Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Izumi Hirano Interview
Narrator: Izumi Hirano
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 1, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hizumi-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, so today is March 1, 2011, and we're in Honolulu talking with Izumi Hirano. We're at the Ala Moana Hotel, and Dana Hoshide is the cameraperson, and my name is Tom Ikeda and I'm the interviewer. And so, Izumi, I'm going to start at the very beginning. Can you tell me when you were born?

IH: I was born 1929, February 25th. Just, I made eighty-two.

TI: Oh, so you just turned eighty-two just a couple days ago.

IH: Yeah, yeah.

TI: Maybe three, four days ago.

IH: Four days ago.

TI: Four days ago. Well, happy birthday.

IH: Thank you. No, I'm not happy, because I'm getting old. [Laughs] So I'm sad. But happy, stay with our grandchildren. The life is really different.

TI: So February 25, 1929, where were you born?

IH: Where?

TI: Yeah, where?

IH: Hilo, Hawaii. The small camp, I was born. In Hilo, first, my father and mother, parents went to the Waiakea, and then my sister was born there. And later, they moved to another small camp, Pi'ihonua, P-I-I-H-O-N-U-A, Pi'ihonua, about ten houses there in a sugar field. That's on only one side of the street, and then one side is a small stream. So about ten houses lined up on one side of the street. That's small. And I was born there, and then again moved back to Waiakea. And I don't have any memories at Pi'ihonua, because a baby, but at Waiakea, I know around the house. And then those days, what they use in the house, only you can collect rain water in a big tank. And in a big tank, they put a few carp inside there so they can, something, bug and eat 'em up. We don't have a individual toilet, they have to go to the public toilet. And those days, I remember my father (was raising just a few chickens). And then, of course, they are working on the sugar fields as a laborer.

TI: So your father was like a laborer in the sugar fields?

IH: Yeah.

TI: And so this little, kind of, where you lived, so they, the rain water, they would capture it into a big tank, and then have carp inside? Interesting.

IH: Yeah.

TI: And the carp would eat the insects in there. But then that was the water that you used to drink and to bathe and to do all...

IH: Everything from that.

TI: Oh, interesting. And how about like cooking? Was it shared cooking or did everyone have their own...

IH: Cooking is a gas stove. Sorry, not a gas stove, a gasoline stove.

TI: Gasoline stove? You mean like kerosene?

IH: Kerosene. Kerosene stove.

TI: You mentioned your sister, and you also had, I think, a brother also?

IH: Yes.

TI: A younger brother.

IH: Younger brother.

TI: And what was the name of your sister?

IH: Sister is Teruko.

TI: And how much older was she than you?

IH: Nine years older than me.

TI: Okay. And your brother's name?

IH: Takuji.

TI: And how much younger was he than you?

IH: It's two years, but almost three years. Because I'm February, he was born on December.

TI: 1931 then? December?

IH: Yeah.

TI: Okay, and your sister was born about 1920 then. Yeah, around there, about nine years before.

IH: Yeah, 1920. Mine is the '29, so my sister is 1920, yeah.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.