Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yosh Nakagawa Interview
Narrator: Yosh Nakagawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 7, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-nyosh-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, so today is December 7, 2004, and we're in the studios of the Densho office. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And today, this morning, we have Yosh Nakagawa. But before we get into the interview, Yosh, I mentioned today is December 7, 2004, and so obviously this day has significance. It's the day sixty-three years ago that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. And I know it's a day that many Japanese Americans sort of think about, and I just wanted to get your thoughts about this day and what it means to you.

YN: Thank you. Yes, it's a very significant day because December 7th, though I was a child, set the pattern of my understanding as a Japanese American from that point on. Just last week, I did something that I never would have thought of doing, but I walked from the Japanese Baptist Church, the pathway back to where our grocery store was, and continued on to Seattle University. And as I walked that path, I remembered clearly that it was the 7th of December, 1941, was Sunday, and it was also in the morning that the bombs fell. Never knew what that meant as a child, but as I walked (...) to celebrate a story of (the) remembrance (garden) at (...) Seattle University, I found a lot of significance of December 7th. From one that would never have appeared (or spoken) close to the date of 7th, wanting to be invisible through much of my early life, for the embarrassment of that of being a Japanese American, for the burdens of Pearl Harbor rested upon (my mind that led to) the internment of my people.

Today, December 7th, I'm speaking. It is a privilege to speak on the 7th of December, because I have come to the understanding that the 7th of December is a part of American history. It doesn't belong to the Japanese American. It's a part of a story from 1941, the 7th of December, to the end of Nineteen hundred and forty-five. And from that point on, the story of the internment for the Japanese American starts to collate to making sense of the awesomeness of America, and the fragileness of freedom. So therefore, instead of being invisible, ashamed, I speak on the 7th with the same remembrances of Pearl Harbor as an American.

TI: Good. That's a good way to start this interview.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So I'm going to actually take a step way back, and start with -- we're going to do a life history -- and so I'm going to start with the basic question: where and when were you born?

YN: I was born in the month of December, the 27th, Nineteen hundred and thirty-two, in Seattle, Washington.

TI: And what was the full name given to you when you were born?

YN: My full name was Yoshitada Nakagawa. But, of course, in time, it'd be just shortened, Anglicized to say "Yosh." And that is, I don't even have a middle name that is American in the sense of people thinking it.

TI: Okay, good. When you were born, what was your mother and father doing in terms of just making a living in Seattle?

YN: That's very interesting. Exactly when I was born -- I was born into, my father was at best a blue-collar worker. At best, my mother was young, very young, and she was a domestic. And then, yet I know she worked in the community. But to say their job, I do not remember.

TI: When you said your mother was very long, was there -- or very young -- was there a significant age difference between your father and mother?

YN: My mother is typically one that very little is known of. She is a picture bride, she was just at the age of turning fifteen when she came to America, and the marriage to my father who was some eight, nine years her senior. So my mother was a mere child when she came to America in the realms of today's understanding.

TI: So being so young -- fifteen sounds young to me to come from Japan to the United States based on a picture of a man that she probably had not met.

YN: That's right.

TI: Do you know why she came?

YN: It's very interesting because much of the roots of the Issei in America is lost. And to even do research -- so I surmised that it wasn't quite uncertain because they were from the same ken, or you would say the same area or district in Japan. And both parents knew each other, basically, in Japan. So...

TI: So you're, you're talking about your grandparents? Your grandparents knew each other in Japan.

YN: Right.

TI: Okay.

YN: Okay, and I really never knew my grandparents, because they never came to America, nor did I ever go to Japan 'til well after World War II. But in essence, my father must have had enough to go over there and claim his wife and come to America. So it's a picture bride, but maybe not in the traditional sense, because there was some knowledge between the families. So maybe it's more of an arranged, but the only comment I received later on is those in the families remembered that my mother was a mere child, and how sad it was for her to come to America. So I think there was emotion and feelings in the family that my mother was a child.

TI: Do you recall or do you know if your mother had any siblings?

YN: Yes, she had brothers. I don't know -- and I had in a sense met him, but I know no stories.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Okay, let's go to your father. Your father was a little bit older, so when he was married, he's twenty-two, twenty-three. Why, why did your father come to the United States?

YN: I'm certain he came to make a fortune in the "gold streets" of America. I'm certain also that after he made his fortune, he would return back to Japan. I see no indications at that time of his life that that would have been different. But as we know by history, remaining in America, they found that it might mean giving up their family. And so it's a story that is somewhat vague, but I again have to surmise my parents were no different.

TI: And do you know about what time or what date your father came to the United States?

YN: If I recall, it was in the early 1920s.

TI: And then how long was he here before your, before your mother joined him?

YN: And again, with no accuracy to dates, I presumed he was in America a couple years before he went back to bring my mother in marriage back to America.

TI: Okay, good. And then you came along in 1932. Did you have any siblings?

YN: I had one sister who came some four-and-a-half years later, and born also in Seattle. But my sister was born -- on the part I remember, because we had a grocery store on Eleventh and James. And I remember that part of my life, and my sister being born, a little bit more than my early living as a child.

TI: So it sounds like your sister being born is one of your, in some ways, your earliest childhood memories? I mean, that was something that was probably a pretty large event in your life, and that's probably something you remember. I mean, do you recall how you felt about having a younger sister?

YN: That's interesting. I really don't know, but I know the fuss that was made of my sister's birth. It was probably more disruptive than anything I remembered as a child, because I was no longer the, the brat of the group. And so certainly any child must understand you have competition in the family, and that's about the best of that which is their memories of their birth.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: So I'm curious; this is, oh, 1936 or so, so a family of four. How would you describe sort of the relationship of the family? In particular, looking at your mother and father, how would you describe their relationship?

YN: That's interesting. When you look in the tradition of the days, I'm certain it was normal, because I knew no other family. As I grew up and saw the, the other cultural marriages, especially the Caucasian, I noticed there was a difference. So I always in my mind was somewhat embarrassed that my parents were not like my friends'. It is something that is a part of the culture of not being accepted for who you are.

TI: Well, how would you describe those differences? You say it was "different," something, that you grew up and it seemed normal, because that's what you knew. I mean, what, what were some examples of that?

YN: The two most obvious in my growing up, my parents did not speak fluent English. Number two, the food I ate was different. As a child, even as a child, I preferred that I bring sandwiches, not rice balls or anything else to school.

TI: Okay, so food and language.

YN: Were the most obvious.

TI: Growing up, did you speak -- before you went to school -- did you speak Japanese or English?

YN: Again, I went to school, and that's before we were incarcerated, it was from kindergarten through the fourth, fourth grade. And in that period of time, I went to Japanese school along with going to the regular English school. So yes, I spoke Japanese in the sense of learning.

TI: But I was thinking about even in the home environment, like, did your mother speak to you in Japanese or English?

YN: No, we spoke pidgin; around English with idioms of Japanese. If it was the toilet, it might have been the benjo or whatever. They were more slang or pidgin than either/or. But I think, in honesty, the effort of speaking English in my family was a greater intentionality than speaking Japanese in the family, because my mother, at that time, had a grocery store, and much of her trade didn't speak Japanese, I'm certain.

TI: This is interesting. Something you said earlier, how originally your father came to, you said, make his fortune, and then the thinking would be to return to Japan. At some point, that thinking shifted, that he realized that America was going to be the home for his family. Do you have a sense of when that shift may have happened?

YN: I think the process started on the 7th of December, because my father was not sophisticated enough to know that everything was stacked against him before the 7th of December.

TI: Oh, so that's interesting. So growing up, even with the store and having children, growing up, there was still a sense that, that the family may go back to Japan.

YN: I'm certain.

TI: Okay, that's good. Okay, that's interesting.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Going back to your parents, in terms of how the two communicated with each other, how would you describe that? Was there like signs of affection, did you ever notice that? Or was one more in control of the family than the other? Talk about that a little bit.

YN: It's, again, in the traditional sense of marriage as understood by Western culture, I didn't see any of that type of love and affection. I also saw the role that my mother played was in many ways of the understanding, to be subservient to my father. But today I realized my mother ran the show. She controlled the monies, she controlled the family; in essence, she was the power. But I think it's unique in our culture, but I think it shows up in many other cultures. Where though the male is the figurehead, the strength of the family is the mother. And I think we misinterpret the affection and Hollywood understanding of love. There must have been a deep -- but it's a different... and, and in it, I have the same uncomfortableness of that which was hugging and embracing my own mother. I do not ever remember as a child, the ability to do those things to my mother. And I would have to say that is because that was the atmosphere of the family. And even with my own children today, I had to learn how to hug my own children. It was not normal, because it was something we didn't -- and I also found when I went there, returned to Japan, you don't hug people. So I wasn't wrong, it was nothing to do with affection. It was only my interpretation of that which was Westernization, that I was wrong.

TI: Well, that's interesting. So growing up as a child and not seeing those more overt signs of affection like hugs, how did you know growing up that you were loved by your, your parents?

YN: That again is very... it is not by what was said, it was by what I understood. And it's very contradictory to my growing up, because we are taught to say what you think, express. In our family, many things of respect to your parents, their expectations to what you would do in school, whatever you were to do, there was a prevailing cultural understanding that you did things this way. And also, the community applied the same pressures to you, which then would have been the Japanese community. The understandings of what we get credit for, being good or bad, was more of their culture rather than the understanding of the American way.

TI: So this is interesting. So growing up, through your family and the community, there was these understandings that you developed that weren't necessarily directly told to you, but understood, which ran counter to what you are calling, like, the American way, which is much more direct.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: And you had to kind of, like, figure this all out.

YN: And it's obvious as a child, you don't realize why you, you don't get a high grade. It was very interesting, because I never did understand as a child. I had answers to the question, but I never had the courage to raise my hand, I guess. I expected to be called upon. But the others around me raised their hands, and many times they had the wrong answer. But they got the better grades because they had initiative. That is the difference, and some of my understanding today, the goodness of passiveness against that which is of aggressiveness. There's merits for both. I hope I have learned to utilize both to my well-being as an American. But I no longer look at passiveness as a negative, or as weakness.

TI: Oh, good.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: I'm going to now kind of return, I mean, we're talking about some of your early childhood memories, and you mentioned the store at Eleventh and James?

YN: Right.

TI: Describe, describe that store. Like, what other buildings or businesses were nearby your store?

YN: That probably has more, more impact in my memory of recall. This store, that simple grocery store must have set my tone forever, because I stayed in the retail business. I must have enjoyed serving customers even as a child. You look for reasons why you are who you are. I look at, from my bedroom above -- and we lived above the grocery, little grocery store, I can hear the bell of the school across the, across the street, and that was the Pacific School, it was our elementary school. And I also knew the neighborhood, because as a child, if I found a penny, I would go to the other store to spend it. And I often wonder why I did it, but I think now I know: because I didn't want my parents to know I was buying more candy, or whatever I was doing. So even at the earliest age, I understood and I could scheme against the things you don't do. And I knew that there was a floral shop, I knew there was a meat market, and I knew all these families because they must have babysat my sister. But there was one common, common thing among all those that I can talk to today: what a brat I must have been. I must have been a terror. And it's good to find out that you were such a person, because it brings reason to, to your being, and your incarceration story.

TI: Well, when you say you were a "brat," how did you figure this out? Why do you think that you were a brat?

YN: Because I think, by the very nature of my exposure, I didn't fit into the norm of how most of my peer-level friends grew up. Being that we had a grocery store allowed me to see all people. And I'm certain I picked up a lot of the habits of the, their being that I knew I liked, which might have, must have not been acceptable. 'Cause you were not to talk back to your teacher, you were not to question the authority, and the teacher was always put at a (higher) level. And I must have not listened to them, and I must have done many things culturally, (not the norm of their understanding). So I must have been very indicative that I wasn't fitting in to the community.

TI: So your experiences of helping out in the store and dealing with lots of different customers and, and their behaviors, you picked up these, these different things, and so you were exposed more than your peers to this behavior, and you think that led to you being more, perhaps, outspoken, more direct, and as you say, considered a brat.

