Rites of Passage

The Picture Bride

Picture brides were arranged through a friend or relative. The prospective groom and bride would exchange pictures and letters. If they liked what they saw, they would arrange to be married. It was a fashionable practice and appealed to young ladies who desired to leave Japan for the riches of a new country.

Takejiro Koyata came to southern Alberta with a group of Japanese to work at Knight’s Sugar Beet Company in Raymond. By 1916, he had bought a tract of land near Raymond and built a house. When he decided to marry, a match was arranged and photos were exchanged with Isa Yamamura.

Isa Yamamura arrived in Victoria in November 1917 and married Takejiro. They lived on the homestead for almost 45 years, and they later retired in the town of Raymond. Takejiro and Isa raised 9 children.

photograph of young japanese woman with hair swept up, wearing kimono, standing beside ornate chair; holding umbrella and piece of fabric formal photo of young man wearing a white shirt, tie, vest and suit studio photograph of young couple; woman standing wearing white blouse and dark skirt, holding a small purse; man sitting wearing suit, tie
Isa Yamamura, 1916
Courtesy of Toshiko Tanaka
Takejiro Koyata, 1916
Courtesy of Toshiko Tanaka
Koyata Wedding, 1917
Courtesy of Toshiko Tanaka