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Title: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura Interview
Narrator: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-keugene-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Tell me a little bit about your father. Like, what was your father's name?

EK: Kasaburo, K-A-S-A-B-U-R-O, Kasaburo. Kasaburo Kay Kimura. That's why my brother -- not my brother, yes, my brother's middle initial was K, Kazuko K. Kimura, because my father's name was Kasaburo Kay Kimura.

TI: And Kay spelled...

EK: K-A-Y.

TI: K-A-Y, okay. And do you know where your father was born?

EK: I think it was Okayama, Okayama-ken.

TI: And do you know what kind of work his family did in Japan?

EK: No, I do not know, simply because we didn't have a chance to interrogate him because they, he died in 1936. And then subsequent to that, things were kind of busy in our family. So the interesting thing is that my father was a yoshi, in other words, he married into the Kimura family. So I don't understand the circumstances of why they did that, probably to preserve the name Kimura for some reason. I do not know the reason. But anyway, I think, if I'm not mistaken, that could have affected his manly, what should I say, feelings, to give up his name and move into, his wife's name. But anyway, I'm just guessing.

TI: Do you know what his, his given name was before becoming a Kimura?

EK: No. There again, I have a feeling it may have been Okamura or something like that, but I do not remember.

TI: And how did you find out he was a yoshi? Did he mention --

EK: Because of my, because my mother told me.

TI: Okay. Do you know why your father came to the United States?

EK: To find, like most Isseis, to find a, what shall we say, better life and so forth. So what he did was to, I imagine what he did was to, like most Issei, find the most available job, which was either farming or railroading. So he may have worked on the railroad.

TI: And how did he end up in Sheridan, Wyoming?

EK: Well, I think probably in his journeys there, he may have stopped there. And then he had a friend by the name of George Nishi, N-I-S-H-I, and both of them decided to start a truck farming business there. The interesting thing about George Nishi is that his real name is Nishizaki, and then I think he jumped ship. And so that he did not talk too much about how he came to America. In fact, during World War II, he was operating a grocery store, and during the, right after Pearl Harbor, somebody threw a brick through his store window. And because he didn't want to make an issue of it and have police start investigating him, what he did was say, "Well, maybe a passing car threw that brick into my window," and so forth. So he tried to keep things quiet.

TI: Oh, so even though someone intentionally threw a brick, he tried to make it seem like it was just an accident, and it stopped the investigation.

EK: That's right.

TI: And you think part of it was because he was concerned that...

EK: They might find out how he came to this country.

TI: Okay. That's a good story.

EK: And also, the authorities wanted to keep it quiet instead of having it broadcasted that people were throwing things into his window. So that's the conjecture on my part.

TI: Interesting.

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