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

<Begin Segment 1>

SF: This is August 14th and it's a Densho interview with Tad Sato, Chris Kato, and Yoshiko Mamiya. And we're gonna talk a little bit about what Nihonmachi was like in the old days and also in the resettlement period. Maybe we could start off by having each of you, maybe we could start with you, Chris, sort of just telling us what your dad did, in terms of what kind of business he had, and just kind of what your experiences were. And then Tad, Yoshiko, in terms of what kinds of...

CK: Okay. My father and mother ran businesses before the war. And my father first started off as a person working in the (lime) mines up at Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, they used to call it, where a lot of Japanese immigrants used to work for 50 cents a day. And, there he gathered enough monies to move to Seattle, send for his picture bride wife. And they had one child. But just before 1910, she went back because she was going to have a baby, and then she fell ill. And my father started a restaurant called the Iroha Restaurant. A similar name restaurant is now in San Francisco. And it's, it was ironic because my father, back in 1905, started this restaurant called Iroha.

Then he made a little bit more money, so he moved into a partnership with a Mr. Nakatsu, who was a long-time resident here, and also of Kumamoto-ken. And they started up the Alki Hotel. They were at that hotel for some years, then they broke up a partnership, and he went on his own, and owned the Hanson Hotel on Maynard and Washington Street. Then eventually -- I was born at the Hanson Hotel. And they -- eventually, they bought the St. Nicholas Hotel, which is now the west end of the parking lot of Uwajimaya. And the (Public) Hotel is right behind it -- or Publics Hotel, excuse me. And there, all seven of us Kato boys grew up. And, they had the hotel until the start of the war.

But in 1939, my dad bought into a restaurant, a tavern, pool hall, card table complex at First and Washington Street. And it was a, a thriving business because the war was, it just about to begin, and defense workers were pouring in and also the military located in the skid road of Seattle. Then the war came, and we, we had to evacuate. And therefore, to my way of thinking, he lost millions of dollars in profit because of the fact that he had to sell at that inopportune time. So that's the way that my folks were in business just before the war.

SF: Thanks. Okay, Tad.

TS: All right. I was born in Portland in May of 1922. And then shortly after that, father and mother split. And my sister and mother stayed in Portland. My father and I came to Seattle, that was pre-school days. And then we lived here and then shortly, there was a divorce, and it was permanent. I was raised down in lot of different places and parts of Seattle with different families 'cause it was just Father and I. And he worked, and I guess maybe I was too much of a handful for some of the families 'cause we kept moving. Eventually, he started up a second-hand store right on Main Street. And we lived in the back of the store. And I went on to Bailey Gatzert School and Central School and Broadway High School, class of '40. And after that, it was just career. Okay?

SF: Okay. Good. Yoshiko?

YM: My father had a store on Main Street. He started as a, a bookstore. And that was half a block east of where he finally had another store on Sixth and Main. And he had this bookstore with fishing tackle store, photo -- phonographs, and various things from Japan. And later on, he went into partnership with Sagamiya, run by the Shibata family. And so our store was known as Mitsuwado Sagamiya. And it was so-called maybe the hub of Japantown, where people would drop by. People from the country would come in, buy their Japanese things and buy the mochigashi. And my dad got to know quite a few people from the country. He was quite adventurous. He had an uncle who came to the United States much longer before, than him, so we went to see him and rode by car in 1933 all the way down to Anaheim, California. And this is first time I had met my granduncle. And we go back quite a few generations now.

Since the war was coming, he closed his Mitsuwado side of the family store. And it just got to be just Sagamiya. And when the war broke out we closed Sagamiya, and many of the people around, or our friends, had brought their furniture and whatever they had to store. And the store was filled to, from the floor to the ceiling with all kinds of furniture and whatever they wanted to store. And my dad, on February 21st, 1942, was, interned by the FBI. And from then, he went to the immigration station. And from there, he went to Missoula, Montana, and was transferred to various places like New Mexico, Louisiana, Santa Fe and he also was transferred to a place called Kooskia, Idaho, and to be near us, because we were all evacuated to Minidoka in Hunt, Idaho. And so my brother, Watson, and I went to see him. And I think that was the lowest part of my experience during the war.

Later on, he was released and came to Minidoka. And my brother (went to) New York. Myself, went out to (school near) Philadelphia. So Dad came out to Philadelphia, and we stayed there for a few months, until he was so-called paroled from the immigration naturalization. And we came back to Seattle. In the meantime, my mother and sister were in Japan during the war.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

SF: Maybe one of you can, can give us a feel for the sort of boundaries of Nihonmachi in '19, say, '20, right before the war. Where, how big was it, and what were the, where did it sort of, sort of end? Get some idea of how many stores there were and that sort of thing.

TS: South would be what? Dearborn? Roughly, huh?

CK: Yeah, Dearborn, I think.

TS: Yeah, South Dearborn. And --

YM: Yes -- Yesler?

TS: Yesler --

CK: Isn't shown here.

YM: Maybe little bit more --

TS: Yeah.

YM: Than Yesler, but --

TS: Well, very few.

CK: Yesler would be about the --

YM: About the hub.

TS: Yeah. Before the --

CK: Yeah. The most northern part.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Right?

TS: Yeah, the only -- there's only one --

CK: Yeah.

TS: Other --

CK: Yeah.

TS: Like Beefo was little farther north.

CK: Yeah. I mean --

TS: He was the only one though, huh?

CK: Well, there are some businesses, but they're mainly in such a, businesses as small grocery stores --

TS: Yeah.

CK: Apartment --

TS: Yeah. Well, they're all over --

CK: Or hotels. Right, yeah.

TS: The Green Lake and stuff.

CK: So the main Nihonmachi would be considered between Yesler and Dearborn, Seventh Avenue down to maybe Skid Row.

TS: Skid Row, yeah.

CK: First Avenue.

TS: First Avenue, yeah.

YM: You might say 12th Avenue, too far up?

TS: 12th, yeah. Because --

CK: Oh, yeah, 12th, right.

TS: Buddhist Church, right.

YM: And then Tazuma Ten-Cent...

CK: And Gosho --

YM: Uh-huh.

CK: Gosho Drug and -- I mean, now State Drug.

YM: (Yes).

CK: And those were --

TS: 10 or 12.

YM: 12, 14.

CK: So, yeah. About 12th Avenue, huh?

TS: Yeah.

YM: (Yes). I think so --

TS: Basically.

YM: Basically, (yes).

CK: Because --

TS: There was a few that lived...

CK: Between 12th and 14th, I guess.

YM: And then Bailey Gatzert was on 12th Avenue, also.

CK: Yeah, right.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Our, the grade school that --

CK: Most of us went to.

YM: The major -- majority of the Niseis had gone to.

TS: It was all, almost hundred-percent Japanese, huh?

CK: Well, no.

YM: No, like --

TS: Few Chinese?

YM: Like my husband's class was majority Japanese.

CK: Yeah.

YM: There's a few Chinese.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And maybe one or two --

CK: Hakujins.

YM: Hakujins in there. But I went to Rainier School, which was on 23rd and King Street. And there was a few families living further up, up the hill from 12th Avenue.

TS: 20th -- that's where Shigas and them lived up there.

YM: Shigas was on 18th.

TS: 18th, oh.

YM: (Yes).

SF: So you had all these stores and lots of families lived in the business in the back?

YM: Right. Lot of them.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

SF: And there were some houses -- what -- did most of the people who actually worked and had shops in the area, did they actually live in the area, or did maybe half of them live outside in their own, in houses, or how did that work? Did most of the people live in...

CK: The houses were located on the outskirts of this district. And while quite a few lived on, the start of Capitol Hill, East Fir and...

YM: (Yes).

CK: Those areas. And then, then it stretched up toward Garfield High School.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Then it...

YM: That was 23rd.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And Jefferson.

CK: 23rd. And then would come across, well, 23rd. And then the houses of the Japanese were getting sparser and sparser as you --

TS: Got away.

CK: Got away...

TS: Yeah.

CK: From Nihonmachi.

TS: Some of the people that have money -- Shigas --

CK: Yeah.

TS: Who had the, had that Atlas Theater? They lived up there.

CK: Ah, no, Atlas Theater was Mukais.

TS: Yeah. They lived up --

YM: They lived next door to...

CK: Yeah, right.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Next door to Shigas, I think.

CK: Yeah, right.

YM: And then we were about four, five blocks further south from --

TS: And then, Hosakawas lived up there, too.

YM: Hosakawas? I don't know.

TS: Yeah. Rube and Bill --

CK: Yeah, right.

TS: And their father.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

SF: Who lived in the adjoining areas to Nihonmachi? In other words, was there a Chinese community, Jewish community? Was it just basically whites? Or were there areas that Japanese couldn't go or areas that they were sort of channeled into?

CK: In the immediate perimeter of the Nihonmachi, there were very few family homes. Very few. They were mostly, let's see, warehouses, or commercial type of buildings.

TS: Small hotels.

CK: Yeah, right.

YM: And some of them, had living quarters behind their stores. And so many of the, not many, but a few of the families that were on Main Street near our store were living behind the stores.

CK: And those that had hotels usually lived in that hotel.

YM: The whole family...

CK: Yeah, right.

YM: Lived there.

SF: And Seattle is kind of known for having lots of Nihonjin hotels, huh?

CK: Yes, right.

YM: Hotels and apartments.

TS: Yeah. Whole bunch of 'em, all the way down to Skid Row, huh?

CK: Central Hotel.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And --

CK: And those hotels down there.

TS: And Keji Sato's family.

CK: Right, right. Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

SF: How come there were so many hotels in Seattle? 'Cause you don't -- in a lot of towns, the Japanese didn't own that many hotels. Was there, is there kind of a reason for why there were so many in Seattle?

TS: It's a good business, and it catered to the transients 'cause we had a...

CK: Right.

TS: Lotta logging workers, railroad workers, and the whites that --

CK: Cannery workers.

