Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yoshiko Asakura Interview
Narrator: Yoshiko Asakura
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: September 2, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ayoshiko-01-0001

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MN: Today is September 2, 2010. We are at the United Methodist Centenary, Centenary United Methodist Church. We are here Yoshiko Asakura Morohoshi and Hikaru John Morohoshi. And Dana Hoshide is on the video camera. And I will be interviewing, and my name is Martha Nakagawa.

Yoshiko, I would like to ask you about Hikaru before we start talking about your life. Why didn't Hikaru get along with his parents, especially with his mother?

YA: They separated when he was one, and the parents went back to Japan and brought three more family members later. They had three more children and got Hikaru on top of them. They probably had some financial difficulties, and I also assume that their long separation kept his mother from developing motherly affection for him. Another factor is that his grandmother was the primary caregiver for him, and that was his mother's mother-in-law. The grandmother was still taking care of him as she always had been, and that was not easily accepted by his mother. I would imagine that this in-law family situation and the financial hardship created hostile feelings toward Hikaru. After the long separation, Hikaru did not feel attached to his mother either. They did not have a close relationship. His mother was building up harsh feelings toward him and started to be hard on him, and that kept him more distanced. It escalated into physical abuse, and she ended up wanting to get rid of him, I think.

Another possibility is that she might not be his real mother. This is just a wild guess, but among all the five siblings I have met, he looks very different to me from the other ones. The other five are the average height and average build for Japanese. Hikaru is the only one who is tall, and his personality is also different from the others. He is always self-centered and "going my way," and he is not good at communication or understanding others. His siblings were probably not really fond of him. Those are the two factors I can think of.

MN: Was that pretty common back then?

YA: Yes, I heard similar stories. After I came to the States, we went to Seicho-No-Ie and shared our personal stories at our group discussions. Each member talked about his hardship in the past. We shared our experience and gave advice to each other at our monthly meetings. I went to meetings with him, and often heard similar stories there. I also read about similar situations in newspapers. Back then, Kibei Nisei were sent back to Japan to be educated as some parents wanted to raise their American-born children in Japan. Some of them came back to the States later. It was not unusual that only the parents returned to the States. I heard a lot of sad stories about parents and the children as they did not establish close relationships after long separation. I understand that his situation is not unique, and there are more stories like that.

MN: Thank you very much.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.