YN: And it followed me the rest of my life. That's why I have come to the point of understanding why we are the way we are, as reason. And to really -- I got fired from a job working for a Japanese American Nisei family on a farm because I saw two attractive white girls and I whistled.

TI: And so how old were you when this happened?

YN: I was in the seventh grade. You see, I didn't understand my own culture, because that was totally unacceptable. I was a Japanese American, but that wasn't enough.

TI: And was the issue, they fired you because they thought that was being rude, or was it because the actual girls were --

YN: I was an embarrassment.

TI: -- were Caucasian?

YN: Well, both. They were Caucasian, and it's an embarrassment because we don't do such things. And I think there's a fear that you don't do those things because it may rock the boat. And much of our history is based upon not rocking the boat.

TI: That's good. Going back to the store, you mentioned the customers and the influence they had. Describe your customers. Were they mostly Japanese Americans from the community, or how would you describe them?

YN: That's very -- again, very interesting. I would have to say, in my recollection, I presume there was certainly Japanese, Japanese American customers, but I have to perceive that those of interest were not Japanese or Japanese Americans, because most of those knew my parents. The others didn't know me, so I think the influence is very great in how they spoke to me, what they said, and you must understand, all people like to be told they're doing something good. That's not a trait Japanese Americans have experience from their parents. They always don't do well. It took years for me to understand why I can do better than my counterpart Caucasian and still not be good, and they can come with something lower and they are very well-praised. It's again, the things that lead to my understanding today.

TI: So your, the non-Japanese customers that would come in the store would encourage you, give you encouragement or give you praise...

YN: For doing what I was doing.

TI: ...that you never received from your parents or others in the community.

YN: Others of my community, 'cause I was a brat. I could be no good. (That is my behavior).

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: So I'm curious; at this stage, you're really a young boy. You're what, about seven, eight, nine years old?

YN: Right.

TI: How did you feel about being Japanese American? Did, were you, were you ashamed of your, of being Japanese American?

YN: Again, I do not ever feel I was ashamed, because in my community where I lived, there was Chinese and Filipinos. But my understanding is even at that point of life, I knew for some reason they didn't like each other, because they were Chinese, Filipinos, and Japanese. But it's very interesting, I always equated it because of the language. They didn't -- so therefore I knew who was Chinese because their parents spoke Chinese, and for every group of that nature. But we all played together. When we played together, we were friends, but in our anger, we became divisive of our ethnicity, 'cause we didn't know any better. I equate it to, today, to that which is the Asian American. When you are put together as Asian Americans, you're no different than when Europeans are put together as white. Your ethnicity of your group is lost in the broad term. It is only when you are hyphenated as an American do you retain your ethnicity.

TI: So let me see if I can, I follow this. So, so growing up, you played with Filipinos...

YN: Chinese, whites.

TI: ...Chinese, in that case, you were all the same because you were playing on the playground. But, but you said earlier how there was some understanding that you weren't supposed to like the Chinese and the Filipinos.

YN: Right.

TI: And so can you elaborate a little bit more in terms of why, why you... how you came to that understanding that you weren't supposed to like them?

YN: If my parents -- and I don't ever recall them speaking in those terms -- but you must remember, you always were not in their community. I went to the Japanese Baptist nursery school as the whole community did years ago. It was not just Baptists. And that, they were my roots of my friends. And they were basically all of Japanese heritage. But all my teaching, of the leadership, initially, were all white. And then as the Nisei, older Nisei developed into becoming the lay-teachers and so forth, but there was only two groups. And so therefore, you don't know other (culture) -- furthermore, the existence of the Hispanics and the blacks and the Native Americans was never a part of my makeup. They didn't even enter into my mainstream, but definitely Chinese and Filipinos and whites, because I, that was my neighborhood. So when you say, how did I know we were not to like them, I wasn't sophisticated enough to understand they went to war in Asia, there were many brutalities of war that we all know (today). The same things I didn't understand when Pearl Harbor hit. But you again understood what you thought that was never said.

TI: So it goes back to what you said earlier in terms of the family and the community not really being direct, but there was some understanding --

YN: Undertones always there that you didn't take out of the closet. And this is typical American. We keep all those things in the closets of our mind or the closets of our homes. And that's why it's so difficult to know where one is at.

TI: But it's interesting, as a child, though, and you're playing with these, these children of other ethnicity, at some point you said there were some times, perhaps fights or something, and then probably racial terms were used?

YN: Absolutely. The child knows nothing else. It's a temperament; it's a loss of your cool, you see? And I would have never understood that 'til I spent the adult years of my life in the sports industry. Violence comes out of sports in many forms.

TI: And so how would you, how would you, how do you think about that? Here you are as children -- and you're just being, in some ways, very open and honest about some of this that has been sort of put in the closet, you mentioned earlier. What... I mean, I'm not sure what the question I'm asking here. I'm thinking, like the Chinese, for instance. You mentioned earlier that you didn't really know back then that the Chinese and Japanese were at war in Asia during this period. Did the Chinese ever bring that up, in terms of the relationship? Or the Filipinos, for that matter?

YN: I will put it that, that for each group, it was different. I think that my Chinese American friends were about as aware of we were not to like each other as I was, which was very unsophisticated. Because when you were together, we weren't fighting, no big deal. But with the Filipino American community, it was entirely a different understanding for me. They were Catholics, and they did things funny. And I couldn't be a part of the Catholic understanding, 'cause I wasn't Catholic.

TI: When you say the Catholics were "funny," what would be an example?

YN: Because they had to do things that would take 'em away from play. If they had to go mass, confession on Friday, or they had to go up to Maryknoll, or they went... they did things different. And so they were Catholics. That probably was more divisive in my mind than they were Filipinos. But the thing I'm trying to say to myself is: but Filipinos aren't all Catholic, you see. The Japanese Americans were not all Buddhists. But as a child, these are the reflections, and I have to say as I grew up, why did I have these hang-ups in me? That I wasn't to like people was probably I worked on intentionally to get over. 'Cause if I left it in my understanding, I would still have those same thoughts. But once I was able to articulate... and when I look back, and I look upon my history, the one group I could never tell the truth to were white American, because they were the empowerment.

TI: Hmm, that's interesting. You said you had to consciously work at this. When you think of your, sort of your peer Niseis, the Japanese Americans who were, that you sort of grew up with, do you think they went through that same sort of work to get to a bigger awareness? Or how, how do you think they're dealing with some of these same issues?

YN: I think... it's not an awareness. I think it becomes to, to equate what is right in the eyes of the Japanese American community. The perception I grew up with is that the majority -- and I will say white America, they set the standards for that which was right and wrong. And so until I was able to hear the stories of other than white America, I began to understand why my story as a Japanese American needed to be told. Many things we are praised for comes out of the understanding of Western Europeans. So we have met their understanding of that which is right. Again, I don't like to use one statement, but if their understanding of their culture is to be aggressive, and not passive, I understand, but that's not the only way of life in America. Number two, if there's only one understanding that this is a Christian nation, that is again Western European thinking. It's not that I'm saying it's wrong. America must hear the voices of that which is America, and that's why my internment story is not Japanese American. It belongs in the fabric of (American history). We must have the stories of all people so we can come to a common ground of understanding. And no one understanding is correct; there are many ways to come to an understanding that's in a different track.

TI: Good.

YN: Okay, and that's all I'm saying. My understanding as a Japanese, Japanese American, is what I learned out of my experiences with working with people, and that was in the sports field. And so I hope you could understand that.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Yeah, we're going to get to that later, so let's go back to sort of playing with kids. What were some of the activities that you did?

YN: Very simple. So different than my children's experience. We played where things were not of material cost. I think I've said, I think the most important item that may, cost my parents money was marbles. But milk tops, that we would play in a circle, were free. They were the tops that were on milk bottles. And playing Kick the Can, (etc).

TI: Well, going back to the milk tops, I mean, explain how you would play this game with milk tops and why it was similar to marbles.

YN: Well, as the milk tops hardened, when they dried out, they were like a chip. And you put milk tops into a circle, and you would throw the milk tops and hit those chips, and if it went out the circle, you got to keep 'em. That was our way of saying, "I'm the champ; I got all these milk tops."

TI: So these were milk tops that were...

YN: Circular.

TI: Circular, they were free, because they were just on the top of milk bottles.

YN: And they had the little tab on 'em that you pulled off, and when you were through... and I probably got more of 'em because they come back for their milk, and they would have the milk top on the empty bottles, and I'd collect the milk tops.

TI: Oh, so you, you had a source.

YN: I had a source, absolutely.

TI: [Laughs] And, and this was used instead of marbles, because marbles you mentioned was the cost.

YN: Cost money. Cost money. And we, money was not something that we had an abundance of as children, but it did not stop, if we found a baseball bat, broken, we'd tape it together and try to play baseball at the school field. But never in the sense of economics. Children are very versatile for play. It's only the institution that says, "You have to regulate." And in my days, that's why we got together, because our parents could never come together.

TI: So you would play milk tops, you played baseball with broken bats. What are some other activities?

YN: We played, we played touch football with a, not a football, but a cloth wrapped in rubber bands. (When) we played (...) football later on, if one had a helmet and one had the shoulder pad, the one that carried the ball got the helmet, and the one that had to tackle wore the shoulder pads. It was all community, but that's because we didn't know any better.

TI: And this was all happening amongst the neighborhood kids --

YN: Neighborhood kids.

TI: -- who were, who were, again, mixed. It wasn't just Japanese, it was Chinese, Filipinos, whites.

YN: It was your community.

TI: And this was, when you describe sort of where you lived, right where Seattle University is, where their large playground, or their large field is, around there.

YN: And the amazing part is, we were the start of that which today among our people was called the Asian American community, and we never knew it.

TI: The start, because of the mixing...

YN: Together.

TI: ...together.

YN: Coming together. Everything needs a starting point.

TI: So that's interesting. So the older Niseis, you don't think, mixed as much with the Filipinos and the Chinese.

YN: No. Children. You have to be innocent. They're the fairest of all, because you don't pick up the hang-ups that we each get out of becoming adults.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Now, your, your neighborhood, I mean, would you think of it as, more as the fringe of sort of the Japanese community?

YN: Fringe in the sense of community, but the Japanese American community was very evident because they were there. Because there were places that we all garnered together, but it was the start of being away from the centralized Japanese American community, which businesses were around Main Street, and the International District. This was, then maybe you could have called the "new suburbia" for Japanese Americans.

TI: Well, that's what, yeah, I was curious, because I mean, we're only talking literally just blocks, but was it different if you went, oh, just really, literally maybe four blocks over to Collins Playfield, would the, sort of the makeup of the kids playing there be different than...?

YN: It would be different because of this: I am certain the influence of that time, certain things were very strong influences. Business was one, the other influence of our community was the churches. The Buddhist Church had influence to the makeup of the Japanese American community. The Japanese Baptist Church had the influence upon the community as the Japanese Baptist Church. By its leadership that solidified because of a person named Reverend Emery E. Andrews, who was not Japanese American, but he was a part of the fabric of the Japanese Baptist Church. But what he did was for the community of Japanese Americans. So his name today is known among the community, as well as those of the Japanese Baptist Church. That to me is the start of what I call the ecumenical movements, that we as Japanese Americans were forced to have in internment.

TI: So this is interesting, and I want to get into this a little bit more. So starting with the differences, so we're talking about Collins Playfield, which is right across the street from the Buddhist Church.

YN: The Buddhist Church.

TI: And then your neighborhood, which was closer to the, the Japanese Baptist Church. And you talked about how the religion or the churches played a part in, in some ways, how... in some ways, how the playfields were different. I mean, talk a little bit more -- and you mentioned the Baptist Church having Reverend Andrews who, who really catered to or ministered to the Japanese American community, but he was, he was white.

YN: Right.

TI: What were some of the, how did those differences manifest themselves? I mean, what, what did you, how could you see the difference?

