Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Shimizu Interview
Narrator: Henry Shimizu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25 & 26, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-shenry-01-0002

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TI: Now, you had just started talking about your father and going from Japan after his first wife died, and coming to the United States. First, tell me his name and what area of Japan...

HS: Shotaro or Tom, was my father's name.

TI: I'm sorry, say it one more time?

HS: His name was Shotaro, and his, his English name as they called him right away, they called him Tom. And my father then, he was, he actually originated from, his family was from Nara, and he was born in Nara, in Japan. He came to Canada in 19', as a matter of fact, he came to Seattle in 1905 with this big influx of Japanese labor coming across from, they came across from, for the railroads, I think it was at that time. And they were working at the railroad, with the railroads in 1905. And he, and he, for some reason, he decided that he'd like to go up to Prince Rupert in 1907, he went up to Prince Rupert. Now, he started, once he got into Prince Rupert, he was working there, now, what kind of a job I don't know. But he eventually, in 1915, he started a restaurant and cafe, or restaurant and hotel, that's what it was. He started a restaurant and, he had a restaurant in the ground floor and a hotel in the upper floors. Whether that all in one time, I think it sort of developed gradually and became larger. He actually teamed up with a partner by the name of George Nishikaze, and together -- he became, George Nishikaze became the cook, and then my father ran the restaurant and the hotel, managed both areas. George worked in the back and did all the cooking, and that's how they had their business going.

TI: What kind of hotel and restaurant was this, and who did it cater to?

HS: Oh, they catered to everyone. It was on Main Street, it was called the Dominion Cafe, and it catered to the general public. But it became a kind of a, well, hangout in a way for young Japanese single people who were, a lot of them were, of course, were fishermen, but they would, in the wintertime they would be, couldn't fish, so they'd be around a lot. But on top of that, they were, our restaurant was used as a kind of a place to go for, for the Japanese functions, you know, like funerals or weddings, that type of thing. But they also catered to, to white people, and mainly the white people were coming there, single men or people who, some of them would live right in the hotel, of course. And on top of that, the... well, you would now, in those days we called them Indians, but now you'd call 'em aboriginals now. They often used to use our restaurant as a, as a kind of a place where there were banquets and things of that nature.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.