Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 14, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ytosh-01-0040

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AI: Well, now after they finished reconstructing the house in Japan -- and for people who don't know, we should explain that mura means kind of like a town or village, so --

TY: Mura?

AI: -- Meijimura is then--

TY: Village or something, town --

AI: Would mean something like Meiji Village Museum.

TY: Village, right, right.

AI: So after they had reconstructed that, then they invited you and your family.

TY: Yeah, in 1948, they had a dedication of the house.

AI: '98?

TY: 1984. '84.

AI: '84.

TY: '84. They had a dedication of the house and they invited my mother and all the kids over there and we went except May could not go because she had been in Japan on a sabbatical the year before that. And she couldn't take time off from her teaching job so she stayed here and unfortunately she didn't go. But Mike and Joe and myself and Mother went as their guests. And, of course, we had to pay most of our way over there, but they invited us over there anyway and we had a -- and it was really very interesting and they took us on a special tour of the house and so what we found out was they had, when they reconstructed the house, they left the downstairs, the church and they left -- used the upstairs as the living quarter. And all the furniture that my folks bought were upstairs, most of them are. And our family picture's in one of the room, also. And I understand now they don't let anybody go into the house. They used to, I guess, but they have it fenced off now, they felt that too much traffic, there'd be too much wear and tear on the house so I understand they don't let them in now. So I don't -- that's too bad. But well, interesting story about that, they took us on a very special tour, just us, the family, and the TV men, cameramen were just following us all the way and we got to one room and there was one table that we had in the living room in the old house. It had these curved, real curved legs, really antiquated-looking table, pretty good shape. And Mother looked at it and says, "Oh, see that mark there?" There was a little plug in one of the tables. The story in that plug was that when my mother, one day she was in the house and apparently this was when we were in the old house, the house that I was born in, and my brother, Mike, was, I don't know, maybe seven years old or something. He was riding the tricycle or something around in the living room and Mother was cleaning the house, dusting the table, and she opened the drawer, she found a revolver in there and she took it out. And said, wonder what Dad, what did Dad, what, apparently Dad forgot to tell her that that's, and she picked it up and it went bang. [Laughs] And fortunately the bullet hit the table.

AI: Oh, my goodness.

TY: And so that was the repair work that was done on the table and Mother mentioned that and the TV people thought it was very interesting and they ate that all up. [Laughs] Another side story. Anyway, it was kind of an interesting incident, I thought, that Mother remembered that. After what, just a minute, she looked at the table and that's the first thing she saw, which kind of surprised me. [Laughs]

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.