vacation in Cuba. Kay talks about her participation in the Japanese-Canadian community and the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre.
Throughout the interview, Kay largely focuses on telling stories about her eldest brother, Tak Toyota. Tak, born in 1917, was an inventive and creative man who used his talents to grow his business endeavours and support his community. Kay reads excerpts of letters from friends of Tak, a portion of an essay that Tak wrote about his history, and recounts anecdotes of Tak’s life. She talks about Tak’s interest in building and repairing electronics, and photography. She talks about the modifications that Tak made to their home to pursue his hobbies. She talks about the photography studio he established in Slocan, and his involvement in community activities like dances, drama club, and movie screenings. She talks about Tak’s marriage to Betty Umakoshi, and how the couple settled in Creston, British Columbia and became very involved in their community. Tak opened an electronics and furniture store, which eventually expanded to four locations in British Columba, and participated in municipal politics. Kay talks about Tak’s decision to finish his high school education and study psychology at the University of Calgary. However, before he completed his degree, Tak passed away suddenly in 1973, at the age of 56. Kay describes his funeral, and talks about the commemorative ceremony in Creston that was held in Tak’s honour.
Kay Fujiwara (nee Toyota)'s interview was conducted on September 29, 2010, July 19, 2011, and November 24, 2011 by Peter Wakayama.
Clip from Japanese Canadian Experience Conference: https://vimeo.com/338292056