Fonds F007 - Hide Shimizu fonds

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Hide Shimizu fonds


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Hide Adelaide Shimizu (nee Hyodo) was born on May 11, 1908 in Vancouver, B.C. Her parents were Hideichi Hyodo and Toshiko Hyodo, both of whom had immigrated to Canada from Uwajima, Japan. She was the eldest of eight children.

After graduating John Oliver High School, she attended UBC though transferred to Vancouver Normal School a year later. Shimizu graduated with a teacher’s certificate in 1926. Due to anti-Japanese sentiments, few nisei became teacher. Shimizu was the first Japanese Canadian to teach in the British Columbia school system, taking a job at Lord Byng Elementary School in Steveston, B.C. The students at this school predominantly spoke Japanese, a language Shimizu did not speak. She pushed through the communication issue though, and taught there for 16 years.

Shimizu was very active in the community. She volunteered with the United Church and Japanese Canadian Citizens League (JCCL). She was one of four delegates to travel to Ottawa, sent by the JCCL to advocate for Japanese Canadian’s right to vote in 1936. Though the group were unable to convince the Elections and Franchise Acts Committee to grant voting rights to Japanese Canadians, this advocacy work did make her favorably known within the Japanese Canadian community.

Her passion for teaching continued and brought her to the 1937 World Education Conference held in Toyko. In 1942 when Japanese Canadians began to be sent to Hastings Park in Vancouver, Shimizu turned her attentions there. Concerned that the children now living there were no longer receiving any formal education, she began to travel to Vancouver from Steveston to organize classes led by those who had completed high school or generally a higher education. Throughout internment, the B.C. government was hesitant to set up and provide education to the thousands of children and young adults they had unsettled and moved to the interior. Shimizu was one of the last to leave Hastings Park, and as she made her way to New Denver to join other Japanese Canadians in an internment camp, she made a stop in Tashme to help set up an elementary school for those relocated there. She worked for the British Columbia Securities Commission to help set up classes and train teachers. Teachers were often other Japanese Canadians who had completed high school, not actual teachers. The B.C. government refused to provide support for high school students, so the community turned to the churches (Roman Catholic, United Church, and Anglican) to organize correspondence courses. Shimizu, under the supervision of the British Columbia Securities Commission advocated for supplies, equipment, and better working conditions. She continued her work until 1945 when she moved to Ontario to be with the rest of her family who had also moved there.

Hide married Reverend Kosaburo Shimizu in Toronto in 1948. He was a widower with four children whom Hide became step mother to. Rev. Shimizu had also been very active in advocating for Japanese Canadians during WWII. Now settled in Toronto, she began to spend her time working with the Nisei Church, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC), Nisei Women’s Club, the National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) and the Momiji Health Care Society.

Hide Shimizu was made a Member of the Order of Canada by the Governor General in 1982. This was in recognition for her work in organizing education for children in the internment camps. In 1983 she was awarded the Order of the Precious Crown by the Japanese Government.

During the 1980s, many Sansei began to learn more about the Issei and Nisei internment of WWII. The Redress movement began to pick up momentum and Hide Shimizu became an active participant. She joined the NAJC in their march to Ottawa to demand redress for the government’s actions towards Japanese Canadians after Pearl Harbor. Hide Shimizu took center stage when she pulled out over 14 000 postcards from Canadians across the country stating their support for redress in the House of Commons. As a Member of the Order of Canada, her presents and support was invaluable to the NAJC and the movement.

Hide Shimizu passed away on 22 August in Nepean, Ontario.

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Hide Hyodo Shimizu collection, 1997.7. Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre. Burnaby, BC.

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