Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Shizuko Kadoguchi Interview
Narrator: Shizuko Kadoguchi
Interviewer: Peter Wakayama
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: February 15, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-kshizuko-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

PW: I'd like to talk about, about the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and I understand that they started early meetings, early planning period in 1952. Can you tell me about Bob's involvement from the beginning?

SK: Well, I can't remember everything, because I was in, raising Jerry and Donna, so, so much. But he speaks Japanese, so he's in Issei side. So he, I think they decided to do the Cultural Centre at Don Mills. Everybody was, I think, against. How could we go there? It's very, it's a hick place, you know, so...

PW: Way out in the country.

SK: Yeah, way out in the country. "How could we go there?" Nobody could go there. But you know, way back when they started, not many people had a car. Naturally, they worried about that, but even those days, the bus was running. But he had a really hard time. Most of the Issei people wants it, this Japanese gathering place, but the Nisei people said, too much Japanese people so we're going to, you know, just like Vancouver. This is what I heard. But afterwards, George Tanaka came in and Raymond Moriyama, sometime I think he was involving, too, so when Raymond Moriyama was going to build the thing, so lots of people against, too.

PW: Why did you think that was?

SK: I don't know. I didn't even ask Bob. Bob doesn't say anything, but this is outside, from, I heard. When Bob come home from the meeting, I, when I look at his face around the clothes, the neck side, all the rash comes out. I never talk about the Cultural Centre.

PW: But he was, he was working and then going to meetings after dinner until midnight, past midnight every day?

SK: Yes. He usually come home one-thirty. And Donna started to cry before one-thirty, exactly. I don't need alarm clock. One-thirty she started to cry. So Bob opened the door and Donna cries. You know, it's not, it's no sound or anything, but she cries one-thirty.

PW: Now, Bob, Bob worked also at the consul general's office as well as at the Centre, then?

SK: Uh-huh. First in the consul, afterwards, half a day working at the consul general's, half a day at the Cultural Centre, but that's not enough when this is going on. So they advertised, I think, to come to some, come to work. But I heard they had quite a bit, the university graduate. But the pay, who wants the pay, just like a chicken feed? Nobody wants to work, so end up Bob have to take. So Bob said, "I won't get like the consul general's office money, but do you think you could, can you live with what I get paid?" So I said, "Well, we have to, we have to," I said. "So go ahead."

PW: So, like it was twelve years from the early planning stage 'til they, 'til they opened the building in 1964, I guess it was then. And then Bob worked, what, for how many years?

SK: Ten.

PW: As the executive director?

SK: Yeah, ten years.

PW: And who also helped him during that period? Ken?

SK: Ken.

PW: Was he the assistant, Ken Kutsukake?

SK: Isn't it... yeah, Ken and Harry Fukushima.

PW: Oh, okay.

SK: Early days, and the secretary was Kathy Okawara. It's a part-time, though, I think, not full-time. And who else worked there? Oh, Sumi Utsunomiya.

PW: I, when we were having a talk with Rose, she was telling us about Ken's involvement at the Centre.

SK: Uh-huh.

PW: And that time period, they used to have alarm system. And as part of the alarm system, if something happened, they had to phone somebody, and it was either supposed to be Bob or Ken. And Bob says, "Well, don't phone me. I've got young children, so don't phone me if there's an alarm situation." So Ken got the alarm calls all the time. [Laughs] So Rose said, "Well, gee..." it was terrible, 'cause he used to get calls in the middle of the night.

SK: No, because the, you know, break in, and they didn't have anything to take, so they take Bob's camera, and make a mess because they had a knife or something. And the mezzanine to go to the downstair, they all cut with a knife. And outside is a toro, Nihon no yuki, that's all stolen, too. So after that, I think, they need an alarm system.

PW: How was, what's your memories of the early days of, of the Japanese Cultural Centre when it opened, after it opened?

SK: I don't think about that. [Laughs] It was okay, but from the first, we have to take from our frying, if there's something going on, they can't buy anything. So all the ladies' auxiliary took the frying pan, even naosumashi we have to take that one and everything. So Masako Okawara and Yone Kobayashi, Yas Fukushima, Pat Adachi... of course, Hattie Hagino... what's the Hagino? Sam, wasn't it? Sam Hagino. So we took all our frying pan, electric frying pan, it's all broken afterwards. Do you think Centre paid for us? No. [Laughs]

PW: So there was a lot of volunteer work...

SK: Oh, yes. It's mostly volunteer, yes. Not like these days, they never paid.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.