TS: Cannery workers.

CK: Yeah.

TS: That went back and forth, so --

YM: And then the people were coming from Japan, I understand the N-P Hotel was one of the...

CK: First stops.

YM: Main, main --

CK: Yeah.

YM: And I remember my folks telling me when they came from Japan they used to house some of the people in the basement of Sagamiya, when they had...

TS: Oh really?

YM: Nowhere else to go. And I don't remember that, but this must have been before I was born that they would have people stay because they had nowhere else to go.

SF: These hotels, did, how were they typically run? Did the, did the wife -- was it a husband and wife kind of operation, and the wife did most of the work, or how did that, how did that go? Or did they have lots of hired help, or did most...

CK: No.

TS: No.

CK: Very little help, hired help. In fact, I don't know of any that had hired help. But they were run mainly by the families or their kids. Like I used to haul out the garbage cans and do the painting and things like that. But the mother, wife of the owner, usually did a lot of the work. Like sheets and pillows and mattress covers had to be washed between every guest, so, practically. So it, who's to do the wash? Not the man of the family, usually.

TS: That's why the wife was so happy when they went to camp. [Laughs]

CK: It could be.

YM: They probably had to do it by hand.

CK: Yeah.

YM: Not too many had washing machines...

CK: Yeah.

YM: I suppose.

CK: Like my mom was telling me, all the diapers of the kids that she had, seven boys, it's all done by hand.

TS: Oh, yeah.

CK: And then dried by the steam. But the steam went off at 10:00 p.m. by that Rainier Heat and Power Company...

YM: Oh. Oh, (yes).

CK: That used to heat up all the buildings. And so my dad would be out there fanning the diapers, so that they would dry off faster.

TS: Yeah.

CK: But they went through hell, I think.

YM: (Yes). Isseis really did suffer...

CK: Yeah.

YM: And because of the Isseis, I think that we have a comfortable life that we can...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Lead right now.

CK: It's too bad that most of 'em died...

YM: Are gone.

CK: Off before the reparations...

YM: (Yes).

CK: Went through.

SF: If the hotel owners served mostly transients and, say probably, people who worked on the ships that came into town, that kind of thing, that sounds like it might be a little bit of a rough crowd. Did they have any problems like the Issei mother handling people? Or was that a problem? Or was there any problem of prosti -- prostitution becoming a...

CK: No, I think they're quite respectful of Japanese for some reason. And especially the Filipino people that used to work in the canneries. They were a rough crowd, but gee, my mom and dad used to have really good relationships with them. Another thing is that the, besides that type of relationship that the Japanese people had -- you know, in the running of their businesses, they were known to be so honest that the people never feared of getting gypped on any of the services that they were rendering. At least that was my feelings during that time, anyway.

SF: So like, in terms of -- what was I gonna say? Why don't I come back to that. One of the things, since you had so many Japanese hotels, did, was there a competition between the different hotels, or did they sort of work together in some kind of organization to try to avoid competition, or work together to represent the Japanese hotel owners to the whites or to the larger city?

CK: I don't recall anything like that.

TS: There was an organization, but...

CK: Yeah, but --

TS: I think they worked individually and...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Treated everyone well, basically.

YM: There was a hotel and apartment, Japanese Hotel and Apartment Association...

CK: Association, yeah.

TS: Yeah.

YM: That was --

SF: What did they do?

YM: I don't know. I was never involved.

CK: They used to have parties and...

YM: Guess they'd enjoy...

CK: Get-togethers.

YM: Enjoyed themselves.

CK: Yeah. Exchange ideas, I guess. But it wasn't, it was a non-competitive...

TS: Yeah, basically.

CK: Type of organization.

SF: So one hotel owner's family could really be good friends with other hotel family owners?

TS: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

CK: Now we said there were a lotta transients. But then again, there were a lot of permanent residents. Like in our hotel alone, there must've been about fifteen families that occupied rooms out of this 45-room hotel. So they were permanent. And they were not about to move or to get enough monies to buy a home or anything like that.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

SF: Now, now it comes back to me, what I was gonna ask you about, and that was, especially if you had like fifteen permanent families living in the hotel, it's sort of like, you had kind of a small community or almost this semi-family thing, probably, right?

TS: Oh, yeah.

SF: The same customers probably came back when they came into town and all that?

CK: That's right. Yeah. Well, you're sure to have the cannery workers come back every year. During the off-season, they go down to California and harvest vegetables and stuff like that. But the ones that went up to the canneries would...

YM: Alaska.

CK: Come back down. And well, they'd have quite a bit of monies. And so they'll pay off their debts or anything like that. And that's another reason why I think the cannery workers and transient workers were so trustful of the Japanese, because they allowed them credit until they could find a way to pay back their debts.

SF: And this was regardless of what race people were or whatever...

CK: Yeah.

SF: I mean, it was everybody got treated...

CK: I think so. Yeah.

SF: Yeah. Right. One of the -- like, in the hotel, did you all have baths or would they go to the, did people go to the --

CK: It was a community bath -- I mean, it was a bath located at the end of the hallway or something like that.

SF: So they would --

CK: And they shared toilets and bathrooms, yeah.

SF: So they --

YM: They were -- excuse me. There were several bathhouses run by the Japanese...

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: In the community. And this was just like a Nihonburo or Japanese bathtub -- bath --

TS: Yeah.

YM: I don't know what you'd call it.

CK: Bathhouse, yeah

TS: Nihonburo -- yeah.

YM: And there was three or four of 'em, weren't there?

TS: Yeah. Hinode, and Hashidate --

YM: Hashidate.

CK: Hashidate.

TS: Yeah.

YM: There was another one --

CK: I think there was one more.

TS: On Fifth Avenue. (Also, a small nihonburo on the southeast corner of 9th and Washington street.)

YM: King Street or, I didn't go that --

CK: Well, King Street was Hinode.

TS: Fifth Avenue. Miyakoyu, it says here.

CK: Oh, Miyakoyu. Okay. Yeah, that was it.

YM: Oh. Oh, okay.

CK: I think there were three, though.

TS: Yeah, yeah.

YM: So lotta the hotel people, like one of our friends, well, they'd come to the, the family would all come to the bathhouse. And they'd stop by at the end, going home, to stop by at our, Sagamiya and have a treat, and then go home. So I remember that, that whole family used to come for, maybe Saturdays they'd come for a bath there.

SF: So was the bath kind of a necessity because some places didn't have a shower or a bathtub, or was it more like a social occasion, the whole family might come in on a Saturday and --

CK: I think that's it, yeah. It's just like in Japan, I think. They may have their own bathtubs in their homes, but occasionally, they go out to a hotel, and then just stay, just to enjoy the bath. And here at Hinode or Hashidate, and, there were people that even lived in substantially comfortable homes, and I'm sure they had bathtubs in there, but they would still come down on a Sunday or a Saturday evening, and enjoy a nice, refreshing bath.

TS: Plus after baseball games --

CK: Yeah, right. All the football teams...

TS: Yeah.

CK: Used to go there, clean up, and get rid of some of their wounds and hurts, I guess.

SF: What, how did the bathtubs -- or maybe you can explain, for those of us who aren't familiar with it, what the procedure was to getting, to getting a bath, in terms of getting the towels and the, what you were supposed to do.

CK: Well, you'd be issued a towel as you go in. And then you go in and take off your clothes. And then the -- you first had to wash yourself off. And there'd be these wooden tubs and wooden stools that you could squat on. And you would, basically soap yourself completely, and then wash it off with this water from the bath or from the faucet. Then you would step into the bathtub, once that, you find yourself cleaned up of any dirt or grime or anything like that.

YM: It was sorta like a square pool...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Like. And on the edges there'd be a place to kinda sit.

CK: Sit down.

TS: Yeah.

SF: How, how long would you sit in the warm part, after it's kind of...

YM: As long as you can relax, I suppose.

CK: As long as you could stand it, I guess. Because they heated it up quite a bit. But they'd have a cold faucet in one corner. And you'd find a lotta people surrounding that area, as it pours into the hot bath. But, nobody really made it lukewarm, so that the others can't enjoy it.

SF: And there was a different section for women?

YM: Women and men were in, separated there.

SF: I sort of recall in the Panama one that, there was a divider or something between the...

TS: Yeah. (In the Hashidate there was a wall dividing the men's bath and the women's.)

CK: Yeah.

SF: Males and the females?

CK: That's Hashidate.

TS: Hashidate.

YM: (Yes).

SF: But you could probably -- I mean, if you were not so nice, you could probably look over, look under or something, right?

CK: No. You don't, you couldn't look under, but I saw some -- where they could stand on the edge and look over. [Laughs]

YM: [Laughs] I didn't know that.

TS: Yeah. Don't you remember...

YM: No.

TS: I said hi to you?

YM: Oh, yeah.

TS: No. I didn't have the guts to look.

CK: No. They're -- that, that kinda prank always happened.

TS: Oh, yeah.

YM: And I know, I remember when we were kids, we used to swim one way and then come back. But not enough for older people to do that. But as children, we were swimming in there, like a swimming pool.

SF: It's sort of like you could as a kid, a boy, you might be able to go into the women's section as a small child?

YM: Oh, yeah. I think so.

SF: It's that sort of thing.

TS: Japan, they, someplace, don't, men or women...

YM: Oh, (yes). Sure.

TS: Take --

CK: But very few now.

TS: Yeah. Used to be.

CK: Yeah.

TS: There was no men and lady...

YM: It's communal.

TS: It was just one common bath.

YM: Yeah.

SF: And everybody just sort of averted their eyes, or it wasn't a big deal?

YM: It's not a big deal --

TS: It's not a big deal.

CK: It's not a big deal.

YM: I don't think it was.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Well, incidentally, I still golf with Eddy Sano, (one of the two sons of the Sano family who had the Hashidate furo.)

CK: Yeah?

TS: (Golf with Eddy) every Tuesday. So...

