Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview II
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 5, 2001
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: Today is November 5, 2001. We're doing an interview with Frank Yamasaki. I'm Alice Ito with the Densho Project, and Dana Hoshide is our videographer. And Frank, your first interview with Densho was in August 1997, so thank you for coming back again. And in that interview, you gave us some family background and said that your father had immigrated to the United States in 1898. And when was it that your mother immigrated to the United States?

FY: She came in 1913. That was about time the, World War II -- no, I -- was going on, and I think shortly after that, they purchased, leased a hotel, so they were in the hotel business. When she came, she -- because my father was so busy, she had to do some of the shopping. And my father would ask her to buy a half-pound of meat so that she could cook it with vegetables. After about a couple of months, my dad says, "Get a little different kind of meat." Well, she didn't know. She just used to go to the butcher shop and ask for "meeto." [Laughs] And she didn't know that they had pork, beef, other type of meat. So it was a, quite a experience for her.

AI: I bet. Well, now, to recap a little bit about your family, could you describe your brothers and sisters?

FY: Well, my eldest brother was born right in Seattle on Dearborn Street -- well, I was born there, too. When he was growing up as a child, he was not too happy because he had the name "Harry," and apparently when he was born, whoever that was helping with the paperwork told my parents that he should have an American name because it's in America. So his name was originally Harry, but he was unhappy because all the neighbor children were all, had -- all had Japanese name. So they changed his name to Kazuo.

AI: And so that was your oldest brother.

FY: Right. And my next brother was Masao. And my name is Hideo. The irony -- the funny part here now in my case, my -- and my older brother's case, Masao and me, all our friends had American's name, and whenever we were in school, the teacher had difficulty pronouncing our name. So he changed his name to Robert and mine to Frank. [Laughs]

AI: And you, you and your brothers were three years apart.

FY: We were all three years apart, so it's easy for me to remember their names. My eldest sister was three years -- nine years older than I. My eldest brother was six years older. The brother above me was -- Bob was three, so it's easy to remember the age.

AI: Right. And then some years later, then, you had a younger brother.

FY: Some years later -- gee, it's several years later -- I had a brother named George, and he was about two or three years old when the second war broke out.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2001 Densho. All Rights Reserved.