Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: James "Turk" Suzuki Interview
Narrator: James "Turk" Suzuki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 7, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-sjames_2-01-0004

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TI: Well, tell me, let's talk a little bit about just who your parents were as individuals. And when you think of your dad, how would you describe him in terms of the type of person he was?

JS: Well, you know, my father, as far as we children were concerned, he was a very strict disciplinarian. Later, we were to find out that he was, he himself was rather happy-go-lucky. To us, he appeared totally different, because he wanted us to excel in school, and they wanted us, both our parents wanted us, all of our kids to go to the university. But I was a difficult child in terms of schooling goes, and I was a very poor student all through my school years. And of course, I went to school at Bailey Gatzert, and that was over ninety percent Niseis.

TI: And before we go there -- we'll get there -- but talk a little bit about your mother. What was she like?

JS: My mother, of course, was a very gentle mother, like all mothers are, and always hardworking and self-sacrificing for the kids. I'm not certain on what her goals were, but she was kind of adventuresome also, and she wanted to travel the U.S., but she never did. She was never able to until after evacuation. But she had a very difficult life, because there were six children, surviving children, that they raised.

TI: And I want to get to that, but I'm curious, you mentioned earlier your father attended the University of Idaho, and I was curious about language. Did he, how, did he speak English?

JS: Yes, he spoke English, but certainly with an accent, you know, Japanese accent. But he understood and wrote quite well, English, that is.

TI: Because that was pretty unusual for an Issei to be able to write...

JS: Well, I suppose.

TI: And so when you conversed with your parents, was it in English or Japanese?

JS: It was Japanese, especially, you know, preschool years, it was mostly Japanese. But because our folks ran a hotel, operated a hotel, they had to learn some English to be able to speak with the customers and so forth.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.