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

SF: Speaking of nudity and that sort of thing among the Issei, did they have a different sort of perspective about that than we might because of the Japanese influence, or pretty much they were very proper about it? I mean, how, how might their attitudes be different than ours today?

CK: I don't think there's any difference. I think they're trying to adopt to the American ways, I think, on things like nudity and things like that I think.

SF: Did they have the attitude that American society was too loose or that it was too restrictive or that it was...

TS: I don't think they ever mentioned that kind of thing --

SF: ...better than Japanese, worse than --

TS: You think?

CK: No. Only to their kids, I think, as far as conduct in the schools or...

TS: Yeah.

CK: At dances or whatever.

SF: What, what was that like? I mean, what kind of feeling did you get from the Issei?

CK: Well, they just didn't want you to get into trouble of any kind, with the law especially. And to be called into the principal's office...

YM: That was, that was --

CK: By a Japanese kid is a really, really a bad thing. So as far as discipline of Japanese Americans in the public schools, there was practically no kind of discipline being administered.

TS: But not in Japanese school.

CK: Oh, Japanese school, well, they because they hated to study the language, they would...

YM: They goofed up.

CK: Cut it up quite a bit.

TS: The girls did well.

YM: Oh, I don't know.

SF: What would they do to cut up?

CK: Oh, talk a lot, or...

YM: Tease the teachers.

CK: Hit others with slingshots or something like that. The wads of paper --

YM: They call 'em itazuras.

CK: Yeah.

SF: What was that again?

YM: Itazura would be...

CK: Mischief.

YM: Mischievous. (Yes). Nothing, nothing too...

CK: Mean.

YM: Mean or anything. But it's just to, some kids wanna attract attention or...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Something like that. But --

TS: But you have to remember some of the teachers cried.

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: Yeah. So I hear.

SF: So speaking of language school, it was, a lotta people call it the "tip school"...

YM: (Yes).

SF: Or something like that.

CK: Yeah. Tip school, right.

TS: Yeah.

SF: Why was it called the "tip school?"

CK: I really never found out.

YM: I had, I had some kind -- somebody explained it to me, but I don't know if that was a --

TS: Well, what was it? I can't --

YM: I can't remember, but something to have to do with tipping?

TS: Oh, really?

YM: I don't know. I just really don't remember. But that stuck with everybody.

TS: "Tip school," yeah.

YM: You say, "tip school," you know what it meant.

TS: That was easier than saying kokugo gakkou.

CK: Yeah, right.

SF: So since everyone had to go to "tip school," was it kind of a place that the Niseis formed a lot of friendships?

YM: Oh, yes.

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: Yes.

CK: I think so.

YM: 'Cause from first grade to, on to, I went to chuugakkou ni nen, but that doesn't mean anything, but that's when you're in high school, isn't it? Chuugakkou?

TS: Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Eighth grade, yeah.

YM: (Yes).

CK: No. Chuugakkou ni nensei --

YM: It's, middle, middle school is chuugakku, [Ed. note: narrator meant to say chuugakkou] so --

TS: Chuugakkou.

YM: High school --

CK: Two years. I went eight years.

YM: Eight years.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And then went two --

CK: You must have gone ten years.

TS: Ten years.

YM: Two years more, (yes).

TS: Yeah. Well, that's why you're so smart.

YM: Oh, no. No, no. No. But we --

CK: See this was not an ordinary school because you had people coming in from all over town, that's in the same grade as you are, in high school or middle school or elementary school. So it was a, so you got to know people that lived in Green Lake or...

YM: Beacon Hill --

CK: Beacon Hill or --

YM: Lot of it's...

CK: Although you lived...

YM: So distant.

CK: Down by the railroad station. You get to meet people from the Garfield area and Franklin area. So in a way, it's really good.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

SF: Do you think that it may have -- expanding on that idea about, sort of the community getting larger and people knowing people living in other areas, that when evacuation came that that might have been helpful in the sense that you knew more people from different areas, and when you went to Minidoka or Puyallup or some, something --

CK: Yeah. It, it must've helped. Right.

YM: Well, they had sports groups, you fellas...

CK: Right.

YM: With juudou and baseball and basketball. They used to have people from Auburn and Kent and -- where else?

TS: Fife and...

YM: Fife.

TS: Tacoma.

YM: Tacoma. And so we knew, mostly the fellows knew peop -- the people from the country or they got to know them.

SF: How did, how were those baseball leagues organized? I mean, who, were the Issei kinda critical in that? And how did -- who set up the schedule, and how did people raise money for uniforms, and all of that?

CK: I think it was started with Jimmy Sakamoto, wasn't it?

TS: He was --

YM: I think...

TS: Courier League, yeah.

CK: Courier League.

YM: But there must've been more leagues...

TS: Takayoshis?

YM: Yeah.

CK: Right. The Takayoshi, [inaudible] and --

YM: Before, before 'cause I have pictures of way back.

CK: Oh, yeah? Well, anyway, one of the most instrumental of forming of athletic leagues for the Nisei was this Jimmy Sakamoto. He was a, more or less a...

YM: Journalist.

CK: Blind editor of the Courier, a newspaper written in English here in Seattle.

YM: This was before the war.

CK: Yeah. And he started up all these teams under the Courier League, and there were class -- was

there a double-A?

TS: Double-A, A, B, C.

CK: Double-A, B, and C.

TS: Yeah.

CK: And people of different abilities were classified into these different areas. And then they used to compete against each other.

YM: They had girls' basketball teams, too.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And --

SF: That was part of the Courier Leagues, too?

YM: Uh-huh.

CK: Yeah.

YM: Yes, that was.

SF: And these, the players were all Nihonjins, huh, or Japanese.

CK: Yeah, basically. There were some...

YM: They --

CK: Chinese that started to...

TS: Yeah.

CK: Sift in there. But...

TS: Willie Chin was one.

CK: Yeah. And they may have had one or two hakujins, but...

YM: Well --

CK: But they weren't that restrictive. But it's just that other minorities didn't seem to want to --

TS: Well, they didn't live in the area.

CK: Well --

TS: Basically.

CK: They didn't have to live in the area, because there were, from Green Lake and all over the place.

TS: Well, Green Lake had their own team.

CK: Yeah, right. But the thing is that during the league --

TS: Yeah.

CK: See. And --

YM: We had Reverend Andrew's daughters.

CK: Yeah. So --

YM: Played with them.

CK: There was --

YM: Against them.

CK: A sampling of hakujins and Chinese in there.

YM: Various churches sponsored their...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Basketball teams, baseball teams, also.

CK: Churches, and also businesses, right?

SF: So if a business, for example sponsored a team, they would kick in for uniforms or, something like that?

CK: Yeah. That's about it. Yeah. Then they'd have a banquet after the end of the season for the players.

TS: But then there was groups like Taiyo that --

CK: Taiyo Club?

TS: Yeah. They were not church-oriented, were they?

CK: No. They were not.

TS: Athletic.

CK: Gambling club.

TS: Gambling club?

CK: That's -- yeah. I mean, it ended up as a gambling club, but it was a social club. And I guess they'd make enough monies to just sponsor teams.

TS: Yeah. Taiyo, and there was...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Waseda.

CK: Waseda, yeah.

SF: You mentioned that there were a few non-Japanese ball players that -- was there any, ever, any stink about, oh, picking a really good white, big, tall pitcher because, and they're -- and he would be kind of a ringer. And that, so the people were saying --

TS: Oh, Johnson.

SF: He was, he was kind of like a superstar, so they, people wanted him so they could make the team strong?

TS: I don't think no, anyone...

CK: I don't think --

TS: Ever did that.

CK: Yeah.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

YM: Was there any black kids?

TS: There (were) no black kids.

YM: Black kids.

TS: There weren't that...

CK: I can't remember.

TS: ...many blacks around.

CK: No.

TS: They were just up around 12th Avenue. A few of 'em.

YM: There was a few.

CK: Yeah, around -- yeah. And --

TS: They used to have a drinking place up there.

CK: They used to have a few at Garfield High School.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Homer Harris and those guys.

YM: I had one in my --

TS: Homer Harris?

CK: Quentin Booker.

YM: Quentin Booker. That's --

CK: Yeah. But...

YM: He stuck around the Japanese kids --

TS: Yeah.

CK: You could practically count on your fingers the number of black kids that were in Seattle during that time. And now...

YM: It's after the war.

CK: Look at the population, it's really --

TS: Yeah, the wartime, yeah.

YM: I think after the war, they migrated...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Up north more.

TS: When I went to Broadway, there was one black kid outta 2,000 students, I remember.

CK: Well, that -- you know the guy named -- his parents ran the Coast Hotel on 8th and King? Remember that Coast Hotel, where all the redcaps and the conductors on the railroads were black, so they used to stay there in between. And Willard Jackson, that's it.

TS: Oh.

CK: Don't you remember Willard Jackson?

TS: Not really.

CK: Great big -- but he was a clumsy guy, so not very many guys wanted him for their team.

TS: Okay. Poor guy.

CK: But as far as playing football for us, he was a massive guy. So he played for us, I remember.

YM: The King Street Station was within the perimeter of Japanese Town.

CK: Yeah.

YM: That's why -- and then some of the Isseis were redcaps, too.

TS: Oh, they made good money those days.

YM: Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

SF: So --

CK: I wonder if it lists the Coast Hotel here.

TS: Mas (Masao, "Chick") Shigemura. Remember him?

YM: Yeah. Mas's dad.

TS: He got a brand-new car.

YM: He was an only boy, so --

CK: Yeah.

YM: Well, so were you, but then, he got everything.

CK: Yeah.

TS: His dad had a nice job.

CK: They used to go to that -- on Jackson...

YM: On Jackson and --

TS: On the white hill. (Governor Apartments)

CK: Yeah. White apartment building.

TS: Right up...

YM: It was at..

TS: (On the west side of) 6th Avenue South (between Jackson and Main Street).

YM: Oh, that was...

CK: What is that?

YM: What was that hotel?

