Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yasashi Ichikawa Interview II
Narrator: Yasashi Ichikawa
Interviewer: Tomoyo Yamada
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: November 20, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-iyasashi-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

[Translated from Japanese]

TY: I would like to ask you again about the time before you went to camp.

YI: Camp?

TY: Yes. Just before you went to camp. At the last interview, you told us about your childhood, your marriage, coming to the U.S. and living in Fresno, having children, returning to Japan for two years and coming back to Seattle in 1936 when your husband became a minister of a Buddhist church. Then you talked about how people adopted American traditions. You started celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas at home when your children got older. So, I want to know where you first lived after coming back to Seattle.

YI: Oh, there was a house owned by the church. We lived there.

TY: At that time, the Buddhist church was at 1012. 1012... 10th Ave. and Main.

YI: Same as now. After the war, we returned to the same place as now.

TY: Then, where did you live when you came to Seattle?

YI: The place we lived when we went to Seattle was first somewhere up Main Street. What was the number? Two or three blocks toward downtown. They built the Yesler housing project there. Small houses. So we had to move out. We had bought a piece of land. Before then. A long time ago. So we built on that land, but when the building was completed, a war started. So we didn't use that one. It was new. But we went to the camp. To Idaho.

TY: So you lived in a house three blocks toward downtown from the current church. I hear that some single people were living at the temple, at the old temple.

YI: Oh, that one. It had an upstairs and some young people were living upstairs. Some workers.

TY: How many were living there at one time?

YI: Let me see. The number of people?

TY: Yes.

YI: There were not very many. There might have been four people. There were many rooms. In those days, churches had living facilities and country people lived there to go to school or to work. Every temple did.

TY: Every temple? Then, what happened to those people when the temple moved?

YI: Huh?

TY: Your temple moved, didn't it?

YI: Oh, those people moved elsewhere. The new temple did not have such housing facilities.

TY: Then, did you serve meals?

YI: Huh?

TY: Did you provide meals for them?

YI: Which temple?

TY: Meals. Did the temple provide meals for those people who lived there?

YI: No. They ate somewhere else.

TY: Did they do their own laundry?

YI: Uh-huh. In the neighborhood, two people were working at a laundry shop called Grand Union. It was quite big. That was run by two Japanese men. The boarders were working there. Two of them.

TY: How about the rent?

YI: Huh?

TY: Did the temple charge rent?

YI: Yes, yes. Because it was owned by the temple.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.