Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fumiko Uyeda Groves Interview
Narrator: Fumiko Uyeda Groves
Interviewer: Larry Hashima
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 16, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-gfumiko-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

LH: I think where we'll start, then, is really with your grandfather's immigration story, because that's actually really interesting in the fact that he is two generations removed from yourself. How did he come to the United States?

FG: Well, actually, my grandfather was a veteran of the Sino-Japanese war and the Russo-Japanese war, and when the wars were over, he didn't, there wasn't too much work in Japan and so he decided to do something else. And so then he and some friends from the village came to Vancouver Island, and they worked in the coal mine there. And then it turned into winter and so snow on the ground and everything so then they went over to Vancouver, B.C, and they worked in a dry goods store. And during that time, this, I believe, there was about three or four of them, during this time they prepared themselves to come down to the States, they provisioned themselves. And then so one night they all spent five dollars for a boat trip, and it was a rowboat. And in the dark they rowed from, somebody rowed them from Vancouver Island to Port Blakely on Bainbridge Island because there was a very thriving community in Port Blakely, and... thriving Japanese community. And so then they were taken care of there and then from there, they were put on, they were brought over to Seattle and then put on the train and then they went from Seattle to Portland to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

LH: And what year was this, that this all happened?

FG: This was in, if I remember correctly, it was about 1899, 1900.

LH: So how was this, I mean, it seems pretty elaborate for them to go from Vancouver to Port Blakely to Seattle to Portland and then to Wyoming. How did they sort of follow this trail all the way out to Wyoming?

FG: There were people already settled in these places. What Port Blakely was was a mill town and then there were people from Hiroshima there, right. And then in, there were people from the village in Hiroshima in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I think it was my father's brother-in-law or something that was already there. And so they usually, the immigrants, always go where the other people in the village have already...

LH: So was the kenjinkai connection between Hiroshima for your father, your...

FG: Oh, it's very strong and because if somebody is from Hiroshima like then when they get to the mines and somebody from their own village or even their own ken come, you tend to be more open and you welcome them. They're way out in the country. There's nothing else there so...

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.