Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Marion Michiko Bernardo Interview
Narrator: Marion Michiko Bernardo
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Barbara Takei
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: April 6, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-bmarion-01-0001

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TI: Okay, so the way we start this is just talking about where we are and the date and things, so today is Wednesday, April 6, 2011. We're in San Francisco at the Hotel Kabuki.

MB: You're gonna say that?

TI: Yeah, I'm saying it right now, and so this is all being recorded. My name is Tom Ikeda. I'll be the primary interviewer. The secondary interviewer is Barbara Takei, and on camera is Dana Hoshide. And here we're with Marion, and so Marion, I'm just gonna start from the beginning and ask you, can you tell me when you were born?

MB: July 25, 1930.

TI: And so that makes you how, eighty years old?

MB: Eighty, yeah.

TI: Yeah, eighty years old. And where were you born?

MB: In Walnut Grove.

TI: And do you recall where you were born in terms of, was it your house or was there a medical facility?

MB: No. I don't know. Probably at home, certainly not in a hospital. And there were midwives, so I think I was probably delivered by a midwife, but my mother had five children, so she was familiar with the process, I suppose.

TI: And in birth order, what number were you? You said five children.

MB: I'm the youngest.

TI: Okay, so already there are four siblings and then you.

MB: There's a big gap between my next brother and myself. There was another brother who died quite young, maybe an early school age, and he had something very common that people don't die of. I can't remember.

BT: Pleurisy?

MB: Huh?

BT: Pleurisy?

MB: I think it was pleurisy, yeah.

TI: Yeah, but I just realized, before we get to your siblings we, I wanted a few more questions about you. What was the name given to you at birth?

MB: My birth certificate reads Marion Michiko Yoshiwara. My father tried to assimilate and use American names. [Laughs]

TI: And do you know where Marion came from, how he chose that name?

MB: I didn't hear you.

TI: Do you know how he chose the name Marion?

MB: No, I don't know.

TI: So you mentioned your father. Can you tell me your father's name and, and where he was from?

MB: I was gonna go back to my name, but --

TI: Okay, go ahead.

MB: Okay, when I was in camp the teacher said, I guess this is about seventh grade, "Marion, that's a boy's name." And I was really embarrassed in front of the class. He had no sympathy or... but that we should go the American way. Yeah, certainly critical about my parents naming me Marion, but of course, they were all try to Americanize, so had the name on the birth certificate as such.

TI: When you were growing up, what did people call you? Did they call you Marion or your middle name, Michiko?

MB: I think they called me Michi, is short for Michiko.

TI: And then, but in camp did they call you Marion then?

MB: Yeah.

TI: Okay, and that's when he made that comment. I see.

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