Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Mitsu Ito Interview
Narrator: Mitsu Ito
Interviewer: Mary Ito
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: March 23, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-imitsu-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

Mary I: So, now your family, your father, you said, eventually moved from Vancouver to Mission, right?

Mitsu I: Yes.

Mary I: And why was that?

Mitsu I: Because as I believe, that they wanted to go into business on their own, so they bought a farm, and grew strawberries and all different kind of berries.

Mary I: And when they moved to Mission, who did they live with?

Mitsu I: Sometime, another brother Chukichi was there, and then another brother-in-law, he used to come to work in Mission, too. And that's about all in one family.

Mary I: Okay. So all four brothers, though, were there in Mission.

Mitsu I: Yanosuke was, I think, back in Japan by that time.

Mary I: Oh.

Mitsu I: Chukichi was still here.

Mary I: Right.

Mitsu I: Denjiro --

Mary I: Your father.

Mitsu I: -- and Toku, he didn't come to Mission, he stayed in Vancouver and had a tobacco store.

Mary I: So two brothers in Mission.

Mitsu I: Yeah.

Mary I: And were there eventually any other family members in Mission?

Mitsu I: In Mission? No.

Mary I: Nearby, even.

Mitsu I: No. There were lots of Japanese people farming in Mission, but no, they weren't related. But they were mostly from Shiga-ken.

Mary I: What, as a child growing up, what do you remember of Mission, what it was like back then? What kind of town was it?

Mitsu I: Well, Mission, a lot of Japanese people living in Mission. I think there were more Japanese than Canadians in Mission. And they were all farmers, growing strawberries, raspberries, currants, I think a lot of vegetables, too.

Mary I: Was there a good market for all those products?

Mitsu I: Yes, I think they did very good, that's why people were farming in those days.

Mary I: So was it, would you say it was a prosperous town back then? Was it thriving, was it growing?

Mitsu I: It was growing, 'cause a lot of people were coming to buy land there and grow berries. I think they were doing all right.

Mary I: So did your father and his brother, did they own this land?

Mitsu I: Yeah, they owned it. They bought it.

Mary I: Now, how did they get the money to buy this land?

Mitsu I: I think they must have made it when they were working in the sawmill in Vancouver. And they might have had a mortgage on the farm.

Mary I: Do you remember how much land it was and how much they might have paid for it?

Mitsu I: I have a bill of sale, I think it said ($5,000).

Mary I: For how much land?

Mitsu I: Thirty-five acres.

Mary I: Was that considered a lot back then?

Mitsu I: I think it would be, but I don't know. I really don't know.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.