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Yosoya Omoto and
Chiyo Nose Omoto

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Pages 459-460
by Charlie Watmough

Yosoya Omoto was born in Shiga - Ken, Japan in January, 1895. In 1917 he came to Vancouver to stay with two of his uncles and worked in the lumbering and mining industries for a few years and then bought out his brother-in-law's confectionery business about 1922. In 1923 he married Chiyo Nose, born in Japan September, 1902.

They did well in Vancouver for about eighteen years. The confectionary became a bake shop for all types of fancy Japanese cakes and pastries being delivered to houses in Vancouver by bicycle. The family grew also, two sons and two daughters were born in Vancouver. They went to school in Vancouver but they also spent some time in school in Japan just before the war. In fact. they told me that they got out of Japan on one of the last ships to come out to Canada before the war started.

When the war broke out Mr. Omoto was rounded up and shipped to a Jasper road camp where he lived in a boxcar. It was there that he signed up for sugar beet work and he and his family were settled on the farm of Nick Christ. about six miles north west of Picture Butte. This was too far from the city so they moved to my Dad's farm in the spring of 1943 and the three youngest went to school at Coalhurst. They missed some school time due to beet work. The two boys worked for some neighbors occasionally and also went to the lumber camps in the winter. Mr. Omoto also worked for Matt Raskevich whenever he wasn't working for me. One of the boys was a very husky young fellow and did very well in the judo competitions throughout Southern Alberta. He and his brother and I also spent many happy hours swimming in the Oldman River and Park Lake.

The Omoto's were a hard working family but living on a sugar beet farm in an improvised little house was not their piece of cake. In May of 1946 they received permission to go back to Japan, so they left. They kept in touch through the years but things didn't go too well over there. They got jobs as interpreters and telephone service with the American Occupation Forces but were anxious to get back to Canada. By the end of 1953 they were all in Toronto; except the father who had died in Japan in 1952.

Mrs. Omoto lived her later years in Toronto with her son. She had a stroke in 1964 and recovered enough to visit her relatives in Japan in 1979 and passed away in April, 1982 after a long illness. The Omoto family wish to send their respects to their many friends in this area.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup