Densho Digital Repository
Alameda Japanese American History Project Collection
Title: Kenneth Narahara Interview
Narrator: Kenneth Narahara
Interviewer: Jo Takeda
Location: Alameda, California
Date: November 5, 2021
Densho ID: ddr-ajah-1-2-1

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JT: It's Friday, November 5, 2021, and we're here at the Buddhist Temple of Alameda. And I'm here with Ken Narahara. I'm going to ask, be interviewing Ken and asking you a few questions, Ken. So would you follow my lead?

KN: Okay.

JT: This is Ken Narahara. Kenny, can you tell us what year you were born?

KN: I was born December 16, 1936.

JT: Here in Alameda?

KN: My birth certificate shows Oakland, but we were living here in Alameda on Park Street. I don't know what they call those people that...

JT: Were you born by midwife?

KN: There you go.

JT: You were?

KN: Oh, I shouldn't have told you guys that.

JT: I didn't know that.

KN: Oh, I didn't know that either. Let's start all over again. Let's just say Alameda and make it simple.

JT: All right, well, I didn't know you were born... I knew you were born in Alameda, but I did not know that a midwife had your...

KN: You're not supposed to talk about midwife.

JT: Okay, start over. We're interviewing Ken Narahara, who was born in Alameda in 1936.

KN: Right.

JT: But before we talk about you, Kenny, I wanted to ask you a few questions about your grandparents. What were their names?

KN: Well, I don't know their first name, but they're from Fukuoka and it's a Narahara. And I'm not sure how old my grandfather was, but my grandmother was around nineteen, eighteen, yeah, 1899 when she came.

JT: To California?

KN: When she came to the United States.

JT: Were they married?

KN: Yeah, they were married. And I said my gosh, she was only nineteen. And they came and then my dad was born in 1901. And so from there, they bought that house, I was telling you about the one on Park Street, what do they call it?

JT: Right. Well, that's what I wanted to ask you first about your grandparents. From what I've studied, they had a ryokan, Japanese, we'll call it a hotel. And you said it was on Park Street in Alameda?

KN: Right there on Park Street, yeah. And they were people that was coming from Japan, and they were discharged in San Francisco and they'd take a ferry to Alameda. And they stayed one night. Sometimes even sailors stayed there more than that. But most people came and stayed one night and went to Sacramento where all the farming and where they could make money and go... I have no idea.

JT: Well, maybe they still were looking for gold, but I know that Alameda became a, what they call -- and I just heard this -- a way station. In other words, when people came from Japan, they heard about this ryokan on Park Street, the Narahara ryokan, and they came and stayed in there for a few nights and went off to look for jobs somewhere else.

KN: So I was surprised that my grandmother, she took care of the place, and my grandfather was the one that went to Sacramento, too. And I don't know what for. And so my grandmother, she ran the ryokan by herself.

JT: I know.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.