Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tetsushi Marvin Uratsu Interview
Narrator: Tetsushi Marvin Uratsu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: May 25, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-utetsushi-01-0005

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TI: And so you're returning during the Depression.

TU: Exactly.

TI: It's a really difficult time. How was your family doing? When you come from Japan and you come to the United States, how was your family doing?

TU: Okay. We went to this farmhouse, farmhouse number one, let's call it. And we were, I think, sharecroppers, where we did the work. And the hakujin landowner owned the land and we worked, the family worked for him and got paid so much. I don't know what arrangements there were. That's number one, and then we moved to farm number two, then on to three and four. By that time it was 1937, and that's when my mother wanted to buy a farm because she realized people with land are making a reasonable living, and she wanted, that was her dream. After four years of just circulating around as farm laborers, she had this chance to buy a ranch. And, of course, they were aliens so they couldn't buy the land, so they bought it in the name of my brother Gene, which he was eligible at that time.

TI: Yeah, so right about that time he'd be twenty, twenty-one years old, Gene.

TU: Yeah.

TI: Okay. So your mother was sort of, had a lot of foresight saying this life as a sharecropper is too hard, we need...

TU: Yeah, you're not getting anywhere. I think she had the smarts. She was always kind of the driver, and she worked hard. I remember she worked hard. The life of the farm wife never ends. She would do all the housework, cooking and so on, and then in her free time she's out there in the ranch helping out. And then she'd have to come back for preparing meals for all of us. And then on Sundays, the fellows would have a day off on Sunday, and she would do her laundry. And she used to, every now and then, try to give us the sad story that a housewife's work never ends, she doesn't even get a Sunday off. [Laughs]

TI: So all the famworkers could get -- and she was a farmworker, too, and she still had...

TU: Exactly.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.