My Grandfather: One Japanese Man at Vimy Ridge.

If you go to the Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park, you'll find a war monument for Japanese Canadians who fought for Canada in the first world war. Yes, you read that right; Japanese men who fought for Canada in WWI.

Among the men listed on the Japanese Canadian WWI War Memorial is my grandfather, Masuro Tamashiro. (That looks a lot like him... second from the left in the middle row). Eh_12

Today is the anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge. The reason why I'm writing this is because my grandfather was there. He was actually at Vimy Ridge with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces... and he wasn't the only Japanese man there either.

I'm in awe of the fact that my own grandfather was at Vimy Ridge during a defining moment in Canadian history. In fact, 196 Japanese men volunteered for service in the first world war.  Of the 196 volunteers, 54 were killed, 93 were wounded (including my grand dad) and 49 returned home to Canada safely. 

More than 10000 Canadian soldiers were killed or wounded during the battle. How a 5 foot, 3 inch man from Okinawa managed to survive, I'll never know. I doubt that he even knew how to speak English. But somehow he and many of his fellow Japanese Canadian soldiers came home.

So today, is his day. I didn't know him well but I still am thankful. 

Below is an actual copy of his volunteer record from the Canadian Archives.

Masuro Tamashiro