History of BC-Japan Relations
The Consulate was closed on May 4, 1942. It was re-opened 10 years later on May 20, 1952 by Consul Takeshi Yasukawa, following the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in September 1951.
The Consulate's re-opening coincided with a lessening of war-engendered animosities and the gradual return of Japanese Canadians to Vancouver and other coastal centres. It was a time of healing and aspiring to greater harmony among people of all nationalities. Canadians could be expected to remain loyal to Canada.
Less than a year later, in April 1953, those aspirations were given an impressive boost with the visit to Vancouver of Crown Prince Akihito (now Emperor). The Prince, who was then en route to England for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, was accorded an enthusiastic welcome by Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver community. The visit itself was widely regarded as having contributed greatly to the revival of close relations between Japan and Canada.
The Consul's residence was established on The Crescent in Shaughnessy in 1926, but was sold by Canadian authorities to a private buyer during the war. The property was re-purchased by the Japanese government in 1958 and remains the Consul General’s official residence.
Hamako Watanabe at Tonari Gumi Seniors' Centre, c. 1976