Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Akashi Interview
Narrator: Tom Akashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Chizu Omori (secondary)
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 3, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-atom-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Now, so now that your father was a college graduate, at some point he met your, your mother.

TA: Yes.

TI: So how'd the two of them meet?

TA: All right, what happened is that at that time, they had what they called the Yamato colony. It was a newspaper publisher, and he, he bought land, this actually desolate land, in the valley, in the Merced area, Livingston, to be exact. And he bought acreage, and then he subplotted into forty, twenty to forty acres, and sold it to Isseis with the intention, says, "Hey, you people, if you're gonna come to (America), settle, become a part of America and get married, have children," and so he was aware of the Yamato colony. Because UC Davis is, Davis is not very far from Livingston, and there was a huge community there so he was aware and he got a job with a Kinoshita family, and helped them develop their land, and at the same time, he got a part-time job as a manager of the Cortez (Farmers) Association. And during that period of time, of course, my grandfather had, was farming in Cortez, and so...

TI: Oh, so your grandfather followed your --

CO: His mother's father.

TI: Oh, your mother's father, okay. Got it.

TA: My mother's father. My mother's father, he was farming, and then through contact, mutual contacts, they had a, what they called an intermediate, and introduced them, and that's how they met. So it was all the traditional Japanese style. You know family, they know family, and you get somebody that knows both families --

CO: Baishakunin, huh? That's what they used to call 'em.

TA: -- and then get the two together and, and that's it. [Laughs] And so they decided to get married.

TI: And about what year, do you know what year that was?

TA: About '27, maybe.

TI: Okay, '27. Because shortly after that, then they had Tosh?

TA: Yeah, so it should be '26. Just, get the years straight. [Laughs] No, it was '26. They got married, and then they went on a honeymoon to Japan. And when they got to Japan, of course, they had a big ceremony and everything else, and they welcomed her, and then he got sick. I don't know what it was, but he got sick, so had to prolong his stay in Japan. But after, after that, he, they returned, and they went to Atwater.

TI: Well, before we do that, while he was in Japan, I think I recall he, he received a wedding gift.

TA: Yeah, he received a wedding gift from his, his father. A few acres and a house, but he turned it over to his brother who then leased it out as a tenant farmer.

TI: I'm curious, was that a way to entice him to perhaps come back to Japan?

TA: Yeah, that was one of the reasons. I, yeah, and maybe that was his... in a way, when we were ready to, to voluntary repatriation, he says, "Yeah," he says, "I have this land," and he says, "I think this land could support us. So, yeah, I think he had that in mind.

TI: Okay. And so then he came back to Atwater, you said?

TA: Yeah, went, came back to Atwater and helped his brother farm, and what it is is that his brother got -- his wife got ill, because his wife was still in Japan, and he wanted to go back to take care of her. So he turned the farm over to my father, and that's when my brother Tosh was born.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.