Salt Spring Island Archives

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Murakami Family

Kimiko, daughter of Kumanosuke and Riyo Okano, moved to Salt spring from Steveston around 1909 at the age of five.

After a series of family disasters, the family visited Japan in 1911 or 1912.  Mr. Okano returned to B.C. and Mrs. Okano stayed to give birth.  After her child was born, Mrs. Okano returned to Canada but left Kimiko and her sister under the care of their grandmother in Japan, a decision that upset Kimiko for the rest of her life.  In March of 1919, Kimiko rejoined her family in Canada.

In 1925, on a return visit to Japan, Kimiko met and married Katsuyori Murakami.  They came to Canada and in 1932, bought acreage and farmed on Sharp Road on Salt Spring Island.

February 26, 1942, saw this changed abruptly as the War Measures’ Act declared that all persons of Japanese racial originals must move from within 100 miles of coastal regions.  The Murakami family was relocated to the B.C. interior after an initial interment at the Hastings Park livestock buildings in Vancouver.  They later moved to Alberta where they farmed sugar beets and subsequently,  opened a restaurant.

After the war, the Murakamis saved money to return to Salt Spring.  This was against Kimiko’s wishes but Katsuyori wished to return.  They discovered that all of their land and possessions had been sold by the government and they would be returning to begin all over again.

In 1954, the Murakami family returned to Salt Spring and bought their property on Rainbow Road.  As a family, they faced great prejudice as they reestablished themselves on the island.  They farmed the land and sold vegetables at the little building just off the road.  Stopping by for fresh veggies and a brief chat with Mrs. Murakami was always a treat! 

The family still resides on the Rainbow Road property

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