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Curated Submission
Early 20th century
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
152.5 x 120.5
Materials & techniques
Silk; Hand-sewn
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WDM-2009-S-641
Canada did not impose a head tax on Japanese immigrants, as it did on those from China. Even so, in September 1930 the government issued an order-in-council that prohibited the landing of “Asiatic” immigrants. Tokujiro Wakabayashi, from Shiga prefecture in Japan, had worked in the Canadian lumber industry and became a naturalized Canadian citizen in October 1930, one month after the order-in-council was passed. Tokujiro, or Tom as he would become known, made a special trip to Japan a few months later for his wedding to Kimi, also from Shiga, and soon after, in 1931, the Wakabayashis made their way to Canada. Even though she was classified as Asiatic, Kimi was allowed to immigrate to Canada as the wife of a Canadian citizen.
This furisode-style kimono was part of the trousseau Kimi brought with her from Japan. Made from silk, lined with red, and covered in symbols that represent joy, good fortune, and long life, Kimi had worn this kimono in Japan for special occasions in the years before her marriage.
In 1933, only two years after coming to Canada, the Wakabayashis opened a small fabric store called Mikado Silk in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Kimi, Tom, and family made Mikado Silk a Saskatoon and area institution for 65 years. The shop was known as the place to go for quality and specialty fabrics and excellent customer service. Kimi worked at the store for 52 years.
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