Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Shibayama Interview
Narrator: Art Shibayama
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 26, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-sart-01-0035

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AI: And then after you came back, and you had been working for a while --

AS: Yeah, right.

AI: Then --

AS: Then we got married in '55.

AI: So, where did you and Betty have your first home?

AS: In the city, small place. We were renting up an apartment. And then after that, oh, in fact, it was near Wrigley Field, Cubs' park.

AI: Did you go to a lot of ballgames there?

AS: Not really a lot. We used to go maybe half a dozen times a year. And not only that, but Chicago had two teams, the White Sox and the Cubs. So we used to go to Sox games, too, so...

AI: Well, and so then, you had started your family then, and your children --

AS: No, we didn't have our first one 'til (two) years later.

AI: (Two) years later. And that was your daughter?

AS: Yes. Bekki, our daughter, was born 1960.

AI: And then you had --

AS: And then two years later our son Brian was born.

AI: So, where were you living when, when they were young, when the kids were young?

AS: Well, see, after... we, after, I guess (before) Bekki was born, we moved up north to my brother-in-law had a three flat apartment so, so we, we moved in one of the flats there.

AI: So, when you say up north, is this still in Chicago?

AS: Still in Chicago, near Evanston, but still in Chicago.

AI: And then you were still working at the Ford dealership?

AS: Yes.

AI: Well --

AS: Yeah, I worked there 'til 1963. That's when a real big Ford dealership opened not too far from us. So then they asked our bosses, there were two, two partners, they asked them to, they have to move. So, so then they decided to retire instead of moving to a new place. So then I had to go look for another job. And I got a job with a Chevrolet dealership, closer to our house.

AI: Well, so then, during this time, I'm just wondering, I know there were quite a few Japanese Americans who resettled in Chicago after the war and they were probably all starting families at about the same time. I was wondering, were you part of a Japanese American community at all? Or did you get together with other Japanese Peruvians, or other people from Fukuoka-ken, or, I'm just wondering what kind of gatherings you might have had?

AS: No, like in Chicago you know, like they used to have a lot of boys clubs and girls clubs, so, so we mingled, and plus, by then, we spoke better English, so we were able to communicate with them. And so, so we belonged to a club. And I joined a club named Robabies. Because the older, they had a Roman, club named Romans and the younger brothers made a club and they called them, themselves Robabies. And when I joined them, the reason I joined them because they had about six guys that were in Seabrook, formerly from Seabrook. So they talked me into joining them.

AI: Oh, so that was part of your social life?

AS: Right. So, so we used to make our own team and play softball and basketball, whatever.

AI: Well, now at this time, was Betty working outside the home, or just mainly at home with the kids?

AS: Well, she worked until Bekki was born, then she stayed home and take care of the kids.

AI: And also, can you kind of describe the neighborhood that you were living in as the kids were growing up, what did that look like?

AS: It was mostly, it was mostly hakujins, and a few Niseis here and there.

AI: And as the kids started going to school, do you think they faced any kind of prejudice or anything like that?

AS: No, I don't think so.

AI: Any kind of experience like that? Because you had said earlier that you didn't really experience much --

AS: No.

AI: -- prejudice in Chicago.

AS: No, not in Chicago.

AI: Right. And so, then as your kids were still young, but I'm wondering did you or Betty ever talk to them about being Japanese American, or in your case, did they know that you had originally come from another country?

AS: Oh yeah, they know, they know I come from, from Peru, but we didn't talk too much about it.

AI: And were they able to communicate with your parents much, because your parents were still Japanese- and Spanish-speaking and your kids, did they, were they able to talk to their grandparents at all?

AS: Not too much. Well, like, like they were able to speak to Betty's grandparents, but not to mine because they didn't, they kinda understood little bit of English, you know, but, so they would talk to them in English and answer in Japanese and we'll have to get in there and translate and things like that.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.