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-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: Well, and, what was your father's name, and mother's name?

MK: Okay, my father's name was Joji, J-O-J-I, it's a measure, it's, the kanji would be interpreted as a measure. And being the sixth son, and the ninth kid, I guess, it would be quite... [laughs] I guess they were running out of names, but anyway, that's what he was named, Joji. And my mother's name was Yachiyo like in the Kimigayo, it's the eight, eight centuries. And apparently, when she was being born they heard the song being sung and so this is why they named her Yachiyo.

AI: Well, and, how did you get your name? What was your name given to you when you were born?

MK: Okay, my name was... we all got Japanese name. It was Masako. And there's about three ways of writing Masako and I was always told that mine was the more intelligent or the -- I think all Japanese put a lot of interest and focus in the meaning of the name. And so they told me it was the best Masako, kanji, yuuga no ga. And so this is, again, they emphasized the best or the perfect, perfection, or whatever, so you somehow pick up on it. [Laughs]

AI: I'm sure you do.

MK: You do.

AI: Well, as a very young child, do you remember learning English, or do you remember what language you spoke in the beginning?

MK: Oh, it was all Japanese, because my mother, I don't think in those days (when) my mother attended her high school. They were really learning English as a class. And so, she was definitely... it was all definitely Japanese.

AI: So, when do you remember speaking English?

MK: Well, I think I learned a lot of it from my oldest brother, because he had to break the society and go into the, well actually, he attended the Japanese Baptist Church preschool and nursery. And I fol-, when he was mingling with the American kids, well then, he would begin to use the American words. And so I guess it would have been a little bit easier for me, and...

AI: Do you remember having any trouble with English in your early school years at all?

MK: I don't think I was a really sharp kid. But anyway, because I had the two languages, I mean, as soon as I was eligible for the Nihon gakko, which is the Japanese school, local Japanese school, we had to go a little further to attend this school, but we attended the two schools every day after the regular school. And the other, the piano lessons and the things like that, I mean...

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.