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Title: Nancy K. Araki Interview I
Narrator: Nancy K. Araki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: September 3, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-anancy-01-0001

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TI: Today's September 3, 2010. We're at the Centenary Methodist Church in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. We're here interviewing Nancy Araki. On camera is Dana Hoshide and interviewing is me, Tom Ikeda. So this is gonna be fun, Nancy. So let's just start from the very beginning and just tell me when and where you were born.

NA: I was born in San Francisco, October 16, 1937.

TI: Okay. And before I get to your life, I always like to learn a little bit about your family, and so let's start with your father. Can you tell me your father's name?

NA: My father's name is Fred Hachio Moriguchi.

TI: And where, where was he born?

NA: He was born in Daijuji, Hyogo-ken in Japan.

TI: Okay, so, so tell me a little bit about him. How did he come to the United States, what was his family? Just tell me a little bit about him.

NA: There's a book coming out about him eventually, when I retire. [Laughs]

TI: Okay. This is good, then. So give me the, yeah, give me some of the...

NA: Yeah... no, no, because I was able to do a lot of oral history on him and then now trying to tie it in with the social, political, historical factors in the eras of his growing up. But he was the, the eighth -- there were nine brothers, and he was number eight. And part of that is his name, Hachi, eighth man, and which he really questioned, "How come it's so common?" But his father assured him it was after much research by the priests and that they came down with the name Hachio. But anyway, he, the father and grandfather actually established quite, I think it's the grandfather that established quite a wealth and big household. The grandfather was, there was also nine in their family and two sons. He was the second son, but the father then divided this... see, I'm getting a little bit mixed up here. Slow down. His father was ending up being the second son and then the father, the, so it'd be my great-grandfather, divided the property in half, left the oldest son with what would be one part and that became maybe the honke, main family. Then the grandfather, great-grandfather, then took his second son and established another household, and since he was the head at that time it became a different kind of branch. It wasn't just a branch family, but it started to become the head Moriguchi household and that's what my grandfather inherited, and that's, and my grandfather had the nine boys.

TI: So it was your great-grandfather who, it sounds like, had quite a bit of wealth to, to do that split, because that would be unusual. Usually everything goes to the eldest son.

NA: Right.

TI: But he had enough to feel like he could create two halves, I guess, or two households.

NA: Two households, yeah. And so it's really, my father's growing up time, it was just full of all kinds of things, but it really shows where if there is wealth you had all -- the mother had help and, in the family and all. But it's also interesting that this grandfather with his wealth and all ended up being, I guess, influence, had influence within the community and at one time was... I forget the name, the term right now, but the head of the area, so I guess it's like a mayor, equivalent to that, and had enough influence politically, otherwise. But he also was, I guess his, he inherited from his father to be a patron to an orphanage, and so there's all kinds of stories like this that we learned as we were growing up. But eventually my grandfather decided, because right now, the Western influence is coming in, all kinds of new stuff, and he was in that way a gambler at heart, I guess, because he even went, invested in dairy farming up in Hokkaido, and of course, you know Japanese didn't drink milk or they didn't eat butter. I mean, that was Western taste, so that didn't fare well. He tried at lumbering because he had a lot of land and with forest. He also went into making buttons, getting shells from South Pacific, bringing it in, and they all tried to make buttons for Western style clothing.

TI: So that was your grandfather, really interesting.

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