Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Uno Bill Interview I
Narrator: Kazuko Uno Bill
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 7, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-bkazuko-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: So today is May 7, 2008, I'm here with Kazuko Bill. I'm Megan Asaka, and the videographer today is Dana Hoshide, and we are in the Densho office in Seattle. So, Kazuko, thanks so much for coming down here to do the interview.

KB: You're welcome.

MA: I wanted to start by asking where and when you were born.

KB: Okay. I was born in Seattle, Washington, and from what my parents told me, I was born in one of two hospitals that were in the International District at that time. And they were specifically for the Japanese women, and they were run by not MDs, but by the helpers.

MA: Midwives?

KB: Midwives, thank you. [Laughs] And apparently it was a successful delivery.

MA: And when, when were you born?

KB: On June 5, 1921.

MA: And what was the name given to you at birth?

KB: Kazuko. And maybe I'll just explain the character for my name in Japanese, is "peace." And so my father, I think, gave us kind of nice names. I mean, I was the "peace" child, my brother, who came after me, is Tsutomu, and his name means "someone who likes to study," but he wasn't that way, but that was his name. [Laughs] And then my brother after that was Kiyoshi, which means "nice personality." And then my sister after that was Hisaye, which means a "beautiful limb," "beautiful branch," I guess is more correct. And then my other two sisters, I don't know what their names mean. I guess by that time it didn't make much difference. (Narr. note: It's interesting that the common Japanese names were George and Mary at that time but my parents did not consider these names for us. I heard a story that when Japanese kids started schools with Japanese names, the teachers couldn't pronounce them and called girls "Mary" and boys "George"!)

MA: It sounds like your parents put a lot of thought into naming you.

KB: I think so, uh-huh.

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