Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0004

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LH: In the area of South Park, there were a lot of Italian Americans living and growing up?

FY: Out in the farm area, yes. Most of the farm, in fact, all of the farms were owned by Italians and Joe Desmond, of course, was the largest farmer out there. And these were all truck farms. The Japanese, no, there wasn't a single Japanese that owned land. But I think that was because of the alien land act. I think you're more familiar with that, that than I. There was a restriction.

LH: Would you say that there were a lot of other Japanese Americans living in, in your vicinity, in your neighborhood?

FY: Well, I would say about eight or nine families. You know, which made it comfortable enough so that we were not alone. There was another area in South Park where there was a community, but it was about 2 or 3 miles away. Again, you know, traveling in those days, very few people had cars, so if we were to travel 4 or 5 miles, 6 miles, that seemed like it's a long, long way off.

SF: Since a lot of your buddies were Italian kids, how would you describe the relationship between the Japanese kids and the Italian kids or, or even the parents or the other families in the area since it was a mixed kind of neighborhood?

FY: Uh-huh. The Italians, of course, stayed among the Italian and they had their festivals. They were predominantly Catholics and the Catholic churches were always on top of a hill, so they would have their various church events and looking back, it was wonderful because the Italians that we knew, they all sang. And the kind of song they would sing would turn out to be operatic arias, or songs from musicals. And one would think later on when I grew up, some of the people I've met, they said that, "Gosh, you're really familiar with opera." I didn't know they were opera, I thought they were just folk songs. [Laughs] But I do, even now, I see, occasionally I'll see some of my old friends and we talk about the old days and there was a lot of singing. It was nice. The Japanese, of course, had their activities among themselves. And because my parents originally lived in the city, many of their close friends were still in the city, in Seattle. And so every Sunday, they would go to the Buddhist Temple and I think the summertime, the hours, I'm not sure, around seven o'clock, maybe, in the evening and then the service. And then in the winter, I think it was earlier, I can't remember. They, that was a regular routine, going to the Buddhist Temple on Sundays.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.