YN: The beauty of reflection is, you see, he was smart enough to not let religion be divisive. He found something called the Boy Scouts. So many of the community were Boy Scouts, so they came to Boy Scouts. They, it was very interesting. We went to Collins Field House, it was neutral. So we all played with kids that were other than our group; white kids, black kids, Asian kids, Chinese and Filipinos and then Japanese. So we were, we were blessed in the essence that what I have been saying to myself, we weren't "ghettoed" by the strength of a Japanese American ghetto. Now, the internment created that because we couldn't come back. When we left internment we had no place to go back to, let alone any, any material thing. We didn't have furniture, we didn't have anything but a hundred bucks.

TI: But, but the years -- again, from a youngster's perspective -- so there was a sense of a lot of mixing with other races and everything before, before the war.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: At places like Collins Playfield, which was really almost in the heart of the Japanese American community.

YN: Right. The more we were forced by our environment, changes your perception as you become an adult. And not always good, but as a child, I like to think that that's what happened. And my life experiences were all that way except my internment. When we were all Japanese, except my authority was white America.

TI: Well, and then so when you, when you say your authority's white America, we were talking earlier about Reverend Andrews...

YN: Right.

TI: ...who is an authority figure, but yet did a lot to create community.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: And not just within the Baptist faith, but, and let's talk a little bit, the Boy Scouts. So Boy Scouts you had, I imagine, other Protestants...

YN: Other religions, other religions.

TI: Buddhists...

YN: Those who didn't have religion at all to those who were other religions, or other denominations, whatever you want to use. That was consistent with his understanding and leadership. You see, we didn't recognize the difference. I assumed this is the way it always would be.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Well, let me, let me ask you this: so you mentioned you went to the Baptist nursery school, so I imagine that was your first experience with the Baptist Church.

YN: Right.

TI: Were your, your parents Baptist? Were they Christian?

YN: No. See, this is the marvel for the Japanese Americans. I would say the preponderance, the preponderance of our population must have come out of a Buddhistic or Shinto understanding. That is our (Issei) parents and grandparents (...). Everything else that happened, happened because it was a part of Americanization. And in America, everybody didn't need to become Catholic or Protestant or Muslim. (Many) remained Buddhist, but some, because of the situation and where they were, became Protestants. And I have often wondered what my difference of my understanding religion is than those who are born into anything. When you're born in Buddhism or Christianity, you don't ask questions. I guess the same thing that I was the brat was the same thing they questioned me about my religious understanding. I had to think about religion, and I couldn't think of religion that exempted everything else. For I grew up in the community of people that weren't what I was.

TI: But before you even thought about these things, your, your parents decided to...

YN: To send me there because it's a convenient place to go. They were teaching them how to cook, learn English, how to adjust to society, they were called missionaries. They came to help the Japanese American community. They happened to be Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians, and so out of loyalty (and gratitude), that's what they became.

TI: But then you're saying as you grew up and where you became cognizant of religion, you decided to stay with, with the faith, with the Baptist faith?

YN: Because, that's because of my understanding, not because I was born a Baptist. Do you understand? I was not assumed to be Baptist, but quickly, because I went there, it was assumed I was Baptist. But it was a thinking decision as time went on. Not at the moment. I didn't have that kind of sophistication.

TI: So at what point do you think that you decided you were Baptist? I mean, it was like --

YN: After the internment, because I began to wonder why did Reverend Emery E. Andrews do the things for my community that (many) people did not do?

TI: We'll get into this a little bit more, but I just wanted to say, so it was really his actions, his, the way he was...

YN: You're right on.

TI: ...made you consciously decide to become Baptist.

YN: Because of his influence. My influence of Gene Boyd, another white field house director at Collins Field House, had this tremendous influence on how I thought about people in sports, because we all played there as a mixed group. The other places, as you may have read, we were not allowed to bowl (along with whites). You couldn't go to the golf clubs, the tennis clubs, because they were only for one group. And you know your education, University of Washington, it didn't have athletes of color or students of color. They weren't welcome.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So go back to the bowling alley. You said you couldn't bowl unless you were with your group? So they had certain times?

YN: That's right, you had to be a Nisei, Nisei league, all Japanese American, because ABC, the association for bowling, had no place for Japanese to be a part of (their sanction).

TI: But could you just go down to the bowling alley and practice?

YN: And bowl, yes, and that was why Main Bowl was owned by Japanese (American Fred Takagi), was the starting point of the history of why people sixty years later are still bowling. It wasn't done out of, because America wanted them to bowl, it's because the persistence of the Japanese American to be a part (of the sport of bowling).

TI: Well, was there a sense that, could you have gone to other bowling alleys and bowled as Japanese Americans?

YN: You could, but there could have been silent things. They said, no, you could not go to Coleman swimming pool at Lincoln Park and swim, and that was a public park.

TI: So how did you know -- so this was a, a public, this is owned by the city...

YN: Because the sign's up there.

TI: And what, what did the sign say?

YN: It was, if it didn't say "No Japs Allowed," it made, it was very clear it was "whites only."

TI: Okay, so that, that also sort of exempted or didn't allow Chinese or Filipinos.

YN: That's right. That's right. Not only Japanese Americans. And many places the Jewish people, the Native Americans, the Hispanics, it was all subtleties that we understood: "You're not welcome." Fraternities and sororities of the great universities was very clear who could be a member of their group.

TI: Now, were you aware of this before the war? Was this something that, that you knew?

YN: No. But I did know one thing, I knew the places I wasn't welcome. They just, just told me to go home.

TI: And did the brat in you question that?

YN: Must have. It must have been a part of my resistance that maybe this is wrong. But I can't say. I think all of these things that happened to me is who I am today. I wish I could say I was so smart I knew, I don't think so. All these things had to be a part of my learning the awesomeness of America.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So I actually, I wanted to... so the first hour, Yosh, we're talking about your growing up, but I actually wanted to, to go back and touch on a couple things. One is you had a career in retail, and I wanted to go back in terms of the influence of working in the store, and perhaps some of the more entrepreneurial things you did as, as a kid. This is all before the war, so, so talk about what were some of your responsibilities in the store?

YN: Well, like all, all -- and I say "all" because we all come out of the basic internment story -- I think that all those that returned back to their freedom, and I would say that then our basis of where we would like to be upon our return to that, quotation mark, our "release from prison," I think solidified a drive in a group of people that for the first time could be measured. Because it was small enough of a group that many things happened that, that maybe would not have happened if there was five million of us.

TI: But even before we go back to that influence, I'm talking about even before the war.

YN: Before?

TI: Yeah, when you were just a kid, you had to help out in the store.

YN: Right.

TI: What were some of the things that you did in the store?

YN: Real simple. Real simple. When a person came in, I wanted to see if I could go get the milk for them, or get the cigarettes behind the counter, or whatever, and the more I learned as a child when that person came in, I always wanted to make certain I could be there before he or she asked for it, bringing up what they wanted. Now, I didn't know that's good business, that's good salesmanship or anything. It was something innate that you can't teach.

TI: So as a young child, you would anticipate the needs of your customer from the very, very beginning.

YN: Absolutely. I don't know why. And I wasn't always right, of course not. But it was fun to be praised, that I knew exactly what brand of cigarettes they smoked, or what loaf of bread they wanted, or whatever, and then to be told I was doing something good. Now, it sounds silly, I watched my mother make frozen suckers. Put a stick, a chopstick broken in half into it, and it would harden. And I got good at making frozen suckers. I saw my mother go down to Chinatown and my father would buy the ginger and she would package it up into, with waxed paper into little packages, and many, including some of your parents, they came to buy those things. So as much as they don't remember me, they remember coming to the grocery store.

TI: And buying those little packets of ginger.

YN: Things that I helped with, never knowing what a significant part these little things play in your make-up. We are not who we are because of ourselves, we are who we are because of people. And they have far greater influence as to where we come from and the things we do. And so you hate to be as simplistic as that -- after all, I was educated, I was not educated to, by my education to become a retailer in the sports world. I went into recreation and sociology; I wanted to be a social scientist. Didn't even ever get close to that. But I found I was a social scientist in the field, because I was working with people. So I was well-prepared, but I wasn't prepared to be a businessman.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: Well, I'm curious, running, for your family, having a small store, was that pretty much a good business in terms of, of money and things like that? I mean, was your family pretty comfortable with that kind of, of business?

YN: I would believe if you looked today who runs the grocery stores in the large cities of New York or anywhere, it's another immigrant group, just like my mother and father. That's the starting point of this financial security. If they get rich or not, in the terms of the western world, no way is it worth that kind of life. But for those people, that's their beginning. And that's where their children learned the entrepreneurship to survive in America. What better example do we have than the success of the Chinese restaurants or the hand laundries? It had (helped) the generations to come (to be successful). But without that (experience) in the makeup of their life, that's (how) they learned the community. And I laugh because I say, you don't eat Chinese food, you only go to Chinese restaurants to eat food prepared by Chinese. They give you what you want.

TI: Right, right. And going back to that, that small store, I mean, so I imagine the hours were long, you lived actually upstairs from the store, so it really was a very labor-intensive existence.

YN: And the greatest thing I learned, though I never knew, my parents knew when people were in need. And when they couldn't pay for it, they had credit. And many times, it was never paid for, 'cause they would die or leave. It was never an issue. It didn't develop into bad credit or good credit, but sometimes years later, some of the children would come back and said, "I think my parents owed some money," and my parents would say, "No, there's no record." But there was always something left at the counter when the family left.

TI: I'm sorry, explain that again. So, so it was sort of a undocumented sort of credit system?

YN: Yeah, they had a little chit that they put in a cigar box, as far as I can recall, and it says, "This family had a loaf of bread and a quart of milk." That was their IOU, or what you call the plastic card today.

TI: But then when, when someone would come back later and say, "You know, my parents, or -- "

YN: Because they may have passed away or (were) ill, and somehow the integrity of the families, which were not Japanese only, always in their way, if they knew, paid it back. The system worked, because my parents didn't help somebody that was ripping them off. They knew that that family, somebody was ill or they were out of a job. They weren't sophisticated to know that that was profit out of their existence, 'cause they didn't go to an ivy league school to learn how to run a business.

TI: How interesting.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Something we haven't touched on yet is your, your schooling before the war. Can you describe where you went to, to elementary school?

YN: Very, it's very significant, because it, from (attending Pacific) school that was physically across the street from the grocery store, (changed) and made it into a different type of school, causing me to have to leave that school. As a child, that was very traumatic, but in one essence it was exciting, because the school I was transferred was way out of my realm of my neighborhood, it was called Summit school.

TI: So let me, let me sort of summarize here. So there was a school right across the street from the store, and that was the Pacific School.

YN: Pacific elementary school.

TI: And it started off as a regular elementary school, but while you were going, it switched to the --

YN: It switched to a, what we call a school for handicapped and for, amazingly, for those would have been English as a Second Language or vice-versa.

TI: Interesting. So you were then transferred to the Summit school, which is, oh, I'm thinking -- my kids actually go to that building right now -- so it's probably about half a mile or so.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: And actually in the direction away from the community.

YN: Right.

TI: And so why, why'd you go to Summit rather than Bailey Gatzert?

YN: 'Cause that was even further in the eyes -- and that, I wasn't in the right district. So, you see, I was in suburbia. So, but they don't have the sophistication. There's no bus, no bus runs from there; I walked. That walking was another adventure of what made me what I was.

TI: That's interesting; you had to walk up... so up by, like, First Baptist? Past First Baptist?

YN: Up there, all the way up the hill.

TI: All the way up to Summit.

YN: Steep hills, into strange territory. And then I found that school also had the school for those of hard of hearing, the children. So it was a completely -- as a child, my mother and father never once took me to school. They had to work.

TI: Did they ever go to -- do they, did they have, like, open houses for parents?

YN: They never could come.

TI: So your teachers never, ever met your parents?

YN: [Shakes head] But they knew of them, because we had a grocery store, but not in the sense of today.

TI: So, so tell me a little bit about Summit, and what was it like? You said it was, it's exciting, different.

YN: It was more interesting for a child, because it had no playfield. It had no playground, so I had to learn another thing that they did, they played one-wall handball. That was your recess for the day. It was on a hill, and no playground. And from there, I went to internment, so I had in a short period of time, three traumatic elementary school moves, none ordained by my want, but by history.