TS: It's right here where, Hanover Drug, it says. It's that's --

YM: The other, other --

TS: It should've been here.

YM: It's on Jackson Street.

TS: Right across from...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Hashidate, and a little bit down.

CK: Yeah, it's a wonder they didn't list that, huh?

TS: They didn't list it.

CK: Or that old school building?

TS: Oh, yeah. The Sea...

YM: Or the first --

TS: The old Seattle School. (Building is still there and occupied now by an engineering firm. It was used as a Chinese restaurant, "China Peasant" from prewar years through the war years and after for many years.)

CK: Yeah.

YM: First Seattle School was a...

TS: Right here.

YM: Half a block down from my dad's store.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Is it listed there?

YM: No.

CK: It isn't, right?

YM: No.

TS: Yeah. About right here.

YM: It's, it's a histori --

TS: Where it says "Panama Drug."

CK: Yeah. Right below Izui's.

YM: Yeah, uh-huh.

TS: Yeah.

YM: It's a historical building now. Who occupies that? Some --

TS: I don't know. Somebody's --

YM: Some --

TS: Then they had that Chinese restaurant there.

YM: Yeah. At -- when, in our days, it was a...

CK: In the -- yeah.

YM: Chinese restaurant. It got to be.

TS: And look at what it says about Chiba Drug.

YM: Where does that, Chiba?

TS: It's up, next to where Mitsuwado was. They were down below.

CK: Yeah, one below.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Well, it does show it one below.

TS: No, no. They had the Sagamiya, Mitsuwado, and they had that Hamada place --

YM: Ten-cent store. Hamada ten-cent store.

TS: And then Hideji's place, and then Main Drug.

CK: Oh, down below.

TS: Which was Chiba (the father ran it, then son, Bain, after the war, except he moved the drug store up next to the old Sagamiya location.). Then the alley was there. Then Tenyoshi (a Japanese restaurant). Tenyoshi's not on there.

CK: No. No, Gyokoken. Yeah. Tenyoshi was downstairs.

TS: Yeah, downstairs.

CK: Yeah, yeah.

YM: Yeah, and Gyokoken was upstairs.

TS: But the, they've got the alley in the wrong place.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Yeah, well. That was --

CK: A long time ago.

YM: Our childhood, really.

CK: Yeah.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

SF: So Yoshiko, in terms of Sagamiya, did people -- I mean, you mentioned people would come from out of town and they would make kind of a big pleasure trip out of going to, picking up manjuu and getting a bath and all that. So did, was there a place for people to sit down and --

YM: We used to have a fountain and ice cream. And they used to have kintoki there...

TS: Kintonki, yeah.

YM: With shaved ice. It's the, red beans in there. In summertime, that was a place to go and have your dessert or whatever.

SF: So was it mostly like families or like, teenage kids would come together?

YM: Well, teenage children come. And I know, Tad mentioned that my uncle used to make the senbei, and that was made by mochi, and he, we'd slice it. And then, he'd, in the basement, they'd have a drying place with shouyu and sugar to dry the -- (mochi, sembei...)

SF: Oh.

YM: And that was, I think, among the Niseis, you remember that the most.

TS: That was the best --

YM: Senbei.

TS: You can't buy senbei like that...

CK: No.

TS: Anymore.

YM: And it got to be a little bit sticky, but...

TS: Even in Japan.

CK: Yeah -- no, that's right.

YM: That was the best senbei that a lot of the Niseis remember. I remember Beefo coming in and says, why don't you put some more [inaudible] -- and they, we enjoyed that, senbei --

SF: That was all hand-made?

YM: (Yes).

SF: Wow. So how do you, how did, how did you make that?

YM: Well, pounded rice, and then you have it (sliced) real thin, about less than a quarter-inch. And then cut that in, in with...

CK: Slices?

YM: Say, about an inch or two-inch slices. And then they dip it into the sugar and shouyu. And then they'd have a drying machine that dried it. And I never did help on that too much. But it was down in the basement.

SF: So eventually, it became too labor-intensive, or the stuff from Japan that was already pre-packaged came in --

YM: Oh, yes.

SF: When did that --

YM: All the rest of, most of 'em came from Japan in the square cans. And the -- we used to bottle, I mean, have it in a round (glass container and) sell it by the nickel and dimes and quarters in those days.

SF: So when did Sagamiya's stop making the home-made kind?

YM: I think just a little before maybe the war. And we used to make all the mochi for the community.

TS: Yeah.

SF: So before New Year's, you used to have a huge run on the stuff then?

YM: Yes.

SF: Did you see, people have to make a special order, say, I want...

YM: (Yes).

SF: Some of this.

YM: We used to start about 4 o'clock in the morning, every morning. My uncle goes down there and start the steam and get the rice cooking and...

SF: Did that ever become mechanized?

YM: A little bit. Well, we had the machine with two big wooden -- what do you call 'em?

CK: Mallets.

YM: Mallets, going down, up and down by machine. Oh, there used to be a, a belt that pushed it up, and it had two of 'em going at once. And then the, the usu was made out of some kind of wood -- I mean --

SF: Usu. What, what is this?

YM: Usu is the...

CK: Bowl.

SF: Oh.

YM: Bowl that -- made outta some kind of, of -- what is that? -- well, it's not, it wasn't concrete, but, oh, well, I don't know what kind of a (granite), rock-like. And I think one is donated at the Wing Luke Museum. My, my cousin had it in his yard, and I asked him to donate it to the museum. So it's at the museum now.

SF: So was that a commercially built device, or did your parents design it and build it?

YM: I don't -- it was there before. So it must've been there from way back. I don't know when it was built. But the store has a history back to 1909 or something like that.

SF: And so there was a fountain, and you had this shaved ice with the red bean on top. And manjuu and mochi. Did you have like ice cream and...

YM: Uh-huh.

SF: Things like that?

TS: Yeah, but it cost a dime. [Laughs] Ice cream on top of the, kintoki.

YM: You had ice cream on top of the kintoki, huh?

TS: Yeah.

YM: That was different.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

SF: When was the busiest time for the, for the store?

YM: Oh, well, before the war, the Bon Odori used to be in front of the --

TS: Oh, that's right.

YM: On Main Street. Remember?

CK: Yeah.

TS: That's right.

YM: And that was, I think, in conjunction with Potlatch, instead of Seafair, it used to be called Potlatch. And so Potlatch parades, we used to have -- my dad used to be involved in getting the girls together in Japanese kimonos, and they'd have a, a parade with some kind of -- what do you call it? --

CK: Float?

YM: Float.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And --

TS: That's when we used to go up on the Panama Hotel, and throw those torpedoes down. [Laughs]

YM: These guys were itazura, Main Street boys.

SF: What, you mentioned these floats. Who put on the floats? Were they businesses --

YM: Japanese community. And then I have, well, there's, there was one, I think it was from the Fishing Tackle Association. There was one there. And another one was, they used to have a queen contest. And there's girls on the float that won the queen contest. You remember those?

TS: Yeah. How 'bout the salmon you had in front the store?

YM: Oh. Dad had the fishing tackle store, so we always used to have salmon displayed in front of the store in a display with ice on the bottom. And in 30-, 40-pounders were...

TS: Yeah. Big fish.

YM: Nothing -- you can't find them, or my, even my boys go there and, 20-, 25-pound is big, considering the catches nowadays. But they used to display the salmon there. And another place that used to have a fishing tackle is Tashiro Hardware. And --

TS: That's down on Prefontaine?

YM: Yeah. It's a little bit further.

CK: Yeah. Prefontaine Place.

YM: There was a few other Japanese fishing tackle stores, too.

CK: Yeah.

TS: She's still around, what's-her-name. Billie.

YM: Billie? Uh-huh. I was, I was telling somebody at the Densho Project to interview Billie (Yoshioka) Tashiro, Yoshio Kakimura. She would be one of the older Niseis. And while she's still able to, she would be nice one to interview.

TS: That was before nylon leaders. Made that a cut.

YM: And they used silk to wrap around the, the...

TS: Rod.

YM: Pole. The rod.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And the, put the eyes in. There was a man that used to be upstairs of my dad's store making the reels, rods by hand. And he did a beautiful job.

SF: Is it like split bamboo?

YM: There's bamboo. We used to have, oh, a bunch of bamboo in the store. And he used to make the rods. And I had to chuckle at my dad when we all came back from camp. And they asked for those articles that were missing from -- they had the -- oh, what do they call it? They were reimbursed for what they lost.

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: The Issei.

CK: Right after the war.

YM: Right after the war. And my dad, the first thing he put on the list was his fishing tackle and reel that was missing from the store. And during -- I think the time during the store, after we paid for the rent of the store for two or three years, my cousin didn't want to pay any more, so the War Relocation Authority would relocate what was in the store to the warehouse down in Pioneer Square. And I think during that time that they brought everything from the store to the warehouse, a (lot of) things were missing. I don't think the store was broken into, like many of the farmhouses and other stores, like in other cities. But we couldn't afford to pay the rent during the term that we were evacuated, interned, so it was brought to the one warehouse in Pioneer Square. I went to see the warehouse because I got permission to come into Seattle from camp and to get something from the warehouse, so I knew it was in a warehouse somewhere in Pioneer Square.

SF: But did you -- when did you leave camp to check this out?

YM: During the time we were in camp. It was already, some people already came back to Seattle.

SF: Oh. So this was after you could come back to the --

YM: (Yes), I think so.

TS: Who, who owned that property, that building?

YM: I think Osawas.

TS: Osawas, oh. Japanese, huh?

YM: Oh, (yes).

TS: Oh.

YM: It's torn down now, but that's one of the stories that happened.

SF: And the Isseis were really into fishing in those days?

YM: Oh, yes.

TS: Oh, yeah. I don't think there were too many whites fishing, huh? It was mostly Japanese.

YM: Oh, there must've been, but --

TS: Not too many.

