Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Irene Najima Interview
Narrator: Irene Najima
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-nirene-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: And how did he meet your mother?

IN: Well, after he made a little bit of money, he decided he was very lonely. So he asked his parents, could they look for a bride, a woman for him. And they sent a picture of my mother, and her name was Hanae Iwahashi. And he was pleased and she received a picture of him, and she was pleased. But my mother was a very quiet lady, but in her own right, she was very ambitious. So she was willing to risk coming to America, so they both decided they were, it was fine.

MA: And how old, do you know how old she was when she came over, about?

IN: I think about seventeen.

MA: So young, yeah. So then your mother came over, met your father, and that was in Healdsburg?

IN: Well, he had to go after her. To San Francisco. So of course, he got on his horse and buggy, and it was a long trip in those days. He met her at the, when the boat came in, and they got married.

MA: And then you had a story about going back to the town for the first time and what your mother thought.

IN: That's right, she, they took the long ride home to Healdsburg, and when they initially rode up to the, I guess it was more or less of a ranch, she saw this large mansion. And she thought, "Wow, America is everything that was promised." And of course, he went around the house into the back and there was a little shack with, I think it was a one-room shack. And then, of course, she says, well, it's a little different from what she pictured it.

MA: So just going back a little bit to your mother, was she from the same town as your father?

IN: Neighboring, from Morube.

MA: And what did her family do? What type of work in Japan?

IN: My mother's family?

MA: Yes, your mother's family.

IN: I'm not too clear on that. I don't think they were farmers, but I'm not clear on that.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.