Early Years

Margaret picking berries

Margaret sitting in a field picking berries

"The eldest of seven children, Keiko Margaret Inouye was born on November 21, 1923, to Japanese immigrant farmers Yoshinobu Inouye and Teru Tsuji. Margaret grew up speaking Japanese at home, but was a voracious reader of the English-language Vancouver Province, to which her father subscribed, and she dreamed of working at the newspaper someday. She went fishing and hunting with her father, to her mother's displeasure, and was handy with the cross-cut saw.

Months after Japan bombed the United States naval base of Pearl Harbour in December 1941, the cabinet of Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King issued an order-in-council excluding all people of Japanese extraction from being within 100 miles (160 kilometres) of the Pacific Coast. Farms, including that belonging to the Inouyes, were seized and later sold off at fire-sale prices by a federal agency known as the Custodian of Enemy Property. While many Japanese-Canadians worked as labourers in B.C., Margaret went with her mother and most of her siblings to Manitoba. Margaret landed a position in a house of a wealthy family as a cook and downstairs maid, while a sister served as a nanny and upstairs maid.

In 1944, Margaret left the job and travelled to Hamilton -- one of the few cities in Canada where those of Japanese extraction were then permitted -- to work as a chambermaid at McMaster University while finishing up her high school diploma at night."

[Taken from the Globe and Mail Obituary October 11, 2019]

[Family portrait]

[Family portrait]

Family portrait

[Young Margaret (Keiko Inouye) with her doll]

[Margaret (Keiko Inouye) as a child with doll]

A young Margaret with her doll

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