Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Atsumi Ozawa Interview
Narrator: Atsumi Ozawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 17, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-oatsumi-01-0004

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TI: Now I'm curious about the people in Huancayo. So there are several hundred Japanese in a fairly large town, who were the other people in Huancayo?

AO: Oh, mostly Peruvians. Once a week on Sundays, the Inca descendents people, they used to come to sell their things, their craft, and their vegetables, whatever they were growing. So every Sunday we used to have a fair. (They still have a fair every Sunday.)

TI: Oh, like a big market, public market?

AO: Yes. And they showed their things that they made, lot of woven things like a blanket and things like that.

TI: Okay, and is this one? Why don't you show that.

AO: Uh-huh. This is so small. This is real small.

TI: And how would the large ones be? How big would they be?

AO: Oh, that squash, you know how big it grows? Like that.

TI: And so they would paint and carve that.

AO: It's just carving each one. See, there's people in here. I don't know if you notice that. That's a harvest time, I think. I think first they plant the seed, and then it grows, and the harvest.

TI: And who would buy it from the Inca people?

AO: Many foreign people from different countries, they used to come to Huancayo.

TI: Oh, so like tourists?

AO: Tourists, yeah. The tourists.

TI: And this is before the war?

AO: Yes. Many tourists used to come to buy this to take a souvenir.

TI: And which countries would these tourists come from?

AO: I don't know. To me it looked like they were Americans.

TI: Americans, Europeans, too?

AO: Europeans, probably, uh-huh.

TI: And so what was Huancayo known for? Why would tourists come to Huancayo?

AO: Because of the fair, all the craft they used to make. Oh, and then I think my dad used to sell ham, that was a specialty of Huancayo, and people used to come from different states in Peru, they used to come to buy that whole legs, and maybe to buy (for) their store, or to take a souvenir to their family or whatever.

TI: And so it's the marketplace, the special ham, and how about just the location? Was it a beautiful place to visit?

AO: Not really. [Laughs] But of course, the mountain was walking distance, and the river, too. The river was very close. I don't think it was...

TI: Not so beautiful, or it was okay?

AO: Well, yeah, there was interesting, the mountain was kind of pretty, I think.

TI: And Huancayo, we talked about earlier, is very high up. I think it's over 10,000 feet, so did people have, tourists when they came, did they have a hard time breathing because of the altitude?

AO: Yes.

TI: And so what would happen? Would some of them faint?

AO: Yeah, they used to get sick. [Laughs] Yeah, they used to get sick.

TI: Because when I go really high altitudes, when I hike, sometimes you get headaches and things like that.

AO: Yes, uh-huh. My sister, every time we go to Huancayo, even though she was born there, she gets sick. Every time we go to Huancayo, she used to get sick.

TI: Because just the altitude is so high?

AO: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: But you growing there, you didn't get sick because you got used to it?

AO: I guess so. But I don't know why my sister, the second one, right? Yeah, poor thing. But she wanted to take us there, but of course she always, never fail, she used to get sick.

TI: So we talked about, so we have Japanese, we have the descendants from the Incas, kind of the indigenous people, what other kind of races were there? Did they have like European... or tell me about the other people. You mentioned maybe Chinese?

AO: Well, there was once, many years ago, the Conquistador, you know, from Spain, so I'm sure that many mixed with the Spaniards from Spain, people from Spain.

TI: And so was the, kind of the group in charge of Huancayo? Like the wealthy people, the politicians, what kind of background were they?

AO: Probably the wealthy people.

TI: More from maybe the Conquistador, Spanish side?

AO: No, I think they were more mixed, different race.

TI: But Peruvians who lived there for a long time maybe?

AO: No, I guess the Peruvians that were mixed with the descendants of the Inca, they just stayed, they married their own people, so they weren't doing too well, I don't think. They weren't even getting too many education.

TI: Okay, so the Inca descendants, the indigenous people, so they weren't as well-educated and economically didn't do as well.

AO: (Yes, they didn't do well.)

TI: So the Japanese were doing better than they were, okay.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.