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-01-0005

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LH: Now, did your family try to maintain some Japanese traditions and activities?

FY: Well, the... only to be with the other groups. The temple would have their annual picnics or they would have shibais or they would have other activities, then they would attend. There are religious events, Bon Odori -- the street dance -- they would attend those festivals and there were many others.

LH: Can you describe some of the shibai?

FY: Well, unfortunately, I couldn't understand, so we would cut out and go to a movie or something else.

LH: Shibai was a form of Japanese theatrics that was performed.

FY: Yes, they would perform, I think, some of these traditional folk stories and they would have costumes. The samurais, they would have head gears, you know, the bald area, and they would have, women would have kimonos and they would have the samurai sword made out of wood, and of course, we still have some of these prop at the temple, and annually, during the Bon Odori, we would have these on display.

LH: If there was any heart of the community at that time, what do you think that would be?

FY: I think it varies. The young people, the Nisei, were primarily involved in sports. They had baseball, basketball and, of course, judo, kendo, a number of sports. I, living out in South Park, was not really involved in those activities because it was too far away. They did in the South Park community, they had some activity. But also, by the time I was in my teenage years, young teenage years, the Roosevelt administration instituted the, what they called the WPAs, which in turn had the artist, WPA artist group, and they had the field houses where they had instructors, both for male and female. This was great because after school we could go there and they would have activities, several activities, basketball and baseball and at the same time, maybe once a month, a WPA actors' guild, they would come down and perform. In fact, my first exposure to a musical, I don't know what you call it... a musical, opera, "Mikado," was by these performers.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.