Ewar Dicinoski/Togawa Iwakichi (Photo supplied by author)
By Steve Dawson
In May 2022, the Japanese Consulate-General in Brisbane sponsored a cultural event Consulate Conversations and invited Nikkei Australia members Dr Yuriko Nagata and me to speak. I took this opportunity to share the untold story of my great-grandfather, Ewar Dicinoski (Togawa Iwakichi), and the origins of the unique Dicinoski clan whose many descendants permeate Queensland and other parts of Australia.
You can view the talk here.
Ewar was the son of Sakuragawa Rikinosuke, who was the first Japanese to settle in Australia. Ewar’s story combines happiness and sadness, as he was impacted by historical events and government policies that were an early prelude to Australia’s harsh internment and repatriation of Japanese during and after World War II.
After arriving in Australia as a young boy, Ewar essentially grew up as a travelling acrobat, and raised a large Australian family as an acrobatic troupe with unique talents. The life they knew was a happy one, but Ewar experienced racial scrutiny by authorities imbued with growing anti-Japanese sentiment to the point where he felt compelled to cease the only life he knew, and to hide his family’s Japaneseness.
Other stories about Steve and the Dicinoski family:
The first recorded Japanese in Australia: Steve Dawson’s family story
Hello my name is trevor dicinoski Ewar Dicinoski was my great grandfather i am the descendants of Cecil Dicinoski my family live in longreach
Hi Trevor. I think we chatted a fair bit on Messenger? Thanks for the details about Cecil’s many children, and for following Nikkei. Please pass on the link to this story to your family members.
Will be in touch.
Take care, Mate
Thank you, Steve, for your presentation. It was so interesting and it meant special when it was told by a descendant of Ewar. It is great to know that the family is now interested in their heritage. I knew David Sissons quite well. I will tell his widow, Bronwen Sissons that David’s work has been appreciated by your family.
Hi Keiko. Thank you for your kind comment. Please convey my best wishes and those of the Dicinoski clan to Mrs Sissons, Many, if not most of us, would be unaware of our fascinating Nikkei connections without his wonderful, dedicated research. We owe him a lot and my attribution to him is an understatement.
I found this information very interesting for i was told we where polish or Russian it is good to know where we are from my family always argued about there father on where he was from i can see why he did not want people to know about his heritage
Hi Trevor. Thanks again for commenting on this Nikkei story. Our Dicinoski ancestors certainly faced a dilemma with respect to revealing their Japanese roots, and, understandably, a decision was made to hide their origins. I feel fortunate that we live in an age where we have the means to discover and explore these histories and need not fear repercussions.
My name is Zelda Nee Dicinoski and Sacuragawa was also my great great grandfather. I have also pursued our interesting family history and their struggles against facial discrimination after and during the 2nd world war.
Hi Zelda. Thank you for your comment, and my apologies for this late reply. I am quite interested in understanding the struggles your family faced during and after WWII, because, to my knowledge, the Japanese heritage of Dicinoskis remained unknown until the early 1970s when your grandfather, Reginald, was interviewed.
I will contact you via email.