Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto Interview
Narrator: Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: SeaTac, Washington and Seattle, Washington
Date: August 3 & 4, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-kmarion-01-0004

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AI: And where was your family home when you were a child? Where did you grow up?

MK: Okay, in Seattle, near the Japanese Baptist Church, I think that was on Tenth Street. And oh, just a few years ago the home still existed. But it was a flat, and, and beyond that, I really haven't followed it. And then, let's see, before the war we did move to Twenty-fourth Avenue. And my father really believed in mainstreaming, being that we came to America, he, he felt that we should mainstream and go to the American schools. And he wasn't afraid to take the steps that really gave us the advantage of the American system.

AI: So, when you were very young and you were living at the Tenth Street house, that was quite close to the Japanese Baptist --

MK: Community.

AI: The Japanese Baptist Church --

MK: Right.

AI: -- and the, the Japanese community and the kind of Japantown area of Seattle.

MK: Uh-huh.

AI: And that was also where the Tsutakawa business was located (on Main Street). Is that right? Near...

MK: Right. It would still be maybe a couple miles, but close enough. Uh-huh.

AI: Well, and so then, when you moved to the Twenty-fourth Avenue house, Twenty-fourth and what, approximately?

MK: So, it was the 900, 924, Twenty-fourth Street. Yeah, Twenty-fourth. Twenty-fourth Avenue, excuse me, Twenty-fourth Avenue. And so it was close enough to walk to Washington Lake to go swimming.

AI: So, that was farther outside of the main Japanese community?

MK: Yes, uh-huh. And I remember, most of my classmates in Japanese school were living behind the mom's shop, store. But I noticed -- and these are things that were, as a child, it was provided to you so you didn't... (...)you don't remember it as something that was -- what do you call it? -- adventuresome, or something, advantage in society. But now that I look back on it I can see where my father was not afraid. He tried to mainstream, give us the best.


AI: Okay, so I was just going to ask you about the Twenty-fourth Avenue house. Where were you going to school then, when you were living there?

MK: Oh, the Rainier, Rainier School, elementary school.

AI: And were most of your classmates at the school, then, Caucasian, or a mix of kids?

MK: Very few Asians. Including the Chinese, I think maybe there were, might have been six out of the class of thirty. Most of them were Caucasians. There were Italians, as I remember. But within the block, I think there were maybe three Japanese families, one Chinese family. So it was integrated, but very slowly. [Laughs]

AI: And did your mother or father talk to you much about being Japanese, or wanting you to behave a certain way or proper behavior?

MK: Not in a competitive way. But I think more because we were Tsutakawa. Now that I see it, it just seems like a lot of pride, but anyway, we just don't do this or whatever, we just took it as law. And I mean, we were kept in line, but not as if, because we're Japanese. Primarily it was because we're Tsutakawa.

AI: So it was a matter of family pride?

MK: Family pride, I think (...). [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.