TI: So you went from Pacific to Summit and then to the camps?

YN: To the camp, to Huntsville Elementary School in the fourth grade.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Well, let's, let's talk about this. So -- and we talked about this earlier -- December 7, 1941, what can you remember about that day?

YN: The, the summer of '41, or '42?

TI: '41. So actually, December 7th, '41, the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. How did you hear about this?

YN: Very simple. I didn't hear any direct way, it was the concern on my mother's and father's face, and all those from the neighborhood of my parents' group. And I didn't understand. I really never understood the significance of Pearl Harbor, but there was curfew. I think that that moment of history that changed the lives of the Japanese American, I was oblivious to what was to happen.

TI: Well, and that was because of your age.

YN: My age.

TI: You were younger, but your, you said you saw the concern in your parents.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: How did things change at the store? Did people come there to talk about it, or, or especially the non-Japanese Americans, did they quit coming to the store?

YN: It changed dramatically, because from hoping to see customers without knowing they're not there or not coming, or there's a different attitude. To a child, it's a shock. One day it's normal and the next day something has to change. A child never understands -- that's why a child is so, so fragile. That's why I always use the word the "fragileness of a child," as the fragileness of freedom. It can be on a moment's notice, (the innocence) taken away.

TI: And so you were oblivious, although you just saw that your -- you said --

YN: I could only see it through my father's and mother's concern, I could see it in -- but I had no understanding that this was what it was going to lead to, 'til one day we had no store and we were on our way to "Camp Harmony," which is the Puyallup Fairgrounds, and I thought, "What a great thing. I've never been here."

TI: Well, so let's talk about those weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. So, so your customers, you said, did they quit coming to the store?

YN: Less customers came. Less customers came.

TI: Do you ever recall any of your customers saying things to your parents for being Japanese?

YN: I am certain -- I never saw it, okay -- but I am certain that my parents suddenly realized they were the enemy in the eye of the people of the community. I am certain, but you must understand our parents. I never heard a negative to their life. That's the Issei story that's lost. I want to believe that what some of the historians have said, they did what the government told them to do, for they believed that the authority was right. I don't know that.

TI: So the weeks after, so fewer customers, were your parents consciously starting to downscale the business? Or what, what, how, can you remember what happened?

YN: Yes, I can remember so many -- we, my father got a new car, and immediately all those things were of no value, because somehow, after the first of the year, and by the time Roosevelt signed the famous Executive Order 9066, which didn't mean nothing to me as a child, I'm certain my parents didn't understand any of that, either, but they must have known enough that they were no longer gonna have a business. Because why would I say that? Because no one would come to buy it.

TI: Buy the business or buy --

YN: Buy the business or the store. And, and I'm certain to this day, they must have given away everything that was there. How they knew all these things, I wish I could document. We failed in a lot of our knowledge. I'm certain there are stories, but I don't have my own story.

TI: And so one day you would come back, and the store was, was closed?

YN: We're gonna be leaving, and then we had our, what we can carry, and we're going to Puyallup to be interned before we were moved to Minidoka. But the, as a child, I only remember the things that fascinated me. I had never been inside the fairgrounds, and I was one of the lucky kids; I was inside the fairgrounds.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Before we go there, so when the war broke out, you were about nine or ten?

YN: I was in, at that time, I was in, finished being in the third grade.

TI: Okay, so you were --

YN: When I went to camp in the fall of Nineteen hundred and forty-two, I was in the fourth grade.

TI: So before you left, you were in third grade, I'm curious about the period after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and before you left, what was school like, Summit like, during that period?

YN: The, for my, my experience, the children did not know any more than I knew (...) we were still friends. The only thing of anything that might have occurred in my mind that things had changed was only at home. At school, I never (felt the hatred of my classmates).

TI: How many other Japanese Americans were going to Summit?

YN: In fact, I may have been one of the few. There were Chinese, one of my Chinese friends who I still know today, he had just come (from China), and I was his monitor or his helper. But other than that, maybe (...) one or two others. But Summit was not a school, Bailey Gatzert was the school for most Japanese Americans, or Maryknoll. And so it was another uniqueness that I saw another side of that which was the Pearl Harbor experience. I think it was much more clear in those that were tied more to the Japanese American community in that sense. Because I went to Japanese school, but that was in my neighborhood. I did not go to the one on Rainier and Weller, and that was the central school. I went to what would have been a suburbia (Japanese language) school.

TI: Okay, that's good.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: So eventually you had to leave for Puyallup. Do you remember where your pickup point was?

YN: It was in our neighborhood, I don't know exactly, but I do know when I entered into the fairgrounds.

TI: So describe that. What was that like?

YN: Couldn't believe it. I look around, there's the roller coaster, the ferris wheels, all the things, the horse stalls, the place where we ate was the (same area), today where you, the food fair would be, the grandstand was there, it was internment at its best for a child.

TI: So there's a sense of excitement, of...

YN: Absolutely, but just the opposite of that which my parents (must have) felt. But what I'm saying to the people, don't misconstrue it that this made it right. What I'm saying to them, therefore I (...) would go back to the Puyallup Fair (with mixed emotions), because I learned that was not a good place (to enjoy our memories), you see. But as a child, I didn't know.

TI: Well, describe the, the accommodations for your family.

YN: It was horrible. But again, for those that stayed in the animal pens where they exhibited the hogs or whatever, or the horse stalls, (...) we had a little shed (or barracks) that housed maybe four families. (...) Your bed was simply, you got a sack and you filled it with straw, whatever. But for a child, it's not a question. It's for those that understand America, that it's entirely different. And my difficulty in speaking for, for those experiences is because my gut level of what they paid as the price of being my parents, the Issei, or the older Nisei that knew what they missed, should never be interpreted through the eyes of a child.

TI: Right. And that's one of the reasons why we interview a wide range of, of ages. But from your perspective as a, as a child, a third-grader about nine years old or so, what did you do to, to stay busy?

YN: See, life being what it is, I sold newspapers. I was, when I read that the pay was nine dollars, today's world I was the Bill Gates of Camp Harmony.

TI: You mean the pay was, like, nineteen dollars a month...

YN: Nine dollars to about six-, seventeen dollars a month for -- and I earned that selling newspapers in camp. A paper that we hated called the P-I. Because it came out in the morning and I would yell and wake everybody up, "P-I paper," they must have been ready to "shoot that brat" again.

TI: So you would go someplace to pick up these newspapers?

YN: To the gate where the MPs were, Military Police, and we would get our paper through and we'd take it and I'd run for the mess hall, because I knew the older people that could read would want to buy it. It's amazing they had enough money to buy a paper.

TI: So how many other boys or children did the same thing?

YN: My father and I and one other person, and his father. Just the four of us.

TI: Oh, so you did this with your father?

YN: Uh-huh.

TI: And so he was the one that probably figured this out and made arrangements...

YN: He's the one that made it possible, talking to this other Issei, I wish I knew how they decided, I don't know. (...) I'll never forget going (...) up to (selling) a paper to the military person on top of the grandstand that was with the machine gun. And I hated heights and I, I shivered every time I had to go up to (deliver the paper as) I returned to Puyallup Fair. (...) I thought about those things.

TI: So you, I remember earlier you told this story, so you had to climb this ladder to deliver a paper.

YN: Through a hole, and he would come to the hole, 'cause he was on top of the roof of the grandstand, and it's pretty well the same. And the mess hall that we ate in is pretty well the same mess hall that our people ate in, where they sell hamburgers, and elephant ears and whatever (today).

TI: Now, do you recall, as you were selling papers, any interesting incidents or conversations with people?

YN: Only, only it's hard to believe, the very paper, as I learned in education (in later years), the Hearst papers, that was one of the prime movers (in the internment of) our people would still be read (by the Japanese Americans). We weren't sophisticated enough not to buy the paper.

TI: So here you were, selling a paper, a Hearst paper, that was very anti-Japanese, and you didn't realize what you were selling in some ways. I mean, if you did, do you think that would have changed your...

YN: If I knew with what I (know) today, there's no way in any form I would have been a part of that. But that only comes with understanding of time.

TI: Yeah, I'm curious. Puyallup was, was separated into various sections, A, B, C, D. To sell papers, were you able to go to all the various areas?

YN: Only where I was interned (in Area D). I could not leave the gate of the fairgrounds. That was my territory. The other ones were in the parking lots outside. Now, I'm certain if I had known better, maybe I could have gone out, but, but the boundaries were very clear, so I don't know how much, if you had a girlfriend in A, that you could go and see each other. I don't know, but as far as my life was concerned, that was big enough territory.

TI: So I'm curious; you said you were able to make pretty good money selling newspapers, how many newspapers did you sell a day, and how much did you sell each paper for?

YN: You know, again, it's very interesting. It was never economics, so I don't -- to this day -- know If I sold a hundred or I sold only ten. Whatever I know is only by what -- because I never saw the money. My parents must have had the money, but I know I'm the one that collected the money to turn in to pay for the papers, so there was an accountability, but I was a child. Third grade I was not the entrepreneur to bring it to the bottom line.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Other than selling papers, what kind of interaction, what, what else did you do?

YN: Nothing else but to get into trouble.

TI: [Laughs] So like, how did you get in trouble?

YN: Try to sneak in and see the, the prizes and the things that were stored behind the games (area) of the... and the security would come after you (and chase you out). Things that you weren't supposed to do, but we had sports. We had sumo, so (...) when, when you are in survival, you are the most creative people in the world, because everybody is enjoined for survival, and that's a powerful reason (to) get through those hard times. Much harder to do in the community when you get back, when you again are separated.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Well, during this time of survival, was there ever an adult, whether it's your parents or another adult or an older Nisei who explained to you what was going on?

YN: No. And there was, because of our lack of understanding, a very divisiveness between the Isseis and the older Niseis. For the Isseis were relegated to a position by the system because of language, they were no longer the empowerment of the community.

TI: And so you would see this happening at Puyallup, places like Puyallup?

YN: I can see the, the animosity between the Isseis and the older Niseis. They didn't like each other.

TI: Did that include your, your parents?

YN: My parents were the same way. They, but they weren't leaders, so therefore they were much more tolerant to the Niseis, because their, their authority was not being challenged. Their empowerment was not challenged, so naturally they were, they let the Niseis get the benefit of everything that came their way. So they forfeited any empowerment as parents to give to their children because they, what? Spoke English. They were the Americans and they were not. For you have to understand, even if they wanted to be American, the law did not allow them to be American. And why can I say that? It's because when they were allowed to be Americans, they were the largest group that became naturalized in the '50s after the Walter-McCarran Act.

TI: Yeah, so, what happened was, Japanese, or almost all Asian Americans were denied the ability to become naturalized citizens until about 1952, '53.

YN: Right.

TI: With the McCarran-Walter Act.

YN: Right.

TI: But I'm curious, in terms of the family life, how did that change when you went to Puyallup? I mean, did you still eat together as a family?

YN: No more family life. That, that is the most, most, should I say, the striking thing that disintegrated our community. Children ate with children, the, everybody, the Isseis ate with Isseis, or the... you see. And everything was segmentated like it was good times. You're always with your friends. So many people wanna say it was good times, and I'm saying, "Don't listen to that story, listen to what was not being said." The, the breakup of the traditional family is what created the Japanese American so much of who they are in America, is we, we lost that segment of four or five years, and we didn't recover because we got free, we all scattered. We were gypsies of America.

TI: So during that period after the war, just resettling.

YN: Because resettlement for a, one that sits in prison is better, they have a place to go. When we came out, there was no place to go.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So, I'm going to move on. So you were in Puyallup for several months.

YN: Right.

TI: And then...

YN: April to August.

TI: April to August. So explain, in August, what, what happened then?

YN: Again, the eyes of a child. We took a train ride (from) the town of Puyallup, (...) packed up again what little we had, went on the train, and then shot for a place none of us have ever been to, right? And it went and it unloaded us in the middle of the desert.

TI: Now, do you remember at all the train ride from Puyallup?