SF: But that was really a big thing among the --

TS: Oh, yeah. Because they like fish, for one thing. (And there were no license fees then.) And they would eat 'em, so.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

YM: Well, as kids, too, we used to go down the waterfront. And if there was any hole in the, in the wharf there...

TS: Yeah.

YM: We'd put a string or a...

TS: Nylon, yeah. (No nylon then, silk or gut lines and leaders.)

YM: Nylon [inaudible], whatever, and try to fish...

TS: Shiners.

YM: Shiners. And they're about so big. And we'd come home with maybe half a bucket full. And mothers would make that into a...

CK: Sushi.

YM: My mom used to make it into vinegar. You roast it or toast it, and then put it in vinegar, and eat the head and the bones and everything. And that was good. That was fun, going down to the wharf to go fishing. And we never got into trouble that way, but...

CK: No.

TS: No.

YM: It was fun. It was good, clean fun.

TS: And if you're lucky, you get a perch.

YM: (Yes).

TS: Did you use the worms, those kinda hairy worms, long ones? Or do you remember?

YM: I -- (yes). I don't mind. And another thing, we used to go get worms down at Alki, but there isn't a worm to be found in Alki anymore.

TS: Oh, really? Oh.

YM: This was right after the war or thereabouts. We, Dad and I went out looking for worms out there, and there weren't any.

TS: No more, huh?

SF: These are, like the kinda salt-water worms and...

YM: Uh-huh.

SF: What, you used that for what kinda fish?

YM: Well --

CK: Shiners.

TS: Shiners. Perch. Rock cod, if you're lucky. Used --

CK: Used to get shrimp down there, too.

TS: Shrimp, yeah. (In these days, they had commercial shrimp fishing boats out in Elliot Bay.)

YM: Shrimp, yeah.

TS: You used to see shrimp down there.

YM: I went with George's dad to get shrimp --

CK: Yeah.

YM: And they're --

TS: Now they're getting -- whatchamacallit? -- out there.

CK: Oh. Smelt?

TS: No, no. That wiggly thing. What do you call it?

YM: Calamari.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Squid?

TS: Calamari.

YM: Squid.

TS: Squid. Now they get squid.

YM: (Yes). There never used to be squid around there.

TS: Huh?

TS: Never used to be.

YM: I don't think there used to be squid in those days.

TS: Well, they used to have a commercial shrimp fishery, Elliott (Bay), for a while.

YM: Now they don't want us to eat any of the bottom fish, 'cause there's too many...

CK: Toxic.

YM: Toxic minerals, or whatever there now.

SF: In those days, fish must've been the, the cheapest kinda food, right?

TS: Yeah. Was free. No license.

YM: I remember some men would come with bucketfuls, and come to our store and have them sell it, or, or Dad would buy it or whatever.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

SF: So before the war, with all of these different stores, confectionery stores, hotels, baths and so forth, if you were a young Nisei, say fifteen to twenty, you could live your whole life in, within the confines of Nihonmachi...

CK: Right.

SF: And get everything that you needed. Is that a fair statement?

CK: That's a good statement.

SF: What about like, clothes? If you were sort of an aspiring Nisei and wanted to look sharp, could you get the, the latest fashions in the Nisei stores, or did you have to go out to Bon Marche or JC Penney, whatever --

TS: Fahey Brockman or something.

CK: Yeah.

YM: But there were some tailors, Japanese tailors, and merchants that had clothes.

TS: Right on Jackson's, there were.

YM: Right on Jackson Street.

CK: There were department stores, too.

TS: Eguchi's.

CK: Remember that one next to 6th and Jackson? You know, that... oh, you walked into the, there's a glass showcase, and then you'd walk in --

TS: Yeah.

CK: Yeah. Wasn't there one by Shiga's?

YM: Shiga's had the...

TS: Shiga's was up farther.

YM: Sweaters. They used...

CK: No. They had the sweater store, but --

YM: (Yes). They sold mostly sweaters.

TS: Yeah.

CK: They also had the, this department store that --

TS: Eguchi's?

CK: Yeah. Eguchi's.

YM: Eguchi's -- Sanyo, Sanyo company.

CK: Sanyo. Right.

TS: Yeah. Eguchi. And then, on the corner, there was another individual store.

CK: Yeah.

TS: They had --

CK: There was a -- they sold more --

TS: I bought (an) overcoat there.

CK: American store, style of clothes.

TS: Had to pay five dollar a month. I don't know how long I paid. Five months or something?

CK: Basically, most of the Niseis were too young to think about...

TS: Clothes, yeah.

CK: Clothing for the workplace. So they were just buying the regular kind of casual clothes.

YM: Dungarees.

CK: Things like that.

TS: What do you call? Cords.

CK: Buy their -- yeah, cords. And --

YM: Donguri pantsu. Don't you, don't you remember the Issei saying that?

CK: Which one?

YM: Donguri pantsu.

CK: Oh, yeah. Donguri pantsu.

YM: Dungarees.

CK: Then the shoes were either bought at...

YM: Aoki, Aoki Shoe Company.

CK: Aoki Shoe Company, or Jackson Shoe Company.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Used to be shoe companies, too.

SF: They were both run by Nihonjin?

TS: Yeah.

YM: Yes.

CK: And people just shopped within the area.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Well, that's what the, most of the Isseis did because...

YM: Well --

CK: Most of 'em didn't have their own cars or anything to go downtown.

TS: But when was it? '39 or '40, when they came out with that style, long --

YM: Zoot suits?

CK: Zoot suits?

TS: Zoot suits, yeah. Then some of the older Nisei --

CK: Yeah.

TS: Started, got into that zoot suit thing. They had the funny haircut and --

CK: Yeah.

TS: I can't remember what else was there? They had a sport coat that was long, and they had --

YM: That mostly came from California.

TS: California.

CK: Yeah. But --

SF: [Laughs] Blame it on California...

CK: Like you said, they go down to Fahey Brockman or someplace like that.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Have it cut down.

SF: These, these guys who were wearing the zoot suits, they were sort of on the, the fringes, right? The Isseis must've not taken to this style.

TS: Oh, the Isseis didn't at all.

CK: Yeah. No.

TS: Yeah.

CK: But the --

YM: But the Isseis dressed well, though.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

YM: They had their suits, and --

CK: Sure.

YM: I know, my, the people that started Sagamiya were very up, up there in scale there. And I remember them saying that they went to eat at Olympic Hotel or something like that. And there's this top hat and suit that he wore that I have a picture of.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

SF: So, when we were talking, you mentioned these fancy places. So how often did people leave Nihonmachi to go out into the larger area, and to go to a fancy restaurant or to do something?

YM: Isseis not, not too much.

CK: Not too much.

YM: The Niseis --

TS: We went to Triple-X.

YM: Triple-X was like a drive-in theater -- a drive-in...

TS: Hamburger joint.

YM: Hamburger place. And I think it was just prior to the war that we started eating those hamburgers, wasn't it?

TS: Yeah.

CK: Yeah.

YM: I remember Dad going down Pioneer Square, and there was a place down on Pioneer and Main Street, or is it Jackson Street? There was one place that had hamburgers. But not too many like right now, where we'd -- and we never did get much spending money in those days.

TS: Yeah. That's right.

YM: Nickel and dime. If you got that much, we were lucky.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And going down to, my experience, going down to the Lake Washington, go swimming, we'd get a nickel to ride the bus -- I mean, streetcar...

TS: Streetcar.

CK: Streetcar, yeah.

YM: For two cents. Go down to Mount Baker to swim. And you had a, you had a penny to use and, to get candy or so. And then two cents to ride back.

TS: That was a long walk, too.

CK: Yeah.

YM: (Yes).

TS: From the bus down to Mount Baker.

YM: And someone was telling me that they'd lost their money, so they had to walk all the way home.

TS:: Boy, that's a walk.

YM: (Yes). So, but then that, those were the days when that one penny was worth maybe three caramels or candy or something like that.

CK: Yeah. Most of the banquets and things were held right in J Town, or the high tone restaurant was Maneki --

YM: Right.

TS: Yeah.

CK: And then, then they had all these Chinese food places --

YM: Run by Japanese.

CK: Gyokoken, yeah.

TS: Gyokoken, Nikko Low --

CK: Nikko Low --

YM: Kinka Low --

TS: Kinka Low.

CK: Kinka Low, yeah.

SF: But they were, the actual cooking was done by --

TS: Chinese.

CK: Chinese, yeah.

YM: Yeah.

SF: But they were run by Japanese.

CK: Run by Japanese.

SF: Right. So if you had a birthday in the family or something like that, then probably go to --

CK: Probably go there, yeah. One of the places.

YM: Or at wedding receptions they used to have at one of those places, too.

SF: Were there places that you might have wanted to go in Seattle, but couldn't because of discrimination or people didn't treat you, or you didn't feel welcome or something like that?

CK: Not really, I don't think.

YM: I never did feel --

CK: It's just a matter of your getting there.

TS: Well, nobody had cars.

CK: Yeah.

TS: I mean --

YM: Not, very few.

CK: It was either riding on bike or a streetcar.

TS: Yeah.

CK: And then we'd go to Alki Beach, take the streetcar.

TS: Yeah, (or Fauntleroy).

CK: And if we go to the library, we'd take, ride the bike or something like that.

TS: I walked.

YM: Or walk.

CK: Well, yeah.

YM: (Yes), we walked from the store down...

TS: Yeah.

YM: To the library. Of course, we were up, we went up to the library up on 23rd, too.

TS: Oh, did ya?

YM: Uh-huh.

TS: Oh.

CK: Every so often, we'd make a long trip to the locks or to the waterfront, way north on Pier 91.

TS: Oh.

CK: Something like that --

YM: Used to --

CK: On a bike. And that'd be a whole-day trip.

TS: Plus, you had water right close, where you can, right down below by the station, or just south of you.

CK: For what?

TS: I mean, just kind of a big puddle or whatever?

CK: Oh, that was behind KCW, 22 --

TS: Yeah, yeah.

