Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Minoru "Min" Tsubota Interview
Narrator: Minoru "Min" Tsubota
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Tetsuden Kashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-tminoru-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Well, you mentioned earlier your father had stomach cancer. And in 1930 was when the accident happened. So, what happened to your father next, I guess?

MT: He finally passed away in, I believe it was 1932. And so, 1930 my brother Masayoshi died. Dad died in 1932. 1933, 1934 my sister Yachiyo died. So Mother really went through a very trying time during that short period.

TK: Speaking of community solidarity, when your father passed away there must've been a pretty big funeral for him?

MT: It was a very big funeral at the --

TK: Do you remember anything about that funeral, and...

MT: I remember the, the picture itself, in olden days I don't know... I think that picture is about that long. Where the camera would start at this end and everybody would stay still and it goes all the way across and they take the picture. So the picture is about, about that long, about that high of the whole, lot of people there, just tremendous backing from the Japanese community, so...

TI: And in addition to all the personal tragedy, at that point, did you still own the sawmill property or was that gone at that point?

MT: No, we owned it because that property, when Dad started the sawmill, the antialien land law was in force so Dwight Hartman, who was sort of a father, godfather to me and my brother, in fact, he, his relatives were part of the Meeker family in Kent that owned a lot of property there. And so, he purchased the property in his name and then, 'til my brother became of age, and then, so he had it even when we went to camp. Held it, he couldn't sell it, so...

TK: Could you explain that relationship between him and your father and the family? It sounds sort of unusual where a non-Japanese would be willing to put his name up in terms of the owner of the property, really, he knew that it belonged to your family?

MT: Uh-huh.

TK: How did that relationship start and, where you became a, sort of like a godson to him?

MT: Yeah, well, he was very close because of the fact that the property that he purchased in his name, across the street was the, oh, hundreds of acres of property that belonged to the Meeker family, the pioneer family. And he was a relative of that, so, but he got to know Dad about the time that he had this shook mill in the east side of Kent and it gradually grew and as we came along, he got closer and closer to our family. And it wasn't a situation where we, they met all the time or anything, but he was an attorney in Seattle and when problems came up like this, well, he was more than willing to help us out. So...

TK: Did you have any social occasion with family together at all?

MT: No, no, no. Not those days.

TK: And the communication was done in English, so your dad was able to speak enough English to talk with him?

MT: Enough to, or some of the older Niseis would help interpret and help my dad solve his problem with the attorneys and things.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.