Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Seichi Hayashida Interview
Narrator: Seichi Hayashida
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Sheri Nakashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 21, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-hseichi-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: This is a Densho: Japanese American Legacy Project interview, conducted August 21, 1997, of Seichi Hayashida, by Alice Ito and Sheri Nakashima. Filmed by Matt Emery at the Japanese Language School in Seattle, Washington. Seichi, I'd like to start by asking a little bit about your family background and ask you about your parents and why they came from Japan, a little bit about them, when they came.

SH: Okay. My father came in 1901, I think it was. And my mother came a few years later, several years later. He came because like most Isseis at the time, thought they could better... life would be better, money to be made easy in the United States. And, he was a farmer and I think I've heard stories -- most of the people that first came over were farmers, not businessmen in Japan, but mostly farmers coming from poor communities. Mainly their thing was that they heard -- just like the European people when they first settled in America -- everything was so nice and easy in America. They all thought they'd come and make a fortune. They... all the Isseis figured they were gonna make a fortune in a short, few years, and go back to Japan. Most of them didn't intend to stay, from the stories that I've heard or people tell me that. Now, I don't know if that's true or not, but that's what my dad thought he could do. But, since he didn't, well, he called my mother over and...

AI: So, they were already married before he came to the U.S.?

SH: Oh yes, oh yes, they were married. I had two older brothers that were seventeen and fifteen years older than I am.

AI: And they were born in Japan.

SH: Yes, born in Japan, and both of them are gone now.

AI: So, did your brothers come over with your parents?

SH: No.

AI: They stayed in Japan. And can you tell me a little bit about what your parents were like?

SH: Well, my dad had, I think he said he went to school for about only five or six years. And, but he was able to read and write. My mother never did get to go to school. She was oldest of five sisters, and she was the oldest and she didn't go to school, period. She wasn't able to read or write Japanese, the language. That seems to have been the case, in many cases, where the oldest one didn't get a chance to go, at that time.

AI: Now, they were in Seattle when you were born, is that right?

SH: Yes. My folks, my mother managed or worked in a rooming house. My dad worked for Furuya Company as a salesman and delivery, because he learned how to drive, one of the first ones to start driving in Seattle. And he got tired, tried farming. So he started farming in 1924.

SN: I'd like to ask you a little bit more, maybe about your family. Do you know what area of Japan they came from?

SH: Where?

SN: Uh-huh. What prefecture?

SH: They came from Kumamoto Prefecture.

SN: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.