YN: Absolutely, because our faces got dirty with soot, you didn't have food as most people think a train ride would have, you didn't have that type of setup, I'm certain we had food. But as a child, the train ride was the prevailing excitement. I don't know what my parents thought when they arrived at the other end of that destination, if they were going to get shot and killed. I'm certain that the anxiety, again because of the nature of the Japanese Issei, was all internalized. I didn't know.

TI: Well, were there, were there, like, armed guards on the trains, also?

YN: There were security, right, so that none of us... but the amazing story isn't that there was security or not, no one had a clue that anybody would ever run out. In that sense, they were beyond belief of law-abiding. They went, they were docile.

TI: Well, how about, how about you? You have a habit of getting into mischief.

YN: Right.

TI: Was there any mischief happening?

YN: Again, it's a simple thing. In my very nature of going, and being excited. All right? And being dumped in a place where there wasn't a train station was not the expectation. It was not like I came to the Puyallup Fair, this is just the opposite. Never been to the desert, dust, sagebrush, no trees, no water. Already in my mind I was questioning how come I'm here. I'm a child, I expected to see another beautiful place. Now if they'd dropped me in the middle of Sun Valley in the mountains and the resort, it would have been true to the dreams of a child. That's the first reality of change. That was my first child shock. But I can't interpret it that I was a brat or I was fighting the system. The question came into my mind, and today that question that was so significant as a child was this: the story of what I saw must be answered by what my mother and father must have thought. Not what the Nisei thought; they were there because of who they were. And so I don't know to this day that story, because my story that I want to write of -- at this point of my life, because of that experience -- it cannot be the Nisei story by itself.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: I guess I wanted to continue, when, at Minidoka, so what, what, after the initial shock, what was your life like then? What did, again, what did you do to keep busy?

YN: As you know, it was, the buses were military trucks. You went through a gate, all these things you don't vividly make it a part, to be a part of your remembrance. It has to be dramatic enough that you remember you went over a little bridge or whatever. And until I re-walked it by going back, I had to sort out that which is mythology and what really was. The interesting part, my childhood memory was very, very accurate.

TI: Of, you mean of what it looked like and how far things were?

YN: What were the perspective of, of the camp. Wasn't that, there's nothing left. I looked out there and green farm fields to my left, and some basic little stones of the guardhouse, but nothing, but, but my perception was pretty correct.

TI: And what things were correct? I mean, what did you --

YN: Because most people says, "This doesn't look like where we were." 'Cause when they came (to Minidoka today) there's green farms and everything (changed). What I'm trying to say to you is what we saw today, they couldn't see in the imagery of their mind when they were there. What confused them was everything there's, there was no honor roll, there was no garden. What they wanted to remember was what was done by that which we did to make life survivable. What the image I kept that I say was accurate was what it really was, not what we made it to be in our, living in our internment. That's why there's an honor roll, that's why Kubota made a garden, you see? What I'm saying is simply my remembrance of what I saw is not what many of us are saying was Minidoka, and that is why I feel privileged to be working on the internment story.

TI: Okay, good. I mean, so Minidoka, what, what activities did you do?

YN: I sold papers again.

TI: So which, which newspaper?

YN: Twin Falls, and the Twin Falls News or whatever it was called, the Tribune, but it was never successful because by then people weren't interested because it was a town that they knew nothing about. They'd rather have bought the P-I or the Times. And in those days, there must have been a paper called the Star. But, but it's very interesting. With a much larger audience (to sell papers to), it (was not) successful. I (quit selling papers very quickly).

TI: So you stopped doing it after a while?

YN: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: Well, part of the time, too, you had to go to school.

YN: Right.

TI: And what was, how was school different than, than Summit?

YN: Real simple. The one commonness is I had to walk a distance from the Block 3 I lived in, to the school. 'Cause it was not in my block. For some that was a distance, for me, that was normal. I walked to Summit. The only difference was now I was back into my ethnic community outside of my teacher. Everybody was of Japanese American, or of the heritage of being Japanese, related. The irony is I didn't even understand enough to know (why) the Indians of Alaska, who weren't Japanese, were my classmates. I didn't even understand that significance. And his name had nothing to look like mine, his name was Speardon Hunter.

TI: And he was a classmate of yours?

YN: He was a classmate, lived behind my barrack.

TI: Did you ever interact with him?

YN: Absolutely. He was a hero. We had no sleds or anything. When, when snow came to Minidoka, (his parents) made a sled, and we were the dogs and we pulled the sled. For I again as a child, it's clear as a bell. None of our parents could make a sled that the Eskimos might have used for every day, but I never understood why they were there 'til much after I studied (the internment story).

TI: He was just another playmate of yours?

YN: That's right. But we didn't, not all treat him well. The Japanese, they looked down upon them, (and) I remember that (feeling of being outside the community).

TI: And that was through what kind of actions did you know that people looked down on upon them?

YN: Because their mother and father didn't have friends. And some of my classmates didn't like him to be on our team because he was different.

TI: So how did you make sense of that, or what did you do?

YN: I couldn't, I didn't make sense of it. I wish I could have said I was so smart that I knew the... no, he was, at best he was my childmate playmate. He was my friend and that's it. Not the sophistication of friend, he came and we played. And he was good, in camp we had marbles. For some reason, some of the parents must have thought it was important, they took marbles with them, so we played marbles, and he was very good.

TI: Did you ever have conversations about him in terms of what Alaska was like?

YN: It never dawned on me. I didn't know Alaska from Siberia. All I knew, clearly in my mind, he wasn't Japanese.

TI: I'm curious; after the war, did you ever stay in touch with him?

YN: I, not in that sense. Today I've been trying to locate to see if he's still alive, as I've been locating many people of this nature that because of my experience as youth in camp. But it's very interesting again, the influences. We talked about school and the strength. It's when I left the internment to go to the summer camp, north of Sun Valley and met another group, I had another experience I could not explain. When the white kids came to see us at the camp that we went to, they wanted to know what tribe we were from. That's the first time in my life I was perceived not being Japanese. We had to be Indians. And we, as children, said, "Well, we're Shoshones." We know the town Shoshone, and they believed us.

TI: So was that done as a joke, kind of, or...

YN: Yes. We, we thought they're kidding us.

TI: Oh, because you thought that it was so obvious that you were Japanese...

YN: Absolutely. I, everybody knew I'm imprisoned, right? By then I knew it was a privilege to get out of internment to go to a (church) camp.

TI: So this was a, like a church summer camp up in the hills of Idaho?

YN: Right, beyond Sun Valley. And I could still remember knowing (...) that Sun Valley was (...) a rehab (area) for the (U.S.) Navy who were there on R&R, and so I knew it was not a place where people of our background would be welcome. It held for the rest of my life. I never returned to Sun Valley to ski (in my working years of being in the ski industry).

TI: So let me just summarize. So while you were in camp, there was an opportunity to go to a summer, sort of church camp, and so you and a group of other Japanese Americans...

YN: Were selected to go.

TI: ...were selected to go up there, probably through Reverend Andrews or somebody?

YN: He was the key. Again, the same reason I bring up, right.

TI: And as you go up there, when you went up there, you found that there was a, a military sort of R&R, and, and so were you not treated well?

YN: No, because we didn't go to that area. We were at a church camp.

TI: But you were just aware of that.

YN: Aware that we would not be welcome. If we got caught, we might get beat up, so we had a, a fear, a healthy fear that (my) presence would be not good for our welfare. I mean, that's the survival of the child.

TI: That's interesting; so that fear has stayed with you to the point where you avoided Sun Valley.

YN: Through my, my life.

TI: All these years.

YN: Just like I avoided Puyallup fairgrounds (and never was comfortable but) embarrassed to tell 'em I was inside of (the fairground known to me as "Camp Harmony" during World War II).

TI: Oh, that's interesting.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: Going back to this church camp and Reverend Andrews, let's talk a little bit about Reverend Andrews, because he was your, your reverend in Seattle at the Japanese Baptist Church. He and his family moved to Twin Falls to minister to his congregation. And so he set up sort of his, his congregation in, at Minidoka. What was that like? Was it comforting to you to see Reverend Andrews and his family?

YN: More than that, I think the essence isn't so much -- because I was, I'm certain to the older Niseis -- it was why they were the way they were. He married many of those people in Twin Falls. For those who were older that understand the role of Baptism, he brought 'em into the little towns so they could be Baptized, 'cause there was no Baptismal place in the camp. There was no traditional church. All the things that were important, he did. For me, he did the thing -- for me as a child. When I went to camp, that was exciting again, and the story that the relationship, out of all those two years, the two summers I got to go, I had only one pen pal in my life in my internment. One pen pal during the four years. And I met that young person at this camp. And, and it was two years ago when I was working on the pilgrimage, and I was speaking in Idaho, I decided I'll see if I can locate this person. He came from a little town of Weiser.

TI: So just to, to clarify, so this was a person that you met up in that camp in Sun Valley.

YN: And we've (not) been in contact since I came back (to Seattle), left (Minidoka in fall of 1945).

TI: Okay, so two --

YN: But he wrote to me when I was in camp.

TI: So --

YN: 'Cause one person that understood, made it in my understanding, I was not free; I was interned. I was the one that was captive and he was free. And he would send me notes, we'd exchange pictures (...). And then by hook or crook, I found out (through) a Japanese American woman living in Weiser that came to that town after leaving Minidoka (in 1945), (...) called her and I said, "This sounds stupid, I'm doing this Minidoka story, and do you happen to know a (person) named Ray Hill? Raymond Hill?" And she says, "Raymond Hill? I worked with him. He lives here, yes, he just retired, he was a schoolteacher." I said, "Will you do me a favor? It could be, my childhood memory could be very vague, could be wrong. Will you ask him if he remembers anything?" And he was writing, in his retirement, a story about his family, and he had just found a picture that I had sent him, but he didn't know which one I was of the, in the picture. And I found his picture, and I called and we talked, and I said, "Ray, there's a reason, I hope you don't mind. I want to know from you" -- what you asked me -- "why you wrote to me." Okay? "Of all the hundreds of kids I met, you wrote to me." And it was the simplest answer a child would give. He says, "In my town, there were two, three Japanese American families farming. I was in school, in grade school like you, and they were my friends." He never realized I was interned!

TI: So he thought you were just in another town in Idaho.

YN: Yes, called Minidoka. Hunt, Idaho.

TI: Because there were other Japanese American families in Idaho that weren't in camp, like in Weiser.

YN: Weren't in camp, they were their classmates.

TI: Which is kind of interesting, you mentioned this earlier, and sometimes these families, these Japanese American families from Weiser or other towns in Idaho would visit Minidoka.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: What was that like?

YN: You see, we're not very smart. They could come in the gate, get permission, come to visit the families, their friends that they'd known from the West Coast, let alone they were already there, and then they could leave. Did you ever realize we couldn't leave with them and go with them? But no one asked the question. But then when you say you could relocate, you could go to Washington, D.C., New York and work, the people went. But you couldn't come back to Seattle.

TI: Or you couldn't even just go to Weiser, or just right outside.

YN: That's what I'm saying. The government says you could go out there (but) we didn't (truly) have freedom. We were dictated (to). If they could have kept 157,000 of our people in the territory of Hawaii, the most strategic military place (in the Pacific), and never interned any of them (to the mainland camps), and they would take 120,000 of us from Blaine, Washington, to San Diego and put us (in internment) -- come on. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what it's all about. I have no (more) comments. When I speak today, I don't have any comments. (I just tell them my story as I understand today).

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: Well, before we go there, Yosh, because I was thinking... so we were just talking about how the government, you could relocate out. And eventually your family did leave Minidoka.

YN: When we were given permission by the three governors that we could come back to the West Coast. They were (all initially) against our return.

TI: I'm sorry, they were, they were against your return.

YN: They asked us not to come back.

TI: So the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California...

YN: (The three Western states) didn't want the Japanese Americans to return.

TI: But eventually they did give their permission.

YN: Right.

TI: Or it was forced upon them.

YN: That's right, they had no choice, but it wasn't, "Come back (to your home area)." "Go somewhere else, don't come back."

TI: So do you remember that time, deciding?

