I was born in the Year of the Ox in Steveston BC, eldest daughter of a fisherman and a cannery worker. Fraser River was at low tide. My mother gave birth to me in the local Nikkei Fisherman’s Hospital. My childhood years were spent in Japan, stranded by the vagaries of war. I was raised there by my grandma.
I always knew I wanted to be a painter – I painted everything I saw. Returning to Canada in my late teens, I studied Fine Arts for four years at Vancouver School of Art, now Emily Carr College.
From the need to survive I took various mundane jobs, then a prince disguised as a clown arrived on the back of an ass and swept me off my heels. After that I worked extensively in theatre as a performer and costume designer, but for the past twenty years, along with growing vegetables and flowers, I paint every day.
I work mainly in oils and acrylics and draw inspiration from my forest garden and mountain home. I have had numerous exhibitions, and have paintings in private collections in Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico and the USA.
Tsuneko Kokubo (Koko) shares the story of her childhood in this film. Koko performs an interpretation of a dance created and choreographed by Hiromoto Ida as a tribute to his grandmother.
Telling the Stories of the Nikkei
Film – Falling from the Sky