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-01-0049

<Begin Segment 49>

CO: So where did she live, and what kind of work did she do?

TA: All right. She lived in San Francisco.

CO: San Francisco.

TA: And she made, she did domestic work. And I think she did domestic work until she retired.

CO: Well, she worked hard all of her life for her children. [Laughs]

TA: She did. I mean, she really did, and you could only appreciate your mother once you get old and once they're dead, once they die. Then you say, "Oh, my God, all the things that she did for us." I mean, she would give her last kernel of rice for her children, rather than eat it. So that's the kind of woman she was. She was a strong-willed woman.

CO: But then she did bring her, enable her daughters to come here, so --

TA: Yes.

CO: -- so she was close to them in, in her old age, then.

TA: Yeah. The children were here, Mits by then was out of the army. So she was happy, and, in fact, after we told her to retire, she lived a pretty happy life.

CO: Uh-huh.

TA: You know, she went to Reno, played poker, and did all those things that the old Isseis do. [Laughs]

CO: Well, San Francisco is a nice place for Issei. I mean, I know, I've been to some of their senior functions and stuff.

TA: Yeah, yeah, so it's... she, yeah, the senior functions in San Francisco. And she did a lot of that thing. And she got very, along very well with Mits' wife, and they did things together. So I think that maybe all the suffering was, was worth it in the end. I guess, maybe, she never said it, but probably there's a resentment that my father didn't come back. At first it was understandable. I mean, he, he in no way was gonna return to the United States because of the treatment that he went through. But eventually, he got older, and I think even getting him to come to the wedding was quite an, quite an accomplishment on all, all the children's part, because they asked him to come, and, of course, he said, "No," and they insisted, and then he finally acquiesced and came.

CO: Well, here's five of you now living fairly close together --

TA: Relatively, relatively close together, yeah.

CO: Yes, uh-huh. In talking to your sisters, they said, "Well, because we were brought up in this kind of scattered fashion, that there wasn't this feeling, a close feeling of family experiences together sort of thing, but now you're getting much closer.

TA: Yeah. It's one of those unfortunate things, like, like I'm the outsider, because I was always away. I was in the military service, serving in various places. So I was never around. And then, of course, each one had their independent ways, and then once they got married, they had their own family and things like that. So yeah, that closeness, there's a lot of closeness between Mits, Satsuki, Tomo and Junko. They're close. They, and then my older brother, he's in Japan, and he's kind of distant, and I'm kind of distant, but they're trying to rope me in. I mean, we do things together, not as often as we should. Probably after this, maybe we'll do more things together.

<End Segment 49> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.