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Testimony 1

An anonymous, first-person account of meeting Nakayama for the first time.
Recorded in 2018.

I have never spoken to anyone about this this detail like I'm telling you now. 


In 1946, when we had relocated from the Slocan internment camps to Southern Alberta, that first summer was when Nakayama came to visit. He came riding his bike from Coaldale to Arid Springs when it was 98 above wearing his black suit. He came into our yard and was drenched in perspiration. I got him a glass of water and he smiled. He had eyes that when he looked at you they just bored into you. When he accepted the water he didn't thank me, he said "Thank God for cold water" and he swallowed it all down. Then my dad showed up and he said to Nakayama, "we are from the same community in South Vancouver, how is your family...we have just harvested some vegetables." My dad went and collected Nakayama some vegetables and gave them to Nakayama. Nakayama said, "let us pray to God for this gift." That's when my dad lost his cool.


He said, "Nakayama you're such a bloody jerk,” in Japanese. “Nakayama you know bloody well we are not a Christian family. I'm giving you a gift and you're not thanking me, but God. Our family has worked hard to grow these vegetables. You are obviously exhausted from your bike ride. You need to cool off. I'm going to cool you off.” Then my dad picked up the bike with the reverend still in it and started toward the pond. My dad was tough. I ran beside them and told dad to let him go. I said, "Revered, please get on your bike and leave and do not come back again. I don't want to see anything like this again or harm to come to you,” and Nakayama left.

-Anonymized to protect the identities of the individuals mentioned.

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