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Title: Muriel Chiyo Tanaka Onishi Interview
Narrator: Muriel Chiyo Tanaka Onishi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 2, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-omuriel-01-0002

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TI: So I'm going to start first, to learn a little bit about your father. Can you tell me your father's name and where he was from?

MO: He was born in Yamaguchi-ken, Takamori-shi, as Takasuke Tanaka. When he came to Hawaii, I'm not sure exactly.

TI: And do you know what kind of work his family did in Yamaguchi-ken?

MO: Oh, he was, I think he came to Hawaii as a news reporter originally. And then he met my mother who was teaching at, was a student at Hilo Dokujitsu Gakkou.

TI: Okay, so let's talk a little bit about your mother. So what was your mother's name?

MO: My mother's name is Wakimoto Haru.

TI: And do you know where she grew up or where she was born?

MO: She was born in Etajima, Japan, Hiroshima. Etajima in Hiroshima.

TI: And you mentioned that she met your father in Hawaii. Why did she come to Hawaii?

MO: I think they do extracurricular, and she was a student, actually, Dokujitsu Gakkou, under Dr. Minoru Shinoda's father. So she was there, and then my father was a news reporter, I think he was a news... and then they met at Dokujitsu Gakkou.

TI: Now, I read someplace where one of the reasons your mother came was to look for a brother in Hawaii?

MO: That's right, yes. Her oldest brother, Kashiro Wakimoto, was, left Japan. But he started a noodle factory in Hilo. Saimin or noodle, whatever you call it. And then he was very successful. So she came to look for him from Hiroshima. And I'm not sure how long, he became ill and he passed away. He had three children. But in the meantime, she met my father also in Hilo.

TI: And do you know how the two of them met, your mother and father?

MO: I'm not sure.

TI: But it seems like they ended up doing similar type of work, teaching Japanese?

MO: Something like that.

TI: So about what year did they get married?

MO: Well, I was born in 1921, and I think... 1919 or 1920.

TI: Okay. And let's talk a little bit about your siblings. So they were married in 1919, 1920, and then you were the first child? After you, who else...

MO: My brother Akira, who is, moved from California to Hawaii now, and he's settled in Hawaii now. But I had another brother, Kisanari. I'm not sure whether he was in between or after Akira. That I'll have to check.

TI: And then what happened to this other brother?

MO: He caught pneumonia or something and he got sick and passed away.

TI: And so he did this when he was a young child?

MO: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: And what's the age difference between you and Akira?

MO: I think about two or three years. Two years in between.

TI: Okay, so he was probably born in, like, 1923 or so.

MO: Yes, uh-huh. My brother used to, Akira, the one here, he was born in 1923.

TI: Good.

MO: So Kisanari must have been younger, older. [Laughs] Younger.

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright ©2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.