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-01-0003

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TI: So let's talk about your mother a little bit. So tell me her name and where she's from.

BT: She's also from Kumamoto, her name was Tsuyo, T-S-U-Y-O, Okamoto is her maiden name.

TI: And how did she meet your father?

BT: I thought it was one of these picture marriage where we used to hear about. And my dad said, no, he said we lived in the same village in Kumamoto, a certain area in Kumamoto and he said, "I've always like her." So what he did was he went to Japan and evidently he must have proposed and eventually he came back and he sent for her and that's how they --

TI: So it really was a marriage of love then.

BT: Yes.

TI: Which is unusual for Isseis, a lot of times they are arranged.

BT: Yes, definitely they used to have what they call a baishakunin, right, go-between, and in his case, no.

TI: Okay, so they get married in Japan, he comes back and then later on he sends for her. And when she gets to Sacramento it sounds like she starts working at the cannery also?

BT: Well, much later, this I think in terms of cannery, she was a housewife for a long period of time because there were eight of us, four boys and four girls. So naturally she stayed home taking care of and raising the children. And once we got old enough she started to work in the cannery which was, I don't know, years, years later.

TI: So let me test your memory. I'm going to have... eight children, I'm going to have you name your siblings in birth order, from the oldest to the youngest.

BT: My first, my oldest brother his name was Akira Fred, his English name was Fred. And then Hiroshi, and Henry. Then my sister Yuriko, she went by the name of Frances. And Sumiye and she went as Eleanor, then we had Kowashi, which is a very unusual name, K-O-W-A-S-H-I, his English name was Tom, Thomas. And Mieko, Dorothy, then Tsuyako, that's me, Betty. And then my kid brother, Kazuyo, no, let's see now, trying to think, we call him Kaz. He goes by the name of Rusty, that's it.

TI: And at home did people use Japanese names?

BT: Yes, and the only reason a lot of us used our English name is when we came out when you left the camp and went to various city, people could not pronounce a lot of Japanese name. So then naturally you used your English name.

TI: Eight children, so your parents were very busy.

BT: Yes.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.