Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Genro Kashiwa Interview
Narrator: Genro Kashiwa
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: February 20, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-kgenro-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

BN: Anyway, to begin with, we're here on February 20, 2012, with Mr. Genro Kashiwa, who has graciously agreed to be interviewed. We're here at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. And we're going to start with your parents. And if you could let us know their names and what you know about when they were born and raised.

GK: My father's name was Ryuten Kashiwa. And he was born in Fukui-ken, Japan. His family background is all priests. They were priests for a small temple in Fukui. And I don't know what year it was, but the bishop of the Hongwanji mission, I think his name was Imamura, he went back to Japan to recruit priests for the Hawaii Hongwanji mission. And he went to Fukui-ken and recruited my father. And the story behind that was that it was, I think, during the Russo-Japanese War. And all of the young men went off to war. And my father was somehow left behind in Fukui-ken. And he was so embarrassed that he didn't go to war. That when Bishop Imamura came to Fukui-ken to recruit priests, he consented to come to Hawaii. And he was first assigned to Kohala, a place called Niuli. Evidently there were many Japanese at that time there. And he served as priest for Niuli Hongwanji for about, I don't know how many years, but about five years. And during that period, two children were born. My elder sister, Shigeko Izumi, who married Dr. Izumi of Wailuku Maui, and they lived in Wailuku for some time, and they had three children, I think. One was Gerald Izumi, I think he's in California now, and Carl Izumi, he's in Honolulu, and Earl Izumi, I think he lives on Maui. And the next child was Shiro Kashiwa. He married Mildred Aiko Yamagata from the Big Island. And he had two children. One was Greg Kashiwa, who still lives in a home on the beach side in Kalanianaole. And another child was Wendy, and I think she's on the mainland. And then the other... there were eight in the family, children, and there was Irene Yoshiko Franks, whose husband was Paul Franks, and they had a son named Billy Franks. I think he's a doctor now in California. And there was a Lester Tetsuo Kashiwa who became a doctor after graduating from University of Michigan. And he used to practice in Wailuku Maui together with my brother-in-law, Dr. Izumi. And he had many children.

And one thing that's interesting is that my next sister was sent to Japan to study there, I think, and that was just during the war. And she couldn't come back because of the war. And I heard that my father was very worried about her, and that's one of the reasons why he wanted to go back to Japan initially from the internment camp. But he decided not to and remained in Hawaii.

BN: What was that sister's name?

GK: Who are we talking about now? (Atsuko Ainge) couldn't come back from Japan so she stayed over there. And she finally married a haole serviceman and she had two children. And after Atsuko was... I was next in line.

BN: That's number six if I'm counting right.

GK: Yes. And below me was Judy Takako, and her married name is Kawabata. And I think she had a show over here just the other day.

BN: Yeah, who I just found out was your sister, but yeah.

GK: And the last was Herbert Koro Kashiwa, who went to... I don't know where he studied on the mainland, but he became a professor. And he married Ann Murayama, Lahaina family.

BN: So all eight of you were born in Hawaii.

GK: Hawaii, yes. Two in island of Hawaii, Niuli, two in Hana, and the rest in Waialua.

BN: Did your mother come over at the same time? I mean, were they already married?

GK: No. My father requested that they sent a bride to him.

BN: I see.

GK: And I think that was in... well, he was in Kohala, Niuli. Because the first two children were born in Niuli.

BN: So she was a "picture bride"?

GK: Somebody selected her because my father requested, and she was sent over. And I think when my father was in Kohala Niuli, because they had two children there.

BN: What was her family name?

GK: Oh. Her first name was Yukiko, and (last name was) Matsubara. She was the daughter of a physician, I think, over there (in Japan).

BN: So by the time you were born, you're already number six.

GK: Yes.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright &copy; 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.