Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Asano Terao Interview I
Narrator: Asano Terao
Interviewers: Tomoyo Yamada (primary), Dee Goto (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tasano-01-0026

<Begin Segment 26>

[Translated from Japanese]

TY: When you got married, when you had the arranged meeting, you already knew that you would go to the U.S. if you married him, if you married Mr. Terao. What did you think about that?

AT: Whatever it was, we thought back then that we wanted to go to the States. It was because my friend from the girls' school, what was it, I think her name was Miss Nakata. She and I were in the different classes, but to the U.S., such nice people couldn't go there. She said, "It will be to your interest if you could just see the U.S., so if you wanted to marry him, you'd better go." So she said. And the person, she had a good chance. She came to the U.S. She got married and came over. She said that human characters wouldn't improve if they lived in such small closed societies as in Japan. She said, "If one comes to such large places as in the U.S., and the person feels peaceful and does things, everything will succeed." She was, she came here for the farming, but at the end, they quit farming, and with her mistaa, [Ed. note: Mister. Issei commonly refer a married man as such.] she started like a small store. But, the store seemed to have been prospering. After that, they quit the business again, and they started a money lending business this time. With their talent -they understood English, and people didn't when they just came from Japan- so they did things like translation, and that's what they did. That's what a friend of Terao's told us. If it was like that, people back then suffered. At that time, what, the salary was just so cheap. Nowadays, salary is what, they say whatever hundred yen, but the things were cheap back then. But, they said they worked a lot. After all, it seems that those Japanese who came to the U.S. were mainly farmers. Those farmers made crops and sent them into the stores, right? And then, their ways to the future opened up. My husband said that this was probably how the current Japanese society today was established after all. During the time, they had children, so they had them study this much. Right? Today, people send their children to high schools and colleges in general, right? Then, they held down Americans, and the Japanese children came on the top. They became top students because they were smart. He said such things often.

TY: You had heard about the U.S., about many things.

AT: I heard about them, yeah.

TY: Did you hear success stories often?

AT: Oh, there were many success stories. Where we were, probably, let's see, a third of the village had been to the U.S.

TY: Is that so? Have you heard any failure examples?

AT: In the U.S.?

TY: Yes.

AT: There were many people who ended in failure.

TY: You still wanted to come over even if you heard such stories?

AT: Well, yes. But, we said that it was just good enough if we could see the place called Amerika. We couldn't really come over if we lived in Japan.

TY: You were very inquisitive.

AT: Well, there was also a feeling that it was good to see places as well as to have fun.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.