KUCHING: Officials from Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS), Samarahan Resident Office and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) visited the Kimura family in Kampung Quop near here today in an effort to revive and perpetuate the family’s history.
MPKS chairman Datuk Peter Minos said the initiative was aimed at preserving the history of Hiroshi Kimura, a Japanese man after whom Kimura Road here is named.
“In 1913, a Japanese student in his 20’s, seeking adventure and business opportunities, took a long arduous ship ride to Kuching and somehow ended up at a Bidayuh village Kampung Quop, off 10th Mile Bazaar, now Kota Padawan,” he shared on what he had discovered during his visit to the family.
According to him, this was where the love story began, for Kimura met a beautiful Bidayuh girl at Kampung Quop, fell in love, and married her.
He said he then bought a large piece of land, and combining this with that from his in-laws at the area slightly off Kampung Quop, he developed a rubber garden.
“He did very well in the rubber trade and from the profits, he built a nice big country house, situated at the end of what is presently Kimura Road,” he said in a statement.
Minos said that when the Japanese army invaded Sarawak in 1941, they wanted Kimura to join them as a Kempeitai officer but he refused and so he was set free to go back to his family.
In 1945, when World War II ended and the Japanese were defeated, Kimura befriended the British and they awarded him something akin to a permanent resident status – thanks to his sagacity for not joining the Japanese Kempeitai.
“The British gave permission for Kimura to build the road, which is now Kimura Road, all with his own effort and expenses.
“A man of intelligence and grit, in the 1930’s he owned and operated a tractor and a Ford car – way more advanced than the locals. That created his name and reputation and it lasts until today,” Minos said.
Kimura passed away in 1962, leaving eight children and many grandchildren.