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-01-0002

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ME: Could you describe for me, tell me a little bit about the house in which you...

AK: Well, our house was a very happy house, and it was... my parents were both very hospitable. So we always had people over, and they were taking care of other people's children, or taking care of strays -- cats, dogs, and people, you know. Mainly dogs and people. And it was just a real happy time. They, they welcomed anybody, no matter, you know. And ethnicity didn't count. And so I was very amazed later on when I found out that so many people had racial prejudice. Because we weren't raised that way, and anybody was welcomed.

ME: So what kind of people were they letting in?

AK: Well, all kinds of people in the neighborhood. And my dad loved to bake, so every Friday evening he'd make jellyroll and then all the neighbors would come in to have jellyroll and we'd just have a good time, listening to music and just being social. And I, my most memorable years are at the apartment. And the neighborhood was very diverse. And there were many Jews and a Chinese family, and several black families, and we went in and out of each other's homes all the time.

ME: Was the house in which your family lived pretty close to the apartment and restaurant?

AK: No, the apartment... I lived in the apartment, I grew up in the apartment.

ME: Oh, the whole family did. Okay, it was right there then?

AK: Uh-huh.

ME: I see.

AK: And my father went out to work. And my mother managed the apartment, with my father, but my mother was the main manager. She got the engineer's license, she ran the boiler room, she cleaned the furnace. She did all those things. And, you know, it wasn't strange at all to see her wallpapering right along with my dad, standing on a ladder and just going at it. And they both were great readers, so they were always reading. And education was very important to them, so they encouraged us to go and pursue, you know, higher learning. Also, they were very generous and free about letting us do anything we wanted to. I decided I wanted to go take dancing lessons, so they let me take dancing lessons. Then I wanted to get a clarinet, so I got a clarinet. And I was in the band and in the orchestra. They encouraged any kind of activity. And so, I was very spoiled. And loved every bit of it. [Laughs]

ME: Sounds like it was a very happy childhood.

AK: It was a very, very happy childhood. And my parents were quite permissive when I think about it, really.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.