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Michiomi Abraham Kabayama was born 15 April 1926 in Japan, the eldest of eight siblings. He was the son of Rev. Jun Kabayama and Maki Kabayama (nee Tomekawa). The family emigrated in 1929 as Rev. Jun had been called to serve the Japanese United Church in Ocean Fall, B.C. The family stayed in Ocean Falls, until 1942 when Japanese Canadians were forced to relocate away from the coast. The family were the last to leave Ocean Falls, as Rev. Jun helped organize the many Japanese Canadians living there and prepared them for wherever they were forced to go. The Kabayamas then went to Hastings Park in Vancouver with only the possessions they could carry. The family was separated at Hastings Park, with Rev. Jun, Moichiomi, and the second eldest son Yoshiomi going to live in the men’s quarters, while Maki and the rest of the family lived in the women’s. In August 1942 the family was ordered to move again to Raymond, A.B. They lived in a small shack and worked on a sugar beet farm. Rev. Jun continued to minister the many Japanese Canadians who had been relocated to Alberta, traveling from town to town on a bicycle no matter the weather.
Michiomi would go on to obtain a PhD in Chemistry and Physics at the Universite du Montreal. He worked for TetraPak Canada, a member of the Vinyl Council of Canada, and published articles on the science involved. He had a wide variety of skills and interests, including Kendo and became a Sensei at the Takahashi Judo Club in Ottawa in 1974. Michiomi was an avid volunteer and supporter of human rights. In 1990 he was the Chairperson of the NAJC Task Force on Native Peoples and was tasked to lead the Earth Spirit Festival. Working with the Native Cultural Centre and the Greater Toronto Chapter of the NAJC, the festival celebrated both cultures’ arts. Many notables performed at the event’s 2-year run including David Suzuki and Buffy Saint Marie. Michiomi Abraham Kabayama passed away June 12, 2016.
Records regarding Abe Kabayama were originally under the custodianship of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. With the creation of the Japanese Canadian Collection at the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, it was decided to transfer the material as more records were found and needed to be accessions.
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Title of fonds updated August 23, 2023 by E. Carroll.