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Ocean Falls

Nihei, John Kumaji

  • Person
  • 1902-2001

John ("Johnny") Kumaji Nihei was born May 6, 1902 in Fukushima-ken, Japan. He came to Vancouver in 1919, where he worked as a "house boy" (as it was then known) and played for the Vancouver Asahi baseball team until 1923. Mr. Nihei moved to Ocean Falls in 1923, where he worked for the mill and was part of the Japanese United Church. He was inspired during these early years to become active in the social justice movement within the Japanese community. In 1942, during the uprooting of Canadians of Japanese descent, the federal government sent him to road camp in Lemperire, B.C., to work on construction of the Yellowhead Highway. He was then sent to Tashme internment camp to help build the settlement, where his family later joined him. After the war, the family lived in East Lillooet (1945-1951) and then settled in Hope. Mr. Nihei died November 26, 2001 at Hope, B.C.