Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gene Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Gene Akutsu
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-agene-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

LH: So, where was your house located in Seattle?

GA: Well, are we talking about when I was young or right before evacuation?

LH: When you were young.

GA: When I was young? Well, I was born in Seattle and I lived, from what they tell me, we lived up there on Ninth between Spruce and... Fir and Spruce, until I was about one year old and then they moved down to Seventh and Yesler until I was about two or three, I guess. And then they moved up to the place on Alder, between Alder and Spruce. Up the alley there was a four-plex and that's where we spent our, most of our time until they closed up or they made us all vacate that area to put up the low cost housing project back in 1938, 9. And then we had moved up to Tenth and Alder, back to back with a day nursery, which now still stands.

LH: So you had quite a bit of movement in there while you were growing up from different, different houses.

GA: Well, not really. My, I'm compacting some fourteen, sixteen years.

LH: Yeah, I guess that's true. But you also mentioned, when we were talking earlier, that there was an interesting name for that area that they called it...?

GA: Oh, you mean (Profanity) Hill, otherwise known as the red light district. We thought, I should say I thought they were nice ladies. And when they'd ask me to go pick up some bread or newspaper or milk for them, I'd go out to get it at a grocery, which was about a block away, and in return they'll give me a nickel or a dime. And I thought, boy, these are nice ladies, get nice, nice tips so that I can buy candies or whatever, and never entered my mind what kind of business those people were in.

LH: So were there other, a lot of Japanese living in that area as well and at that time so...?

GA: Yes, that was basically, where I lived was in the fringe of the, most of 'em were members of the Baptist Church and all, most of the congregation was in that area. They all lived within, say a half-mile of the Baptist Church, so there were quite a few Japanese, Niseis.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.