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Description found in Archives

Thomas K. Shoyama fonds [textual record, graphic material, object] 



Place of creation


3.07 m of textual records.
2223 photographs : 1354 b&w photos; 1 b&w transparency; 517 col. prints; 15 col. negatives.; 10 col. slides; 326 nitrate negatives.
1 watercolour.
1 drawing : pencil.
2 pins

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, reports, speeches, memoranda, honorary degrees and awards, circulars, clippings and other documents, as well as photographs and drawings created and received by Thomas K. Shoyama. The material covers his university years, his work as editor of The New Canadian, and his rapidly advancing post-war career in the Saskatchewan and federal governments, as well as his final post at the University of Victoria and retirement life. The fonds contains a mix of personal and work-related files. These papers document not only Shoyama's life and career, but also the experiences and development of the Japanese Canadian community before, during, and after the Second World War/ internment. Documents include correspondence and a wide variety of subject files. The material has been organized according to the following series: Early career series (divided into three sub-series: Correspondence, Subject files and Photographs); Saskatchewan series; Ottawa series; and Victoria series.

Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
See lower-level descriptions and restric
ted access form for details.

Graphic (art)
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
from 16 to 18
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
90: Open
Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
18: Restricted
Textual records
96: Restrictions vary
90: Open
90: Open
90: Open
Archival reference no.

Textual records MSS2354 90 (Electronic)

Graphic material (Photo) File and item level finding aid for photographs on S:/ drive. FA-427 90 (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

Thomas Kunito Shoyama was born in Kamloops, British Columbia, on 24 September 1916; his parents had emigrated from Kumamoto-ken, Japan around the turn of the century. He was the third of six children, with an older brother and sister, Kazuo and Fumi, a younger sister Mitsu, and younger brothers Arthur and Masato. He completed his high school education in Kamloops and entered the University of British Columbia in 1934. Shoyama also worked as a labourer at Woodfibre, a pulp and paper mill employing Japanese immigrants and Nisei (the first generation of Japanese Canadians born in Canada), on the B.C. coast. Shoyama graduated from U.B.C. in 1938 with combined degrees in Arts and Commerce.

He then joined Edward Ouchi and Shinobu Higashi in publishing a weekly newspaper, The New Canadian, which began regular publication in 1939. The newspaper was published entirely in English at first and became a vehicle for Nisei to express their views on human and civil rights issues affecting them and other minority groups in British Columbia. As the Japanese Canadian community was dispossessed of its property and relocated to camps in the interior of B.C. and elsewhere, The New Canadian moved to Kaslo. Shoyama continued as publisher and editor of the newspaper until he left in 1945. He then enlisted in the S-20 (Japanese language) unit of the Intelligence Corps of the Canadian Army.

After his discharge from the Army in 1946, Shoyama was hired by the Economic and Advisory Planning Board, a central economic research and planning arm of the government of Saskatchewan. He spent a year doing graduate studies at McGill University in 1948-1949 and then returned to Regina to continue working for Tommy Douglas and the C.C.F. government. Shoyama married Lorna Moore in December 1950; their only daughter, Kiyomi, was born in 1956. Shoyama became secretary of the EAPD in 1950 and finally left the position in 1964. During this period, Shoyama also served as a director of a number of provincial Crown corporations.

Shoyama moved to Ottawa in 1964 and joined the Economic Council of Canada as a senior economist. In 1968 he joined the Department of Finance and in October 1968 became an Assistant Deputy Minister. In 1974 he was appointed Deputy Minister in the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources and in April 1975 became the Deputy Minister of Finance. He moved from this position in February 1979 to become Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Constitutional Matters. In May 1979 he also became Chairman of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, but resigned both positions in the fall of 1979.

In 1980 Shoyama left Ottawa and became a professor at the University of Victoria, with appointment to the School of Public Administration and the Centre of Pacific and Oriental Studies. From 1983 to 1985 he served as a member of the Macdonald Commission on Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. Shoyama also undertook consulting work for the Canadian International Development Agency in Ghana, Kenya, and the South Pacific Islands. He retired from teaching in 1992.

During his career, Shoyama was the recipient of a number of honours: he became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada the same year. In 1982 he was awarded the Vanier Medal in Public Administration and in 1992 was appointed by the Government of Japan to the Order of the Sacred Treasure. He received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia and the University of Windsor in 1984 and from the University of Victoria in 1999.

Subject heading

1. Shoyama, Thomas K., 1916-
2. Japanese Canadians History
3. Canadiens d'origine japonaise Histoire
4. Officials and employees Canada
5. Fonctionnaires Canada
6. Officials and employees Saskatchewan
7. Fonctionnaires Saskatchewan


Related control no.

1. 2003-00455-6
2. 2004-00789-3
3. 2007-00568-9
4. 2007-00569-7