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Title: Yuriko Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Yuriko Yamamoto
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: April 24, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-yyuriko-01-0001

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MN: We are at the Nishi Hongwanji Temple in Los Angeles. We will be interviewing Yuriko Tanino Yamamoto, and we have Tani Ikeda on video and Martha Nakagawa, I will be interviewing. So Yuri -- you prefer Yuri, not Yuriko?

YY: Well, they call me Yuri, yeah.

MN: Yuri. Let's start with your father. What was his name?

YY: Takeo Tanino.

MN: And which prefecture is he from?

YY: Okayama.

MN: Can you share a little bit about his educational background?

YY: I understand he went to Waseda, then he came to the United States and went to Ohio University, business, I think, major, and that's the way he started, I guess, very ambitious.

MN: He must have been very intelligent to graduate from a United States college.

YY: That's what I understand, yeah.

MN: So when he first came to the United States and after he graduated, what did he do for a job?

YY: Well, I really don't know because all the boys were born in Ogden, Utah. But I know he started selling insurance as an occupation.

MN: Okay, so let me ask a little bit about your mother now. What was her name?

YY: Her name was Tamaki Kawahara, or (Kuwabara). It's either Kuwahara or (Kuwabara). She went to a women's school and graduated.

MN: And where did she graduate from?

YY: I have no idea. I never asked, you know, before, as kids you don't ask these questions.

MN: Do you know what prefecture she was from?

YY: Tokyo.

MN: That's very unusual. A lot of people, there's very few, like there's very few native New Yorkers, very few native Tokyo people.

YY: Is that right?

MN: So she was a city girl.

YY: I guess so, she was a very quiet, sweet person, though.

MN: And she got a lot of education because you said she graduated from a girl's school?

YY: Yes.

MN: Do you know how your parents met?

YY: Well, actually, what I hear, I told you my father was out here and he was seeing this Caucasian girl, I think she was Jewish, redheaded, and her father was a physician. I really think he was quite interested in her but her father objected. So he had gone to Japan and found her, I don't know he arranged it, but he brought her back to America.

MN: I guess because your father, there was a law against interracial dating and marriage?

YY: Oh, yeah, the father said, "Don't ever darken my door," he just told him to get lost. I think that's what he told me, anyway.

MN: And probably with your mother, a baishakunin?

YY: I don't know if there was a baishakunin or not. He never mentioned that.

MN: So when your father went, returned to Japan, he got married, and did he come back with your mother? Did they come back together?

YY: Oh, yeah.

MN: So they landed here, and then they went to Ogden, Utah?

YY: I think so.

MN: And do you know why they went there?

YY: I have no idea. Isn't it funny? I never thought of asking these questions. If J.K. was, I mean, if he was a youngster, he might have, I don't know, but it wasn't of any interest to me at the time. It's too bad.

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