Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura Interview
Narrator: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-keugene-01-0006

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TI: Do you recall ever talking to your brother about this, Kazuo? Because he, he probably had to go through a similar situation when he started school.

EK: No, we never discussed anything like that, no.

TI: And so you said you returned home, they said, "Shikata ga nai," can you recall anything else? Any sympathy or was it pretty much just, just that's the way it is?

EK: Shikata ga nai.

TI: Well, so what's interesting to me is pretty soon after this incident was when your parents decided to go to Japan. Or not Japan, but Seattle. Do you think this may have played into their decision to leave Sheridan and go to Seattle?

EK: Not necessarily, I think. I think the reasons primarily were to bring us to Seattle so we can get some Japanese education. So I don't believe the smack in the eye had much to do with it. Because it all fell under the syndrome of shikata ga nai.

TI: Okay, so this is about 1928.

EK: That's right.

TI: You're about six years old, and you go from Sheridan, Wyoming, to Seattle. Can you tell me how you got from Sheridan to Seattle?

EK: Great Northern Railroad.

TI: And so did that just bring you right into, sort of, the train stations, downtown Seattle?

EK: Yes.

TI: And what were some of your first impressions of, of Seattle?

EK: "Gee, it rains a lot here." [Laughs]

TI: [Laughs] It does. And do you recall where you lived in Seattle when you moved here?

EK: Yeah, I think we were living in the hotel for a day or so. Then we found a home at 163 Eleventh Avenue between Spruce and Fir. And that's, that's how I spent grammar school, high school, and two years of college there.

TI: Now, when your parents decided to come to Seattle, did they have friends in Seattle that they knew?

EK: I'm sure they may have. Not a large number of friends, but I'm sure they must have had some friends.

TI: And tell me what kind of work, first your father. What did your father do?

EK: My father, as I understand it, used to work on the railroad. And then he and George Nishi both opened up the, what shall I say, started the K.N. Gardening. K for Kimura, N for Nishi, K.N. Gardening, and they had quite a successful, what shall I say, farming operation and so forth. But that thing split up because our family moved over to Seattle. So, and I think George, yes, George Nishi continued. He himself bought a grocery store right next to the railroad station, and the only people that came in were the transients the dropped off the station in for a few minutes to buy gum or something of that nature. But he was a bachelor, and I think he stuck pretty close to himself both socially and so forth.

TI: So it must have been a, probably for him, a loss when your family came to Seattle.

EK: Probably, probably.

TI: Because it was probably, socially, his, probably his closest friends.

EK: That's right.

TI: So when your dad came to Seattle, what kind of work did he do?

EK: At that time, it was a fukeiki, or depression, you probably know fukeiki, depression. There were no, very few jobs available, especially for Asians, you know. So then he, because of his skill as a farmer, he worked with a group, or rather individual, who was doing landscaping and so forth. So he worked as an assistant landscaper.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.