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Kosaburo Shimizu was born in 1893 in the village of Tsuchida, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. After his father’s death, his eldest sister married Tokujiro Shimizu, who adopted Kosaburo as his son. He emigrated to British Columbia in 1907 and worked as a houseboy while attending the Royal City High School. After graduating from high school in 1913 he taught English at the New Westminster Japanese Methodist Church, where he was baptized on August 17, 1913. Shimizu also wrote the McGill entrance exam, which angered his adoptive father who believed Shimizu was forgetting his economic obligations to his family for the sake of pursuing high education. Despite this, Kosaburo was determined to further his education and debated whether to attend university in Japan or North America and therefore followed a program of studies in both Japanese and English, including public speaking courses. After learning that if he was to attend university in Japan as a special student he would be subject to conscription, Shimizu decided to study in either Canada or the United States. In 1915 Shimizu was offered the position of night school principal of Vancouver’s Japanese Methodist Church.
On September 30, 1915 Shimizu began classes at the newly established University of British Columbia. He later went on to graduate with an M.A. in English Literature from Harvard University in 1924. Shimizu continued his studies and was ordained as a minister of the United Church and subsequently became the pastor of the Vancouver Japanese United Church in 1926.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Shimizu worked to build up and reinforce Japanese Christian fellowship. Shimizu devoted much of his efforts to bridging the growing rifts between first and second generation Japanese Canadians and between Anglo-Saxon Canadians and Japanese Canadians. However, during World War II, Shimizu was relocated by the federal government to the internment camp in Kaslo, B.C. as an undesirable person. After the war he moved with his family to Toronto, where he organized the Japanese United Church's work in the Church of all Nations.
For further information on Kosaburo Shiumizu see:
Mitsui, Tadashi. <i> The ministry of the United Church of Canada amongst Japanese Canadians in British Columbia, 1892-1949. </i> Vancouver, B.C.: 1964. (LE3 .B7 1964 A98 M58)
McFadden, Isobel. <i> The man who knew the difference, Rev. Kosaburo Shimizu, M.A., D.D.</i> Toronto: United Church of Canada, Board of Information, 1965. (BX9883.S5 M3 1965)