Jean-Pierre Antonio teaches English at Suzuka University in Japan and has lived in Japan for 28 years. He grew up on Vancouver Island and maintains connections to British Columbia and an interest in Nikkei history in Canada. He has been working on a translation of the diary of Masayuki Yano, a Japanese immigrant, who arrived in BC in 1928, along with his translation partner Michiko Kihira. Some of the translation was published in British Columbia History Magazine, Fall 2015.

When Masayuki Yano died in Toronto in 1989 at the age of 80, he left behind a hand-made cedar box, which contained personal papers and objects, including photographs, a blanket from an internment camp, a document that was his mother’s koseki (Japanese household register), and his diary, begun January 1, 1928, and completed shortly after the end of WWII. Together, these items form a unique legacy. Very few pre-World War II primary Japanese-Canadian documents, such as diaries, have survived. Masayuki Yano’s 88-year old diary provides a rare first-hand glimpse into one man’s experiences and thoughts as a Japanese immigrant to BC just prior to WWII. Asked to translate the diary by the Yano family, Jean-Pierre Antonio’s research took him on an unexpected journey into Masayuki Yano’s past and introduced him to the fascinating and illusive woman who was mistress to a samurai, land-owner in her own right, and Masayuki Yano’s mother.

[Information supplied by Kogawa House News 2017]