Fonds RBSC-ARC-1500 - Kosaburo Shimizu fonds

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Kosaburo Shimizu fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

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2.7 m of textual records

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Biographical history

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)

Custodial history

Material was originally part of the Steveston United Church collection, which itself was originally accessioned as part of the Japanese Canadian research collection. The Kosaburo Shiumizu material was then removed and processed separately as the Kosaburo Shimizu fonds.

In 2014 Kosaburo’s daughter, Grace Arai, donated 33 original diaries, replacing the photocopies of the same diaries.

Scope and content

The collection consists of diaries (1909-1922, 1924-1961), notebooks, copies of sermons, and miscellaneous materials related to Shimizu’s religious work and personal life. Many of the documents reflect his involvement with church congregations and Japanese-Canadian relations.

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The diaries from 1909 to 1941 are written in Japanese after which they are in English.

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Unbound issues of a Church newsletter created by Kosaburō Shimizu, written in Japanese and English are available in the Library Catalogue.

Title: Bokuteki.
Variant Title: Shepherd's call.
Call Number: FC3097.9.J3 B63

Two videotapes have been produced in 2002 by Mr. Ted Y. Shimizu from 8mm film created by Rev. Kosaburo Shimizu. They are located in the videotape collection.

Prewar Vancouver, The Japanese United Church, Its Members and Friends (SP VT 18:1)

The Ghost Towns, 1942-1945 (SP VT 18:2)

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Diaries were donated to Rare Books and Special Collections in June, 2014. No further accruals are expected.

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