Canon Paul Ken Imai, a Japanese Anglican priest who was imprisoned during the Second World War and ministered to Japanese Canadians who were experiencing the aftermath of wartime internment in Canada, died in Toronto on Nov. 27, 2007. He was 96.
He was ordained a priest in 1940, after attending St. Paul’s University in Tokyo and General Theological Seminary in New York. Drafted into the Japanese army, he saw action in the Philippines and New Guinea, where he was captured by American troops and interned in a POW camp in Australia. Returning to Japan in 1946, he became chaplain at a Tokyo girls’ school. Six years later, he was asked by the Missionary Society of the Church of England to serve Japanese Anglicans in Toronto. He earned a master’s degree in theology at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College.
He stayed in Canada for 26 years. “He loved this country. He would write his Sunday sermons between periods of Hockey Night in Canada,” wrote his son, Shin, in a profile published in the Globe and Mail.
He served St. Andrew’s Japanese congregation and was appointed an honorary canon of St. James Cathedral, both in Toronto. He contributed to a Japanese translation of the Book of Common Prayer.
He is survived by his wife, Grace Yachiro, and children Shin, Margaret and Rei.