Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Chris Kato - Yoshi Mamiya - Tad Sato Interview
Narrators: Chris Kato, Yoshi Mamiya, Tad Sato
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 14, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-kchris_g-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

TS: They'd sing at the parties. But the Nisei don't do -- you don't, Kenjinkai, that's --

YM: No, it's --

TS: No more?

YM: No, it's going. Well, we don't associate with the Kenjins that much, but I guess...

CK: They, the bigger ones...

YM: Some of them do...

CK: Who do, yeah.

YM: The bigger ones, like the Hiroshima Club or...

CK: Like uh...

YM: Are still...

CK: Yamano...

TS: Yamaguchi.

CK: Kumamoto.

YM: And then, and...

CK: And, Okayama, Wakayama.

YM: Oh, what's George's family's?

CK: The ones that are rather big in population, like -- and they settled here. They still continue their Kenjinkai activities.

YM: Well, and a lot of the --

CK: But it is slowly dying off because of the lack of interest by the Nisei or Sansei or whatever.

SF: So after the war, did, do you think people may have avoided the Kenjinkais because it was too Japanese or something like that, and people were still sensitive about being identified as Japanese?

TS: I don't think that had anything to do with it.

CK: No, no.

TS: Yeah. It's just that the interest changed.

CK: In fact, it was really quite popular right after the war, as a means of gathering socially. And well, the Issei liked to just talk to people from their own mura or whatever, their town. So...

YM: And there's lot of the war brides that are...

CK: Oh, yeah. Right.

YM: That have kind of kept it up because they had come from that prefecture or, and maybe that had something to do with the Kenjinkai being brought back to gathering of the people in the same prefecture.

SF: Do the Kenjinkais do anything else besides having the annual picnic, but do they provide social services to their members or...

YM: I think so.

CK: Yeah. During times of death, they usually donate flowers or monies...

YM: Help.

CK: To the family.

YM: Help the family.

CK: Then they also have scholarships for kids from the ken that, maybe not too large, but at least it's some kind of a donation to the kids to, to meet their school needs. And they keep in touch with the, the own Ken Headquarters in Japan, like when my dad died, I went back to Japan, and then went to the township records and history department. There was a whole booklet written on him. And this would have been unknown to me if I hadn't sought out some of the properties that he owned that we were going to pass on to my brother in Japan. But, but they keep the most accurate records that you could think of about the -- like they had my birth and the birth of all my brothers, the place that they were born in. Like Yosh was born in the US Hotel, and Poison was born in Alki Hotel, and then I was born in the Hanson Hotel. All that was down there. And the date of birth, the... and they have all the family roots written down. So if your Issei parents die, and you want to find out more about them, just go to their place of birth and it's all written down.

TS: If you write them, would they send it to you?

CK: I think so.

YM: I have --

CK: If you could prove that you're their remaining son and whatever.

YM: My dad had gotten these writings of the actual paper, in rice paper, it's written down in Japanese.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And I've got copies of that. I've got the actual paper, but copies of that, so somebody could translate for me, and I haven't gotten that to. But I've got papers...

TS: Well, do it yourself. [Laughs]

YM: Original, [Laughs] original papers that my dad had gotten from the -- what do they call that? -- office of what?

TS: Each ken, you mean, has one?

YM: Oh, yes.

CK: Yeah. And then the town, too.

TS: Town, mura.

YM: The town.

TS: Yeah.

CK: City hall records, I guess.

YM: Yes, yeah.

YM: That's what --

CK: I just went to the city hall.

YM: That's probably where he got it. So all of us -- and lot of us were, before the war, we were dual citizens. So the folks reported all that...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Where we were born, and what, so forth.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.