Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Betty Tanakatsubo Interview
Narrator: Betty Tanakatsubo
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-tbetty-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So let me ask first about your father. Can you tell me your father's name?

BT: Buichi, B-U-I-C-H-I.

TI: Buichi, and where in Japan was he from?

BT: Kumamoto.

TI: And tell me how he came to the United States.

BT: Well, he was sent by his parents to come to U.S. and he was supposed to, I think according to one of my older brother who knew more about my father's background, was supposed to come to Chicago to enter a college or university. Well, my father never made it. He landed up doing some farm work and he wasn't a very good farmer, he was more a scholar. And we moved, I think I was very little, but we moved to the city --

TI: But before going there did you know why he wasn't able to make it to Chicago? You say he wasn't make it to Chicago, do you know why?

BT: Well, I think he was like... I can't say a playboy but I think his cronies had something to do, you know, in those days they came from Japan and their wives or whatever family be in Japan yet and they had no idea how to go about finding jobs and that type of situation. So I think in terms of why he never went to school, I think the environmental situation, I think, prevented him from going to school.

TI: So where did he end up? If not Chicago where?

BT: He stayed in Sacramento.

TI: Okay, Sacramento.

BT: Yeah, he in fact... well, much later after we got evacuated to camp he didn't have much of a camp life, he passed away. When we went to Tule Lake and I think he couldn't have been there more than... less than a year and he passed away.

TI: Okay, we'll get to that in more detail later.

BT: Okay.

TI: In Sacramento you mentioned friends so was there sort of family or friends in Sacramento for him so he stopped there?

BT: No, not that I know of. He had in fact two other brothers, and his older brother accompanied him from Japan to come to U.S. and eventually his older brother made sure my father got settled and etcetera and then his older brother went back to Japan. But his brother just before him opened up a Chinese restaurant.

TI: Oh, interesting, in Sacramento?

BT: In Sacramento, and he was... my uncle was very well-known pertaining to the restaurant, Chinese restaurant and a lot of the Isseis used to go to the restaurant. So right away when we mention the name Togetsu, right away they would know we're talking about my uncle's restaurant.

TI: And so where in Sacramento was the Togetsu restaurant?

BT: It was right in the city on, I think it was on was that K Street, I Street, I can't remember. I'm going so far back my memory isn't that great anymore. But in the city of Sacramento he had this Chinese restaurant.

TI: Oh, that's interesting. And so all the old timers would know this restaurant?

BT: Yes, right. It was called Togetsu.

TI: And during this time your father tried to do some farming but you said he wasn't very successful.

BT: No.

TI: So he came into the city? And what kind of work did he do in the city?

BT: Actually he worked in the cannery for a short while and evidently he wasn't too pleased working as a laborer being a scholar. And so he quit and he stayed and he did the cooking and the fixing lunch while my mother and my sisters, older sisters all worked in the cannery in the city in Sacramento.

TI: So he was kind of like a stay at home dad?

BT: Yes.

TI: So kind of a man ahead of his time.

BT: Yes.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.