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-02-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

[Translated from Japanese]

TY: By the way, you mentioned that you played the organ at the temple.

YI: I am not very good at playing the organ, but I played some at funerals.

TY: What kind of music do you play?

YI: At the funerals. I did not get any formal training. I took some lessons hurriedly when my husband told me that I would have to play the organ once we arrived in the U.S... so a little.

TY: In Japan?

YI: Uh-huh. I learned from a female music teacher at an elementary school. So I was not very confident, but played at the funerals.

TY: We don't play the organ at funerals in Japan, do we?

YI: I suppose not.

TY: In that sense, too, it looks like the Temple adopted the American traditions.

YI: We play music at the weddings, don't we?

TY: Yes.

YI: In Japan, too. Although you may be using a record now.

TY: Then, at the Temple weddings, you played music...

YI: Uh-huh. In the old days the wedding march was the same. So I played at Etsuko's daughter's wedding. But nowadays, people want the music they like when they have a wedding at this temple. That means you have to learn music and practice for each wedding. I don't have time for that. So we ask a musician who specializes in weddings.

TY: I understand there was a youth group band.

YI: Shinya was a member of the band. It was called Skyliner. Akira was a member, too.

TY: How old were those band members?

YI: I don't understand.

TY: Were those members at a junior high age?

YI: Yes. When the band was formed at the temple, Shinya was one of the youngest members. How old were you?

Shinya: Thirteen.

YI: He was about thirteen.

TY: Then was the band organized after the war?

YI: After the war.

TY: How about before the war?

YI: The temple didn't have one before the war.

TY: There was no band. Also the children sang songs.

YI: They sang their own church songs.

TY: Did they do that before the war, too?

YI: Yes, we did that. The first generation people sang songs together at the end of the New Year's Day parties. We sang a new year song: "First time, first..." We all sang that song together and then asked those who could sing well to sing more. They all sang with full heart. It was fun. Most of the second generation could still sing in Japanese and sang Japanese songs. But hardly anybody sang English songs. The second generation people wanted to hear some English songs and so asked why they didn't sing more English songs. The answer was that if they sang in English, everybody would find out how poor their English was and it would be too embarrassing. [Laughs]

TY: You mean the first generation.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.