Ichizo Sato migrated to Australia from Japan in 1901. It was the time of the Immigration Restriction Act which severely limited immigration to Australia from countries in Asia. He initially worked for a Japanese ladies' tailor named Kojiro Nakamura in The Block Arcade in Melbourne.
He established himself as a tailor at 51 Toorak Road, South Yarra. In 1909 he relocated to 97 Toorak Road and a postcard of Toorak road shows a sign above a verandah reading: I. Sato, Ladies' and Gentleman's Tailor (an advertisement for spring sales in 1918 in the Argus also records his address as 97 Toorak Road). In 1910 and again in 1912 work was suspended at his work rooms for a period of eight weeks for breeching employment laws. His good friend, fellow Japanese migrant Setsutaro Hasegawa, purchased his well-made suits from Ichizo, some of which are in the Museum's collection, and also lived for a time at Ichizo's premises around 1916.
4,301 Japanese civilians were interned in Australia from 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. Few were excluded or released early. Nearly all were repatriated or forcibly deported after World War II unless Australian-born or had an Australian-born spouse. Ichizo Sato was arrested as an enemy alien on 27 January 1942 in Geelong, his tape measure taken from him and he was sent to Tatura. Although he had arrived in 1901 and was married for over 20 years to Eva Elizabeth Chue, an Australian of Chinese heritage, Ichizo was deported to Japan in 1946.?