Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fumi Kaseguma Interview
Narrator: Fumi Kaseguma
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-kfumi-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So do you know about when your father came to the United States?

FK: That I really... let's see. My brother was born six years before, '24.

TI: Yeah, so it'd be 1918 would be about your brother's...

FK: Yeah, so it must have been year before, somewhere around there, maybe it's 1917? I'm not sure.

TI: So that's probably when your mother came, probably.

FK: Yeah, I'm not sure.

TI: Okay. Now, why, why Portland? What was happening in Portland for him to go there?

FK: For him? I guess there must have been a job. But the first thing he did was work in the railroad, you know, like a lot of the Issei men did. And then they moved into town, and we ran a cleaning, cleaning and laundry shop, you know, those, that kind of business for quite a few years until he passed away.

TI: And so describe to me the part, or the location in Portland that the, this business was.

FK: Oh, it's a little ways, not too far away from the Japanese town, Japanese and Chinatown that, in Portland.

TI: So do you recall any of the, like, streets nearby?

FK: Oh, yeah, we were, we were on Glisan Street, G-L-I-S-A-N. It was between Broadway and Park Avenue, I think. Park Avenue.

TI: And in this neighborhood, were there other, like, Japanese who lived in this...

FK: Oh, yeah, 'cause there was, above us was a hotel, and so someone was living, Japanese were living up there. And there were quite a few in that area. They had either hotels or cleaning shop, grocery store, that type of thing. And it wasn't too far from Japanese town, so I used to have to go down there to shop for my mother, you know.

TI: And so how would you go down? Would you take a...

FK: No, just walk.

TI: Okay, so it was pretty close.

FK: Well, we all walked in those days, Tom. [Laughs]

TI: So, what kind of shopping would you do in Japantown that you couldn't do in your neighborhood?

FK: Well, they had... well, see, they had a fish market like Seattle, you know, and like Uwajimaya type of, I think it was Furuya Company where they, where they sold Japanese products. So I was usually sent there. And they used to have a meat market, too, where they, you know, just, everything was chopped right there.

TI: And so about how old were you when you'd make these excursions?

FK: Oh, I was quite young.

TI: Like about how, how old, do you think?

FK: Oh, maybe twelve, thirteen.

TI: See, this is the thing that always, I tell my kids. It's always amazing to me how much the Niseis had to do at such a young age, that my kids, when they were twelve, I mean, we didn't even let them play on the streets by themselves.

FK: Yeah, well, times were different, too.

TI: Watching, and here your, your parents were sending you to do a different part of town to go shopping and, with money, and coming back, things like that.

FK: Yeah, 'cause everything, it was pretty close, so, you know, we had to walk all the time. And we went to school walking, grade school, and we went to Japanese school every evening for one hour.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.