CK: Yeah, yeah. So we'd build rafts and --

TS: Right offa Dearborn. Yeah, we used to make rafts and --

CK: It was on Maynard and Dearborn --

TS: Yeah.

CK: I mean, not Dearborn, but it was actually on Main Street, right behind KCW, see?

TS: Dearborn.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Well, KCW's store was on...

YM: That was a furniture store.

CK: Dearborn.

TS: Yeah.

CK: And so the hole was this place here.

TS: What happened, they just filled that up, huh?

CK: They just filled it up.

TS: Oh.

YM: And was that where...

CK: And there's that Chinese...

YM: The hotel is?

CK: Chinese furniture store is now.

YM: Yeah.

CK: They took over KCW, remember?

YM: Yes.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

CK: Then right on Lane Street between -- I mean, Weller Street on, between 5th and 6th Avenue, like I was telling you, there was a big, empty lot we used to call Yutaka ground --

TS: Oh.

CK: Where we played softball and baseball there. All the Japanese kids that were living in that area, they would form teams, and then just have a game on weekends, or during the summer it was almost every day.

TS: Yeah.

YM: There was a lot next to you, where, where your dad's store was.

TS: Yeah, up there on Maynard and Main Street.

YM: (Yes). I played baseball there.

TS: Yeah. We fixed it up. Then the girls had to come, and they all wanna play hopscotch and stuff in there, too.

SF: Were there any other groups --

TS: That was a gravel road up there all the way.

YM: Oh, (yes). All the way up --

TS: Yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

SF: Okay. One of the main cultural institutions in the community, I guess, was Nippon Kan? Maybe you all could give us a little history about how it started, what events took place there, why it was such an important community institution.

TS: How we started out...

YM: I don't remember.

TS: I think way before our time.

YM: Yeah. Maybe from our time...

TS: Yeah.

YM: 'Cause I have a picture of my sister, she was, she used to do Japanese dances. They used to have recitals of Japanese dances quite a bit there. And there's a picture of my sister. I was still a baby then, so I don't remember when it started.

TS: Yeah. How long -- it must, some Japanese musta owned it, though.

YM: Must be.

TS: There was a hotel right above there, too, wasn't there?

YM: Uh-huh.

TS: Yeah. There was a hotel.

CK: Yeah, yeah a hotel there. And there was a small grocery store right at the entrance, remember?

TS: Yeah.

YM: Yeah. They used to have a Japanese school graduation there. Lot of the shibais, plays, were being done there. Our church had, we'd have plays there. What else?

TS: Juudou things.

YM: Juudou.

TS: And then --

YM: And kendou --

CK: Kendou.

TS: Kendou and sumou. When they...

CK: Yeah, sumou, right.

TS: Started that.

YM: And I think if some people came from Japan, they'd have something there for entertainment...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Like that.

TS: Boy that was, I remember, you'd go to see a Japanese movie or something, it was so smoky in there, I remember.

YM: Yeah, all the Japanese movies were there. But, did anything from the kenjinkais happen there? I don't remember.

TS: Kenjinkai...

CK: I don't --

TS: Usually had their...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Get-together at the Chinese restaurant, at Kinka Low or --

CK: Yeah, not Kinka Low or Gyokoken or someplace.

TS: Yeah.

CK: And then they have their picnics, Lincoln Park...

TS: Lincoln Park.

CK: ...or whatever.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Lake Wilderness. Kubota Gardens.

SF: So was the, was Nippon Kan active all the way up to evacuation, and then --

TS: Yeah.

SF: Still going, huh?

TS: Uh-huh. And then, and then it got resurrected, huh? Afterwards.

CK: Yeah.

YM: This --

TS: Didn't they fix it up or something?

YM: Yes, just have --

CK: Hakujin guy bought it out, and --

YM: Yeah.

CK: Put in office, offices and, professional offices, and he restored the auditorium.

YM: They, there was a curtain that was for the auditorium, is preserved on the side of the wall now. It's still there.

TS: Oh, you've been in there?

YM: Oh, yes.

TS: Oh, good for you.

CK: And they preserved the pencil-and-ink writings of the various people, like 1938 juudou tournament --

YM: They used to have back --

CK: People used to write their names on there.

YM: It was backstage, mostly.

CK: Yeah, backstage, and on the poles.

YM: I think it's still there.

CK: Yeah. They preserved those.

SF: What, what happened to the theater during the war? What, did people store things in there or what?

YM: I don't know.

CK: I don't know. I never heard...

YM: I don't know what they did.

CK: Of them storing things, but I think it was just closed up because, it was in, well, I think the floors were starting to give way and everything. So they just kept it closed until this Caucasian guy bought it as a business and restored the building. But then again, he also made it possible for lanterns and different kinds of -- they have a small Japanese garden up there that people could more or less read about the legacy of this building. And --

YM: Wasn't he collecting Japanese artifacts, also?

CK: I don't know.

YM: Oh.

CK: Maybe yes. But it was a pretty good deal for the community anyway.

SF: How did, did they have fund drives or things to support the maintenance of the building, or was it private, just purely privately owned and people would -- groups would rent it, or something like that?

CK: Must've been owned by the Japanese community, huh?

YM: I really don't know.

CK: Yeah.

TS: I wonder who'd know that?

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TS: Would Bud know something?

CK: Huh?

TS: Bud or somebody?

CK: Bud Fukei?

TS: Yeah.

CK: He might.

YM: He's another one that could be interviewed, too.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Bud Fukei. He used to be the --

CK: Editor.

TS: Editor of Tai -- (Taihoku)

CK: Hokubei?

TS: No. yeah. He had Hokubei (another paper with English editor Jackson Sonoda), but Tai -- what was that one? Taiheiyo?

YM: Taiheiyo? That was...

TS: The one on --

YM: That was the sweater shop.

TS: No. Okay. That was, yeah.

CK: You mean the paper, right?

TS: Newspaper.

YM: Hokubei?

CK: Yeah.

TS: Hokubei was the one on 5th Avenue. But the other one was Taihoku.

YM: Oh, yeah.

TS: 'Cause I worked for (Taihoku) for (awhile)...

CK: Oh.

TS: Few months.

YM: He (Bud Fukei) was writing for the Vets News for a little while, too.

TS: He's back again.

YM: Oh, is he?

TS: Manitz, yeah, Vets.

YM: Oh.

SF: Before, when you were mentioning newspapers, before the war, there were two Japanese newspapers serving --

TS: Japanese, in Japanese, and one page in English. Then there was a weekly Courier, which was all English. Four pages, I think.

YM: I have some cuttings of the Courier.

TS: Courier?

YM: Uh-huh.

SF: So there was --

CK: Wasn't it correct that the founding of the Japanese American Citizens League was here in Seattle?

YM: Yes.

SF: I think so.

TS: Yeah.

SF: 1930, I think -- does that sound right?

CK: By --

YM: Early '30s.

CK: By --

TS: Jimmy.

YM: Jimmy Sakamoto...

CK: Jimmy Sakamoto

YM: And their group.

CK: And those people that ran the Courier newspapers.

TS: He used to be a professional prize fighter.

YM: Boxer.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And he was blinded by that, so he ran the newspaper about -- while being blind. So --

SF: Did, did his wife help him out a lot?

YM: Oh, yes. She had a lot to do. She's still living here.

TS: She used to do all the office, the paperwork and the billing and stuff. 'Cause I delivered that too, Courier.

SF: So which paper did the Niseis typically read? Since the Courier was all English, was that the newspaper of choice, as it were, or --

TS: Well, not necessarily, because at Tai Hoku and Hokubei -- were they daily or three times a week or something?

YM: Gee, I don't know.

CK: I think...

TS: They came --

CK: They were daily.

TS: Daily?

CK: Yeah.

TS: So they came out more often, I think. And even if it's just one page...

SF: What was in those newspapers -- in the English section -- what was covered? Sports?

YM: Sports.

TS: Or, just...

YM: What's happening in the...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Bits and pieces.

YM: Japanese community and --

TS: Sports.

CK: Coming events and things like that.

TS: And I remember Bud Fukei had lotta guts. He reported Dr. Unozawa. Remember him?

CK: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

TS: Abortion?

CK: Yeah.

SF: What was -- was that a controversial thing?

TS: Well...

CK: Well --

TS: I mean, you didn't talk about those things in those days.

CK: He was a Japanese -- he wasn't a --

YM: He was more like a...

CK: He was --

YM: Chiropractor, wasn't he?

CK: No.

TS: Yeah. No. Something like --

CK: Osteopath.

TS: Osteopath, yeah.

YM: Right.

CK: Osteopathic surgeon. And he is supposed to have molested some women.

SF: So how did the Japanese community deal with those kinds of scandals, in a sense?

TS: Hush it up.

YM: Hush, hush.

CK: Yeah. They, they usually took it upon themselves to keep it from spreading too much. And also, I think they corrected the situation among themselves.

SF: How would they correct that situation? And -- where the doctor molested the --

TS: I don't think there was much written after that.

YM: (Yes).

CK: Yeah.

YM: That's the first time I heard of it.

TS: Yeah.

CK: I don't know if --

TS: It was in the papers, 'cause...

CK: He must've settled with the --

TS: Some way. But the Japanese...

CK: With the, whoever was offended.

TS: Nihonjinkai did a lotta thing -- they used to go, as I, I was told, they used to go to these places of ill repute that had Japanese women working. And they would tell the women to get outta town.

SF: And would that be effective, or --

TS: I think it was, yeah. I don't know what force they had. I mean, other than telling 'em. They,

they couldn't, I don't think they used force. I mean...

SF: So does that --

TS: 'Cause that ruins the reputation of Japanese in the area.

SF: And so it was really more of a question of tryin' to keep the Japanese community name sort of...

TS: Yeah.

SF: Honorable, as opposed to kind of a purely moral kind of issue.

TS: Yeah.

SF: Is that right?

