Alexander and Gore – sw corner

This 1934 Vancouver Public Library image shows the Nippon Auto Supply garage run by S Maikawa. Sadakichi Maikawa was one of five brothers, four in Vancouver owning a variety of Japantown businesses including hotels, rooming houses, communal bath houses (furoya), restaurants like the Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey, Taishodo Drug Store, Furuya grocery store and the Maikawa Fish store. T Maikawa was the largest store in the area, owned by Tomekichi Maikawa, who divided his time between his Vancouver business interests and a lumber business in Japan. This garage first appears in the street directory in 1926, but the business operated two years earlier than that at 102 Main street.

The Nikkei National Museum have Sadakichi Maikawa’s story. He was born in Matsubara Mura, Inugami gun, Shiga prefecture. He came to Vancouver on May 31, 1906 and went to a cannery in the Skeena to work. He opened a fish shop at 246 Powell Street in October of the same year with his brother Tomekichi. They moved to 369 Powell Street in November of 1907 and opened a grocery store. He worked hard for five years and then called his wife Chieko from Japan in 1911 who helped with the store. Kazuyoshi, Mickey Maikawa was born November 23, 1911 on Powell Street. Sadakichi went back to Japan in 1912 for business and when he came back, his brother Sannosuke helped this business and he opened Maru Man. At that time there was no competition, so Maru Man did quite well. But his wife got ill and passed away, and he had to abandon the store and begin a transportation business in December of 1913 at 369 Powell Street. He was ahead of his time in using automobiles instead of horses and had a lot of customers, enabling him to expand his business. He opened another fruit store at 324 Powell Street as well. He married Tetsuko, his second wife and eventually had eight children in total, by 1928 they had a nice large home at 551 Powell Street. His Transfer business grew into Nippon Auto Supply which had the largest garage and storage for automobiles perhaps in Vancouver. Sadakichi was a keen fisherman; his nephew recalls him driving his Buick at high speed to get to the Fraser river to fish.

Mickey Maikawa later ran the automobile business, and was also a star Asahi Baseball team player. He started playing in 1923 at the age of 12 and became a versatile pitcher. He was on the team from 1928-1934 who won the Terminal League Championship in 1930 and 1933 and played against the Tokyo Giants in 1935. Mickey also played for the Seattle Taiyos every weekend. Sadakichi supplied the trophy which was awarded to the team batting champion every year from 1934 to 1941.

The Maikawa family moved to Bridge River, a self supporting camp at the time of internment. The children had to be educated by correspondence as there were no schools there. Eventually they moved to Toronto, having had their business confiscated. The original structure is still standing, and looked the worse for wear for many years. A recent renovation has seen it used for a number of film and TV shoots.

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Posted October 9, 2017 by ChangingCity in East End, Still Standing

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