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Biographies for Secondary Webquest

Takeuchi Family (Family 1)

It is September 1948. You are the Takeuchi family (pronounced ta-kay-oo-chee). You live in small, one-storey house in Westwold, a village in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. Westwold has a population of 200 people. Your house has neither electricity nor a telephone. Your family consists of a mother, a father, and three children. Your father was very sorry to leave his truck behind in Vancouver, but he had no choice when your family was required to leave the city in 1942. Now, he rides a bicycle to get around, and the rest of the family walks to places. There is a post office within walking distance of your house in Westwold where you pick up your catalogue orders. You have about $50 to spend on this order, which is the only order you will make this fall.

Income Table





Disposable Income Table





Each person in your group needs to select one of the following family members.

Miyoko (Mother)


My name is Miyoko. I am 34 years old.

I was born in Vancouver and my parents were born in Japan.

My life is very busy. I do all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry for my husband and three sons.

I do everything I can to help our money go as far as it can. I make some of my family's clothes and I do a lot of mending so that clothing lasts as long as possible.

I help feed and care for the chickens, and I also clean the eggs that we sell.

I don't really like to spend any money on myself although I need a new kettle because our old one is getting a hole in it. I need some fabric for making new pants for my eldest son and my husband. If we can afford it, I would like a new headscarf for the winter, although perhaps I could buy fabric to make one. I would also like to buy a small gift for each son for Christmas.

Go to these catalogue pages and choose a few things to order:

  • Kettle (Page 546)
  • Fabric (Page 322)
  • Headscarf (Page 91)
  • Toys (Pages 511 and 512)

Nawoki (Father)


My name is Nawoki. I am 43 years old.

I was born in Japan and came to Canada in 1919.

I work as a railway section hand, helping to build and repair the railway tracks near our village. I earn about $2,000 per year. I ride my bicycle to work each day.

Every morning and every evening, I look after our 100 laying hens, feeding them, and cleaning out their pen. Every other day, one of my sons helps me to bring the eggs by wagon to our neighbour, a farmer who buys them from us for a little extra spending money, maybe $300 this year.

I need a new egg crate for carrying eggs, and I could use a new cap and overalls. I'm starting to look for a new bicycle, but I'm not sure that we can afford one this year.

Go to these catalogue pages and choose a few things to order:

  • Egg crate (Page 531)
  • Cap (Page 281)
  • Overalls (Page 263)
  • Bicycle (Pages 476 and 477)

Norman Kiyomitsu (Child 1)


My name is Norman Kiyomitsu. All my English friends call me Norm or Norman, but my Japanese name is Kiyomitsu. I am 11 years old.

I walk to school every day, where I am in grade 5. After school each day, I wash our chicken eggs, move firewood, and cut pieces of wood into kindling.

My brothers and I like to play cowboys. It's our favourite game. We each wear a bandana but it would be really nice to have a cowboy hat or even a whole cowboy outfit.

I also love to draw. Maybe some pencils and paper would be nice. And mother says I should get some socks and mittens because the ones I have now are full of holes.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages:

  • Cowboy outfit (Page 510)
  • Pencils (Page 384)
  • Socks (Page 112)
  • Mittens (Page 112)

Robert Noboru (Child 2)


My name is Robert Noboru. Noboru is what my mother and father call me. My English friends all call me Bob. I am 10 years old and in grade 4. I don't really like school all that much.

I don't have too many toys, but I do have a Meccano set and model cars to play with.

I help out at home by washing our chicken eggs and also by cutting pieces of wood to make kindling for our stoves. Mother says I need new winter boots and mittens. I would like a toy airplane or car.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages:

  • Winter boots (Page 228)
  • Mittens (Page 112)
  • Model car (Page 512)
  • Toy airplane (Page 513)

Kenneth Mitsuo (Child 3)


My name is Kenneth Mitsuo. Mitsuo is my Japanese name, but all my English friends call me Ken. I am 9 years old.

I walk to school with my brothers every day.

I also help out with washing the eggs after school each day so that my father can sell them.

I love music, and Gene Autry is my favourite singer. I would really like a Gene Autry record. And I would like a guitar, sheet music and music stand for Christmas.

Here are my favourite catalogue pages:

  • Gene Autry record (Page 475)
  • Guitar (Page 471)
  • Music stand (Page 470)
  • Harmonica (Page 473)


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