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-01-0006

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SF: You kind of mentioned some Japanese activities like the shibai and other cultural things and then you also talked about a lot of American things, baseball and sports and all that. Do you recall at that time, when you were growing up, did your parents or did any community people sort of suggest that, "Well, we should be more Japanese or we should be more American." Was there a kind of pressure either way, or didn't seem to be any and people just kind of lived their lives?

FY: Yes. I think... I shouldn't generalize, I speak for myself. My sister, my eldest sister, she went through lots and lots of restriction. She would curl her hair and my dad would be very angry. She would have some very limited makeup and he would be angry, and call her a prostitute. And it was bad. And she loved dancing and I can remember as a child, she had me step on her toe and then we would dance. And she... this is a hard subject for me. Because I was only three years old, but she... in writing my biography all this come up and all of a sudden there was a tremendous recall. She, she used to sing a lot and she loved art. In fact, by herself in her teenage state, she was going to Cornish Art School. How she ever got around to that... because I know our folks couldn't afford it. She was sent to Japan because she was being too, considered too rowdy. She had to be disciplined so she would be more like how the Japanese should be. Yes, so there was a lot of that type of thing and I'm sure that existed with others, too. The reason I got -- I'm sorry for getting emotional -- is she died there. And I had to be the one that read the telegram that said she died, and my mother was next to me.

LH: That must have been hard.

FY: And then years later, my mother regretted that all her life. You know that she sees TV, she sees young girls curling their hair and, you know, it was a, it was just a backward, feudalistic type of culture that existed. So you know... so as a result, the rest of us, at least I got a great deal of benefit. They let me be quite free and they didn't question what I did or how I felt, or...

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.