Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jack Y. Kubota Interview
Narrator: Jack Y. Kubota
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 4, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-kjack-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Okay. Let's, so let's move on to kind of your childhood memories of growing up in El Centro. I mean, first just describe your house. What was your house like?

JK: Well, we lived in two houses when we first moved there. We moved into a little house, 1038 Woodward Avenue. I tell you that just to show off, right? How do you remember a place you lived in eighty years ago? But my brother and I went there and we took a picture of ourselves in front of that house. [Interruption] Then we lived there from 1929 to 1936, then we moved to 377 Hamilton Avenue, and we lived there until we departed in 1942 to go to camp.

TI: And so describe your -- there was six kids and two parents, so there were eight of you -- describe... actually, let's describe the Hamilton house. So what, how many bedrooms and how was that --

JK: Well, let's see, it was a living room, dining room combination, a kitchen, in the back, a screen porch area that was laundry, laundry tray and a laundry tub and an ironing, roller, ironing thing. And then on the east side there was a kind of a screen porch area, and then there was a bedroom, and then there was a bathroom in the middle, and then there was a bedroom in the back. By then, the Hamilton Avenue house, by then my oldest sister Yo had already left the home. She graduated from high school in El Centro in 1934, and she moved, she went over to Japan to get her college education at a Japanese women's college. And so, and then I think my sister Aiko had graduated in 1936 and she went on to Pasadena, and she enrolled in the Pasadena Junior College. So I think by the time we got to Hamilton Avenue there were only one, two, three, four of us. Yeah. My brother slept in the screen porch in the front, my mom and dad slept in the bed, regular bedroom, I slept in the bedroom closet 'cause I was still a kid and I wanted to sleep by my mother, and then my two sisters lived in the back room.

TI: You know, as you were talking, or telling that story, it's interesting to me that your two older sisters went to college, one to Japan and one to Pasadena. That wasn't that common. I mean, oftentimes women back then didn't, weren't able to pursue sort of advanced education. So where did that come from? Was it your father or mother or both of them who really emphasized education?

JK: I think the major emphasis was my mother, but my dad went along with it. And of course, the fact that my mom and dad would send my oldest sister to Japan for an education in a private women's college, that can give you some indication of the economic standing of my father and his business and everything. These were the good times that he could afford to do all that. And so, and then my sister Aiko, she was a very, very aggressive personality, brilliant young lady, and so she wanted to go places. She wanted to go places. In fact, she and my dad used to go -- she was just like my dad in many respects. Boy, they used to go at it all the time, 'cause he was just such a hardheaded Issei and stubborn as an ox. And she would, actually, she would've been like a women's liberation person today. In fact, she always said -- she went to, she ended up UC, University, School of Medicine, San Francisco, and I really believe her -- she said, "If I was not a woman, I could've become a very successful medical doctor. They just would not tolerate the idea that a woman could go to medical school." And she had, she had the horsepower to do it too.

TI: Interesting.

JK: She went on to become a public health nurse. She went back to New York and got a Master's degree in public health nursing, and that was, that became her career. But I always remember, boy, she would, she was a bulldog.

TI: Good.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.