Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mae Kanazawa Hara Interview
Narrator: Mae Kanazawa Hara
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 15, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-hmae-01-0001

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AI: Today is July 15, 2004. We're here in Seattle. I'm Alice Ito with Densho, on the camera is Dana Hoshide. We're here with Mae Hara, and you're visiting from Madison for a short while. We're very happy to have you. Thank you.

MH: I'm glad to be here.

AI: I wanted to ask you, when you were born, what was your name that you were originally given?

MH: My name is Mae Kanazawa Hara. I was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1913. My mother and father are from Japan. My father came to United States in 1908, and he was a fishery major and he came to study. My mother came three or four years later in 1912, and at that time (...) one of Mother's relative was the pastor of the Japanese Methodist church in Seattle. When they landed here they were housed at the parsonage of (church) and that was where I was born, I was told. And so in the meantime, my father got into the fish/oyster business and, as has had it for all these years until the war. It dealt with aspects of fisheries and turned it into a business enterprise, and, and it was someplace around here that he had his store for a long, long time.

The thing that was interesting in his life is that -- I want to tell about, because he was one of the first persons to import oyster seeds, and at that time they were exploring, and they brought some of the fishery scientists over to study the area around here, and they felt it was an ideal place to have oyster beds. And so they experimented and they found that the oyster seeds that were propagated in Japan took about ten years to mature just like the eastern oysters in, on the East Coast. But by transporting that seed into the Northwest water, which was a little bit cooler, it accelerated the growth 'til the oyster matured in half the time, in five years, that they were of the size that could be used commercially. So that inspired a lot of people. Lands were surveyed around and that's the starting of the oyster business on the Pacific Northwest. And my father was instrumental in importing all these shiploads of oyster seeds to be transplanted. So that's the history of that, practically organizing a new industry, and there are today several of them left. And I think he had something to do with the Willapa Bay Oyster Company and the Padellic Oyster Company, and they are, I think some of them are still in existence. So I think that's an interesting... now my mother was a very --

AI: Oh, excuse me. Before going on to your mother, let me ask you about, what was your father's name?

MH: Kinmatsu Kanazawa, K-I-N-M-A-T-S-U. And he comes from Obama, Nagasaki, which is a country way up in the mountains outside of Nagasaki.

AI: And do you happen to know what his family did in Japan? What their family work was?

MH: I really -- I think they were farmers, because many, many years later, I had the privilege of going up and visiting them. And they're... I think they were farmers up in the hills. I can't tell you too much about it, but I did meet some of his relatives. Now, his mother was pregnant with him and her husband passed away, so she went back to her home and gave birth and gave the name of the Kanazawa. Now, she remarried and had several other children and they are the Yoshiokas, (our) cousins. And it just so happens that he married my mother's sister and they came to the States, so we've had close relation. The other relatives stayed in Japan, so that's a background that, that I have of, of him.

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