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Richmond street names: Hayashi Court

By Issac Zhao

Published 2:29 PDT, Fri September 9, 2022

In 1913, Rintaro Hayashi arrived in Steveston from Wakayama, Japan at the early age of 12. He began fishing with his father who had immigrated to Canada in 1895.

Hayashi trained at kendo dojo Yokikan in Steveston, which was the first of its kind in Canada. Later he became the club’s head instructor, holding the position for seven years.

He was a member of the Steveston Martial Arts Centre building committee, and helped establish what would become the Steveston Kendo Club. He was also a director of the Canadian Kendo Federation.

In 1927, Hayashi became a board member of the Steveston Fisherman’s Association. He was made vice-chairman of the Japanese Fishermen’s Association in 1929.

When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, Japanese Canadians were wrongfully considered a threat to the nation. All Japanese fishermen had their fishing boats and rights taken away. Hayashi became an activist for fishermen’s rights, protesting government policies such as racial segregation in the B.C. fishing industry.

Upon his retirement from fishing, Hayashi authored books on the history of the Steveston fishing industry, and generously donated historical artifacts to the University of British Columbia as part of the Rintaro Hayashi Collection.

In 1987, Hayashi was honoured with the Order of the Rising Sun (6th Class) by the Japanese government. He died in 1995.

Hayashi Court, a small street in Steveston, was named after Rintaro Hayashi, honouring his actions during Japanese segregation as well as his benefaction towards the University of British Columbia.

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