Treasures from the Vault, episode 1

Molly and Jim Fukui collection

Collections Manager Lisa Uyeda introduces treasures from the museum vault. In this episode, we showcase a picture album from the Molly and Jim Fukui collection.

Molly and Jim Fukui Collection include 745 photographs, 18.7 cm of textual material, 17 objects date 1933-2012.

This collection consists of items from Masaaki (Jim or Jimmy) Fukui and Shigeko (Molly) Fukui (née Madokoro) arranged into five series. The first series titled, Masaaki Jim Fukui Government Issued Documents, consists of Jim Fukui's birth certificate and registration card. The second series titled, Molly and Jim Fukui Photographs, consists of four photograph albums compiled by Jim and Molly and capture photographs of the Fukui family, Madokoro family, family friends, Asahi baseball team members, members of the Vancouver Powell Street community, and life at Greenwood camp during the war years. The third series titled, Jim Fukui Asahi Baseball Career, document Jim's career as a member of the Vancouver Asahi Baseball Team, including a scrapbook, retrospective exhibition materials, a calendar, four medallions, a glass award of recognition from the JCCC, and a photograph of Jimmy Fukui in a novelty baseball glove picture frame. The fourth series titled, Family Documents, contain additional textual materials, including a diary by Jim Fukui's mother, two Japanese calligraphy scrolls, and an article titled “The Small Illustrious Legacy of K.M. Boat Works.” The fifth series titled, Molly Fukui's Personal Belongings, consist of Molly's kimono and yukata used predominately while in Greenwood, BC and her large green metal suitcase used to transport goods upon forced uprooting during the war.

 

Biography

Shigeko (Molly) Fukui (née Madokoro) was born in 1924. Her father, Jitsuji Madokoro, came to Canada with his parents when he was 17, returned to Japan, then came back to Canada with a wife when he was 25. He then went established K & M Boatworks with Sajiemon Kuramoto. Her father was a draftsman and worked in boat building in Coal Harbour. The Madokoro family lived on Vernon Drive in the East End of Vancouver, BC. Molly had three brothers, Mamoru, Tom, and Hiro. She attended Seymour School, Templeton Junior High School, and Grandview High School. She also attended the Vancouver Japanese Language School for twelve years. She was in the drama club, played badminton, and briefly practiced judo. Molly Fukui passed away in Surrey, BC on June 3, 2017.

Jim Fukui was a pitcher for the Vancouver Asahi Nigun (seconds). His brother, Joe Fukui, was also a player on the Asahi baseball team. Their father, Yaju Fukui, came to Canada in 1906 from Asa gun in Hiroshima prefecture. Yaju Fukui was a businessman, and brought his business acumen to Canada, opening a grocery store a couple of years later, at 433 Alexander Street, Vancouver. His store was very successful due to his select goods and services that supplied the lumber mill and the community at large. He also had a boarding house (Fukui Ryokan) in the back of his store. He tried logging, contracting, and other side jobs, to supplement his income. He was community minded; serving as a Japanese Society Councilor and member of the Japanese Commerce Association, as well as serving as Treasurer and Auditor of the Hiroshima Overseas Association.

Yaju and Chikako Fukui were married and had five sons and two daughters, who all helped with the businesses. Their sons would deliver goods to outlying areas, and their daughter would help with translations, and getting people to the doctors and such. The Fukuis lived at 433 Alexander, until the forced removal of Japanese Canadians from the west coast in 1942.

Joe Fukui began his baseball career on the Asahi Nigun (second level) at a young age, in 1928, at about the same time as Mickey Maikawa and Ken Kutsukake. Once he made it to the Ichigun (Asahi first level) team, he was rated as the smoothest first baseman ever developed in the Northwest Japanese Canadian baseball centre. His powerful hitting frequently gave the Asahis a win at Con Jones Park. His capabilities were exemplified on the night of August 14, 1936, when Joe had "four for five," including a double, and the score was 16-4. He contributed to wins for the Asahis at the Terminal League Championships in 1933, and in 1938, for the Triple Championship (Burrard-Commercial-Pacific Northwest Japanese). His baseball career, as part of the Asahi team, spanned 10 years.

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