TS: Basically, yeah.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TS: They used to have a deal where the Japanese businesspeople, they had a pot where they would put in so much --

YM: Tanomoshiis?

TS: Tanomoshii? Yeah. Put money in. And then somebody wants to borrow it, to start a business...

YM: (Yes).

TS: Or something.

SF: So did any of your parents belong to a tanomoshii?

YM: I think my folks, (yes).

CK: I think my folks did.

YM: (Yes), my folks did. They used to...

CK: Because somebody used to...

YM: Come collecting.

CK: Yeah. Come collecting...

YM: Come collecting down the store.

CK: Every week.

YM: (Yes).

SF: So when -- did your folks ever get the -- well, they must've gotten the pot once in a while, right? Or the money?

CK: I don't think so, my folks.

TS: You get interest back?

CK: I don't, I don't know.

YM: I never did ask --

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: My dad, anything on that.

CK: You just see this one guy...

YM: Yeah, coming for

CK: Coming every week.

YM: Collecting for every month, or whatever.

CK: Yeah.

YM: And --

CK: They never told you what it's for.

TS: Boy, that kind of reminds me of Hideji's father. He used to go out every night. You remember Hideji?

YM: (Yes). I don't remember his dad.

TS: He used -- well, his foster dad.

YM: (Yes).

TS: And what do you call those Chinese things where you mark up?

YM: Bakape.

CK: Bakape.

TS: Yeah. Used to go around...

CK: It's a Chinese...

TS: Collect --

CK: Lotto.

TS: Yeah. Money on that.

CK: Or --

YM: They used to gamble and bring it down to Chinatown, and --

TS: There's a central place that collected it, I guess. And they made a drawing or something or...

YM: Yeah.

TS: Somebody won.

CK: They'd have a drawing and then --

SF: Was that mostly an Issei thing or a Nisei...

YM: Issei, no.

CK: That was --

TS: Nisei wasn't involved...

YM: No, not too much.

CK: No.

TS: Period. It was Issei.

YM: We were too young to be...

TS: But --

YM: Doing stuff like that.

TS: Yeah.

CK: That was basically the business of the Chinese, I thought.

TS: It was a Chinese business.

CK: Yeah.

TS: But the Japanese would gamble a lot.

CK: Yeah. Yeah, they would gamble what -- it's just like the Chinese gambling places. You find Japanese people there.

TS: Yeah. Well, there again --

CK: They'll let you in because of the fact that you're...

TS: Yeah.

CK: Oriental.

YM: Well, Chinese and Japanese, well it's, they were in the same --

TS: General area.

YM: General area there.

TS: Yeah.

YM: In fact, after King Street, it was mostly Chinese, wasn't it?

CK: After King Street? How do you mean?

YM: Yeah. I mean, around King Street, it was Chinatown.

CK: Oh, yeah, well...

TS: Except south of --

CK: Above Maynard Avenue, yeah.

YM: Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

CK: Because there were very few people, Chinese people, below Maynard.

TS: Oh.

CK: As far as I know.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

SF: How would you describe the relationship between the Japanese community and the Chinese community in the, those days?

YM: We didn't intermingle too much, huh?

CK: No.

TS: There was actually a little -- there wasn't friction, but there was not --

CK: Love for -- [Laughs]

TS: Love for each other. I remember going to the Kenjinkai, and the Japanese Isseis get drunk, some of 'em. And they'd stand up and say bad things like, "Chin chin chinaman," and --

YM: [Laughs] That shouldn't go on the video.

TS: Yeah.

CK: I was telling Steve, about what happened when the war started that the Chinese community really turned against Japanese Americans, not only in their schools but their businesses and their association with the Japanese.

YM: "I Am Chinese".

CK: Yeah.

YM: Buttons.

SF: So those were pretty common in --

CK: Oh, yeah. Everybody wore them --

TS: They wore 'em in school, too, didn't they?

CK: Yeah.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Well, [inaudible]...

CK: And I was telling Steve that after we came back, they acted as if nothing happened.

TS: Oh. [Laughs]

CK: And I think that's true for everybody that was a Nisei before the war, and then came back, that they wanted to be buddy-buddies again. But, gee, here we were going to school with them and playing with them. And all of a sudden, they just turned on us. And that was a real bad situation, in my estimation.

TS: But things changed, huh?

CK: Huh? Oh, yeah.

TS: Yeah.

CK: But it's --

TS: Nice relationship now.

CK: Yeah.

YM: Willie...

TS: Huh?

YM: Willie Chin is the only Chinese boy -- well, I never knew too many Chinese --

TS: Yeah.

YM: But I start, after the war, I talked to him. He says, "I was the most saddest boy after you guys all went to..."

TS: Well, I'm sure. Willie was number one.

YM: He was --

CK: Yeah.

YM: His friends were mostly Japanese friends.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And so he says, "I was the most saddest boy when you guys all went to camp," he says. So he's the only one that mentioned stuff like that.

TS: Yeah, Willie was real nice.

YM: (Yes).

CK: Yeah.

TS: Billie Eng? You don't remember. Yeah.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

SF: Another big thing I understand in the Japanese community in those days was (matsutake) mushroom picking and gathering. How did, what kind of a thing was that, and how did people do it, and so forth?

YM: Well, we'd make it sorta, kind of a family affair and go out to the mountains, Mount Rainier or out to -- where, Shelton is it?

TS: Yeah, Shelton.

YM: And gather the mushrooms. And then they'd have a mushroom contest, where they'd bring the mushrooms to my dad's store, and he'd display it in front of Mitsuwado and have prizes for the biggest ones or most gathered or whatever. And some of the mushrooms were quite big. And that still continued after we came back from camp. And they didn't have -- did they have contests after the war? I don't remember, but --

CK: I think so.

TS: Yeah.

YM: It used to be a fun thing to go out to Mount Rainier or Shelton to gather mushrooms. And some of the families would bring their pots and kettles and their, or their -- and have a picnic out there, and make sukiyaki out of the mushrooms, and make a whole day affair of it.

SF: So it was kind of really a family-based kind of thing?

YM: Uh-huh.

SF: Would, would it be like...

YM: Or with friends.

SF: Like some people have their favorite fishing hole. Would people...

YM: Yes.

SF: Sort of keep it a secret if they had a really hot spot?

YM: Right.

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: There's a lot of Isseis wouldn't tell their secret spots, too. And I know one lady, Issei lady, in Vashon, and the family don't know where she used to go get the mushrooms, and I guess --

TS: She wouldn't even tell her own family, huh?

YM: Well, I mean, they didn't ask her. I don't know.

TS: Oh.

YM: But she's gone now, and they don't know where she used to go pick them.

TS: You still go up?

YM: No.

TS: Oh. But still some go.

YM: Now, it's scary to go out, 'cause the Southeast Asians have taken over, and making a big business out of it. And they carry guns. And there was a big article in the paper about that.

CK: Yeah.

SF: Did the, did the number of mushrooms, or availability of mushrooms really decrease, or sort of after the war, or were there still lots of stock that people could really go after?

YM: Well, some -- depends upon the weather, I think. And some years, there weren't too many. I think a dry, dry season -- isn't it? -- that we wouldn't have too many mushrooms. But there's nothing like the northwest mushroom. It's different smelling, matsutake.

SF: So it's really a prized --

YM: Oh, yes.

TS: Oh yeah. When I was down in Portland, I heard about the Oregonians going down south of -- where was that?

CK: Florence?

TS: Yeah, Florence. So I called Eddie Sano up here, and he went all the way down there to get mushrooms. And he got 'em.

YM: Oh?

TS: That's quite a -- you know, I mean, almost like a...

CK: Yeah.

TS: Day's drive.

CK: So at least --

YM: I think in Vancouver area, too...

CK: Ten hours.

YM: Don't they?

TS: Yeah.

CK: Vancouver area? Yeah.

YM: Yeah. I know, I know people out in Snoqualmie or Snohomish area. They'd go out there, too.

TS: Plus, that new highway north.

CK: New one?

TS: North of Stevens Pass. The one that's get blocked up for the winter. They, they get 'em up there someplace.

CK: Oh, yeah?

TS: Yeah. The Californians get to buy 'em for $50 a pound, so --

CK: North Cascades?

TS: Yeah.

CK: North Cascades Highway?

TS: Someplace in there.

YM: And the Japanese -- we used, they used to send it to Japan, too.

TS: Yeah.

YM: And so the Japanese companies would pay anything to get the mushrooms. So the price of mushrooms just sky-high now. So $50 is nothing, I think.

TS: Yeah.

YM: It's terrible.

TS: The best is when someone gets, brings it to your house.

YM: Yeah.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

SF: Another big kind of, I think, institution or event in the community were, were the Kenjinkai picnics. You can all tell us a little bit about those.

TS: That was an annual thing, huh?

YM: Yeah. Well, our Kenjin was so small, but we used to have picnics, family picnics as families. But after the war, we didn't have too many.

SF: Where did, where did you, where, like your ken hold their picnic?

YM: I can't remember. Like Lake Wilderness?

CK: Oh yeah, Lake Wilderness.

TS: Lincoln Park.

CK: Lincoln Park.

YM: Lincoln Park. Lake Wilderness was quite a ways out there. But Lincoln Park was just up on West Seattle. And Jefferson Park...

TS: Yeah.

YM: Which -- where the golf course across the street from it, where the Jefferson Field House is and where the, where the --

TS: Driving range is.

YM: Yeah. Right there, we used to have the picnics there, as well as Japanese school picnic was there, too.

TS: Yeah.

SF: What were the kind of typical activities that people would --

CK: Oh, tug of war, and races.

YM: Races. And...

TS: Ice cream cone on the head.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Batting.

CK: And tossing the egg, or things like that.

YM: Watermelon...

CK: Watermelon bust.

YM: Bust, yeah..

SF: Did the Issei women go to a lot of trouble?

YM: Oh, yes.

CK: Oh, yeah. Making bento.

