Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Iwahashi Interview
Narrator: Kazuko Iwahashi
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: May 26, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-ikazuko-01-0001

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MN: Okay, today is Thursday, May 26, 2011. We are at the Woodfin Hotel in Emeryville, California. We will be interviewing Kazuko Oyamada Iwahashi and we have Dana Hoshide on the video and my name is Martha Nakagawa, I will be interviewing. So, Kazuko-san, let's start with your father's name?

KI: Okay, his name is Yoshio.

MN: And your mother's name?

KI: Shizue.

MN: What is her maiden name?

KI: Inada, I-N-A-D-A.

MN: And which ken were they from?

KI: Fukuoka-ken.

MN: Now your paternal grandfather came here first but they were... your paternal grandfather and father were supposed to come together. What happened?

KI: If I remember correctly, my father was... my father and his father were on the way over here. And when they got to the port of demarcation or whatever they call it, they found that my father had a eye infection. And in those days if you had an eye infection they wouldn't let you in the country, out or into the United States. So he went back home until the infection was over then he came. So I'm assuming then that he came by himself and met his father over here.

MN: How old was your father at the time?

KI: I think about sixteen.

MN: And where did your grandfather and your father land?

KI: I believe in Seattle.

MN: Do you know what they were doing up there?

KI: No.

MN: And then how did they come all the way to California?

KI: I think they did what a lot of people did. They just picked up work as they came down. And probably they wanted to come to California anyway and they just worked their way down.

MN: And I guess eventually they settled in the Berkeley area?

KI: Well, I don't know whatever happened to my father's father. I never thought of asking... I know he went back to Japan but at what point I don't know. So my father was on his own as a young man. And he travelled all the way down to Imperial Valley and maybe from there, someplace from down there they separated or something. But I know my father went down there and worked as a laborer and somehow he ended back up here. And I don't know if was because there were other Japanese here that knew him or his family, but somehow he ended up here in this area.

MN: Well, northern California had a lot of people from Fukuoka-ken, didn't they?

KI: Yeah.

MN: Could that be a reason why he ended up here?

KI: Could be, yeah.

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