Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hannah Lai Interview
Narrator: Hannah Lai
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: March 14, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-lhannah-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay. So the way I start these is always with the date and where we are, so today's Monday, (March) 14, 2011. We're in Emeryville, and we're interviewing Hannah Ikeda Lai. And on camera is Tani Ikeda, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And so I'm just gonna start from the beginning for you, and just can you tell me when you were born?

HL: Yeah, April 11, 1923. I was born in Seattle.

TI: And where in Seattle were you born?

HL: I was born on, let's see, that would be on, would it be Spruce or Fir? It's right across the street from where Harborview Hospital is now.

TI: Oh, interesting, so there was a medical facility there?

HL: No.

TI: Oh, this was a house.

HL: Yeah. Well, all of us were born in the house.

TI: And so a midwife?

HL: Uh-huh.

TI: Do you, by any chance, know who the midwife was?

HL: If I looked on my birth certificate I'd find it. I used to know her name, but then names escape me now.

TI: Okay. No, that's okay. But you said April 11, 1923, so you're coming up to your eighty-eighth birthday. And I should probably do full disclosure to mention that you're my aunt, and so I just want to mention that. Your name given to you at birth, what was your name?

HL: Hanako.

TI: Hanako. And any middle name?

HL: Yeah, Hannah.

TI: Okay. So let me talk about your father first, so tell me your father's name and where he was from.

HL: He is, his name is Taijiro Ikeda and he's from Kagawa, Kagawa-ken in Shikoku in Japan. Let's see, he was born in Ono-mura, and his, basically they were farmers and then they, his father started a little grocery store on the cross section where the bus stops, and so it was just a little bitty store, but that's what they had. And, let's see, what else can I tell you about that? Then my dad came over.

TI: And do you know why he came? Why did he leave Japan?

HL: He came over because he didn't want to be conscripted into the army, and so he came over as a student, and then he was over, I can't remember what year he came, but he came over and then he worked for a while, and then he went back to Japan and then met my mother, you know, nakoudo and they got married.

TI: So, like same village or nearby?

HL: Yeah, it's just on the other, just the other side of the road there from, let's see, they were from, the Mukais are from Asano-mura and then Ono-mura is just right next door to each other. I mean, you could practically see each other's houses, so probably a mile away.

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