Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tad Kuniyuki Interview
Narrator: Tad Kuniyuki
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Shin Yu Pai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 28, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ktad-01-0003

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TI: Okay, so let's talk about when he came to America. Now, did he first, do you know where he first came, or where he first landed?

TK: Yeah, I think he landed in Canada first. Then, I don't know how he got into the United States, but I know a lot of Japanese bachelors sneaked into the country, I don't know how they did it. But some of them jumped over, jumped ship, and came over. I heard of some, but I read about some in the Issei book, history book, it says in there, so I'm not sure how he came in. But I know he worked in a Canadian... what do you call this, a wood, shipyard, not shipyard.

TI: A sawmill?

TK: Sawmill. That's right.

TI: So he first landed in Canada, worked in a sawmill, and then somehow made his way down to Seattle.

TK: Yeah, he lost his finger, too, and they called him "one finger.:

TI: So explain that. When he was working in the sawmill, one of his fingers was cut off?

TK: Yeah, he lost his middle finger, tip of his middle finger. He said it really hurt then when they operated on it to lose the gap there.

TI: So he finally made it down to Seattle, do you know about what year your father came to Canada and the United States?

TK: Oh, probably 1905 or '06, around there.

TI: And do you know what kind of work he did in Seattle when he first arrived?

TK: I don't know, but all I can remember is he had a hotel and a barbershop.

TI: Okay. And how would you describe your father? What kind of man was he?

TK: I don't know. Just an ordinary fellow.

TI: Was he pretty talkative, or was he quiet?

TK: I think, I wouldn't say either quiet, he was not quiet. He liked to join associations, hotel association, barber's association, like that. And I know he wasn't quiet, but he wasn't loud either, as far as I know. Just another member, I think.

TI: How about leisure time? What were some of the things he did for fun, for pleasure? What would he do?

TK: Oh, gosh. I don't know. They enjoyed their association with the hotel association people and the Yamaguchi-ken group. They had these dinners and everything. And they had monthly meetings with, I think, barber's group or hotel association, I don't know which, I know, because he used to take me to these dinners every once in a while.

TI: Oh, so describe the dinner for me, I'm curious.

TK: It's just a group of about, as far as I can remember, about ten people that belonged to the association, barber's association, hotel association, or somebody. And then they had it at the Gyokoken, the Main Street, usually, they'd eat dinner. And I used to go there, he used to take me because I liked the Chinese food. That's as far as I can remember. I don't know what they were saying, I was just a kid, and they're all talking Nihongo.

TI: When they were talking, was it more business-related, or was it more social?

TK: It, I think it was probably business because there were no women at all, so far as I can remember, it was just the men. And it's association meeting, I guess they had maybe a monthly meeting or something.

TI: And then after the business part was over, did they linger and maybe have a drink or something and relax or was it pretty business like?

TK: No, as far as I know, it was just a business meeting. They maybe discussed things later. But not too long, because I don't remember getting bored.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.