Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kara Kondo Interview
Narrator: Kara Kondo
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Gail Nomura (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 7 & 8, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-kkara-01-0003

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GN: When were you born?

KK: I was born in 1916. And my name is Kara because on my birth certificate it was K-a-r-u, and my first grade teacher said she misread that and gave me K-a-r-a. So I have retained it since that time.

GN: Do you want to tell us something about reservation life for the Japanese Americans? I mean, why come to the reservation rather than...

KK: Well, the reservation land was quite open land, although it was under the Yakama Nation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs had their land managers, and they had allotted the reservation land to various Native American families. And that gradually was, as a descendents occurred, they sold off it. In many instances they sold the land to people, to the buyers, and... but it was an open land, and leasing was made easier for the, for the Japanese. And, and that's why so many of the Japanese settled here, although there were quite a number of Japanese in Yakima city, itself, which is a little larger city, and who had the usual small businesses, operated small business such as having small hotels or grocery stores or restaurants. And, but the larger population -- Japanese population -- in the Yakima valley, which is a fairly large valley, settled in the, the, what we call the mid-valley area around Wapato, Toppenish area. And Toppenish had a nursery that had really, earlier (...) employed a contingent of Japanese from Hawaii, who had come from Hawaii.

GN: Is that the McDonalds?

KK: No. It was --

GN: Washington Nursery?

KK: It was... oh, I can't remember the nursery, but it was in Satus area, that's south of Toppenish area. And it's still on the reservation, I believe.

GN: Your father began to then farm?

KK: You know, I have... yes. I think he leased land in the Brownstown or the Bench area -- we called it the Bench area -- and had a alfalfa or hay farm. I think it was around 80 acres -- 160 acres, I think it was. And that's where, in that area -- I was born in that area. Until, he leased that until the anti-alien land law which made it much more stringent, and quite a number of people left the valley at that time.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.