Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jack Dairiki Interview
Narrator: Jack Dairiki
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: March 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-djack-01-0002

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MN: This is March 15, 2011, Tuesday. We are at the Woodfin Hotel at Emeryville. We have Tani Ikeda on video, we have Jun Dairiki sitting in. We will be interviewing Jack Dairiki, and I will be interviewing, my name is Martha Nakagawa. Okay Jack, let's start with your father's name.

JD: My father's name is Fred Kaname Dairiki.

MN: And your mother's name?

JD: My mother's name is Nancy Hatsue Dairiki.

MN: And were your parents both Issei?

JD: No, my father's Issei. My mother was born in United States, and I mentioned my father and mother are first cousins, so her maiden name and my father's name both same.

MN: Now, where was your mother born?

JD: She was born in Penryn, California, which is about thirty miles north of Sacramento, a country town where my grandfather, or my mother's father, had a grocery store. My grandfather on my mother's side, very interesting person, he was the second in the family; my grandfather on my father's side is the first, first son, so my mother's father is the second son in the family, so brothers, of course. And according to history they both were in United States, but my grandfather, Mankichi was his name, injured himself and so he had to return to Japan and never returned. In the interim my father came to United States to work for my grandfather, or his uncle, so to speak, and before he was assigned to work at the hotel that, in Sacramento, that my grandfather owned.

MN: So when your mother married your Issei father, did she lose her American citizenship?

JD: No. No, my mother, of course, being a United citizen, she always had her citizenship. My father came to United States and I assume he had his citizenship, but they were in difficult time because main political movement and many people came from Japan could not obtain their citizenship, as we find in our lifetime. So my father's citizenship is kind of questionable. I'm not sure how he did it. Maybe that's one of the reasons why he, when he returned to Japan with me he didn't want to come back to United States again. That's one of the reasons, that he didn't have a citizenship and it'd be difficult for him to live here.

MN: Was your mother sent to Japan for her education?

JD: Not education, because she was sent to Japan, but because her mother was ill -- she, I think she had tuberculosis -- so my mother and her sister, and there was a third, third one was a son, about a year old, and they all went, sent back to Japan with their mother and for the idea for my grandmother to recuperate from the illness, but unfortunately my grandmother passed away, so again, they, so the three children returned. But in the interim the youngest of the three, the son, died. I think in Japan he died. So just my mother and my aunt returned to United States and lived in Penryn.

MN: So it sounds like your mother's first language was English.

JD: Yes.

MN: And your father's first language is Japanese.

JD: That's correct.

MN: How did they communicate?

JD: My father was able to, well, when he was, came to United States he did attend grammar school, much as he could, so he did learn some English so was capable of speaking. He was, had enough English language in him then it was, worked as interpreter in Japan.

MN: Now, your parents' family, what prefecture do they come from?

JD: Both my mother and father, of course, as they were my, their parents are both brothers, so they came from Hiroshima prefecture, Aki-gun is the... Aki-gun, I don't what you call that, the county, perhaps. In the town of Higashi Kaita mura and the village of Sunabashiri.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.