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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-01-0027

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[Translated from Japanese]

TY: You and your mother, two of you, you were close to each other.

AT: Yeah, we got along.

TY: About leaving your mother behind.

AT: I was sad.

TY: You missed her?

AT: Mother cried. I cried, too. But, Terao said, "Mother, well, you must feel lonely, but please be patient. I will bring her back soon." But, I got used to it soon after. Mother, she had my sister. So it was good. But, I was a girl after all, and she herself made mistakes as a yoshi, so she said she would never make us yoshi, so that's why.

TY: She was fully prepared for your marriage.

AT: She was. So I said, "The family of Nagao, please just make sure to protect the grave," and they said that they would protect it and wouldn't neglect it. We bought a tombstone on the side of the house. After I got engaged, after I returned, we sold the space, and we asked the temple to take care of it. We settled the grave in the grounds of the temple. At that time, what was it, 1,200 yen in the Japanese money, I think. They said that they could move it there. Then, they said it was 1,200 yen, but we paid 1,500 yen. We also asked the chief priest, "Sorry to trouble you, but please recite a sutra as well." Then we left most of the things to the temple, and they moved the grave that was in my family's land to the grounds of the temple. It is still in the grounds today. There, the priests always burn incense sticks continuously. Those family members back home told me that they were thankful that the priests visited the grave. So I sometimes think that I should send them some money, but I am busy. Since I have grandchildren nowadays. [Laughs]


TY: About coming to the U.S., what did your mother say?

AT: No, mother had already given up. She said it must be fate after all. She said so. My successor, the one who continued the Nagao family, the son of my uncle whose name was Tokuo, the middle child, and him. He had good grades in school, too. He liked me and called me his big sister. It would be nice if we could adopt him, we said.

TY: Then he was your cousin, wasn't he.

AT: That's right. So I gave it to him. I gave him the family name Nagao. I asked him to protect the grave, I told him to take care of the grave. I said that I would give all my estate to him instead. So I did. He was happy. He wrote me a letter thanking me that he would never forget the favor throughout his life, and that he would always be grateful, but he died in the war.

TY: Was it the World War II?

AT: Huh?

TY: It was the World War II, wasn't it?

AT: Yes, that's right. He died. Well, his children are still there. One of the children, last time he came to the States, well, he entered a university in Canada, and he told us that he would stop by on the way, and he did so, but no more relationship, we didn't have the relationship through blood any more. I didn't know him because I never saw him. I... the family lineage of Nagao, I told them to give my share of estate to whoever would continue the family name Nagao. I told them that I didn't even want a penny since I didn't go to Japan. It seemed like the relatives had a meeting. Then, Tokuo said that he would continue the name Nagao since he was the second oldest boy. He also said that he would take care of the grave, too. Then, the grave, we used to have it close to the house before, we held it like this for a long time. We moved it to the temple. But, this time, we sent money to the temple, and we had it in the way that the temple would take care of it. That's how we do it now. It is better this way, to have the temple do it. If we left it on the side of the house, and once people who live there change, they don't take care of it, but if it was at the temple, the temple has the responsibility, so I sent 1,000 yen in the Japanese money then. Then the temple said that they would be happy to take care of it forever, and that they would do it. Then, in Japan, since it is different from this country, we go to our family grave and offer candles and burn incense in the beginning of every year. So I feel at ease with it. Since then I had lost the connection with the relatives in Japan.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.