YN: I could remember because my parents wouldn't, wouldn't go (to another state). They waited (and always hoped to return to Seattle).

TI: So they, whereas other families were leaving camp to go to other states, your, your parents wanted to wait until the West Coast was reopened.

YN: They wanted to go home.

TI: They wanted to go home, back to Seattle.

YN: You asked the question. (...) Home was not Japan, 'cause of their children (were American). They paid a tremendous penalty. Their dreams were put down under racism and misunderstanding. My Norwegian friends and things all go back to Norway, no one thinks negative of them. Why it was an issue that my parents might have wanted to go back to Japan is as normal and as human as anybody else's right. But they had to make a sacrifice to be Americans (and give up their identity as Japanese).

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: So Yosh, let's now go to, coming back to Seattle. Your parents wanted to come back home to Seattle; how did you feel when you heard that you were coming back to Seattle?

YN: I was excited.

TI: Now, how old were you at this point?

YN: I was going to now be in middle school; I was going to be -- an exciting time. I was going to be in the seventh grade. If I was normal I would have been in seventh... see, broken by semesters. I would have been in the second half of the seventh grade. But, so I was excited, because... I didn't know what the excitement was, because I'm certain my parents were not excited in the same sense I was excited. But it's interesting, 'cause I don't know if I could have done what my parents did. They had nothing; no bed, no furniture, no home.

TI: Did you remember what you came back with? I mean, was it, again, what you could just --

YN: I remember what I came back with. What little we had when we went. No, we didn't have more (...). We could only take back what we had. That was very smart. That's all, we never needed to worry about packing, all right? But we ended up in the, in the (Japanese) Methodist church, (a hostel, 'til we were able to find housing in Seattle).

TI: Well, even before then, so you, you would come to the train station, the Union Station?

YN: Right. And we'd get on the train and come back to Seattle.

TI: And did someone meet you then at the train station?

YN: No, not in that sense. Not in that sense that they're gonna help you relocate, make sure you have food or anything else. But we internally, the greatness, took care of these needs which were not done (only) by the Niseis per se, it must have been done by the Isseis because my wife and her family left Tule Lake (also), ended up in (Japanese) Methodist church, too, and they were very strong Buddhists.

TI: So the Methodist church became a hostel...

YN: Hostel.

TI: ...for your family to, to live, initially.

YN: And they don't have a history of that in their books. They just celebrated their hundredth anniversary.

TI: Now, why wasn't... why didn't you go to Baptist church?

YN: Because it was filled with the belongings of the people Reverend Andrews stored in the gymnasium, and that was all the space was all (full of) belongings of people that had the foresight (to store) that they would come back. We had nothing in there because my parents, I don't think, ever thought they'd get to come back.

TI: So what was it like being at the Methodist Church?

YN: I remember that much more clearly because you're back in a cot, you had no privacy. But this was different than being interned. My parents were anxiously trying to find a place to start anew, what I call the new frontier that we talk so proudly in America. The pioneers that forged out the greatness of America. My parents were the true pioneers. And amazingly, they found two other families (to) live in a little broken-down shed, what they called a home, and we three families lived in (this) place, right down at that bottom of the hill from Bailey Gatzert. And from there I walked to Washington middle school up there on Seventeenth and (Washington). That was the new beginning of education for me, the new freedom. And do you know the common thread of life? I started to deliver The Seattle Times.

TI: Right about then you started selling newspapers?

YN: Isn't that amazing? That's the story you have to hear. These are not by accident. The world gives reason to who you are.

TI: That's interesting.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: Going back, you're at Washington middle school. What, how did that feel to go back and perhaps see some of your old friends before, from before the war?

YN: It was exciting. I saw my Chinese friends, some of my Caucasian friends, and you know something? We didn't know enough to talk about what we had experienced.

TI: So they didn't ask you where, "Yosh, where, where have you been and what was it like?"

YN: Nothing. And I can say that today because I thought that was me. But I shared my story of working on internment (...) Garfield High School reunion (committee), all my classmates there, Jewish, black, white, others, said, "How come all of you, none of you, the most smartest valedictorians and everything else, how come you never shared the story?" And I said simply, "You never asked." But my Jewish friends came up, and I said to them the same thing: "You never told me your story." And it was not until it was validified by (a) director, of the Holocaust, that said the Jewish people could (not) talk (freely) about their experience into the '80s. You see, until you force the question and ask, you're always going to be saying, "No." (...)

TI: That's interesting. So not only did your classmates not ask, but did teachers either publicly or privately ask what it was like or what happened?

YN: And now as I share, because I have started the process, ninety-nine percent of the people can do a better job than I (can). But somebody had to break the barrier. Now I'm going to tell you what that barrier is. And I think I shared it with you in private conversation. I am certain that Jackie Robinson did not know what he had done when he spoke and broke the barrier of baseball. But I'm a Japanese American, and I had in my lifetime, to this past week, to see the two stories of two people: Ichiro and Martinez. The roar of "Ichiro" at the (Sonics) basketball game (...), you would have thought you were at a baseball game, for the crowd would not stop chanting, "Ichiro." Yesterday I was at the (Seahawks) game, and who raised the twelfth man flag (at Safeco Field) was Edgar Martinez. What Ichiro and Martinez experienced is why (the) Jackie Robinson (story is important). I'm glad he didn't know what he had done. And what I'm saying to the Japanese American community, when you break the barriers, you haven't broken it just for ourselves. You allow the other people that can't speak, one day the opportunity to speak exactly what (Densho is) doing, (...) if you were not here, I have no place to tell the story (or leave our legacy).

TI: So, to summarize, you're talking about Jackie Robinson, and his importance is by breaking the color barrier in baseball, opened the doors for people like Ichiro and Edgar...

YN: All people.

TI: ...and all people. And in the same way, you're saying that for Japanese Americans to speak out, will give voice to other people.

YN: All people.

TI: All people. So that's, that's the parallel there.

YN: And what I'm trying to tell you as a group, you are the cutting (edge), so that the other people can speak unashamed, (of) those horrible experiences (and loss of freedom).

TI: Good.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: Let's go back to Garfield High School. So you went to middle school -- well, before we go there, what did your parents do? How difficult was it for your parents to reestablish themselves?

YN: They came back, they had no dreams that they're going to be presidents and corporate managers of anything. They knew there was no jobs of immense pay, all the wealth that was accumulated during the war, they would not be a part of. Their expectation was just to have a job. My mother was a beautiful lady; she became a domestic, cleaning the homes of the community of the wealth of the city. My father went back and (...) got back a job he had when he left (before the war), being a sack sorter, walking from Eighteenth and Yesler down to First and Lander. They all started as pioneers (paving the way) for the Niseis and the Sanseis to come. For the sake of the children, they gave up vacations, they gave up all for the embarrassment that they had failed in America. For because they couldn't be Americans, that's what happened to their children. And the burden of that was on their shoulders. Now, I wish I could say that's factual; I want to tell you I'm only surmising.

TI: Well, do you recall -- I mean, you mentioned earlier how the Isseis were able to become naturalized citizens in the '50s. Did your parents do that, and do you --

YN: Absolutely.

TI: Do you remember them doing that?

YN: I know now why they did it. No one has studied the uniqueness of why they did it. I'm going to say not because I studied it, I'm telling you from my gut. When one is denied anything, and said, "You're not good enough to be," when the time comes, they do what other people had been given the freedom may not do. When you are denied the fragileness of freedom, you are given a tremendous inner desire to prove them wrong. I think that is the story of the 442. I am certain if they (were not questionable marginal Americans), they would have all the hesitancies and (questions) just like anybody else (...).

TI: That's interesting. So because citizenship was denied to your parents, when it was available they, they leaped at the opportunity. And the same thing with the 442, because they were denied...

YN: Their rights.

TI: ...the rights, and the, in some ways, the ability to serve in the army. When that was opened up to them, many of them also took that...

YN: (But) it was abnormal, and it's glorified (with) "model Americanism" and we became the model of a "quiet American." I have no (other) comment.

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: Yeah, I want to go back now to Garfield, and I wanted to actually talk about, I think it was your junior year, that was when you got a part-time job. And want you to talk a little bit about this, because this opened up a huge career for you.

YN: Tremendous. Garfield High School in its uniqueness, the time of the late '40s and the early '50s, was considered the model UN school. Very interesting that I would fall again into something, we were made up of equal amounts of Asians, blacks, whites, and the Jewish community. We had enough to remain and be identifiable, so none of us had to be a token to the majority. We also had something very unique. From the International District and the Yelser Terrace (area), we had poor whites, poor Asians, to the wealth of the Seattle Tennis Club, to Broadmoor through the yacht basin of Montlake. We never knew, but we got along. Some fifty years later, we have to put it into perspective, but that was my background of a school, that I wasn't lost having to be one of a group that I wasn't a part of. There was enough of us to know my identity, but there was enough of the others that I had to appreciate their presence. The greatest thing I have learned at Garfield was (...) I would forever know my identity, because I was always hyphenated (as a Japanese American). I never knew the weakness from the majority was they were not hyphenated, so I never knew of what (ethnicity) they were a part of.

TI: So let me get clear about this. So when you say you were "hyphenated," you're essentially saying that you knew you were --

YN: They were Americans.

TI: But you knew you were Japanese American.

YN: Japanese American, Chinese American. We looked alike in their eyes, but we were all hyphenated.

TI: And you said that was your strength?

YN: It was our strength, I thought it was our weakness.

TI: But that is your strength.

YN: My strength.

TI: Because you knew who you were and where you came from.

YN: And I knew then I can contribute for who I was, not what I wasn't. The terms that came out that bothered me the most were the words "banana," "oreos," all it was trying to say is my skin color was this, but I was, inside, something else. I don't have any comments to that. We all play that game, but when I found (strength in my identity) it was no longer a negative.

TI: So I guess I'm, I'm not clear about this. So...

YN: Because (...) the (new buzz) word (...) was "assimilation." We're all going to look alike, think alike, and we're going to be alike. I found that, as a social scientist, that was why my whole five years of college education went down into the dumps. That theorem didn't work out.

TI: So what you're talking about is this concept of the "melting pot," where we all become assimilated, versus --

YN: To one culture.

TI: Right, versus, and you're saying that there's, there's a fallacy to that because, a weakness to that because you need to know who you are and where you come from. There's a strength in that, so that --

YN: Because we're the microcosm of the world. We are not homogenous. Other countries think they are, but one day they're not going to be homogenous either.

TI: Right. And so going back to Garfield, you said, in some ways, the --

YN: That was my strengthening of who I was (and exposure to many cultures).

TI: And did, being in an environment like Garfield, which you, earlier called sort of like a UN school, because there was such diversity, was it easier to see that?

YN: It was not only easier to see that, it (raised) more questions in my education. Now, what is the presence of the Jewish community? Are they my religious enemy? You see? Are the blacks my threat? Are the wealth of the white people something I cannot accept? All those questions I had to (learn and) become a part of that community. But I couldn't become a part of the community, because I could never be black or white, (etc.), other than what I was. And the strengthening of my identity, when I could tell the people who I was, was a new beginning which took me into another world that I had to understand (and be a part of).

TI: And so when did that awareness happen? When did you know...

YN: All the way through high school, when they would say they knew my mother because she was a domestic (in their homes), the question was in my mind: could their mother have been my domestic? [Pauses] I've no other comment.

TI: So, so I'm trying to get an understanding of this. So here you are, just years removed from coming away from being incarcerated.

YN: Right.

TI: Having parents or a mother who is a domestic, whose English probably isn't, isn't the best, and here you're talking about the strength of being what you call hyphenated, Japanese American. It seemed like such a contradiction. It's almost like you would feel a sense... I mean, it'd be in some ways, a difficult time to be Japanese American, or feel really, being proud of being Japanese American.

