Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sharon Tanagi Aburano Interview I
Narrator: Sharon Tanagi Aburano
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Megan Asaka (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 25, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-asharon-01-0001

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[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

TI: So today is March [25], 2008, we're in the Densho office. We're here with Sharon Aburano, and helping me with this interview, the secondary interviewer is Megan Asaka, and on camera is Dana Hoshide. And so thank you so much for coming this morning. And Sharon, let's start by asking, what was the full name given to you at birth?

SA: It's Setsuko Tanagi.

TI: And was there, like, a middle name, or where does "Sharon" come in?

SA: It was given to me by someone at church, and it's coming out of the Bible, the Rose of Sharon (...).

TI: But originally, it was Setsuko Tanagi, and then later on you got Sharon.

SA: Yes. So it was legally put in (later). Mainly because the Caucasians had a hard time with that T-S-U, "tsu" (in "Setsu"). And so by the time I left camp, it was (Sharon).

TI: Okay. So when and where were you born?

SA: I was born (in Seattle, Washington), October the 31st (...). My folks were married on April Fool's Day, so I came on (another holiday), Halloween -- [laughs] -- the year after. (...) I think it was a midwife (delivery), from what I've seen, because I looked at the birth certificate, and it (read), "Five (A.M.)" (and) I'm sure it was a midwife, and it was probably in the hotel room upstairs of our store.

TI: By any chance, do you know which midwife delivered you?

SA: I'm not sure. I think it was someone named Takeda.

TI: Good. So born October 31st, what year?

SA: 1925.

TI: 1925 (...).

SA: And the name Setsuko comes, actually, from Tencho "setsu," which (means) the (Emperor's birthday and) they just switched over to a new era in Japan. The Taisho era went out when Hirohito came in. So evidently, it has something to do with the coronation, (too).

TI: So do you think your parents were very aware of Japan and what was happening in Japan and they kind of timed things and named things after Japanese things?

SA: Well, my mother is one that (was into current events. She lived in) the era of the Meiji, and (the movements were) pro-West. (...) My mother (...) and father came from the same (village, Keitoku-mura) up north. We call it Tohoku (area), but it's (Kitakata-shi, Fukushima-ken). I think her side was quite well-to-do, but still, (the landowners) were farmers in that area. (She was educated) first in the village school (and then) sent (...) on to Tokyo (...). (She did complete) the Kitakata finishing school (first), and (they picked Tokyo), mainly because her older brother was already (there), in medical school. (What) was amazing to me was not so much (that they were academically able), but the fact that they were both converted Christians. There was a missionary up there in the north that taught her some English. And (so when she got married later, it was) by a Christian missionary (pastor).

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.