Kitagawa, Genzo (1897-1976)

A leader of the province’s Japanese Canadian community, Genzo Kitagawa was born in Shiga-ken, Japan on April 28, 1897. In April 1911, he joined his father in Canada. He came to Regina in 1929 and opened Nippon Silk, a store that sold imported Japanese goods with branches in Vancouver and Calgary. When the Pacific War began in 1941, the name of Kitagawa’s business changed to Silk-O-Lina in order to avoid unnecessary public harassment. The business grew substantially throughout the postwar era and three more stores were opened in Regina between 1964 and 1975. In recognition of his entrepreneurial spirit and his contributions to others, Genzo Kitagawa was the first Japanese Canadian invested into the Order of Canada in 1973. He died on March 22, 1976.

Canadian Plains Research Center

Further Reading

Gordon, G. Issei: Stories of Japanese Canadian Pioneers. Toronto: NC Press Limited, 1984.