YN: Because... I'll share where I was coming from. The most important facet of life is lot of things we don't understand, we hold to ourselves, because we all want to be successful. And so we will give up much of who we are for the success because we got family, want to get married, you want to have a job. And because, if the empowerment is of one group, they hold all the marbles. If they don't want to play the game anymore, they could pick up their marbles and leave. I began to understand diversity because I could remember a classmate that was in school at that time by the name of Quincy Jones, one of our greatest musicians that came out of that school. And he has a story of his own, just like the Japanese Americans, but I don't think many of my black community and the Asian community (are aware of) his story. His (story is) an American story as mine is an American story. But it doesn't make any sense if it (is interpreted only as) the story of white America (by the understanding of white America. It must be understood by both groups or cultures).

TI: Okay, no, I, I think I get that.

YN: And that's why my identity had to be -- my affirmation for you (is I) know you're a Japanese American, my affirmation for you to do your job is if you don't do it (as a Japanese American), who will?

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TI: Well, let's go back to you, and I actually want to spend some time talking about your special relationship with Osborn & Ulland.

YN: I'd love to.

TI: And that started when you were a student at Garfield.

YN: I was gonna be a senior, that's right.

TI: So, so explain to me how you got started with, with the company.

YN: Very simple. One of the owners was a graduate of Garfield High School, that's natural. That was one of the fine schools before the war. The other went to Broadway High School. They -- if they didn't grow up with any -- were aware that there were other students besides whites. And they specifically, in those days, (new Japanese Americans), I was told that the Boys Club advisor, who gave us leads to jobs, they had particularly asked (if) a Japanese American (student) to come be a stock boy. Why? Maybe it was the best deal they have, I don't know, but they did, and I was excited because it was going to be in a sporting goods store. Well, I was the most disappointed person that ever was. I went down there and I said, "Mr. Cribley, why would you send me to a store, they're not in a sporting goods store." And he said, "Why?" I said, "Well, they sell skis, they sell mountain climbing equipment, golf, guns." I thought they would sell baseball gloves, footballs, all the things I thought were sports. Because I come out of a culture that those weren't things that I would do; they were for the rich. Even as a senior in high school. But it was out of that Garfield High School experience that I was sent there. Never knowing I would stay there the rest of my working life. I was just like my father, basically. Had only one job. My kids think I'm crazy that I could find at that point a job I would never leave.

TI: So you would continue this as, on a, I suppose, as a part-time basis while you...

YN: Went to school...

TI: ...went through high school.

YN: ...went into the military, because I came out in six months. I had never, one reason (...) that I would not be able to work there.

TI: And there was, you knew or there always was a job waiting for you whenever you would go off.

YN: Come back. And I never intended to come back after I left my six months of (military) service, but I went back to the store and saw there was a place for me because (many things weren't) being done, and I went back (to do the work). They never invited me to work, I just (went) to work.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: And so what was your place? What was your role at Osborn & Ulland?

YN: Cleaning up, stocking, doing all the things that nobody else wanted to do. I knew I could have a job by default, just like my mother and father knew. Nobody wanted to do what my mother and father wanted to do. I never knew why they could work, (even during a difficult economic environment). No comment.

TI: So your, your... sort of, your role in these early years was doing things that others didn't want to do. You would do the, those, those little sometimes dirty jobs that --

YN: Cleaning the toilets, the sidewalks, was not success (or having a job, but also gave security).

TI: Now how did you feel, because you were there for perhaps years now, and there would probably be newer people who would come. And yet, you were still doing these, these...

YN: And earning more money, and by the time I finished college (...) and everything else, I (still must have been the) lowest-paid person in that (store).

TI: So here you were, a college graduate, with seniority, and you would have these new people come in that would get paid more than you.

YN: That's right.

TI: And how did you, how did you feel about that?

YN: I felt that that was normal because they knew how to ski, they could play tennis. I couldn't do any of those things. We were in sports; I didn't know, I was not all-American or all-city or all-conference nothing. I never was on the Olympic team. My people, they were on the Olympics. They set world records, they jumped the furthest on a pair of skis. Jim Whittaker was the first man to climb Mount Everest. I knew my, I had none of those credentials. But the awesomeness of America is those are the (same) people that wanted me to become the boss.

TI: Well, so how did that transition happen? Being from the --

YN: Because none of them wanted to stay the rest of their lives being in the retail business. I won by default.

TI: So at some point, I mean, you started... because you must have started doing other things, too, besides the --

YN: And never because I was appointed. I did it because it wasn't being done. And pretty soon, the awesomeness of America, I was the boss. I still wasn't earning the money, but I was the boss.

TI: Because the, the founders at that point, they wanted to retire?

YN: They didn't like the retail business. It became seven days and seven nights. Nobody that owns anything wants to work seven days and seven nights. I was the (...) one that enjoyed it.

TI: Oh, so they put you in charge, because you would, you would be willing to spend the hours...

YN: That it was necessary. But the bank would say it differently, because all of us know banks. The bank said simply, "Do not let Yosh be the visible head of the company. We want you to be successful. We loan you the money. So therefore, put somebody besides Yosh as the visible head." And when my principals refused to do that, I knew I had a job for life.

TI: So when your principals, when the owners said, "No, Yosh is our man," and told the banks that, you knew that you had that job for life.

YN: For life.

TI: At what point -- I mean, how old were you when you started getting this responsibility?

YN: It was well after my college years, and I never, never, never once asked for a raise. I was a Japanese American; I didn't know how.

TI: [Laughs]

YN: You see...

TI: Well, how big was Osborn & Ulland during these years when you were...

YN: They were nothing. I built a business upon people, not economics. I had no wealth. I could not buy anything. My parents had no wealth. I needed to make a living, or my children would never have anything, and I lived in homes that my people wouldn't come to visit me because I lived next to Holly Park. They were scared. And I (lived) on Mercer Island, then another group of people thought they won't visit me because they didn't like (coming to the) Island. I couldn't win for trying.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: So, so here you were running Osborn & Ulland, at that point, one of the largest sporting goods --

YN: It (was). Not (...) the largest, (...) but it became one of the leading (retailers and a) conscience (to) the industry. I challenged -- I was still the brat -- (...) all the authorities (and leaders) of my (sports) industry why it was the way it was, (and we needed a change).

TI: This was only after you were in charge.

YN: I was empowered. That is correct. Until I was leading, I just bit the bullet. And I'll tell you, half of those in business never called upon me for forty-five years I was there.

TI: Because they didn't like... well, tell me why.

YN: Simply, I was there. There was a time (we possibly) could have been a part of Nordstrom, maybe because we were both Scandinavian background. I knew we were Norwegian, they were Swedish background (...). But I was the chair of the company, and I wasn't gonna give up (our) empowerment (and influence in the sports world).

TI: So at some point, the founders not only gave you the management responsibility, but at some point, the ownership, or the control of...

YN: Control. I never had ownership, but I had complete control because they disappeared (from the retail section of the business). They had a good deal, as long as I made profit, there was no more questions asked.

TI: So under your control, you talked about how you would challenge the industry. What are some ways that you challenged the industry?

YN: Only as a way a Japanese American would do. In the quietness, I didn't march the streets, and I didn't do economic boycotts, but I was always present in the boardrooms where I heard the talk. And many times they forgot I was there. That was my first time I learned I now had a role.

TI: Well, what were some of the things said in these, in these boardrooms?

YN: Simply, if I wanted to see people of color, I would go down to the level of the factory, and they were there. I said, "But I am not the factory worker. I am here as a part of this great company's management, and I am tired year after year being the only one being different." And (an example), Nike, until Jessie Jackson marched on 'em, they had no blacks in top management, but all their products were black-endorsed. It's a lack of understanding.

TI: So what you were seeing was although the industry catered to people of color, in particular blacks in terms of their sporting wear and things like this, at the management level, it was...

YN: In the business level, they were never there; they were invisible. And those of the, those of us that got through to those levels, never wanted to address those issues for other people. It's only when I had the comfort zone of my identity, I can speak for my brothers and sisters that weren't Japanese American.

TI: Now, was it just your identity, or was it the control that you had? It was the empowerment.

YN: It was empowerment I had, because I knew I could contribute. There was no doubt in my mind I could bring to the table something that they didn't have a clue about, that would be good for them. I didn't bring something that was bad for them, I never went there to make them earn less money.

TI: So explain to me why that was good for them. Why did that help them make more money, by bringing this other voice...

YN: In? Because the world market isn't comprised of only this market called America. We're one spaceship Earth. Now, what am I saying? What I was saying is not only for America. The Chinese, the Europeans, the Japanese, would also take the same footstep of empowerment of white America. I did not see the hiring of my ethnic Americans and these top jobs of the world, either. The Japanese used the, I did not see them (...). "Oh, you just don't hire Japanese Americans. You have to look at other people." They ignored the Japanese American people as much as (white) America did, if not more so, and they had less reason to. I could eat their food, I could identify with their culture and had understanding. But that wasn't (...) the "American" (they perceived to lead their companies in the States).

TI: Hmm, so, so you're able to help them. I mean, it also helped Osborn & Ulland, because under your management, it grew considerably.

YN: Not only grew, (we) grew where (we were) a part of the athletes of the world (who) also identified with us; that's why they all came. They gave (us) credibility; it wasn't the business. The business, the bottom line gives you credibility, and your growth and how much more business you have done, but that doesn't prove your people power. The Japanese Americans should be talking about people, not their economic success. Not (only) what high attainments they made in their professional field, (but the responsibility to all people and cultures of the world).

TI: Do they work hand-in-hand, or were they separate?

YN: They're hand-in-hand, always. It's (...) when you (exploit and) use the others to make gain, it is in conflict. When you exploit people, women or children of the world, we're no better than our internment (experience).

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

TI: Well, let me ask you this; this might be a hard question, because you built the business, and with that, it was hand-in-hand with an emphasis on not exploiting others, and in fact, really making it more people-powered as well as being a successfully-run business. But at some point, whether it's the competition or whatever, there are now other companies in this business that are successful, and the Osborn & Ullands are no longer there.

YN: That's the beauty of it.

TI: Is that the beauty, or...?

YN: That is the beauty of it.

TI: So, explain this. I mean, it seems like, like it's, to be socially conscious and run a business in some of these industries is, is very difficult or almost impossible.

YN: Nothing, nothing is built upon a person. Now, you could take every great philosophy of the world: education, being a doctor, a religious leader, nothing is done unto itself. If you find a cure for cancer, it's not for just one group, it's for all. And economics should have no part of the cure. If you're in research, the great business you come from, it cannot only be good for the people that found the companies. Because it's no longer there has nothing -- because Jackie Robinson's no longer alive, what is accomplished was far greater after his death, because it was the message, not the attainment of physical (or material) being.

TI: Well, so do you think your, what happened to Osborn & Ulland and the messages that you had will have an effect later on? Or...

YN: It's prevailing every day. Because the only thing I failed or was not content with, was what is known as the economics, or the financial base. When the bank says, "No more money," when I didn't owe them any money, I could have beat 'em. 'Cause they were putting out minority-run businesses (in that sense but I chose not to go that route. We closed.)

TI: But see, isn't that the point, though? Because don't you think if, if you were still in charge of a large, thriving Osborn & Ulland, the influence, the being at the table, being at the boardroom, you would have more influence?

YN: No. Because it's time for new leadership. I don't have the answers for tomorrow. I had the answers out of my history; I had to answer it for my people. People like you and her will take what you hear from me and bring it into... I try to explain this to you. I'm totally computer illiterate. I don't understand the magnitude of what that can do. I'm totally floored when I see what you do here, 'cause I have no, no concept of what you are doing. I just have to believe you know what you're doing. My knowledge is useless to you except what I am sharing with you, of why bringing closure to anything is not wrong. I would not fit in for the way people want to do things today.

TI: But what you do have, in this sort of unique experience of during a very turbulent time in the sporting goods and the sporting world, the '60s, the '70s, when lots of changes were happening.

YN: Absolutely.

TI: You were in the behind-the-door meetings...

YN: I was knocking, right.

