Silk Kimono

collected in 2007
RBCM 2007.37.1A-N

This is part of a full silk kimono set with elaborate layerings, garments and accessories, including sock-slippers. Originally owned by Akiko Kamitakahara (September 26, 1931-June 12, 2012), it relates to a significant chapter in Japanese Canadian history.

Beginning in the 1890s, Japanese immigrants settled in BC, many on the coast. In 1942, however, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and long-standing discrimination, the Canadian government ordered the removal from the coast of all people of Japanese origin – including Akiko and her family – and placed them in the camps in the Interior or east of the Rockies. During her time in camp as a young girl, Akiko lost her Japanese heritage.

Later in her life, when she visited family in Japan, they were shocked to learn that she had never owned a kimono. They purchased this new set for her in Kyoto, an ancient capital of Japan. It became her first and only kimono, and symbolically connected her to an important part of her cultural heritage and identity as a Japanese Canadian. Akiko led an active life, engaging in and supporting many diverse cultural and community sectors, including the Royal BC Museum, until she passed away.

This object selected by Dr. Tzu-I Chung. View Profile »