Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Dale Minami Interview
Narrator: Dale Minami
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Margaret Chon (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 8, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mdale-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is February 8th. We're in Seattle. This is a Densho interview and doing the interviewing is Tom Ikeda, that's me, and Margaret Chon from the Seattle University, and on camera is Dana Hoshide. But Dale, the way we start this is, I'm just gonna have you tell us your full name, and if there are any reasons why they named you the way they did, and talk a little bit about where and when you were born.

DM: My name is Dale Minami. I was born in Los Angeles, in East Los Angeles at the Japanese hospital there -- 'cause that's where you had to be born when you were born Japanese in Los Angeles -- October 13, 1946. I don't really know why they named me Dale. They named my older brother Roland and my middle brother Neil and myself Dale, which were kind of unusual names. I think they wanted a girl. And they figured they could have a unisexual name or bi-gender name and that would perhaps help the process, but no, I became a third son, a family of three, three boys and parents.

TI: What was the age difference between you and your brothers?

DM: My older brother was six years older. My middle brother is a year and a half older than I am. Older brother was born in 1941 and was just a young child when he had to go to the camps, and so I think the opportunities to have additional children in the camps were not so good. So my second brother wasn't born until they had left the camps and moved to Milwaukee.

TI: Now, how about your grandparents? Do you know from what part of Japan they came from?

DM: Yeah. On my mother's side they came from Kagoshima and from my father's side they came from Kumamoto.

TI: And then how about your parents? Where were they born?

DM: My mother was born in Santa Maria and my father was born in Riverside.

TI: Can you, can you just tell me a little bit about your mother? What was she like?

DM: My mother was, always told me that Kagoshima people were a little bit different, you know? 'Cause they had developed their own culture and they were resistant to attempts to get taken over by the rest of Japan.

TI: That's funny, because my mom's family is from Kagoshima, too --

DM: Is that right?

TI: -- and she says the exact same thing. [Laughs]

DM: She does? Good. Well, I'm glad someone else did, 'cause I thought it was just her telling me this story. But I know that my, the, their... my grandmother, for example, my obaachan was really tough. She didn't die 'til she was -- the day after she turned a hundred. But even before that she was very tough personality. And my mom is very, very, very sweet but she has this really sense of chanto, you gotta do things right, which she instilled in us. And she has terrific compassion and heart, but she's, she's still pretty tough. She's eighty-nine years old. Demands to live by herself, independently in the house that they had built some years ago.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.