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Title: Betty Tanakatsubo Interview
Narrator: Betty Tanakatsubo
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-tbetty-01-0018

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TI: The other thing I wanted to ask you about was so during the war and right after the war, a lot of Japanese Americans came to Chicago, but then in the ensuing years, many of them returned to the West Coast. Why was that? Why didn't more of them stay in Chicago or why did some stay? I'm trying to get a sense of the differences between the people who stayed versus the people who went to the West Coast.

BT: Evidently maybe they feel uncomfortable going to an area they're not too familiar with. I think this in one of the reasons why they... and Japanese have a tendency to feel very, what's the wording in terms... they're not as outgoing. They're hard workers, they're very quiet people, they're good citizens. But when it comes to being very forward about things, they lack, the Niseis lacked it, where the Sanseis, the Yonseis aren't that way. They are very gung ho about things, they don't hesitate at all.

TI: So you think for the ones that weren't as outgoing, going back to California or the West Coast was easier for them?

BT: Yes.

TI: So how do you perceive the Japanese Americans who stayed in Chicago? Were they a little bit more outgoing then?

BT: I would say so. I think when we first went to a Tule Lake reunion, even my husband said some of his so-called old friends, old buddies that they used to be together all the time, he said, "We had nothing in common." You could see the ones that left camp or were discharged came out east were more broad minded about things, more outgoing, right. Whereas the ones that went back to their original town or city, they had a tendency to still go back and being clannish, they don't spread themselves out. Though a lot of them did very well in terms of position in California, I don't know about Seattle and Oregon.

TI: So I'm curious, when you think about that, is it different because inherently the ones who stayed were already more outgoing and they continued to be that way and then the ones who weren't went back? Or is it the nature of the environment, that because you have to live in Chicago you just have to become that way more and more?

BT: That's right.

TI: Do you have a sense of which one it is or is it a combination?

BT: I think you have to learn to mix with different group, whereas in California you go back to Sacramento, you're in with the Japanese community again. And so you don't extend, they don't extend themselves, whereas the ones that relocated to the other big city out east, you have no choice but to, there's no such thing as Japantown so you're on your own.

TI: Good, okay, that's interesting.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.