Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview I
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Matt Emery
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 17, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

ME: This is the interview with Aki, Aki Kurose, and Matt Emery is the interviewer, Aki Kurose is the narrator, and it is taking place on July the 17th, sometime in the afternoon. Aki, let's... you know there is so many things that we could talk about in this interview. We could talk about a million things and actually go for more than just two hours. But let's start, let's start before you were born, actually --

AK: Well! [Laughs]

ME: -- and talk a little bit about your parents. Where did they, where did they grow up?

AK: My mother grew up in Kumamoto, Japan, which is the southern part of Japan. And my father grew up in Miyagi-ken, Sendai, Japan, which is the northern part of Japan. And they met in the United States. That's why they are from two separate parts of Japan. Usually people marry within their own prefecture, or area. But my mother came to the United States, she came to Berkeley to study, after she finished high school. And then she realized her English wasn't proficient enough, so she went to McKinley High School there. And she claims that she was small enough so they didn't know she was older. [Laughs] And so she fit right in the school. And also, my father had finished Yokohama School of Commerce, and he came over to seek a fortune -- well, not really. He came over to work. And then he met my mother through mutual friends, and so they got married.

ME: What area did they meet in?

AK: In California. And then they had friends that were in Seattle, so they came back up to Seattle, started working.

ME: How soon after they were married did they come up to Seattle?

AK: Um, I think they came up right away, because they had mutual friends, and then they settled in Seattle.

ME: When they settled, what did they, what did they do?

AK: Well, my father worked in a restaurant. And then they bought an apartment. Well, actually, they leased it, because of the Asian Exclusion Act, where you could not buy property if you were an alien. And so they leased the apartment, and my mother managed the apartment, and my father worked in the restaurant, and then he went and worked at the railroad station as a porter. So he did many things. He was a real gregarious person, loved people and...

ME: Now once they arrived in Seattle, then I would assume that's when your siblings started to arrive. After they bought the apartment, or leased the apartment?

AK: Uh-huh. My brother was born... let's see, he's how many years older than me? My sister's three, five -- five years older than me. And then my sister, my older sister, then I came, and then my younger sister. So, there were four in the family and we're all two to three years apart.

ME: What were their names?

AK: Haruo was the oldest, and he was the only son. And then my sister, Fusaye, is my older sister, and my younger sister Suma.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.