Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bob Y. Sakata Interview
Narrator: Bob Y. Sakata
Interviewer: Daryl Maeda
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-sbob-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

DM: So what, what initially drew you to Brighton as a town?

BS: There was a lot of... there were some Japanese, we used to call them Coloradoans, you know, "Colorado-jin," that's what we used to call 'em, Colorado-jin. And there were a lot of Japanese Americans that were born and raised in Colorado that I became friends with, and then I went to school. I went to school in Brighton High School, I enrolled in Brighton High School in December of 1942 and stayed there for a semester. And when I enrolled in Brighton High School, I met a lot of friends, Caucasian friends, Japanese American friends. And I was in, in a chemistry class and I was called to the principal's office, so I thought, "Oh my goodness, what happened?" So I went to the principal's office, and his name was David Kyle, and he told me, he said, "Bobby, why do you want to go to school?" And I said, "Dave, Mr. Kyle," I said, "I need an education. But why do you ask?" He said, "Well, if you just wanted to get a high school diploma, I got all your records from Washington Union High School in California and you got more, you got more credits than you need to graduate high school. So I can give you a diploma right now." So I said, "No, Mr. Kyle, I'd like to get a diploma from Brighton High School, and I would like to brush up on my algebra, chemistry, trig., and because I would like to eventually have enough credits to go to Colorado State University." So that's, and then I commuted from Mr. Schluter's to school every day.

DM: So where were you living during that time?

BS: I, I was living in with Mr. Schluter's farm, batching, yeah.

DM: What do you mean by "batching"?

BS: Well, there was a little shack there that he allowed me to stay in and cook, and myself, took care of myself.

DM: You were just a teenager.

BS: Yeah, oh yeah. But going through camp, that was a palace. [Laughs]

DM: So it must have seemed familiar, living in, out on the farm and getting up and working, going to school and coming back.

BS: Yes. It was just like back home where I was growing up.

DM: And how did you find the community treated you in Brighton?

BS: Outstanding. Oh, they, they welcomed me with open arms, and that's where I, that's when I told my late brother Harry that, "This is such a fine place, I wouldn't want to even think about going back home."

DM: And how about the, what did you call them, the Colorado-jin?

BS: Yeah, Colorado-jin, and they were very supportive.

DM: They were supportive, and the hakujin as well?

BS: Yes, yes, very supportive. And I know I had a, I was given sort of a reputation that, "This guys' different." I wanted to succeed so badly academically, that at noon, why, I wouldn't go for lunch, I'd go to study hall and be studying.

DM: You must have been somewhat of a novelty for all these Japanese American kids in Brighton, being from California.

BS: Yes, yeah.

DM: Did they, did they treat you differently, did you think?

BS: No, they sure didn't. And, and I did ask 'em, "How come you guys treated me so nice?" Well, they, their answer was, "You just looked like a genuine guy that wanted to just work hard." I was taught by my parents to always, their favorite word was enryo, to be humble.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.