Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yamakido Interview
Narrator: Joe Yamakido
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 4, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe_2-01-0001

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AI: Today is July 4, 2004, and we're here at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage in Klamath Falls, Oregon, at the Oregon Institute for Technology. I'm Alice Ito with Densho, on videography is Steve Colgrove, and we're here with Mr. Joe Yamakido. Thanks very much for taking the time.

JY: You're welcome.

AI: And I wanted to start off with just asking you when and where were you born?

JY: I was born in Los Angeles, and my father was a telegram messenger, and my mother was doing domestic. After they saved enough money, they went to farming; they went out (to) the country. They went to Mecca, in the Imperial Valley. I guess they didn't do so good (there), so they (...), moved to Compton. From there they moved to Harbor City, and that's where they stayed until we went, went to camp.

AI: And what name did they give you when you were born?

JY: Well, my name was Atsumi Asa. That's in my birth certificate. My mother wanted to name me Arthur, but Japanese language, there's no "r," so they thought she said "Asa," so instead of "Arthur," it's "A-S-A," my middle name.

AI: And what was your birthdate, the day you were born?

JY: Three-three, '22. And then when I was going to high school, well, we had two horses. One horse named Fred, and one named Joe. And they heard about it, and then when I was going to high school, the people, my students, they don't know how to pronounce "Atsumi," see, so they started calling me, "Hey, Joe," Joe, so I took, I used it and I put it on all my driver license and everything, social security.

AI: So that's how you got to be known as Joe.

JY: Yeah.

AI: Well, tell me about the other kids in your family. Who was the oldest?

JY: My family?

AI: Yes. Your, your oldest brother?

JY: Oh, you mean our family. Yeah, oldest, I'm the second brother. See, the Japanese, their custom is they take care of the oldest son, in case the father has accident or something and die, he could take over his place. So, like, when we go to school, I used to stay home and do all the farming work, help out my dad. So I went to school only ten weeks out of twenty weeks, but I still graduated 'cause I used to go to, I didn't miss Friday because that's when, test day, but I graduated.

AI: So your, what was your older brother's name?

JY: Haruo. But he picked up the name Charlie, I don't know where he picked it up. Everybody called him Charlie.

AI: And, and then you were born in 1922.

JY: Yeah.

AI: And then who came after you?

JY: Johnny. His name is Masaharu. He picked that Johnny name up, too.

AI: And then after Johnny, who came next?

JY: Tad. See, his name is actually Tadao, but they call him Tad for short.

AI: And then after Tad, who came next?

JY: Chidori. She picked the name Jean.

AI: And then after her, who came?

JY: Akiko. And she picked up the name, picked up the name Pat, Patricia.

AI: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.