Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akira Otani Interview
Narrator: Akira Otani
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 3, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-oakira-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Okay, so at this point when you're like in school, describe your father's fish business now because before you talked about how he would buy the fish and then with a donkey walk around. Now that as you're growing up, what kind of fish business did he have?

AO: Well, finally he got to a point where he... I don't know, you can say he bought a stall in a market building and started retail, retailing of fish which was he bought it wholesale and sold at retail to different customers that might come up to him.

TI: And were his customers like residential or were they restaurants, what kind of customers?

AO: Well, it's mostly retail, individual people coming over and that, of course, expanded into commercial because from then on different people running the business operations came to order some fish and he would buy it at auction and either make deliveries himself or eventually got to a point where he hired people to make deliveries of the fish that he sold to these people.

TI: And so I'm thinking, you know, there's lots of different fish peddlers, what made your father perhaps different, I mean if people were to think about the different stalls, was there something a specialty or a difference that your father had from other fish peddlers?

AO: Well, I don't know but, you see, the word "peddlers," you use the word "peddlers," peddlers came into being somewhat later after automobiles and trucks started to get into the picture. In other words, people would buy from the middlemen or so-called wholesalers and these middlemen would buy at what we had, even at that time, what is considered an auction where the middlemen would buy at auction, bring the fish to their place, and either primarily to sell to individual customers but eventually which developed into selling to different business establishments, restaurants and hotels and so forth. In which case, it developed to a point where deliveries were being made to these different institutions.

TI: And so when I said fish peddler, you said that's probably not the right term, what would you call that in terms of what... if you were to describe your father and what his occupation was, what would you call that?

AO: Well, I don't know, at that time I guess he was just, he started out as a fish retailer.

TI: Okay, fish retailer.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.