YM: They'd get up early, maybe 4, 5 o'clock, and then make the sushis and whatever and bento and vegetables and so forth.

SF: So did families sort of go around and sort of sit on each other's blankets and share food?

CK: Yeah.

SF: Did many Isseis drink at those kind of --

YM: Oh, I'm sure they did.

TS: Oh, yeah. The men.

CK: Yeah. Very few women I knew drank.

SF: Were there a lot of cases of where the Issei guys would drink too much so it'd be an embarrassment to the family?

TS: Oh, yeah. That's happened.

CK: That was sometimes.

TS: Yeah.

CK: But not that often, I don't think.

SF: Was alcohol in general much of a problem in the community in those, those days?

YM: I don't think so. But I've heard one lady, acquaintance of our family, that her husband drank quite a bit, to the point of seeing bugs.

CK: Oh, really?

TS: My dad drank.

YM: But you don't hear -- they kept it within themselves.

CK: Yeah.

YM: Not too much. But...

SF: Do you think that those people who did drink too much drank because of something about their, their life there? That it was difficult and this was kind of a way to deal with that, or --

YM: Life was --

CK: Oh, it could've been, as a single people, being lonely, things like that. Well, what I think we wanna say is that you rarely found a Japanese Issei drunk on the streets, like some of the drunkards. I don't think, I don't think of, I can't think of a time that I saw a person that drunk that was a Japanese person.

SF: They just had too much pride to --

CK: I think so, yeah. Even though they knew they were alcoholics, they'd keep it within the house, I think.

YM: I know there'd be drinking parties at these Kinka Low (restaurant), and, upstairs of our store, and they'd have pretty happy times up there.

TS: They used to do singing.

YM: Oh, yeah.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 21>

SF: Did you know you were a dual -- you had dual citizenship?

YM: Yes.

SF: And did you ever just think about becoming only an American citizen?

YM: I think my dad did that, after, after the war? I don't know if it was before the war. But that was the thing to do, having a dual citizen because most of the Issei parents were actually thinking of going back to Japan after they earned their, their fortunes here, and...

TS: Yeah.

YM: With the war, well, that, they changed their minds. And, it's surprising that hundreds of the Isseis became citizens after the war.

SF: So most of the Niseis had dual citizenship, and they sort of went along with their parents because maybe someday they would...

TS: Or, maybe...

SF: Go back?

TS: You're unaware of it.

YM: A lot, I think a lot of us were...

TS: Yeah.

YM: Unaware of it, too.

TS: 'Cause I don't know.

YM: You didn't know, huh?

CK: Well, practically everyone renounced their citizenship to Japan during the war because that was the thing that you had to sign, right?

TS: Oh, you mean when they joined the army?

CK: Well, even before that.

YM: Where you what...

TS: Went to that...

CK: You had to write...

YM: Well, the question was...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Will you fight for the United States...

CK: Yeah.

YM: Or will you --

TS: Oh, the...

CK: And do you --

TS: Yes-yes question, huh?

CK: Oh. Do you give up all allegiance to foreign countries.

TS: But that wasn't to Japan that you did, though?

CK: What?

TS: Your -- the Kenjinkai.

CK: No, but that's one way of proving that --

YM: You're a loyal citizen.

TS: Yeah.

CK: The Nisei that remained behind here gave up their citiz -- dual citizenships, see? Because they're pledging their allegiance only to the United States.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

SF: Okay. We've covered a lot of stuff. What -- anything else that you can think of that we should, we should get down and talk about or mention for the record about Nihonmachi that's really important?

Larry Hashima: Well, one question I had, actually is, of the role the churches played in doing all these activities as well because you talked about, I guess, a lot of the businesses and the Kenjins, but what role did the churches play in the Nihonmachi area, in terms of what everyone did, and how people related to each other in the community?

TS: Well, one of the churches -- I'm not a Catholic, but they had a parochial school, Maryknoll, and that was all Japanese or Nisei that were Catholics. And that was a grade school that they went to.

YM: Father Tibisar was very -- he was Japanese-educated.

TS: Oh, was he? Spoke Japanese?

YM: His Japanese, his Japanese was very good. He was a fiery, red-headed priest. And I remember him coming down to the store, I didn't know him, but because I'm not a Catholic, but he was instrumental in, I'm sure, getting Catholics of Seattle here. So if you ask a Catholic group, they would know Father Tibisar.

SF: To follow that -- Larry's question up a little bit, did, was there much of a, kind of division between, say, the Buddhists and the Christians --

YM: Well, yes, there was in certain ways. But most of us got along. I have a lotta Christian friends, and we got along.

SF: Did people go to different events or something that were sponsored by Christians or Buddhists, or did -- it didn't really matter, people crossed lines and all of that? How did it, how did it make a difference, if you were a Buddhist or a Christian?

CK: No, I didn't think there was any division between Buddhists and Christians, were there?

YM: Well, there's some instances.

CK: But not to the point of not getting along with each other.

YM: No, no.

TS: Got along.

YM: Yeah.

TS: And you had friends --

CK: Yeah.

TS: You didn't really worry about their church, if they're a neighbor.

CK: Well, I don't think that there was any division among the Nisei kids. We didn't care whether you're a Protestant...

TS: Yeah.

CK: Or a Buddhist.

TS: Well, even if you're Protestant, there's so many...

CK: Divisions of... yeah.

TS: Methodists and Baptists and Congregational -- a lotta Japanese churches, Japanese Presbyterian...

YM: Episcopalian.

TS: Episco -- is there Epis --

YM: Episco --

TS: Saint Peter's. Saint Peter's, yeah. Congregational, yeah. Baptists and Meth -- Blaine Memorial Methodist. And the Buddhists, there's four, three, four, five different kind of Buddhists.

CK: Yeah.

YM: There was lotta little, different sects...

TS: Yeah.

YM: Too.

TS: And one of 'em's right close to the big Buddhist church. Right above there, there's a --

YM: Konkokyo?

TS: Yeah, whatever. That's Buddhist, isn't it? Sort of, or...

YM: It's some sort of Buddhist, yeah.

TS: Yeah.

YM: Nichiren Church.

TS: Nichiren, yeah.

YM: And then my mom was in Maruyama Kyokai, but that's extinct --

TS: Oh.

YM: A long time. A small, small --

TS: Yeah, that must, Buddhists is sorta like Christianity, where they kinda spread out. They start with one church and...

SF: Now, most of the JACLers were Christians. Is that right? Or wasn't that...?

CK: I don't think that was a division line or anything like that. Just that they're just trying to do some good for the Japanese Americans. That's why people joined, I think.

TS: Yeah. I don't think religion plays any role in relationships among Nisei.

SF: Just wasn't an issue, huh?

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TS: Or Sansei, for that matter, I think it's -- getting now where most of the Sansei are marrying other than Japanese, huh? Or a lotta of 'em.

CK: Well, a lot of 'em, but --

YM: Would you say about 50 percent, is it?

TS: Oh, pretty big chunk. My kids all married Caucasians.

YM: I have one that's married to a Caucasian.

TS: Yeah. So you have no choice.

SF: Okay. Anything else we need to touch base on?

TS: Well, one thing, in the old days that has been mentioned, the marriage part -- what was it? -- baishakunin?

YM: Oh. Not too many among the Niseis...

TS: Yeah.

YM: I think. There were probably between the Kibeis and the Isseis, but not too many in the Nisei --

TS: Yeah.

SF: So even if you had a person who, say, an untalented young man and a less talented, or less desirable, for whatever reason, woman, it's unlikely that they would find a mate that -- no one would intervene, the family, or something, to try to find someone for them?

TS: Well, the parents, some of 'em might.

SF: So they -- it was strictly kind of like a parent trying to, kind of find someone for that person?

YM: Well, I think the Isseis asked maybe their good friend or whoever, some people were go-betweens a lot. And they go, maybe go to them and ask them to, if they would find a wife or a husband for their, their children.

TS: For the older Nisei, maybe?

YM: For the older, maybe old Nisei...

TS: Issei.

YM: But Kibeis, mostly --

TS: Oh.

YM: Maybe. Kibeis --

TS: Yeah.

YM: Or Isseis that were not married yet.

TS: Oh.

YM: They'd do that.

SF: Did the Niseis ever rebel against sort of family pressure to, to marry, marry right and a particular guy or gal, where it was -- was it always free choice and the parents never meddled or put pressure on kids to marry X or Y or someone from the appropriate family or something like that?

YM: I know if they, in my, in the, my sister's age group or the older Niseis, if they married a hakujin, they would be kicked out of the house. And that was a few of them that were, the folks wouldn't have anything to do with them.

SF: So --

TS: That's quite a few years ago.

YM: Oh, yeah. This is a, the real older...

TS: Yeah.

YM: Nisei -- not too much our age group...

TS: Yeah.

YM: But...

SF: So in virtually all those instances where there was that kind of intermarriage, the person got thrown out --

YM: In fact, there was some intermarriages among Isseis, too. But I don't, I don't know of any right off-hand, but there were some instances like that...

TS: Yeah.

YM: That...

TS: Very few.

YM: Maybe there weren't any Issei ladies, so they married hakujins or any other ethnic group.

SF: So how much approval did mom, mom and dad have to give to the other person or other family? Could -- I mean, did they have some veto power or a lot of veto power? Say that you had a not-so-desirable Nisei girlfriend or guy friend, did mom and dad ever, ever sort of pressure people to --

TS: You mean the Isseis pressure the Nisei?

SF: Yeah.

CK: Oh, yeah.

YM: Well, it could be that some of 'em were sent back to Japan to kinda separate them, too.

TS: Well, that was years ago, though, huh?

YM: Years ago.

CK: Years ago.

SF: If a Nisei was rowdy, would that happen to them?

YM: Yeah, I think some of 'em were sent back to Japan because, to discipline them or something. They sent them to Japan.

SF: Okay. Okay. Very good. I think we, you guys did a great job.

YM: Well --

SF: Thanks a lot.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.