Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Peggy S. Furukawa Interview
Narrator: Peggy S. Furukawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: San Jose, California
Date: March 20, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-fpeggy-01-0001

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TI: So, Peggy, I start by just saying what today's date is. So today is Tuesday, March 20, 2012, and we are in San Jose at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. And so, Peggy, I'm going to start with the first question, can you tell me when you were born and where?

PF: I was born March 30, 1928, San Jose, here.

TI: And where in San Jose? Was it like in a house or was it in a hospital?

PF: Went to the San Jose's doctor's place, we were born.

TI: And what was the name given to you at birth?

PF: Japanese name Sachiko. And then they put me "Betty."

TI: Betty?

PF: Betty. And then when I went to kindergarten, there were three Bettys, and they couldn't change their name because mine was not on the birth certificate, Betty. And so they gave me Peggy.

TI: How did you feel that they changed your name so easily from Betty to Peggy. Okay?

PF: It wasn't... Peggy, but I didn't like to write. I liked to write Betty better, but they put Peggy.

TI: Before you started school, what did people call you? Did they call you Betty or Sachiko?

PF: No, Betty. Some Japanese people called me Sachiko, but Betty was my name.

TI: And where did "Betty" come from? Was there a special reason to call you Betty?

PF: No. I guess the farmer, when my father was working for the farmer, well, they named our sisters and brothers.

TI: So they gave 'em, like, American names.

PF: Yeah, American. Roy, Tom, Elma, like that.

TI: So let me ask first about your father. What was your father's name?

PF: Isao.

TI: And where was he from?

PF: Japan.

TI: Where in Japan?

PF: Okayama.

TI: And tell me a little bit about his family. What kind of work...

PF: He was a farmer, and he had four brothers. Two in Japan and two in America. See, my grandmother came late, so there were seventeen, eighteen year different.

TI: And why did your father come to America?

PF: I guess my grandfather came first, I think 1900 my grandfather came and he called. My father was only sixteen and he came. And then when he got twenty-six, then he went Japan and married my mother.

TI: Okay, so he was in the United States for maybe ten years and then he went back.

PF: Went back and then married, yeah.

TI: And you mentioned two of his brothers were in the United States.

PF: Yeah.

TI: Were they older brothers or younger brothers?

PF: No, they're younger. Eighteen years different than my father's age.

TI: Oh, so they were quite a bit younger.

PF: Yeah, because my grandmother was with my father until he got to be sixteen. Then my grandfather came earlier, yeah.

TI: And then the two older brothers, they stayed in Japan?

PF: No, they came here. My father was the oldest, and then the second is my uncle, and then eighteen year, two boys came.

TI: I see. So your father was the oldest, and then the two next came, and there was a long gap.

PF: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

PF: My grandmother had those two, so I guess that's why they sent 'em to Japan. My father wanted to go back maybe, I don't know, but the war broke, see, that's why.

TI: Okay, so we'll get there. I want to ask a few more questions about your father. And when your father and your grandfather, when they were in the United States, where did they live?

PF: San Jose.

TI: And what part of San Jose, do you know where?

PF: Oh, around four or five mile away, around here, yeah.

TI: And what kind of work did they do?

PF: Farmer.

TI: Do you know what kind of farming?

PF: Vegetable and berry, horse, they had a horse and buggy that time, yeah.

TI: And what was your father's last name? Isao...

PF: Omori.

TI: Omori.

PF: Omori.

TI: Okay, good. And so he went back to Japan when he was twenty-six to marry your mother.

PF: Yeah, uh-huh.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.