TI: ...and saw this, and I guess what I'm trying to get --

YN: It was done. That's the part I want to -- it wasn't not done, it was done. We broke the barriers at the University of Washington, we broke the barriers of sports. Now, it's got a long ways to go yet, but that's somebody else's time to emerge with their empowerment. You've taken your empowerment, she's taken her empowerment, to do what you're doing. You can, you are fully authorized to tell the story, just like I was. But I had to wait my turn.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TI: Now, when you look at sort of the future generations, you're Nisei, second generation, when you look at the Sanseis and Yonseis, not, and not just Japanese Americans, but anyone, what, what advice do you have in terms of making these changes? Would you suggest that the way you did it is a good way, or what can we learn from Yosh Nakagawa?

YN: What you could learn is real simple. It's not a yellow and white issue, or a black and white issue. That's how I was raised. I attacked -- that's why I said they thought I didn't like whites, because they were the ones I was attacking all the time. Okay? That was my perceived frustration. And I wasn't incorrect, but today, they're not the only group, that they have done their share of understanding. Where we need to tell people like yourselves are now the community goes laterally. It's people that we also pushed out; Native Americans, Hispanics, or blacks or Jews or whatever it is, we are now a new issue. My main drive for forty-five years was penetrating Western Euro thinking; religion, education, business, hiring, whatever it was. I never attacked Japan, China, Germany. I never attacked blacks, Africa, never. But white America doesn't hold all the problem. It's not either them or us, it's all of us. So I know my time is over in that sense, but my mind is still there.

TI: Yeah, but during that time, I'm curious, taking the stance that you did, what impact did it have on the financial, the business side?

YN: Probably the greatest, because the entrepreneurship that comes out of people, they must be able to know that they can be the entrepreneur. I'm not saying the corporate head of Microsoft. I really don't know today if your friend Scott Oki, really could, wanted to be the president of Microsoft; I really don't know. I've heard stories, and, but if he did, I would say he could do a better job than, than Bill Gates, or the ones you get now, Ballmer and everybody else. No doubt in my mind he could bring something that those other people could not bring. Okay? I'll always think that way, but I would say of the other side, there would be many of the other side that says he doesn't bring anything.

TI: No, that's, that's good. The, the way you think, the stands that you took, what impact did this have on your family?

YN: Tremendous.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: And before we go there, when did you get married, and...

YN: I got married (after graduating college).

TI: Out of college?

YN: The university, just when I graduated and right before I went to the military for my six months of training.

TI: And how did you meet your wife?

YN: I met her, she was a girl that attended not a city school. She attended a school way out of my dream -- Highline High School, but I saw a picture of a girl that was a yell leader, and I said, "Wow. A Buddhahead girl that's a yell leader, cheerleader, not a song leader." And I got to meet her, and she wasn't even from my background; she came from a little place in, farm tenement in Kirkland, and they lived in a project, and the family were Buddhists. Okay? Everybody says that's, what a rare combination. But I fell in love, just like any other human being, and as the world gets settled, I had nothing and she had nothing, but at least I finished school and we were on our way. And from that point we have had impact with each other because we started. And I wouldn't tell this to many people; I'll share it because this is important. I got married by Emery E. Andrews, Pastor Andy, but I also got married in the Buddhist Temple. And nobody on either side liked it. I said, "What a strange feeling." Already I'm the brat. Already I started my married life, instead of being loved by my (religious) community, I'm hated by this community (...). But the two principals, Andy and the Buddhist priest says, "This is wonderful," but my community said, "You're, you're a fake."

TI: And when you say "community," is it your...

YN: The Japanese American community (and the larger religious groups).

TI: But your, was it your family also that was...

YN: Yes, because I did it because her father would have not been able to even grant the wisdom of letting me get married to his daughter if he, he had to go to the Baptist Church. But (...) he was happy that I was (married) at the Buddhist Church. What he didn't know was bliss.

TI: So when you got married twice... [laughs]

YN: Yes. Got two licenses, I didn't have no money, (but we managed two ceremonies).

TI: And so your, so your wife's family only came to the Buddhist ceremony...

YN: Right.

TI: And did your family just go to the Baptist, or did they go to both?

YN: No, mine came both.

TI: Okay.

YN: But, but that's because I was the brat. I'm certain if they had their druthers they wished they only had to go to one, but that's, today it's no big deal. What did you just ask? My doing this, this happens all the time. Not, not any -- I don't want to belittle it and say it's easier, but it's, I'm not considered, you're not considered an oddball like I was. See?

TI: And so how has your wife put up with all your, your activities?

YN: If she was of the norm, and she was not a Japanese American Nisei woman, my marriage would have been over years ago. But we come out of a mold that you just didn't break up that easily. We put up, or we gaman-ed, or we, we did things; we went through hard times.

TI: And what were the difficult things for her? When you say she wouldn't put up with it, what were...

YN: She was not comfortable with what I was saying. She didn't like my attacking white, the white establishment. I said, "Understand, (I) worked for 'em all my life now. Do you not think I really cared about them?" But she says, "You fight them; you tell 'em they're idiots. You can't do that." And I said, I said, "Don't you understand the greatness of these people, they let me do it? And they hold me accountable for it. They don't tell me they're gonna fire me; they fight and argue with me and they say I don't anything, but if that's what I believe, 'Go ahead and do it. You're in charge.'" That's the greatness of, awesomeness of America. It isn't that we agree. The awesomeness of America is the willingness to be fair when you're up to bat. Give me three swings at the ball. If I strike out, I'll go back and shag the ball. But if I hit a home run, let me come up to bat again. That's my principles; why can I play the game in sports is I know the rules. Why I have difficulty in my community is they don't tell me what the rules are.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TI: So in talking about rules and things but moving on, I guess, you had children also.

YN: Yes.

TI: And how many children did you have?

YN: My oldest is a girl, my middle is my, my son, and the youngest is a girl. And they all three have unique, they are different. It's hard to believe they come out of the same family. My oldest is a dentist, and now in Southern Cal, my son is in, not very intelligent like his father, he's in the retail business, earning nothing. And my youngest is even worse, she's a schoolteacher in elementary, and having a hard time keeping a job as they keep cutting costs. And the two bottom ones don't earn enough really to really make, say they make a good living. So I haven't taught them economics very well, because I knew you'll never get rich being in the retail business and being a schoolteacher, and I knew that being a dentist is the only business that's working themselves out of business. Dental care is now a different game.

TI: I'm curious; are your children or any of your children as outspoken as you are?

YN: That's a good question. I think that the one difference in my children than my era, they're much more comfortable in the Asian American world. Because so much of the third generation that my family is a part of, they're not ethnically defined by who they are, but by a broader term, Asian Americans. So already in my family, my son is not married to a Japanese American, he's married to a Chinese American. And if there's any difficulties for our family, it's in my wife and myself, it's not their problem. We have to make the adjustments.

TI: Because the problems that you have -- see, it's kind of interesting. Here you've been such a champion for breaking barriers, and yet you have difficulties with...

YN: Because I broke a barrier in religion, okay, which I, I was a part of -- in my mind, nobody else's -- but I was still married to a Japanese American girl. The barrier that my, Mark broke, is he married somebody outside the Japanese American family. So we never had that problem, but if we have a problem, it's our problem because they, they're able to do it.

TI: Well, so when your son married a Chinese American, was it with your blessing?

YN: Absolutely, but any of the doubt in my mind of success lies upon their doing it. I don't know if I could have done it. You asked me the question, why must things come to a closure? Because we only have limited skills. It's when we think our skills go for eternity, I said, "No. We all get old." And there's a time that I must give up all my empowerment to the next group, and it shouldn't necessarily look like me or agree with me. I should be able to say openly, "I trust the empowerment that you have that you'll be right for all people." The same thing I asked as a Japanese American had to get broader because the only acceptance from white America is not sufficient for me. I need the same acceptance from my Jewish families, my Hispanic families, my black families, and I think we got a lot of things yet that need to be resolved.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

TI: This was a good segue. We started this interview talking about the significance of December 7th.

YN: Right.

TI: And in the last few years, I've noticed that you've become much more outspoken about, about issues of, of race, of what America is all about, and this has happened really since September 11, 2001, which was the, the terrorist action against the World Trade Center. Why don't you talk a little bit about that? Why, why was it important for you to become more outspoken, not, not just in your industry which was the sporting goods and sports, but now in a much broader way, with churches, with community events, with universities? What, where did that come from?

YN: I think you bring my capsule of my life into one bundle. I could have not done what I had been doing if I was still in business. I wouldn't have had neither the time nor the interest at this point, and I would have still been doing what I was doing. Out of good fortune, I knew I no longer had that burden. But I never expected 9/11. Never in my life. But when it happened, I saw many similarities of reaction. I'm not saying anything. I'm saying the stereotype of those that did it just happened to have a different name: Muslims. The darker-skinned Arabs or whatever the terrorist stereotype was, the papers, our government, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, no different than Executive 9066. Our president signing it, the military tribunal under DeWitt, and they were all to be feared, because they were one group. And you and I know that's not true. That wasn't true for the Japanese American community, but I said that was 1941. They weren't, we weren't very smart. And this is 2001. The century of 2001? And we still have ignorance? And out of this ignorance comes out that our internment was correct, out of our Homeland Security of the great leaders out of Carolina or anywhere else? Michelle Malkin? Teacher at Bainbridge Island? This is America; they can speak. I never knew this would happen, but I finally realized my position was, my internment was no longer my story. I now can speak as an American, that it was their story also. It was our story. And until I found I had a responsibility to speak for the Muslims and that which was the development of those Americans and those of that background. I'm not endorsing terrorism; I'm not endorsing anything that's wrong.

What I'm saying is I wanted to see what happened from my day. And you know, if I just use this simply, I would have loved to have seen a headline that said a terrorism case that went the wrong way, and they said they threw it out of court, and he was a student in Idaho. I wish that would (have happened during World War II) for Gordon Hirabayashi. Gordon Hirabayashi didn't -- (wasn't exonerated until) well after World War II (ended).

TI: So let me see if I can summarize. So from your experiences of what happened during World War II, you've had all these experiences, and then since 9/11, it sounds like you've seen some similarities.

YN: It all came home to roost.

TI: It all came home to roost, in fact, to the point where there have been even more recent attacks on, on the fact that what happened to Japanese Americans was perhaps the correct thing to do, even though after the government in the '80s saying it was totally wrong.

YN: Five presidents says it was wrong.

TI: But, but with all that, you're still saying, though, there has been progress. That, that in the case of the newspaper article, here's a case where in the front page, there is admit, someone admitting that the government was wrong in prosecuting this, I think, Arab American in Idaho for, I think, having, creating websites, I think is what it was about.

YN: Right. [Laughs] You understand. I don't understand it, believe me, but I know you do. And it sort of sounds silly to me, so I got to say, without knowing what he or she has done.

TI: So I guess the question is, so... and this will be the last question: is it progress? Are we...

YN: It's greater than progress, because you have to see it from my -- this is why history is important for you. Progress in many ways, for people, is slow. But one's lifetime isn't even a marker on history. It only seems long because it's our life. But history isn't written out of one person's life. What I'm saying to you is just the fact that they get legal advice and counsel, which our people never were able to get, is in my eyes a tremendous, tremendous gain of understanding. Now, have we arrived? No way. Let me give it to you another way: why I'm so excited about why I'm here. Freedom. And that of peace and justice, is not passed down by osmosis to the next generation. It must be again re-taught. And every generation must update it to that time to keep it relevant for today and tomorrow. You do not take history to prove a point back in history. That water's gone down the river. What I am hoping when I leave, is that you take this and understand the progress I see through my eyes, and you bring the progress you do not see for today and tomorrow, and you'll be saying that to the next generation. Because you must teach the next generation. You cannot assume they understand their roots. And don't look backwards, take today and look forward. For my story is for those who are yet to come. And I do not want to have any absolutes. What I have shared with you is that you must cleanse that which I believe to saying, "That no longer is true today." But that does not make me wrong for what I had done, for I am moving in the same direction that all people that are concerned with freedom and the rights of empowerment to all, I want to be a part of that, saying, I didn't know what I was doing, but I was at the cutting edge, the brat, that was asking the questions. And they said, "No," but I said, "I'm going to try."

TI: And with that, I think that's a great way to end this. So Yosh, thank you so much.

YN: Thank you.

TI: This was, this was, the time just whizzed by here.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.