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Murakami House

Visit the restored home of a Japanese Canadian family who lived here in 1929 to 1942, before being forcibly uprooted during the Internment.

Exterior view of Murakami House on boardwalk under grey skies

The Murakami House stands on the shores of the Fraser River much as it did when the Murakami family settled here at Britannia in 1929. Otokichi and Asayo Murakami and their 10 children lived in this house as part of a community of 250 Japanese families on the Steveston waterfront. Otokichi was a trained boatbuilder, who built an average of two boats each winter, often fishing with one during the following fishing season.  Asayo worked in local canneries, berry farms, and vegetable farms to help support the family. In 1942, the Murakamis were forcibly uprooted from their home, along with more than 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were interned or sent to labour camps and farms located at least 100 miles from Canada‚Äôs west coast during the Second World War.

Their story is just one of many who experienced the Japanese Canadian Internment and subsequent years of hardship. It was not until 1949, five years after the war ended, that Japanese Canadians were permitted to return to the west coast. Like many others, Otokichi and Asayo Murakami chose not to return. They instead took on a new life farming on the prairies. In 1955, their son George returned to BC with his young family, and commercial salmon gillnet fished the rest of his working life; the other Murakami children did not return.

The Murakami House and adjacent Boatworks opened in May 1998 to visitors for the first time. The Murakami family has provided valuable information and artefacts to share their story through exhibits, documentaries and interactive activities.

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June 14, 2023 – Murakami House is currently closed to the public for envelope repairs.

To learn about the fascinating story of Asayo Murakami watch the documentary film “Obaachan’s Garden” by her granddaughter and filmmaker, Linda Ohama.