Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Helene J. Minehira Interview
Narrator: Helene J. Minehira
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Kelli Nakamura
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 2, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-mhelene-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today's date is March 2, 2011. We're in Honolulu at the Ala Moana Hotel interviewing Helene Minehira. Helping interviewing is Kelli Nakamura, on camera is Dana Hoshide, and then my name is Tom Ikeda. So Helene, I'm gonna just start at the very beginning, and why don't you tell me when you were born?

HM: April 30, 1925.

TI: And so that makes you eighty-six years?

HM: I'll be eighty-six in a couple of weeks.

TI: You'll be eighty-six, okay. Good.

HM: Maybe about two months now.

TI: And tell me again where you were born.

HM: Waipahu. That's out in the country, (west) of Honolulu.

TI: And when you were born, was it at a medical facility or was it at a house?

HM: At a house. (The sanbasan, or midwife, was called to assist with the birth.) Well, the, according to my mom and my grandmother, Mom had a bad time. (The sanbasan couldn't do anything so they called Dr. Uyehara.)

TI: So was that pretty common? Midwives would do, handle most of it, but if there was, like, an emergency there was a doctor on call?

HM: Right, the doctor. But those days, I remember that we had two, no, three doctors in Waipahu. They all had a little hospital, Dr. Uyehara, Dr. Uyesato, and Dr. Tamura. Yeah.

TI: And then what was the name given to you at birth?

HM: Helene Junko Kimura. Don't ask me where my mom got the word, the name Helene, but Junko is for my grandmother. Mom used to read a lot.

TI: So you have no idea where Helene came from?

HM: No, I don't know, (but Mom was a great reader, so the name Helene probably popped into her mind.)

TI: Okay. So let me ask about your father. Can you tell me your father's name?

HM: Kiyohide Kimura.

TI: And tell me where he was born.

HM: He was born in Onomea, Hawaii.

TI: So he's a Nisei.

HM: Nisei, right.

TI: And do you know what year, about what year he was born?

HM: He was born May 3, (1897).

TI: Okay, well, that's, so he was --

HM: No, yeah, eighteen, no, (1897).

TI: Okay, 1896.

HM: Well, we'll check it out later.

TI: Yeah, that looks about right, 'cause then that would make him about twenty-(eight) when he, when you were born.

HM: Right.

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