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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-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

[Translated from Japanese]

TY: Nineteen hundred, you came to the States in 1920, and you started the process for the issue of your passport after you got married, right?

AT: No, no, pass, well, I already got my passport in Japan.

TY: That was after you got married, after you got married...

AT: Yeah, after I got married. There, what was it, I went to apply to the prefectural office.

TY: In Hiroshima.

AT: The prefectural office, yeah. I went to apply there, and I got the passport there. The passport, I had it, but I think it is in the bank now. It said "non-immigrant." [Ed. note: The word on Mrs. Teraos' passport was "Hi-Imin"; not an immigrant. This indicates that although Mrs. Terao was an "immigrant," she did not immigrate as a "laborer."] It showed that I was not an immigrant. I obtained the passport, and the color was different, I got it and came here. So...

TY: The passport was issued rather fast.

AT: Huh?

TY: The passport was issued quickly. Your passport, it was issued quickly.

AT: Oh, it was from the prefectural office. Other ones, from where, they were issued by the government. The color was different, and it was written that I was a non-immigrant. It was a passport written such things as I was not an immigrant, not an immigrant.

TY: How were they different? Regular immigrants and non-immigrants...

AT: Well, when you received the permit for the non-immigrants, you couldn't travel the third class.

TY: On the ship.

AT: Yeah, we only could travel the second or the first class. But, if there were many people, there were only so many first and second class, right? There were many third class. To the third class, we... Terao was going to be drafted , so we had to hurry back. Otherwise, he had to go to the physical examination for conscription. There, there was a big hotel called the Taisei-ya. They took care of it. We went there and stayed there, then they told us that they would prepare it right. So they did it for us, and we still couldn't get on the ship. We were waiting for our turn, but what was it, about ten people were waiting. Then we just skipped nine people because we had the permit, so we could get on the ship. When we arrived at iminkan, there was no examination after landing if you had the permit of non-immigrants. They just had us landed. They had us back immediately.

TY: You said that those who had the non-immigrant's passport couldn't work at such places as sawmills.

AT: No, they couldn't.

TY: What other places couldn't they work?

AT: Well, Terao worked for the Frye. He worked for hakujin, so I don't know. I don't know too much about others.

TY: Had it already been arranged that he was to work for the Mitsubishi [Ed. note: mistaken for Mitsui] in the beginning? Or, was it after he arrived in the U.S.?

AT: No, after he came. After he came to the U.S.

TY: He applied...

AT: Yeah, the Mitsubishi.

TY: It was the Mitsui, wasn't it?

AT: Work... His friends, they said it was so and so, and they said that he should go and negotiate. It wouldn't do anything if he just played around, so I said, "Why don't you go?" Then he hated bowing to everybody. In Japan, he was called, "The master of the Teraos, the master of the Teraos," so he hated bowing to people.

TY: Was that because he came here when he was young and grew up here? Or it wasn't like that...

AT: He came here to escape from the physical examination for conscription. That was why.

TY: When he returned to Japan to find him a bride, he was able to stay there up till 3 months, right? If I remember correctly. Draft, to escape from the physical examination for conscription...

AT: That was December, he came at the end of December, and it was the end of June, I think, when he came back to the U.S. after he married me.

TY: Then he was in Japan for six months.

AT: During the time, he must have had many things he had to do. Together, we visited places for fun. All over. We went to Kyushu and visited other places. To India, India, what, we visited India for some occasions. Calcutta, it was such a beautiful city. We spent one night there and we came back. To this direction, where was it, Moscow, we went there and spent one night. When we went out to the Sea of Japan, the sea was so rough, and it was just awful then.

TY: And the married couple...


TY: You had to be on either the first or the second class on the ship because you had a permit, a passport of the non-immigrants. The third class was for the people who were traveling with the regular passports. How, how were they different?

AT: Which, I was, I received the permit of the non-immigrant properly from the prefectural office. So, to tell the truth, I had to travel the first class. But, all the first class was -- both the first and the second class were full. We couldn't get in. Then we had to wait for one to two months. Then my husband was close to be drafted, right? So we couldn't do that. When we told them the reason, the hotel let us board on the ship. It was okay if we traveled the third class. We took the meals from the second class, we took the meals that those who were traveling the second class were eating, and since we didn't have sheets, we just came in a room in the third class. There was a big hotel called the Taisei-ya in Yokohama. We had the place as a base, and we asked them to take care of everything. So, if the first class was available, we were supposed to travel the first class, but there wasn't any when we applied. We had to leave Japan since the physical examination of conscription was coming up for my husband. For this reason, the third class then, and we said, "Then, let's go to the U.S. promptly," we took the third class. They took care of everything... [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao scratches her collar bone.] Sorry, sorry, it itched.


TY: The second, the first, I mean, you traveled by ship on the third class, but you ate the meals of the second class.

AT: Yeah. That was because, to tell the truth, we had to travel the first class. For the type of the passport we had. But, we were told that the ship had already reached its capacity so that we couldn't travel. There was a big hotel called Taisei-ya. We asked them, then, they said that they would try somehow, and the person, the staff of the Taisei-ya hotel went through a lot of trouble, and that was how we could get on the ship. We were supposed to leave Japan because of the army, the physical examination for conscription. It was illegal, that, that we were still in the land of Japan, right? So we wanted to get on the ship as soon as possible, and the master of the Taisei-ya said that he would manage to do somehow, and he took care of the ship, and he had us on board. He was very kind to do that for us.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.