Open Doors Project
On June 30, 2010, Carmen Lam interviewed artist Mary Anne Tateishi as part of the Open Doors Project. Mary Anne's grandmother was the owner of Shibuya Clothing Store at 374 Powell Street. Below is part of the transcript from the email interview.   

What kind of clothing did they sell?

Women’s western clothing, including slips but not shoes or accessories.

I heard that the store also helped dressed brides when they arrived from Japan. Can you elaborate on this?

Yes, my grandmother Sono (Shibuya) Nakazawa, ran the women’s clothing. When the picture brides (women who came from Japan to marry on the basis of only a photograph) came from Japan in their kimonos, she would help to outfit them completely in western clothing and give a little advice about life in Canada.

Did your family live in the building or close by in the neighbourhood?

No, my mother’s family lived at 2303 East Georgia, near Templeton High School. They made a fairly good living from the store, and lived an affluent lifestyle for that time.

Who were the regular customers visiting the store? Local neighbours? Labourer’s from Hasting Mills?

Japanese people, more of the middle class than labourers.  My mother mentioned that many older women liked her mother to design clothing for them because she made comfortable clothing.

Where there other clothing stores located on the 300/400 block of Powell Street?

Maikawa Department store was across the street. Mom named another store, but I’m not exactly sure what it was.

Can you tell me a bit about your family’s history? When did they immigrate to Canada? Which town were they originally from (in Japan)?

Again, we’re not exactly sure of the year. My grandmother was married once to the original Shibuya who began the store, and then after his death to Yoshio Nakazawa, my grandfather. I get the impression that she was the driving force behind the business and a real personality. Unfortunately she died when I was an infant, so I never got to know her. She came from Yokohama.

Was the store a family run business?

The owners were my grandparents Sono Nakazawa and Yoshio Nakawa.  My mom’s brother, Harry Shibuya worked there part-time, but he was also studying to be a doctor before the war. My mother was only a young teenager but she worked there at Christmas. They had staff working there as well.